At between 6-9 times the strength of morphine, Dilaudid (Hydromorphone) is one of the strongest prescription painkillers in use today– so strong that some people have started to refer to it as “hospital heroin.” While it’s intended to treat severe pain from medical operations, accidents, and serious diseases, Dilaudid is extremely addictive– and many patients who began taking the drug for medical reasons quickly find themselves dependent on it.
Like other strong opiates, Dilaudid has a variety of potentially debilitating symptoms and side effects.
Dilaudid’s potential symptoms and side effects may often include:
- Nausea, vomiting, stomach pain
- Dizziness, drowsiness
- Headaches and fatigue
- Emotional instability; feelings of euphoria or intense sadness
- Itching, dry mouth
- Excessive sweating
- Flushing sensations
- Sleeping problems, strange dreams
- Blurred or double vision
Dilaudid is so addictive that even patients who are prescribed the drug in a hospital setting for as little as a few days may already be dependent it. Often, these patients need to be slowly weaned off the medication to avoid significant withdrawal effects.
In many cases, for patients who are prescribed dilaudid, the real danger begins when they leave the hospital. No longer supervised by doctors, nurses, and medical technicians, a patient may begin to abuse other prescription opiates in order to reduce lingering withdrawal symptoms.
After running out of medication post hospital visit, a patient may initially begin to go “doctor shopping”; visiting as many physicians as possible to obtain more prescription opiates to use, sell, or trade for other drugs. Finally, an addiction to “hospital heroin” may lead to a patient to seek out and abuse the real thing– beginning a tragic cycle of abuse, dependence, withdrawal, and, all-too-often, serious overdoses and death.
If you or someone you care about is addicted to dilaudid or other prescription opiates, undergoing a medical detox from opiates the best way to begin the process of addiction rehabilitation and recovery. While many individuals attempt to detox from opiates at home, doing so may be unsafe and may be more likely to lead to dangerous and potentially deadly relapse.
A reduced potential for patient relapse is just one of the reasons why it’s so important to undergo a medically-supervised detox. Other benefits include the fact that medical staff can continuously monitor a patient’s vital signs, as well as provide patients essential medications that may be able to reduce some of the side effects of opiate withdrawal.
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