Can you be addicted to Dilaudid?
What is it like to be addicted to Dilaudid?
Dilaudid is a brand name for the drug, hydromorphone. This drug is an opiate that is prescribed by doctors for severe pain. It is also given in the hospital for pain relief, either by IV or tablet. While many patients take dilaudid for pain and do not become addicted, it is known to be habit-forming and some patients certainly do develop dilaudid addiction. Dilaudid abuse can be life threatening, especially with IV use. Besides the immediate-release form of hydromorphone, which includes the Dilaudid brand, there is also the extended-release form, which is known as Exalgo. It is possible for a patient to develop an addiction to Exalgo as well.
How is the drug abused by people with Dilaudid addiction?
There are drug users who have a definite preference for hydromorphone. They prefer the specific feeling that they get compared to other opioid medications. While the “high” from abusing opioid drugs is generally similar, there are subtle differences. There is a subset of people who engage in Dilaudid abuse who prefer to crush up the tablets and inject them into a vein. A patient who requests a specific brand of hydromorphone at the pharmacy may raise red flags with the pharmacist. It is known that certain brands of the drug are easier to inject.
Are there withdrawal symptoms when quitting Dilaudid?
While some patients have claimed that withdrawal is not as bad with Dilaudid compared to other opioid drugs, this is generally not true. Hydromorphone definitely has a withdrawal syndrome that can be as bad as withdrawal from any other opioid, including heroin. With dilaudid withdrawal, the patient will also experience cravings for the drug. The risk of relapse is high. Medication-assisted therapy can help to minimize withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
What are the treatment options for Dilaudid addiction?
As an opioid, Dilaudid addiction should be treated like any other opioid addiction. Dilaudid, or hydromorphone, is a semi-synthetic opioid that essentially affects the central nervous system like most opiate drugs. Therefore, medication-assisted treatment with meds such as methadone, Suboxone or naltrexone can be very effective. Medications such as clonidine or Lucemyra (lofexidine) and neurontin (gabapentin) can help to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms to make them more tolerable. Individual and group therapy are also helpful. When family members are positively involved in the patient’s addiction recovery, there will be a higher chance for long-term success.
Should Dilaudid be taken off the market as a pain reliever?
While substance abuse is a serious problem, Dilaudid use in the medical field for severe pain should not be discounted. It is an effective pain medication that has an important place in the field of acute and chronic pain management. While Dilaudid addiction is a serious problem, that does not mean that it and other medications containing hydromorphone should be removed from the market.
What is the first step to overcoming Dilaudid addiction?
Drug use is often accompanied by denial. This is why substance abuse can go on for so long. The patient thinks either they do not have a problem or that they can handle it on their own. It is important for the patient to admit to themselves that there is a problem and that they need help to solve it. Prescription drug addiction can be difficult to admit, especially when the medication is prescribed. The patient may believe that they need this drug for medical use, even though it is causing them to harm themselves. So, before arriving at a treatment center, the patient must come to the realization that they need help. Sometimes, an intervention by family or the patient’s doctor is necessary.
Is Dilaudid just like any other opioid?
While Dilaudid does have some unique characteristics, it is essentially an opiate drug. Addiction treatment, when it comes to hydromorphone, is similar to treatment for other opiates. There is physical dependence to deal with as well as psychological dependence. If you are concerned that you or a loved one may have a problem with hydromorphone, I recommend making an appointment with a doctor certified in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opiate addiction.