Hydromorphone is a medication that is used as a pain reliever. Hydromorphone is used to treat patients that experience mild to severe pain. Commonly sold under the brand name Dilaudid, it is also known as dihydromorphinone. Specifically, it is derived from morphine. Medically, Hydromorphone is an opioid analgesic. It is called a narcotic when used for non-medical purposes and abuse. Hydromorphone belongs to the class of drugs called opioid analgesics. It is a semi-synthetic drug, which means that hydromorphone is produced by chemical manipulation in a laboratory of naturally occurring substances derived from the opium poppy. Hydromorphone is categorized under the United States Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule II drug. Legally, this substance is seen as nearly safe when prescribed for the treatment of varying degrees of pain and taken as instructed by your doctor. Medically, this substance is accepted under restrictions guiding its use and distribution. If abused, it represents a serious threat and the user may suffer from psychological, physical and behavioral hydromorphone dependence. For a hydromorphone addiction treatment program that works, call the addiction specialists at Restore Drug Treatment Center.
Hydromorphone pills have two forms: immediate release and extended release pills. Immediate release pills have smaller doses of the drug and release the active substance of the drug within up to 30 minutes after its administration. The extended release hydromorphone pills have a higher dose of the active substance, and it is released at a controlled rate over a certain period of time. The extended-release version of the drug should be used only to treat severe pain, and not on an as-needed basis.
Hydromorphone was first synthesized in Germany in 1924, and two years later it was issued on the market under the brand name Dilaudid. In 2010, the United States was consuming 65% of the world’s hydromorphone.
From 2010 to 2014, the number of hydromorphone prescriptions and the number of users increased continuously.
The most common forms of hydromorphone are liquid and tablet forms, rectal suppositories, and as injectable solutions. Hydromorphone is used in solving pain-associated ailments such as excruciating pain experienced after surgery, and severe ache ranging from a headache, stomach ache, body ache, and other. When hydromorphone is administered orally, it might take 20-30 minutes until the drug gets into the bloodstream and takes effect. Injection is another form in which hydromorphone can be administered. An injection of hydromorphone works more effectively than other methods of use. Being injected intravenously, hydromorphone takes effect immediately, as it gets directly into the bloodstream and reaches the brain. Intramuscular hydromorphone injections take effect in a couple of minutes after being administered. When hydromorphone is used orally or snorted, its effects are not as strong compared to other opiates. This is why the most common form of Hydromorphone abuse is via intravenous injection.
Hydromorphone is one of the most potent drugs, up to 8 times more potent than morphine. It is addictive through continuous use over a longer period, leading to hydromorphone abuse. Prolonged use of the drug leads to the development of tolerance in the user and he or she will need higher doses to achieve the same results as before. Therefore, hydromorphone is a prescription synthetic opiate drug which is oftentimes abused. Moreover, it can be easily diluted in lesser amounts of water than other drugs, and due to its high potency, small doses are needed to take effect on the user. When hydromorphone first appeared on the streets it was often mistaken for heroin, resulting in many cases of abuse and overdose.
Similar to other opioids, hydromorphone interacts with opioid receptors in the brain. While the level of euphoria the users feel is stronger being compared to other drugs, effects do not last as long as the effects of other drugs. Hence users are more likely to abuse on hydromorphone.
In comparison to other drugs, though, it has stronger effects on medulla, the area of the brain responsible for cough suppression. Therefore, this opioid has stronger respiratory depressing effects and can cause dangerously slow breathing rate. This is why hydromorphone abuse can easily cause an overdose, especially when injected.
A person can abuse on Hydromorphone even when he or she uses the drug with a doctor’s prescription. Increasing the dose of the drug or the frequency of its administration to achieve the same effects as before is also considered abuse. Development of the hydromorphone dependence is gradual and typically occurs when the user is not able to do anything or cannot feel normal without taking the medication.
Hydromorphone addiction can be physical, psychological, and behavioral. Physical dependence requires the drug to create a certain chemical balance in the body system, otherwise, the user will start feeling withdrawal symptoms.
