Dilaudid Addiction

Dilaudid is so addictive, prescribing physicians are careful to monitor patients for signs of physical dependence or addiction. Doctors watch patients who use this pain medicine for a long time, and they are on guard for individuals who are "doctor shopping" to get Dilaudid to feed their drug habit. Healthcare providers are sensitive to the addictive power of Dilaudid; trained rehabilitative professionals use advanced treatment regimens to help people overcome Dilaudid addiction.

The definition of addiction

In the long definition, the American Academy of Pain Medicine, the American Pain Society and the American Society of Addiction Medicine identifies addiction as "a primary, chronic, neurobiologic disease, with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. It is characterized by behaviors that include one or more of the following: impaired control over drug use, compulsive use, continued use despite harm, and craving."

Broken down into smaller pieces, a simpler definition of addiction is that it is a long-term condition caused by a combination of genetics, your individual personality and behavioral traits along with environmental factors like stress. A person who is addicted to Dilaudid cannot control her drug use even though she knows it will cause her harm. She will crave Dilaudid, which is the brand name for the generic drug, hydromorphone.

Addiction versus Dependency

Addiction to Dilaudid is different from being physically dependent upon it. Addiction and dependence on drugs are independent from one another: you can be addicted to something without being physically dependent on it and vice versa. For example, your body can be dependent on blood pressure medication without your being addicted to it. Conversely, you can be addicted to heroin yet not be physically dependent on it.

Addiction causes changes in brain structure and function, especially in those areas of the brain associated with reward, including the nucleus accumbens, anterior cingulate cortex, basal forebrain and amygdala. Addiction also changes the way the brain remembers rewards. A person with an addiction to Dilaudid displays an inability to abstain consistently along with a diminished ability to control his own behavior in general. His craving for and pursuit of drugs overshadow all other areas of his life.

Both addiction and dependence cause real changes in your body and brain but addiction and dependence manifest themselves in different ways. When you take a drug for a long time, your body may adjust its chemistry and become accustomed to having certain levels of the drug in your system. You need to have a defined amount of the chemical, in this case Dilaudid, in your body to feel normal. If levels of Dilaudid were to drop suddenly, your body would struggle to regain chemical balance. This struggle manifests itself through withdrawal symptoms.

Addiction to Dilaudid sometimes begins because of physical dependence on opioids. A person might become dependent on Dilaudid because they took hydromorphone as prescribed for a long time to treat a chronic condition. If he were to stop using Dilaudid suddenly because his prescription ran out, he would start feeling withdrawal symptoms. If this individual did not make the connection between his discomfort and Dilaudid, he might assume he had caught the flu and suffer through withdrawal symptoms without medical intervention. Associating Dilaudid use with the reduction of withdrawal symptoms can lead to addictive behavior, as the person tries to avoid the terrible symptoms of withdrawal.

Addiction: What Family Members Should Know

Treatment for addiction to Dilaudid relies on three factors: Medication, counseling and support from family and friends. While trained professionals can provide medication and counseling, it is up to friends and family members to give emotional support as a team. Support teams learn how Dilaudid makes significant changes within the body, including altering the way the heart and lungs work. Dilaudid also makes changes in the way the brain works.

While medical research has not yet established the exact cause of drug abuse and dependence, genes may play a role in Dilaudid addiction. Peer pressure, emotional distress, anxiety, depression and stress, among other environmental factors may contribute to addiction.

Family members should know that children who grow up in an environment where illicit drug use is acceptable are more likely to develop addictions to substances like Dilaudid. Scientists at the American Society of Addiction Medicine found that genetic factors account for about half the likelihood that an individual will develop an addiction. While genetic factors are beyond an individual's control, family members can improve environmental conditions associated with a high risk for addiction.

Addiction Symptoms: Physical and Psychological

Dilaudid addiction manifests itself in a variety of physical and psychological symptoms. Symptoms of Dilaudid addiction include:

  • Inability to Consistently Abstain From Dilaudid
  • Impairment in Behavioral Control
  • Cravings for Drugs or Intense Reward Experiences
  • Diminished Capacity to Recognize Significant Personal or Relationship Problems
  • Dysfunctional Emotional Response

Addiction and gender: how women and men are affected differently

There seems to be differences in the way men and women use drugs, become addicted to drugs, view others who use drugs and even in the way they quit using drugs such as Dilaudid. Several studies suggest women are more likely to abuse prescription drugs than are men. Females are more likely to abuse multiple substances, whereas men tend to stick with just alcohol or only Dilaudid.

Men start using drugs recreationally in social settings. Women are sometimes introduced to drugs through their doctors. Physicians are more likely to prescribe mood-altering drugs to women than to men because doctors perceive a female's complaints to be due to depression, nervousness or some other emotional problem rather than from a physical ailment.

There does seem to be a connection between gender, mood disorders and addiction. Males with addictions are more likely to exhibit social disorders, such as participating in criminal activities, whereas females with addictions are more prone to mood disorders. Women with addictions to substances such as Dilaudid are more apt to express a negative body image and are therefore more likely to develop a concurrent eating disorder than are men.

