Addiction has been one of the most damaging epidemics in our nation. Each day, it causes families to split apart and results in many lost lives. Of course, there is a massive number of substances that are issues when it comes to addiction, but there are also some that are worse than others. One category of substances that have been especially contributive in the addiction epidemic is opioid painkillers. These medications are extremely important in the medical realm for helping individuals to be more comfortable and ease recovery from painful conditions, but they can also be incredibly addictive. A common type of painkiller that is problematic regarding abuse and addiction is Dilaudid, which is used to treat moderate to severe pain. This is the brand name of the medication, with the generic name being hydromorphone. Learn more here about the effects of hydromorphone and the potential dangers of continued abuse of this drug.
The Effects of Hydromorphone
These types of medications come under one of two headings. There are opiates, which are derived from the opium poppy, and there are also opioids, which are completely or partly synthetic. Hydromorphone is placed under the opioid category, as it is made from morphine, which is an opiate itself. Hydromorphone produces effects that are similar to those of other opiates and opioids, such as:
- Pain Relief
- Sense of Well-Being
One could say that these are considered to be the desirable effects of hydromorphone, but just like any other medication, it can also produce an array of undesirable side effects, including:
- Dry Mouth
- Stomach Pain
- Mood Changes
- Appetite Loss
Unfortunately, these are only the lesser side effects and hydromorphone can bring about much more detrimental side effects, such as:
- Allergic Reactions
- Breathing Difficulties
- Chest Pain
- Clammy and Cold Skin
- Increased Heart Rate
Obviously, these side effects can be quite horrendous. Anyone that is prescribed hydromorphone should rapidly contact their doctor if they are experiencing any of the above lesser or severe side effects. As a word of caution, side effects like the above could be more likely to occur or worsened when hydromorphone is combined with other substances, such as alcohol. One should speak to their doctor regarding any medication combinations to make sure that they can work together without conflict.
Even with how valuable hydromorphone and other painkillers are within the medical realm, they are also heavily abused because of the desired effects. Generally speaking, hydromorphone is most commonly delivered in a hospital setting by injection, but there are also those who will buy it off the street. It may also come in the form of a pill, liquid, or suppository. Using this medication without any form of prescription is considered to be abuse. Individuals can also abuse it by using it in unconventional ways, such as crushing the tablet and snorting it. Abuse can even be as simple as the individual taking larger doses than prescribed or more frequently than recommended. While many people abuse hydromorphone for its desired effects, abuse can also increase the various risks associated with it.
Hydromorphone Dependence and Addiction
Just like other opioids and opiates, hydromorphone also carries the risk of physical dependence. This means that an individual has been using hydromorphone for an extended period of time and their body actually becomes reliant upon it. If the person then stops using or goes too long between doses, they can experience cravings and various withdrawal symptoms, such as:
- Runny Nose
- Suicidal Thoughts
- Irregular Heart Rate
Withdrawal from hydromorphone can be quite painful and hellacious, and those going through this should be placed into a proper detox center to come off of the drug safely. Detox is the process of allowing the body to rid itself of substances and adjust to normal functioning again, and it is an incredibly important step in recovery. There are some who may believe that they can simply go cold turkey and detox at home, but this is a bad idea. In reality, detox can potentially be dangerous when done incorrectly or in severe cases. When attending a professional detox center, the person will be constantly monitored by professionals who can respond to any complications. In addition, detox centers can often provide medications to help wean the individual down, which can ease horrible withdrawal symptoms.
Of course, just like any other type of opioid or opiate, users of hydromorphone can also potentially develop an addiction. There is a large difference between dependence and addiction that needs to be understood. Dependence describes the purely physical way that an individual’s body can become reliant upon substances, whereas addiction is when a person continues to use a substance despite facing resultant consequences and negative impacts in their life. Addiction can eventually permeate and damage every single facet of a person’s life, including their friends, family, and career. The reasons behind a person developing an addiction can vary, but it generally underlies the addiction itself. Many people use substances as a way to escape from things like life’s problems, mental difficulties, or emotional pain. It may begin with them using one time to feel better and it can eventually reach a point where they feel like they cannot confront or live life without substances. Realistically, addiction often worsens over time, which is why it is important for those struggling to rapidly seek treatment. In treatment, they can locate and address the varying underlying difficulties of their addiction, allowing them to break free of its hold on them.
Another huge risk of hydromorphone and other similar substances is the potential for overdose. This is when an individual consumes such a large amount that their body is unable to process it and it becomes a toxic shock. An overdose could potentially come about for anyone, but it is often more common among those who abuse a substance. This is because they are generally taking larger amounts than those who are using it as prescribed. In addition, those who are snorting or injecting hydromorphone are at more risk of overdose, being that these methods of use produce more rapid and intense effects. People buying this drug off the street can also be at increased risk since they may not know the correct dosage or they might buy drugs that are cut with some other substance. A hydromorphone overdose can bring about symptoms like:
- Tiny Pu
- Weak Pulse
- Decreased Blood Pressure
- Cyanosis (Blueing of the Lips or Skin)
- Respiratory Depression
- Cardiac Arrest
The health impacts of overdose can increase the longer that it continues, and it can potentially be fatal if not addressed. When witnessing a loved one going through an overdose, emergency medical services should be immediately contacted.
While addiction can be incredibly horrible, it can be overcome through treatment. Many facilities offer a comprehensive treatment program that is tailored to each person. Some offer numerous modalities and use these to create the perfect program for an individual. They help thousands to break free of addiction every single year and would like to do the same for you or your loved one.
If you are ready to choose an addiction treatment program, we can help you find the best one for your needs. Give us a call today and we can answer any questions that you may have regarding our services.