Overcoming Hydromorphone Addiction: Find Hope and Healing at Vista Taos Drug & Alcohol Treatment

Discover vital information about hydromorphone addiction, its impact on health, effective treatment options, and resources for long-term recovery.

What Is Hydromorphone?

When learning about hydromorphone addiction, it is best to consider what the drug is, how it works, and how to recover. Hydromorphone is a potent synthetic opioid medication and is often used for severe pain management.

Known by the brand name Dilaudid, it is derived from morphine, but is about 5 to 10 times more potent than morphine.1
DBT Therapist

How Does Hydromorphone Work?

This drug works by altering the way your brain and nervous system respond to pain. Like other opioids, hydromorphone can produce feelings of euphoria. This feeling can lead to its misuse.
Opioids are known for their addictive potential, and hydromorphone is no exception. The drug’s potency and rapid onset of action can make it very addictive.
Tolerance and physical dependence can develop after repeated use, with physical dependence leading to withdrawal symptoms if the drug is suddenly stopped.

How Does It Compare to Other Opioids?

Compared to other opioids, the addictive potential of hydromorphone is considered high. It’s more potent than morphine and heroin, making it potentially more addictive if misused.
But addiction isn’t only about the potency of the drug; it involves factors like:
  • How it’s administered
  • The individual’s environment
  • Genetic vulnerability2

Take Precautions Even With Prescription Medications

Even if used as prescribed, hydromorphone should always be used with caution. Misuse of opioids can lead to overdose and death, so it’s essential to use them as prescribed and to continue communication with a healthcare provider. This can help reduce the possibility of hydromorphone addiction.

Signs and Symptoms of Hydromorphone Addiction

Hydromorphone addiction can present several signs and symptoms. Some of the symptoms of hydromorphone addiction that you should look for include:3

Behavioral Signs

The behavioral signs to look for in hydromorphone addiction include the following:
  • Continued use of hydromorphone despite negative consequences
  • Being unable to control or cut down usage
  • Spending a significant amount of time obtaining, using, or recovering from the drug
  • Neglect of personal or professional responsibilities
  • Engaging in risky behaviors while under the influence of the drug
  • Doctor shopping or forging prescriptions to get more of the drug

Physical Symptoms

The physical signs to be aware of regarding hydromorphone addiction are the following:
  • Tolerance
  • Withdrawal symptoms (restlessness, muscle pain, insomnia, etc.)
  • Constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Slowed breathing rate
  • Drowsiness or sedation

Psychological Symptoms

Addiction can have severe impacts on your physical and mental health. It is important to be careful of hydromorphone, as it could lead to psychological symptoms.
These signs include the following:
  • Cravings for the drug
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Mood swings or depression
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering things

Physical Health Impact

Long-term use of hydromorphone can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal. Other potential physical risks include:
  • Respiratory depression (slowed or stopped breathing)
  • Constipation
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Reduced testosterone levels in men

Mental Health Impact

Addiction to hydromorphone is often associated with mental health conditions. The cycle of addiction can lead to feelings of:
  • Shame
  • Guilt
  • Low self-esteem
These feelings can worsen mental health conditions. The lifestyle associated with drug addiction can also increase stress and have a negative impact on mental health.

Risk Factors for Hydromorphone Addiction

Using hydromorphone does not always mean you are guaranteed to develop an addiction. But several risk factors can make a person more susceptible to addiction.
These risk factors include:4

Biological Factors

The biological factors of hydromorphone addiction include the following:
  • Genetics: If a person has a family history of addiction, they may be at an increased risk.
  • Age: While opioid addiction can occur at any age, it’s more common among younger individuals. But older adults can be vulnerable too. This is especially true because they’re more often prescribed these drugs for medical reasons.
  • Co-occurring Disorders: People with other mental health disorders are more at risk for hydromorphone addiction.

Psychological Factors

The psychological risk factors include the following:
  • Personality Traits: Certain personality traits can increase the risk of developing an addiction. These can include impulsivity or a high need for sensation-seeking.
  • Past Trauma: Individuals with a history of childhood abuse may have a higher risk of addiction.

Socio-Environmental Factors

The impact of social and environmental factors includes the following:
  • Peer Pressure and Social Environment: People who live or work in an environment where drug use is common are at greater risk of starting to use drugs.
  • Access to Drugs: Easy access to hydromorphone can increase the risk of misuse and addiction.
  • Socioeconomic Status: Stress related to living in poverty can increase the risk of substance use disorders.

Potential Dangers of Hydromorphone Addiction

Hydromorphone addiction carries significant risks and potential dangers. These dangers can range from health complications to the risk of fatal overdose.
Some of the long-term and short-term dangers of addiction include:

Short-Term Risks

The potential short-term dangers of hydromorphone addiction include the following:
  • Overdose: Perhaps the most immediate and life-threatening risk associated with hydromorphone addiction is overdose. Opioid overdose can cause many physical issues, resulting in coma, brain damage, or death.
  • Dependence and Withdrawal: Even short-term use of hydromorphone can lead to physical dependence. These withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable and, in some cases, dangerous.
  • Infectious Diseases: If hydromorphone is injected, there’s a risk of transmitting or acquiring bloodborne diseases. This disease can include HIV or Hepatitis C from sharing needles.

Long-Term Risks

The long-term risks when taking hydromorphone include the following:
  • Chronic Health Issues: Chronic use of hydromorphone can contribute to various health issues. High-dose use can also lead to a weakening of the immune system.
  • Mental Health Disorders: Hydromorphone addiction is often associated with mental health disorders and an increased risk of suicide. The cycle of addiction can also worsen pre-existing mental health issues.
  • Social and Financial Problems: Addiction can lead to significant social and financial problems, including job loss, financial hardship, or relationship problems.
  • Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome (NOWS): Pregnant women who use opioids like hydromorphone may give birth to babies dependent on opioids. These babies must undergo withdrawal after birth, a condition known as neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome.5

Hydromorphone Addiction Treatment Options

Several treatment options are available for individuals struggling with hydromorphone addiction.

