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Dilaudid Addiction

Dilaudid (generic name: hydromorphone hydrochloride) is a powerful analgesic drug that belongs to the opioid class. It is a hydrogenated ketone of morphine and is a semi-synthetic drug. Whereas it is an analgesic in medical terms, it is a schedule II narcotic in legal terms. It is used in the treatment of moderate to severe pain. In the extended-release form, this medication is used for continuous treatment of pain. It is also used as an antitussive or cough suppressant. Patients with painful, dry, paroxysmal coughing because of bronchial irritation following influenza or other ailments, fungus inhalation, etc., are prescribed Dilaudid. Hydromorphone was developed after the clinical use of heroin was banned by many countries.

Hydromorphone can be a habit forming drug and hence must be used only by the patient for whom it was prescribed to treat a condition. This drug should not be shared with another person, especially those who are known to have a history of drug addiction or abuse. Patients taking this medication should not drink alcohol as it can lead to unsafe side effects and even death. Hydromorphone medication should not be had in large amounts or for a longer time than prescribed by the physician.

Dilaudid can impair the reactions or thinking of the patient. It is, therefore, important that the patient using this medication is careful when driving or doing any other activity that requires alertness. The medication should never be stopped all of a sudden as it is possible that the patient may experience withdrawal symptoms. It is better to consult the physician when it is required to stop using Dilaudid.

Dilaudid, invented in Germany, was used by addicts soon after it was introduced in the market in 1926 by Knoll Pharmaceuticals. Dilaudid abuse is common among most of the heroin users and they know how to obtain the drug. People who have been using Dilaudid for a long time and are addicted might require treatment to help them stop using the drug.

Dilaudid works on the brain and increases the ability of a person to tolerate pain. The analgesic effect can be felt within 30 minutes of having the oral forms and within 5 minutes of an injection. In the treatment of moderate to severe pain, the adult dosage that is usually prescribed is 2 - 4 mg once in 4 - 6 hours. In the injectable form the usual dose of hydromorphone is 2 mg. It is injected under the skin or it may also be given into the muscle once in 4 - 6 hours. Dilaudid is available in many forms with hydromorphone hydrochloride concentration as indicated: ampoules (2 mg), oral liquid (1 mg), tablets (1 mg green color, 2 mg orange color, 4 mg yellow color or 8 mg white color), Dilaudid-HP (10 mg), Dilaudid-HP-Plus (20 mg), Dilaudid-XP (50 mg), Dilaudid sterile powder (each vial containing 250 mg) and suppositories (3 mg).

Hydromorphone is similar to morphine, but is 3 to 4 times stronger when it comes to relieving pain. Its dependency rate is lower and is, therefore, suitable for use by people experiencing chronic pain. However, an overdose of hydromorphone can lead to respiratory as well as circulatory problems. Most common side effects are sweating, vomiting, nausea, constipation, dry mouth, headache, lightheadedness and dizziness. In case addiction of hydromorphone is indicated, the patient must be prepared for a withdrawal within 36 - 72 hours. The withdrawal can be intense and symptoms may include shaking and cold sweats, insomnia, diarrhea, cramping and muscle pain, and vomiting.

A patient using Dilaudid for pain relief will feel euphoric and will become drugged and sluggish. As tolerance develops, he/she will need higher doses of the drug for the same effect. This is when addiction starts to set in. Addicts find that snorting and shooting give them a quicker rush of euphoria. Though higher dosages may alleviate chronic pain, the risk of side effects and complications also become higher.

Dilaudid addiction occurs when used for longer periods (more than a few weeks) or at higher doses. Many people who have been addicted to alcohol or any other drug in the past stand a greater chance of getting addicted to Dilaudid. Psychic and physical dependence and tolerance develop when the drug is repeatedly administered. Development of tolerance is marked by a decrease in the duration of analgesic effect. Psychic dependence may not happen if it is used only for a short duration. Physical dependence becomes relevant only after several days (2 weeks to 2 months) of continued usage. FDA refers to addiction as compulsive use, i.e., use of the drug for non-medical purposes or use despite risk of harm.

Dilaudid addiction treatment involves immediate stoppage of using the drug if deemed fit by the physician or having its use tapered off. Tapering of the dosage effectively removes the drug from the body of the patient without the effect of withdrawal symptoms. Psychological help is also essential when the addict is being weaned off the drug. This is to help them change their behavior and habits so that they don't become addicted to the drug again in the future. Treatment for Dilaudid abuse is available in many hospitals, clinics, etc. Most clinics also offer the support of help groups.

Some facts about Dilaudid abuse:
According to National Institute of Health, all Americans are impacted by drug and Dilaudid abuse. The cost of drug and Dilaudid abuse is over $484 billion annually, including healthcare costs, traffic accidents, crime, etc. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that drivers involved in about 10% - 22% of car crashes are drugs users. A major factor that contributes to drug use or abuse is stress. As much as two-thirds of the people who come for drug abuse treatment were physically or sexually harassed as children. Child abuse has been identified as a major factor that contributes to Dilaudid abuse. Addiction or drug abuse has been linked to at least 50% of the major crimes in the US. Many of the suspects when they were arrested for crimes such as homicide were found to be under the influence of a drug. According to the drug control agency in the U.S., the Drug Enforcement Administration, the annual total production quota of hydromorphone has increased from 766 kilograms in 1998 to 3,300 kilograms in 2006. During the same period, the increase in prescriptions has been about 289%. In terms of numbers, prescriptions have increased from 470,000 to 1,830,000.

Summarizing, recovering from an addiction to Dilaudid can be difficult not only for the body, but also for the mind as it entails behavioral changes on the part of the addict. An addict may need to take part in healthy hobbies such as equine therapy, volunteering, jogging, etc. instead of indulging in drugs as part of the recovery program.