Dilaudid Addiction & Abuse

Dilaudid overview

Dilaudid is a brand name for the semisynthetic opioid known as hydromorphone. A derivative of morphine, the narcotic is used primarily for the treatment of various types of pain, including post-surgical pain and other types of post-surgical pain.

Because of its relative potency, hydromorphone is commonly used for patients who have exhibited tolerance to other opioids. It is available in multiple formulations, including liquid, tablet and injectable doses.

Dilaudid risks

There risks of Dilaudid are similar to those of other medications in the opioid family. This class of drugs is generally high risk for developing dependence, but strong versions like Dilaudid pose a particular risk. As the drug is often prescribed to those who already exhibit opioid tolerance, abuse can be a primary concern.

Additionally, many opioids can slow breathing. Those taking potent formulations like hydromorphone are at increased risk for dangerous side effects dramatically affecting respiration. Overdoses of the drug can severely slow or even stop breathing, with potentially lethal results.

Dilaudid withdrawal

An individual suffering from a dependency to Dilaudid may experience physical and mental withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms range in severity depending upon the frequency of use and overall level of abuse. Withdrawal symptoms can arise anywhere from 12-48 hours after the last use and are most severe for the first few days. The following are common withdrawal symptoms associated with Fentanyl detox.

Withdrawal from Dilaudid can range in severity depending on a number of factors, including:

  • Length of use: following prolonged use, the body typically can develop increasing dependence on medication. The longer the drug is used, the more severe withdrawal symptoms are likely to be.
  • Dosage: the amount of the drug being consumed can also affect withdrawal symptoms. Individuals will often take increasing doses as tolerance grows, which can make withdrawal worse.
  • Other substance abuse: opioid use in conjunction with alcohol or other narcotics can also play a factor in the type and degree of symptoms experienced.
  • Health conditions: a person’s overall physical and mental health can also play a part in how they experience withdrawal. It is especially important to consider how health risks may be increased, or how co-occurring disorders can impact symptoms.

Dilaudid withdrawal symptoms

Those suffering from a dependency to Dilaudid may experience physical and mental withdrawal symptoms. Given the potential severity of symptoms, it is important to utilize medical health professionals during this process to avoid relapse and support successful recovery. The following are common symptoms associated with Dilaudid detox:

  • Drug cravings
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • High blood pressure
  • Intestinal spasm
  • Muscle spasm or pain
  • Shivering
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation or irritability
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness

Dilaudid detox and treatment

During detox, the body metabolizes any lingering amounts of the substance. It is usually during this period that a person will experience the onset of withdrawal symptoms and health risks are the highest. The primary objectives for the detox process are:

  • Keep symptoms of withdrawal manageable.
  • Avoid any health risks arising from cessation or weaning of medication.
  • Set up transition of patients from detox to longer-term treatment plan.
  • Begin a program of therapy and counseling to create the structure for long-term sobriety.


The primary benefit of a medically supervised detox is the use of pharmaceuticals and other treatments to manage withdrawal symptoms and health risks. When detoxing from hydromorphone, the medication therapies used to manage withdrawal include:

  • Opioid antagonist therapy: drugs like Naltrexone have the ability to interact with the opioid receptors in the brain and prevent other opiates from working. By blocking the high that comes from hydromorphone, a person in recovery has a reduced incentive for taking the drug.
  • Opioid replacement therapy: abrupt cessation of opioid use can have severe complications. As such, it is often recommended that patients gradually decrease their use over time. To ensure this can be done safely, the opioid of abuse is replaced with one that carries lower risk of abuse and overdose. Buprenorphine and methadone are the most common opiate substitutes used in this treatment.
  • Treating withdrawal symptoms: detox from Dilaudid can produce a range of physical symptoms. Certain medications such as Clonidine are effective in managing many of those symptoms, including agitation, anxiety, and muscle ache. Additional symptoms may be treated on a case-by-case basis.

Treatment options

There are a range of options for detox and ongoing recovery treatment. These generally fall into three categories:

  • Inpatient treatment: this type of care involves the patient staying at the facility around the clock. Ideal for high-risk detox, inpatient treatment allows for 24-hour medical supervision and assistance.
  • Outpatient treatment: for those who are in generally good health and committed to a recovery plan without the need for extensive structure, outpatient treatment may be a viable option. These programs involve the patient coming in when treatment is required, but living at home or transitional facility.
  • Sober living facilities: representing a range of living options, these facilities offer a stable environment as one transitions from detox and immediate rehab care to longer-term treatment programs.

Preventing relapse

The onset of withdrawal symptoms can be a difficult time for someone in Dilaudid detox, and is a period of high risk for relapse. Even after initial detoxification, cravings and behavioral triggers can be challenging to recovery. An important part of staying sober involves ongoing programs that provide the support and tools necessary to stay on the path to recovery.

  • Counseling: one-on-one support in the process of rehabilitation and recovery, with a focus on developing healthy coping skills.
  • Group therapy: building on a network of understanding, this approach to therapy has proven a valuable aid for long-term recovery.
  • 12-step programs: free and widely accessible, these 12-step and similar programs  have been shown to significantly decrease the occurrence of relapse in drug abuse patients.

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Dilaudid Addiction was last modified: May 15th, 2017 by The Recovery Village