Choosing the right approach depends on your needs, the severity of your addiction, your readiness to change, and any co-occurring mental health disorders.

Some treatment options for hydromorphone addiction include:

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

MAT is an approach to treating opioid addiction that combines medications with counseling and behavioral therapies. 

The medications used can help to:6

  • Reduce withdrawal symptoms
  • Decrease cravings
  • Normalize body functions
This is an effective treatment for individuals with severe addiction. Some medications used for MAT include Methadone, Buprenorphine, and Naltrexone.

Behavioral Therapies

Behavioral therapies are held either in individual sessions or group sessions. These therapies help to change the patient’s attitudes and behaviors related to drug use.

Some examples of behavioral therapies are cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and acceptance and commitment therapy.

Support Programs

Mutual-support groups like Narcotics Anonymous can be helpful for many people recovering from opioid addiction. 

They can provide the following:

  • Community
  • Understanding
  • Accountabilitay

Integrated Care

For those who have co-occurring mental health disorders, integrated treatment is often effective. 

Factors that should be considered when choosing the most effective treatment approach include:

  • Severity of addiction: More severe addiction may need more intense treatment. 
  • Co-occurrence: Individuals with a co-occurring mental health disorder may benefit from integrated treatment.
  • Support system: People with a strong support system may do well with outpatient treatment. Someone without strong support may need the structure of an inpatient program.

How to Manage Hydromorphone Withdrawal

The withdrawal process from hydromorphone is like other opioids. But, due to hydromorphone’s higher potency, withdrawal symptoms can be severe if not managed.
The onset and duration of withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on several factors, including:
  • The length of use
  • The dosage
  • The degree of dependence
  • The individual’s physical health

Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms often start within a few hours to a few days after the last dose and may last for a week or more.
Common withdrawal symptoms can include:7
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Cramping
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Cold sweats
  • Involuntary leg
  • movements
  • Loss of appetite
  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate

While withdrawal from opioids is uncomfortable, it is often not life-threatening. But withdrawal can lead to relapse. 

So, medical detox is often recommended to ensure safety and increase the chances of successful withdrawal.

Approach to Manage Withdrawal Symptoms

Several approaches can be used to manage withdrawal symptoms:
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) can help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
  • Detox programs where medical professionals track and manage withdrawal symptoms using medications. Detox is the first step in treatment but does little to change long-term drug use.
  • Behavioral therapies and support groups can provide emotional support during the withdrawal process.

It’s important to seek professional medical help when attempting to stop using opioids like hydromorphone. The withdrawal process can be challenging, both for physical and mental health. 

Vista Taos can provide guidance and resources to ensure a safe withdrawal process.

Resources and Support for Hydromorphone Addiction

There are many specialized addiction treatment programs available to help individuals struggling with opioid addiction, including hydromorphone.

Support and resources for hydromorphone addiction can include:

  • 12-Step Programs: Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is a 12-step program.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): SAMHSA operates a 24/7 helpline (1-800-662-HELP) that offers free and confidential information on substance use disorders and mental health issues.
  • Al-Anon and Nar-Anon: These organizations support the family members and loved ones of individuals struggling with addiction.
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): NAMI offers resources for individuals struggling with mental health and substance use disorders.

Advancements in Hydromorphone Addiction Treatment

There continue to be developments and ongoing research in opioid addiction treatment and harm reduction strategies.
Some of the potential research and advancements in this treatment includes:8
  • Improving Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): Research continues how to optimize MAT therapies. This includes studying the best ways to combine medications with behavioral interventions and how to handle special populations.
  • Long-Acting Formulations: A recent advancement is the development of long-acting formulations of medications used in MAT. This includes extended-release naltrexone and buprenorphine implants.9
  • Vaccines Against Opioids: In the experimental stages, scientists are developing vaccines that could help the immune system to recognize and neutralize opioids. This could prevent them from causing their addictive effects.10
  • Harm Reduction Strategies: There is ongoing research into harm reduction strategies, including supervised safe injection sites. They can prevent overdose deaths and the transmission of infectious diseases and connect individuals with treatment services.11
hydromorphone addiction

Find Help with Hydromorphone Addiction at Vista Taos

At Vista Taos Renewal Center, help is available for those struggling with hydromorphone addiction. Our personalized approach ensures your unique needs are met. 

From supervised detox to a variety of therapeutic methods, Vista Taos aids in understanding and addressing the root causes of addiction.

Our holistic approaches provide a focus on wellness, while our aftercare planning aids in maintaining long-term recovery. 

Reach Out to Vista Taos Today

Our compassionate team helps guide you through the recovery journey, equipping you with the tools necessary to achieve lasting sobriety. 

To provide the most comprehensive treatment, Vista Taos addresses co-occurring disorders. We help you tackle mental health issues that often go with addiction.

With Vista Taos, those battling hydromorphone addiction are never alone on their journey toward recovery. To find out more about our holistic approach to treatment, contact us today at 575.758.5858 or https://vistataos2020.wpengine.com/contact-us/. We can’t wait to meet you!

Table of Contents

Ready to Renew Your Life and Well-Being?

Reach out to Vista Taos Renewal Center today and let us guide you toward sustainable recovery. We will help you heal from the addictions and substance use challenges that hinder you from leading your most fulfilled life through personalized, whole-person treatment.