Dilaudid, one of the more powerful opiate-based drugs, produces pain-relieving effects comparable to that of morphine. Someone affected by moderate to severe pain symptoms, such as chronic back or injury-related pain may well be prescribed Dilaudid as a treatment.
Dilaudid derives from hydrocodone, an opiate belonging to the Schedule II class of controlled substances. According to the Journal of Drug & Alcohol Dependence, hydrocodone is the most frequently prescribed opiate in the United States with estimated 130 million prescriptions dispensed in 2006 alone.
Drugs like Dilaudid must be taken with extreme caution as the risk for abuse and addiction runs incredibly high. When abuse or addiction become an issue, Dilaudid addiction treatment options should be considered sooner rather than later.
- Tablet form in 8 milligram strength
- Liquid form in 5 milligram strength
- Injection from in 1, 2, and 4 milligram strength
Brand names for Dilaudid-related drugs include:
Street names for Dilaudid usually highlight a particular aspect of the brand involved in terms of its effects, color or form. People, and especially teenagers, use street names as a way to hide their drug activity from others.
Commonly used street names for Dilaudid include:
- Dust-This – refers to Dilaudid tablets that have been crushed
- Juice-This – Dilaudid in solution form
- Hospital heroin
- Big D
Dilaudid works well as an analgesic or pain-reliever and also as a cough suppressant. Dilaudid’s main ingredient, hydrocodone belongs to the Schedule II class of controlled substances, all of which carry a high risk for abuse and addiction.
According to the U. S. National Library of Medicine, different formulations of the drug may produce short-term or long-term effects depending on any one drug’s intended purpose.
Extended-release tablets in particular are made to treat moderate to severe round-the-clock pain symptoms. Brands producing shorter-acting effects can be used to treat surgery-related pain.
It helps to keep in mind that any form of Dilaudid carries a high abuse/addiction risk regardless of its mechanism of action.
How Does Dilaudid Work?
Dilaudid works by blocking incoming pain signals from reaching the brain. It does this by stimulating the neurotransmitter chemical processes in the brain that play a part in regulating the body’s pain management system.
While the source of pain remains unaffected, the brain’s ability to perceive pain has been muted. In order to do this, Dilaudid alters the brain’s chemical system. These interactions can have harmful effects when carried out on an ongoing basis.
Dilaudid Side Effects
Dilaudid side effects develop out of how this drug interferes with the body’s natural chemical processes. Brain neurotransmitters play critical roles in regulating and maintaining the body’s systems. This means even the slightest degree of imbalance can bring on uncomfortable or unintended side effects.
Dilaudid side effects typically take the form of:
- Stomach pain
- Hypersensitivity to sound, touch and light
- Sleep problems
Dilaudid Overdose Potential
Dilaudid’s overall effects work to slow chemical activities in the brain and central nervous system. As this drug is often used to treat moderate and severe pain symptoms, it’s not uncommon for large doses to be ingested at a time.
In the event a person takes too large a dose, the drug’s effects can easily overpower the brain’s ability to maintain normal body functions, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. When this happens, signs of Dilaudid overdose develop.
Signs to watch for include:
- Small pupils
- Low blood pressure
- Slowed heart rate
- Cold, clammy skin
- Breathing problems
- Comatose-like appearance
Dilaudid overdose signs warrant immediate medical attention as death can result.
Dilaudid’s abuse potential lies in its ability to breed chemical imbalance and weaken the brain’s overall functional capacity. With ongoing or excess drug use, users start to experience withdrawal effects that take the form of:
- Low energy levels
- Inability to sleep restfully
- Excess sweating
- Mood swings
In effect, withdrawal effects drive continued drug use as users attempt to self-medicate uncomfortable symptoms with more of the drug.
Increasing Tolerance Levels
With each dose of Dilaudid, neurotransmitter-producing cells work much harder than usual. With repeated dosing, these cells become less sensitive to Dilaudid’s effects as cell structures start to take on damage.
As this transpires, a person must keep increasing his or her dosage amount in order to experience the desired effects of the drug. This aspect of the drug plays a central role in Dilaudid’s abuse potential.
Psychological dependence lies at the root of an addiction problem. With Dilaudid, the overall state of chemical imbalance it creates starts to disrupt the areas of the brain that regulate learning, thinking and emotions.
Once the brain comes to depend on the reinforcing effects of Dilaudid (e.g., euphoria, pain relief, calm), a person starts to believe he or she can’t cope with daily stressors without the drug’s effects. Like physical dependence, psychological dependence only grows stronger with continued drug use.
It doesn’t take long at all before Dilaudid addiction’s effects start to bleed into a person’s everyday lifestyle. As the drug takes on increasing priority, a person’s daily choices start to change for the worse.
Signs of Dilaudid addiction may take the form of:
- Troubled relationships
- Legal problems, such as DUIs
- Financial problems
- Problems on the job
- Decline in personal hygiene and grooming
When to Consider Dilaudid Addiction Treatment
Ideally, it’s best to get help for a drug problem during the early stages while a person can still exercise some degree of control over his or her choices. The longer needed treatment is put off the harder it is to overcome an addiction problem.