There seems to be a family element to a woman's addiction to drugs such as Dilaudid. Women who abuse drugs are more likely to come from homes where illicit drug use was common and acceptable. Addicted women are more likely to have a partner or spouse with an addiction.

Women are more private about their drug use than are their male counterparts. Addicted men seem to prefer engaging in drugs socially while women tend to abuse drugs in private. Men are more likely to admit to current drug abuse than are women, according to the 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Historically, women have a lower rate for entry into treatment. Women spend less time in treatment and have a lower completion rate than men. Social stigmas, economic barriers and family responsibilities may prevent women addicted to Dilaudid from seeking or completing treatment programs.

Signs of addiction: For those around

Addiction to Dilaudid changes a person's behavior, thinking patterns, emotions and interactions with others, such as family members, co-workers, friends and members of the community. Dilaudid addiction alters an individual's executive functioning in a way that causes problems with perception, learning, impulse control compulsivity and judgment.

Dilaudid addiction changes the way a person behaves. She may frequently participate in intense drug use or other addictive behaviors, such as gambling or excessive dieting. Frequency or intensity of the behavior may be more than she intends. She may even express a desire to slow down or quit drug, or make multiple attempts to change her behavior, but always lapses back to using Dilaudid. She may spend all her time pursing, using or recovering from Dilaudid use. Taking Dilaudid is all she ever does. She knows it is bad for her but she seems to lack the ability or interest to stop using drugs.

Dilaudid addiction changes the way a person thinks. He becomes preoccupied with substance abuse. He only wants to talk about how great Dilaudid is and downplays the risks of his drug abuse. He cannot recognize that a substantial number of his problems are a predictable consequence of his drug abuse. He will usually blame his drug abuse on his troubles rather than the other way around.

Dilaudid addiction also morphs a person's emotional state. A person who is addicted to Dilaudid appears to be increasingly anxious and in emotional pain. They often feel dysphoria, the emotional opposite of euphoria. Addiction increases sensitivity to stressors. Addiction frequently makes it difficult to identify or express feelings to others. A person with an addiction to Dilaudid might say things like, "Life seems more difficult right now."

Treatment options

The American Society of Addictive Medicine warns that addiction can cause "disability or premature death, especially when left untreated or treated inadequately." These experts go further to say, recovery from addiction is "best achieved through a combination of self-management, mutual support, and professional care provided by trained and certified professionals."

Some individuals attempt to quit Dilaudid "cold turkey" or without the benefits of modern medicine. The people endure days or weeks of intense symptoms that include chills, shaking, diarrhea, insomnia, muscle aches, nausea and vomiting, headaches and more. The phrase "cold turkey" refers to a person's pale, cold and clammy skin as they suffer withdrawal.

A few people concoct homemade recipes to reduce withdrawal symptoms. One such creation is the Thomas Recipe, which includes valium, Xanax or other benzodiazepine to reduce cravings and to reduce insomnia. Imodium eases the diarrhea that usually accompanies withdrawal. L-Tyrosine helps individuals overcome extreme exhaustion and Vitamin B6 helps your body absorb L-Tyrosine. Mineral supplements containing zinc, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and copper help with restlessness. A hot bath, shower or Jacuzzi soothes achy muscle. While these concoctions help, self-detoxification does not replace professional assistance and may even be dangerous.

Treatment focuses on both the physical and behavioral aspects of addiction. During detoxification, physicians chemically reduce the level of Dilaudid in a person's body while easing the subsequent withdrawal symptoms. Getting through withdrawal and cravings is mandatory for successful rehabilitation. Acute intoxication or overdose requires emergency, sometimes lifesaving treatment. Overdose and acute intoxication victims require care as an inpatient.

During standard inpatient detoxification, physicians administer medications to reduce the level of Dilaudid in the system along with drugs to reduce the ensuing symptoms of withdrawal. Medical treatment for Dilaudid addiction reduces the duration of withdrawal symptoms to just a few days.

Rapid detox offers patients a humane option to prolonged and demoralizing withdrawal symptoms. During rapid detox, physicians administer anesthesia and sedatives along with the standard detoxification and anti-withdrawal medications so that the patient sleeps comfortably through the withdrawal process. When she awakens, she will have no memory of the unpleasant symptoms associated with withdrawal.

Individuals may choose replacement therapy provided by an outpatient care facility. Drug replacement therapy describes a type of treatment where withdrawal symptoms are controlled through maintenance doses of another opioid. Some describe this as merely trading one addiction for another. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMSA, recommends the use of buprenorphine as drug replacement therapy for short-acting opioids like Dilaudid. Physicians supervising withdrawal should administer buprenorphine/naloxone tablets in the first phase of rehabilitation and then slowly decrease the strength of buprenorphine.

Next, counseling helps the individual investigate the roots of his drug addiction and move away from harmful behaviors like drinking alcohol or abusing other drugs. Successful rehabilitation includes addressing life issues such as low self-esteem, difficult home or work environment, or a drug-friendly social life.