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Effects of Dilaudid: What to Expect (Short and Long term)

Dilaudid is an opioid pain medication, often prescribed to ease moderate to severe pain. The drug falls into a category known as agonists, which have the tendency to become addictive. As such, it’s been deemed a Schedule II drug, only available by prescription.

Dilaudid may come in pill form or may come in the form of injections given by a nurse or doctor. If you’re truly in a lot of pain, this medication can certainly give you some relief.

As you begin to feel better by taking Dilaudid, you may experience more of the euphoria and confused mental state associated with the drug. You may start to feel like you need the drug more often to function because you’ve built a tolerance to it. Many good people become addicted to this drug every year, simply because they sustained an injury and were prescribed it for pain.

What Are The Physical and Mental Effects/Impacts of Dilaudid?

Physically, you’ll experience less pain when you’re using Dilaudid as prescribed. However, there are also some side effects that may occur. The side effects of this medication are more prominent if you’re not in any physical pain – meaning if you’re using it recreationally.

Below is a list of some of the side effects:

  • Sweating, flushing
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Strange Dreams
  • Euphoria

More long-term issues can include:

  • Increased tolerance
  • Addiction
  • Dependence
  • Respiratory depression
  • Overdose

Dilaudid is a potentially addictive drug, and when prescribed and taken above the written instructions, you could experience dependence. There are some intense physical side effects, which the body gets used to over time. People who use Dilaudid tend to sweat excessively and may experience a myriad of stomach problems. They may also live in a state of drowsiness for the duration of the time they are on the drug.

Mental Effects of Dilaudid

Some people are fine when they use Dilaudid as prescribed.  They use it until their pain subsides and then stop. Those that abuse or misuse it for its euphoric effects may suffer various mental issues. If you’re taking prescription Dilaudid for any length of time, you may experience trouble sleeping and have strange dreams when you are able to sleep. In addition, you may sometimes have out-of-body experiences or walk around in a confused state. If you become addicted, you may struggle with feelings of guilt and shame.

Physical Effects of Dilaudid

Dilaudid works in the brain by attaching to the opioid receptors, helping reduce pain. This can help you go on with your life without suffering. Regarding respiratory depression, your breathing can be affected by continued use. This can become dangerous and life-threatening, mainly if you’re abusing the drug. If you’re not getting the right amount of oxygen to all of your organs, then your organs will cease to work properly. This can cause other, more serious medical problems throughout the body. It is possible for a person to stop breathing completely and die.

Overdose Can Occur

As with most addictive drugs, there is the potential for overdose with Dilaudid. Many people begin taking the drug for legitimate pain but are pulled in by the euphoric experience and continue to take the medication long after they no longer need it. They may also begin to abuse the quantities of the drug they are taking.

If you overdose on Dilaudid, there is the potential for organ damage. Organs can even begin to shut down, resulting in death. If someone has overdosed on it, it is curcial to get them to the nearest hospital, where they may need to have their stomach pumped or be administered activated charcoal to absorb the Dilaudid before it reaches their liver.

How do the Effects Differ Based on Length of Usage?

If you use Dilaudid for an extended time, stomach discomfort and headache will usually decrease as your body becomes used to the drug. However, it might still make you drowsy and cause blurred vision and sleep problems. Even long-term users of Dilaudid continue to experience sweating and flushing when using the drug.

If you’ve been prescribed Dilaudid and begin to feel better physically, you may experience more of the desirable effects of the drug. The draw of euphoric and out-of-body experiences may supersede any lingering undesirable side effects. These are its known addictive qualities. People may begin to experience the cycle of dependence to addiction with extended use of it.If you have become dependent on Dilaudid, you may experience withdrawal when you try to stop taking the drug.

Symptoms of Dilaudid withdrawal can include:

  • Pain throughout the body
  • Diarrhea
  • Restlessness
  • Tremors
  • Cravings
  • More sweating
  • Shaking
  • Vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • High blood pressure

Are There Ways to Reverse the Effects?

There is treatment available for Dilaudid dependence. Discontinuing use on your own is not recommended. To reverse the effects of it, you should be tapered off of the drug, under the supervision of a doctor. No one should stop taking it all at once or cold turkey, as this can result in severe withdrawal side effects.

If you’re still experiencing pain and in need of medication, but feeling the addictive qualities of Dilaudid, it may be best for your doctor to switch you to a different form of pain medication. If it is going to be used for the duration of the healing process, you may want to talk to your doctor about lowering the dose little by little, until you do not need the pain medication any longer.

How do You Reverse the Effects of Dilaudid?

Depending on the seriousness of Dilaudid dependence, a doctor may recommend either inpatient or outpatient treatment. Attending a residential rehab program may be the only way to stop the intense cravings and reverse the effects of the drug for some users. Patients to whom the medicine is being administered should always be counseled on its addictive qualities before they begin taking it.

Many people find themselves in the position of needing something for pain after an injury, and with many painkillers, there is a high potential for addiction. It’s the body, and in particular, the brain that becomes addicted; not necessarily on your free will of choice.

If you or someone you know is suffering from Dilaudid addiction or the long or short-term effects of the drug, talk to a doctor today about replacing or tapering the drug. Or give us a call so we can help you navigate your path toward getting free from this addiction.

It is not worth your life or the health of your organs to continue to take a medication that is presenting you with uncomfortable side effects or the proclivity toward addiction.


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Medicinenet. hydromorphone (Dilaudid). What is Dilaudid, and how does it work? Ogbru, O. PharmD, Marks, J. MD Retrieved from

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2019, October 15) MedlinePlus. Hydromorphone. Retrieved from

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