Behavioral hydromorphone dependency develops because the effects of hydromorphone last about five hours. Therefore, people use the drug up to four times per day on a daily basis. It is easy for this behavior to become a habit the user becomes accustomed to.
Psychological hydromorphone dependence occurs when the user is not able to face the reality without using the drug. The reality might seem too depressive, or the elevated level of euphoria caused by hydromorphone is too pleasant. Anyway, the addict is no more able to feel normal without hydromorphone, making it more difficult to stop using the drug.
Besides, in comparison to other drugs, hydromorphone has lower levels of sedation. This means that the user stays conscious for a longer period of time, making him or her increase the dose to dangerous levels.
There are several risks associated with hydromorphone abuse that is detrimental to health, finance and the overall state of mind. These include:
Addiction. Hydromorphone abuse can lead to a physical and psychological dependency. Taking hydromorphone just once per week can lead to addiction because this substance excites dopamine production in the brain.
Health challenges. Hydromorphone, as other opioids, affects the digestive system and leads to severe constipation. Hydromorphone abuse can also cause kidney failure. The drug influences the levels of serotonin and can lead to serotonin syndrome. It affects the breath rate and slows it down, reducing the oxygen delivered to the brain. Serotonin syndrome and slow breath rates can bring to brain damage.
Accidents. Since drowsiness is one of the side effects of hydromorphone, it can lead to both minor and major domestic or industrial accidents. It is also recommended to avoid driving because hydromorphone can impair the user’s thinking and reactions.
Financial problems. A regular use of drugs is money consuming. Sooner or later users run into financial bankruptcy because they waste all their money on drugs, and find it difficult to work, complete projects and professionally develop.
Social problems. People who abuse on hydromorphone can begin isolating themselves from the family and loved ones. They can also start lying to family members and colleagues about hydromorphone use, or even steal the drug from their medicine cabinets. As the drug becomes the only priority, the person will have difficulties in maintaining personal and professional commitments.
When hydromorphone addicts are facing all those problems, they might develop co-occurring disorders, which are substance use disorders accompanied by mental health problems. This is why every high-quality hydromorphone treatment center should provide dual diagnosis treatment during drug addiction treatment if needed. Dual diagnosis treatment programs that we provide at Restore Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center LA are psychopharmacology, psychotherapy, behavioral management, and other.
Signs of hydromorphone abuse can be appetite loss, pinpoint pupils, dizziness, and loss of consciousness, itchiness, rash, muscle aches, changes in blood pressure, weakness, drowsiness, sleepiness and dopiness, lightheadedness and headaches, dry mouth, restlessness, slowed or even stopped breathing, seizures. Besides, similarly to other opiates, hydromorphone affects the digestive system, causing nausea and vomiting, severe constipation, and stomach cramps. One specific symptom of hydromorphone abuse for a user is to nod off shortly after taking the drug.
A person who abuses on hydromorphone might show behavioral and physiological signs of abuse, such as:
- Changes in personality
- Severe mood swings
- Loss of weight
- Confusion and poor coordination
- Weird behavior as if they are hiding something or have secrets
- Poor hygiene
- Changes in social life and activities
Moreover, mixing hydromorphone with other substances can have negative consequences, dangerous effects and lead to death. Being used with other opiates, hydromorphone can lead to a severe opioid overdose. Combining hydromorphone with barbiturates can lead to liver and heart damage. When mixed with muscle relaxants, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, sedatives, or antipsychotic medicines, hydromorphone use can induce respiratory depression or coma. Drugs for depression treatment, for prevention of nausea and vomiting, Parkinson’s disease, headaches, and other drugs that affect the levels of serotonin combined with hydromorphone lead to serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome is a dangerous state characterized by dangerously high body temperature, tremors, agitation and other symptoms resulting in extensive muscle breakdown, seizures, and brain damage.
The most dangerous substances to be mixed with hydromorphone are alcohol and benzodiazepines. This combination can lead to severe respiratory depression and death.
