Hydromorphone’s most common long term effect is addiction. