Of the many narcotic painkillers one can obtain legally with a prescription, Dilaudid is one of those reserved for moderate or very serious pain. It is too strong to treat the usual discomfort associated with PMS or lower back problems, unless very severe.
Doctors will prescribe this opioid analgesic, generically known as hydromorphone, to treat post-surgical pain and other conditions but only on the understanding that the drug should be used for a limited period of time and the dosage should be reduced slowly.
Why Not Take Dilaudid Indefinitely?
The big problem with narcotics is that the brain starts to need them if one continues using a drug of this kind for extended periods: months instead of weeks. If the dosage is not decreased, one develops such a reliance on this pain medication that it is impossible to survive without it. Powerful cravings commence. These cravings push a person to take more than the prescribed amount and the problem mounts.
A patient needs more, and then more again, until he is at risk of taking a fatal overdose. Obtaining sufficient amounts of the drug requires one to take part in illegal activities. An ordinary individual with no mental health condition and a comfortable, supportive family life can become addicted to the drug.
Weaning is a method of gradually reducing the dosage of a medication instead of cutting a person off suddenly. Suddenly ceasing to take a powerful drug like Dilaudid would most certainly result in withdrawal, a condition caused by the body’s physical reliance wholly on a painkiller to perform a function which the body is no longer able to perform, at least not until given the chance.
The brain naturally produces analgesic drugs, but these are suppressed after extended use of narcotics. Given a week to two weeks, these will re-emerge to take over their original function of providing pain tolerance.
Withdrawal is characterized by severe agitation, sweating, nausea, pain, and sometimes aggression. One will commonly experience chest pains, dizziness, headaches, anxiety, and/or depression. No wonder a doctor will reduce the dose slowly.
How Is Dilaudid Used?
Patients will consume the drug orally if they are using it at home, without direct medical supervision. There are capsules and liquid forms. The liquid tastes unpleasant so diluting or chasing it with water or juice is a practical way to overcome the flavor if you can’t swallow pills.
Injected Dilaudid acts much more quickly in the body to fight pain: a few minutes versus half an hour; thus, Dilaudid works effectively on sudden pain as experienced by individuals suffering from terminal cancer which is rapidly spreading through one’s body, or following a surgical procedure.
Some People Can’t Take Dilaudid
Narcotics are not for everyone. Unfortunately, studies show that individuals who suffer from certain respiratory illnesses, liver disease, and possibly from heart conditions cannot take narcotics. They are at highest risk of suffering serious side effects which are uncommon but life-threatening.
These include extreme vomiting, chest pain, trouble breathing, and severe agitation. Other problems include suicidal ideation and a racing heartbeat. One might experience these things without suffering a pre-existing condition, discovering the hard way an allergy to narcotics.
More Common Side Effects
Usually, someone taking any sort of narcotic drug will feel sedated; drowsy. He might report a feeling of well-being along with the benefit of breaking through pain. Spasms are unusual but not rare while constipation and nausea are regularly experienced by individuals taking any sort of opioid. Drinking lots of water helps.
What to Do If Abuse Is Suspected
If you believe a loved one is taking too much Dilaudid and feel it is safe to confront him or her, do so gently. Show empathy, but also be firm. Sometimes it is helpful to obtain the advice and support of a professional mediator, set some guidelines, and establish consequences in the event that the individual does not respect these guidelines. A professional can help families create a plan to address the problem which will start with detox and might require a period of rehabilitation.