Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Addiction Risk

After regular use of hydromorphone hydrochloride, a person may become physically dependent on the drug. However, this does not indicate psychological addiction. When someone becomes dependent on opioids like hydromorphone hydrochloride, it means their body is used to having the medication present and relies on it to help alleviate pain. Addiction to hydromorphone hydrochloride occurs if a person begins to experience strong cravings for the drug and takes it in ways that are not normally administered to produce a much stronger feeling.

If a person becomes psychologically reliant upon hydromorphone hydrochloride, they will show signs indicating that they are struggling with addiction, such as:

  • Taking the opioid specifically for its euphoric feeling, even when pain is not a problem.
  • Showing little or no interest in other aspects of life, like work, school, and socializing with loved ones.
  • Powerful cravings.
  • Constantly seeking or mentioning hydromorphone hydrochloride.
  • Withdrawal symptoms occur when treatment is stopped.

Developing a tolerance for hydromorphone hydrochloride is possible even if someone takes it in the recommended dosage. It is important to never exceed or increase dosage without medical approval to reduce the potential for substance misuse and addiction.

FAQs About Hydromorphone HCL

  • What is Hydromorphone Hydrochloride?

    Hydromorphone hydrochloride is a narcotic pain reliever prescribed for alleviating long-term moderate to severe chronic pain. It is classified as an opioid analgesic and it alters how the body responds to pain signals, reducing a person’s awareness of pain.

    Hydromorphone hydrochloride can be prescribed as an oral liquid, extended-release tablet, immediate-release tablet, or intramuscular injection.

    Hydromorphone hydrochloride has a much greater risk for psychological addiction and misuse, and per milligram, it is nearly five times as strong as other opioids like morphine. The narcotic is popular for illicit use because it is often compared to heroin as far as potency goes. Recognizable street names for hydromorphone hydrochloride include “dust”, “juice”, and “smack.”

  • How is Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Used?

    Hydromorphone hydrochloride is meant to be administered when severe flares of pain are present, while other forms like the extend-release version are created for pain management. Hydromorphone hydrochloride takes 20 to 30 minutes to take effect and, depending on the strength, can last up to 6 hours. Tablet forms of the opioid are not meant to be crushed or snorted. When ingesting hydromorphone hydrochloride as an oral liquid, carefully measure out the amount before taking it. People have accidentally overdosed on hydromorphone hydrochloride when in liquid form due to confusion made during the measuring.

    Drinking alcohol with hydromorphone hydrochloride is dangerous as it can lead to fatal respiratory depression.

    Potential side effects of hydromorphone hydrochloride may include constipation, dry mouth, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, or sweating.

Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Side Effects

Common side effects of hydromorphone overdose include respiratory depression, decreased consciousness, pinpoint pupils even in complete darkness, urinary retention, circulatory depression, and bronchospasm.

Other potential side effects of hydromorphone hydrochloride use include dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, itching, poor coordination, sedation, somnolence, headache, and excessive perspiration.

Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Long-Term Effects

The longer-term use of opioids like hydromorphone hydrochloride can lead to several complications. In cases of prolonged high-dosage use, patients can experience neurotoxicity. This can manifest through a range of complications including tremors, agitation, myoclonus, and cognitive dysfunction. Heavy chronic use can also lead to a temporary hormone imbalance known as hypogonadism.

Treatment Options for Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Addiction Symptoms

Treatment options include inpatient and outpatient group therapy along with individual drug counseling. In cases of severe addiction, medical detox may be necessary before the patient is eligible for admittance to an inpatient facility.

Drug addiction is a combination of the psychological, physiological, cognitive, and behavioral phenomenon that drives a person to engage in and prioritize drug-seeking behavior. The brain depends on the drug to trigger the release of feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine. Without the drug, individuals begin to lose the ability to feel positive emotions.

  • Medical Detox

    Withdrawals from opioid misuse can involve intense drug cravings that can be difficult to overcome. Hydromorphone hydrochloride should not be abruptly discontinued in patients who are physically or psychologically reliant on the drug. Doing so may result in severe post-acute withdrawal symptoms.

    Withdrawal symptoms may include flu-like symptoms, runny nose, perspiration, watery eyes, frequent yawning, and restlessness. Other symptoms may develop as drug cravings become worse. These may include irritability, backaches, weakness, abdominal cramps, anxiety, depression, joint pain, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, and elevated blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate.

    During a medical detox, doctors closely monitor the patient. The doctor will gradually reduce the patient’s dose of hydromorphone hydrochloride over the course of the patient’s stay. Other less potent and longer-acting opioids may be used to supplement hydromorphone until the patient is ready to stop taking the drug. Adjunct medications can be administered for the management of specific withdrawal symptoms such as nausea and anxiety.

  • Inpatient Rehab

    Inpatient programs for opioid addiction last an average of four weeks. On occasion, patients are asked to stay longer. The goal of inpatient therapy is to prepare individuals recovering from substance misuse to resist the temptation of recurrence of use. Patients live at the facility full-time and are not allowed to leave unattended.

    Some programs admit only females or males, while others allow only adults or adolescents. Wilderness recovery programs are popular among older adolescents. During wilderness recovery, participants live in the woods with trained guides while taking part in addiction education. Wilderness programs are designed to encourage reflection while developing confidence.

  • Outpatient Rehab

    Patients are encouraged to enter an outpatient treatment facility immediately following inpatient therapy. Group therapy sessions are held two to three times per week. Participants complete exercises and discuss the progress of their recovery with the group. Most outpatient programs also require the attendance of one to two Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings a week.

The Importance of Aftercare

If a person is in recovery from hydromorphone hydrochloride use disorder, it is important for them to detox under medical supervision to avoid recurrence of use and help manage withdrawal symptoms. Attempting to cleanse your body from this drug without medical help is not only dangerous but also comes with a higher chance of returning to regular substance use.

If you believe that you or a loved one are struggling with addiction to hydromorphone hydrochloride, the road to recovery is possible at The Recovery Village.

  • Medical Disclaimer

    The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

    View our editorial policy or view our research.

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