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Long-Term Effects Of Dilaudid (Hydromorphone) Abuse And Addiction

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

April 23, 2019

Dilaudid is a powerful prescription painkiller that has a high potential for abuse and addiction. Abusing Dilaudid long-term can have many adverse effects, including depression and brain damage.

Dilaudid is the brand name for the drug hydromorphone. Hydromorphone is part of the opioid class of drugs and is used in the treatment of severe pain.

Dilaudid comes in extended-release tablets and is only available via prescription. This medication is typically reserved for people with severe, round-the-clock pain who have not found relief from other painkillers.

This drug comes with a high potential for abuse and addiction due to its effects on the brain and body. People who abuse Dilaudid long-term are at risk for a number of side effects that can negatively impact their lives.

Common Long-Term Side Effects Of Dilaudid

Long-term abuse of Dilaudid can significantly impact the brain and body. Long-term effects of Dilaudid abuse include tolerance and withdrawal symptoms when not taking the drug.

Other common side effects of long-term Dilaudid abuse include:

  • insomnia
  • depression and other mood disorders
  • severe fatigue
  • brain damage
  • intestinal problems
  • respiratory issues

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These effects can range from mild to dangerous and are worsened by continued abuse of the drug.

How Long-Term Dilaudid Abuse Leads To Addiction

Dilaudid is generally only prescribed for short-term use. Taking Dilaudid for an extended period of time can lead to abuse, dependence, and addiction.

One long-term side effect of Dilaudid use and abuse is tolerance. Tolerance is when a person needs to take more of the drug to experience the same effects. Continuing to abuse hydromorphone only increases the tolerance level as well as the risk of side effects.

Another long-term effect of abusing hydromorphone is physical dependence on the drug. When a person is dependent on Dilaudid, his or her body requires the drug to function properly. Physical dependence often leads people to continue taking the drug just to feel normal.

Being physically dependent on Dilaudid can quickly lead to addiction. Dilaudid addiction can negatively impact every aspect of a person’s life and put them at risk for serious mental and physical side effects.

Dilaudid Withdrawal Symptoms

When a person is physically addicted to Dilaudid, he or she will likely experience withdrawal symptoms when the drug leaves the body.

Symptoms of Dilaudid withdrawal may include:

  • diarrhea
  • excess sweating
  • nausea and vomiting
  • depression
  • insomnia
  • leg and arm restlessness
  • return of intense pain
  • flu-like symptoms
  • decreased appetite
  • muscle aches and pains
  • seizures

Many people who are dependent on Dilaudid will continue taking the drug to avoid withdrawal symptoms. This only exacerbates the addiction and fuels the cycle of abuse.

Other Long-Term Side Effects Of Dilaudid Abuse

Consuming high doses of Dilaudid or mixing it with other substances can worsen the side effects of the drug. Additionally, continued abuse of hydromorphone can put people at an increased risk of overdose.

Symptoms Of Dilaudid Overdose

People who abuse Dilaudid often take more of the drug than what is recommended to experience a high. The more hydromorphone a person consumes, the more likely he or she is to experience an overdose.

Symptoms of a hydromorphone overdose may include:

  • constricted pupils
  • skin and hands that are cold and clammy
  • low blood pressure
  • respiratory issues, including slowed or stopped breathing
  • impaired coordination
  • elevated heart rate
  • coma
  • death

If you suspect that someone is experiencing a Dilaudid overdose, seek medical attention immediately. Overdosing on hydromorphone can be incredibly dangerous and even deadly without medical help.

Treatment For Dilaudid Abuse And Addiction

Abusing opioids like Dilaudid can result in a number of serious side effects that can negatively impact a person’s mental and physical health. Hydromorphone abuse can alter how a person’s brain functions and severely affect everyday life.

Seeking treatment for Dilaudid addiction can prevent the long-term effects and damage caused by abusing the drug. While overcoming an opioid addiction can seem daunting or even impossible, it doesn’t have to be done alone.

There are several treatment options available to help someone overcome an addiction to hydromorphone. Inpatient treatment programs have proven to be highly successful in treating opioid addiction. Many inpatient programs provide individualized plans of recovery to suit each person’s unique needs and condition.

To learn more about the long-term effects of Dilaudid abuse and addiction, contact a treatment specialist today.

Narconon - Hydromorphone Information

MedlinePlus - Hydromorphone

Mayo Clinic - Hydromorphone

Narconon - Effects of Hydromorphone

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