Dilaudid Abuse Causes and Effects

Sunrise Recovery Ranch provides Dilaudid addiction treatment rooted in a science-based, research-supported clinical model to ensure a healthier, more satisfying life, without addiction.

Understanding Dilaudid

Learn about Dilaudid and substance abuse

When a person experiences severe pain, he or she may be given a prescription for the opioid medication Dilaudid. Opioids are a class of drugs that include substances like morphine, codeine, Vicodin, and even illicit drugs like heroin and opium. These drugs are either derived from or are chemically similar to extracts from the opium poppy plant. When used recreationally, they can induce a powerful euphoric high and feelings of relaxation. When legal opioid medications like Dilaudid are used with a prescription, however, they can provide strong relief from pain. Unfortunately, because of the pleasurable feelings they can produce, even legal prescription opioids are subject to abuse.

While an addiction to Dilaudid can cause severe damage across many spheres of a person’s life, it is possible to overcome a pattern of Dilaudid abuse and regain control over one’s life with prompt and effective treatment from a team of dedicated and compassionate treatment professionals.


Dilaudid statistics

Data from the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders indicate that slightly less than 0.4% of adults in the United States have abused opioids in a given year. Rates of opioid abuse are approximately 50% higher in men than women and are highest in adults younger than 30.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for dilaudid addiction

An individual person’s struggle with substance abuse typically arises out of a complex mix of factors. Among those who abuse opioids like Dilaudid, however, researchers argue that genetics account for a large share of an individual’s risk of abuse. Consider the following:

Genetic: While an individual’s risk for Dilaudid abuse can be affected by environmental factors such as individual temperament, family origin, and social factors, researchers argue that these environmental factors are ultimately governed by one’s genetic makeup. For example, certain genetically-influenced elements of temperament, like impulsivity, can affect how a person selects his or her environment and thus whether that chosen environment will increase or decrease that person’s risk for Dilaudid abuse.

Risk Factors:

  • Family history of substance abuse
  • Certain personality traits, such as impulsivity
  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Ready access to Dilaudid
  • History of conduct disorder during childhood

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Dilaudid addiction

Each person’s struggle with Dilaudid abuse is unique and depends on numerous factors like individual personality, length of use, and intensity of use. As such, while all of the following signs and symptoms may not apply to everyone who struggles with Dilaudid, most people struggling with Dilaudid abuse experience some of them. These signs and symptoms can include:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Taking more Dilaudid than one intended
  • Taking Dilaudid over a longer period of time than one intended
  • History of unsuccessful attempts to reduce Dilaudid abuse
  • Spending a great deal of time using Dilaudid or recovering from use
  • Devoting much time and energy to obtaining more Dilaudid
  • Falling behind in major obligations due to use
  • Missing out on occupational or recreational activities because of Dilaudid use
  • Continuing to use despite being aware of recurrent problems in one’s life caused by Dilaudid abuse
  • Using Dilaudid even in situations where it may be physically dangerous to do so

Physical symptoms:

  • Experiencing a decrease in effectiveness of one’s typical dose of Dilaudid, a process also known as tolerance
  • Experiencing withdrawal upon ceasing use

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Experiencing cravings for Dilaudid

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Continuing to abuse Dilaudid despite significant negative interpersonal consequences
  • Giving up on social obligations or activities in order to spend more time using


Effects of Dilaudid addiction

Should a person continue abusing Dilaudid for an extended period of time, he or she may experience a number of negative, severe, or even fatal consequences, such as:

  • Dry mouth and nose
  • Constipation
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Onset or worsening of mental health symptoms
  • Polysubstance use and dependency
  • Birth defects or complications
  • Overdose

Co-Occurring Disorders

Dilaudid addiction and co-occurring disorders

People who struggle with Dilaudid abuse may also meet criteria for other mental health symptoms and disorders, such as the following:

  • Other substance use disorders
  • Depressive disorders
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of Dilaudid withdrawal & overdose

Effects of Dilaudid withdrawal: Withdrawal is a process whereby the body readjusts to functioning without the presence of a drug after a period of long-term use. Because Dilaudid is an opioid, withdrawal symptoms include those common to withdrawal from any other opioid. These withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Yawning
  • Muscle aches
  • Pupil dilation
  • Sweating
  • Goosebumps
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Depressed mood

Effects of Dilaudid overdose: Each person’s body has a limited capacity for metabolizing and excreting certain substances. When a person takes more Dilaudid than his or her body can process or excrete, that person will experience an overdose, which is a dangerous and sometimes fatal condition. Symptoms of overdose may include:

  • Extreme constriction of pupils
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion or delirium
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Slowing or cessation of breathing
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Shaking, tremors, or muscle spasm
  • Seizure
  • Unconsciousness
  • Coma

Thanks to Sunrise Recovery Ranch, my daughter was able to get the lasting recovery she deserved from her addiction and her co-occurring mental health disorder. I am super grateful!

– Michelle A.
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  • California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals (CCAPP)
  • Department of Health Care Services

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