How Does Hydromorphone Detox Affect the Brain?

Most physicians and addiction experts will agree that overcoming an addiction to prescription-based opioids is no easy task. And hydromorphone is no exception in this regard. For those who are unfamiliar with this particular opioid, hydromorphone, commonly sold under the brand name Dilaudid, is a Schedule II narcotic drug that is very similar to morphine, oxycodone, and methadone in that it is often prescribed to patients by their physicians to combat chronic pain. When taken as directed, hydromorphone is not only safe but also quite effective. However, there is a downside worth noting when it comes to this specific opioid; like any other opioid, if an individual does not take hydromorphone as prescribed by their physician, they can quickly become addicted to this schedule II narcotic drug.


Although there are no statistics available that show how many Americans misuse or abuse hydromorphone specifically, studies show that roughly 20 percent of Americans over the age of 12 have admitted to abusing or misusing prescription-based medications at one time or another. And it is reasonably safe to assume that hydromorphone is one of them. To substantiate this claim, we need only take a look at a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the study, between 2000 and 2009, the number of prescriptions written for hydromorphone increased by an astonishing 300 percent. Around this same time, the number of overdose and opioid-related deaths also increased considerably.


Fortunately, many of the people who have a problem with hydromorphone and other opioids have chosen to seek help overcoming their addiction. Studies show that in 2017, the most recent and relevant data available, 19 percent of those with a substance use disorder, particularly hydromorphone and other opioids, were admitted to one of the more than 14,000 rehab facilities in America. There, they were provided with access to addiction counselors and detox programs to help them in their addiction recovery efforts.


Ideally, those who are ready to end their relationship with hydromorphone should consider seeking treatment at a rehab facility that offers an inpatient program. These programs typically last 30 to 90 days. And individuals will have to stay at the facility for their entire course of treatment. Nearly all of these programs provide round-the-clock monitoring as well as access to prescription medication to help individuals cope with some the severe withdrawal symptoms associated with coming off of hydromorphone, some of which include

  • Muscle pain
  • Profuse sweating
  • Bone pain
  • Tremors
  • Anxiety
  • Hypertension
  • Intense cravings
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Feelings of restlessness

It is worth noting that the type of symptoms that an individual will experience while going through detox will be based on how long they have been using and the dosage they were taking before quitting. Also, if they were taking hydromorphone along with other drugs, such as alcohol or marijuana, for example, the withdrawal symptoms that they experience may be more intense as the body works to rid itself of both substances simultaneously.


When most individuals stop taking hydromorphone, they can expect some changes to start taking place in the brain. In short, all of the activity in the brain that was going on while they were using will start to happen in reverse order once they have stopped. For example, as the body rids itself of hydromorphone through detox, there will be less of the opioid receptors associated with the drug to attach to the receptors in the brain, meaning individuals will feel less of that euphoric high that drove them to abuse the drug in the first place. Also, the brain will produce less dopamine, which further tamps down the pleasurable feelings that they would otherwise experience. Over time, the brain will start to adjust to the absence of hydromorphone, which will make coming off of the powerful narcotic that much easier.


In summation, the process of overcoming an addiction to hydromorphone can be exceedingly difficult, both mentally and physically; however, with the right mindset and help from a quality rehab facility, it can be done. To learn more about overcoming an addiction to hydromorphone or for help finding a rehab facility in your area, consider speaking with one of our associates today at 833-846-5669.