A hydromorphone overdose can be fatal. Therefore, it is important to be able to recognize the signs and call for help. The signs of hydromorphone overdose are:
- Blue lips, tongue or fingernails
- Cold or blue skin
- Constricted or pinpoint pupils
- Dilated pupils, indicating brain damage caused by lack of oxygen
- Muscle twitches
- Spasms in the stomach
- Weak pulse
- Slow heart rate
- Slow or stopped breathing
- Loss of consciousness
- Low blood pressure
A person may have a hydromorphone addiction if:
- Cannot carry out any task being overwhelmed by thoughts about or cravings for hydromorphone
- Personal and professional commitments are negatively affected by hydromorphone, but use of the drug does not stop
- Are obsessed with obtaining more of the drug
- Experience symptoms of withdrawal when they do not take the drug
- Developed a tolerance to hydromorphone and need to continuously increase the doses used to achieve the same effects as before
- Excessive amounts of time spent seeking and obtaining hydromorphone
- Have relapsed in recovery from hydromorphone before
- Use hydromorphone in hazardous circumstances and do not care about any consequences
- Are not able to control their hydromorphone use
The only proven effective way to obtain a fulfilling life of sobriety is through hydromorphone addiction treatment. The first phase of the rehabilitation process is typically detox – a period of time where the user stops taking the substance and allows the body to adjust without it. During this time clients are able to stop using the drug and break their physical dependence. Detoxing from any drug of abuse has its challenges, and Hydromorphone is no different. Withdrawal symptoms can be unpleasant, even to the point that some users will give up half way through the process and relapse back to their old ways. This is one of the many reasons why detox is best performed under the supervision of clinical staff at a drug rehab facility. Within several hours after the last use of the drug, the addict starts feeling hydromorphone withdrawal symptoms, such as:
- Lacrimation and runny nose
- Increased heart rate
- Increased respiratory rate
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Joint pain
- Excessive perspiration
- Muscle pains
- Restlessness and insomnia
- Chills, and other unpleasant symptoms.
The peak of withdrawal symptoms occurs between 14-48 hours after the last hydromorphone use. Oftentimes, hydromorphone withdrawal symptoms begin fading away on the fourth day, but, depending on the severity of the addiction, they may persist up to 14 days from the last drug intake.
There are a number of ways to approach the process of detox, one of which being to taper the patient off their drug of choice using strict dose reduction techniques. Over-the-counter drugs can be prescribed to manage hydromorphone withdrawal symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. It is very important to receive professional assistance and supervision at a hydromorphone addiction treatment center during the withdrawal period. Attempting to detox on your own can put your chances at recovery – as well as your life – at risk. At Restore Treatment LA, we help you work through the symptoms of withdrawal and the process of detox, so that you can take the next step in recovery.
As soon as detox and withdrawal are complete, clients can begin in a hydromorphone addiction treatment program, some of which include:
- Residential rehab: The client lives full-time in the facility for the duration of the program. He or she will attend one-on-one counseling sessions with their own designated therapist, and participate in therapeutic programs and support group meetings during their time in hydromorphone addiction treatment. The residential rehabilitation program offers a home-like setting and a community-based atmosphere.
- Outpatient treatment: This level of care does not require the client to live in the rehab facility. Instead, evening visits the facility for therapy will take place approximately 3 to 5 times each week for the duration of the program. We work with you to come up with a treatment schedule that best first your agenda, as well as your recovery plan. During these regular sessions, clients are taught to learn psychological coping skills, and way to recognize and prevent relapse triggers by avoiding high-risk situations.
At Restore Drug Rehab, we offer comprehensive drug treatment programs which include detoxification, residential treatment, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient programs.
People can develop a strong dependence on hydromorphone, as it is said to be more potent than even morphine. Quitting cold turkey can lead to painful and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. For someone struggling with drug abuse or addiction, it can be both challenging and dangerous to stop using with professional help. If you are looking to take your life back and in need of hydromorphone addiction treatment, call the Restore Drug Treatment Center today. Our addiction specialists and admissions counselors are available 24/7 to take you call and provide you with the guidance and support you need. Start your recovery from hydromorphone at Restore Treatment Center today!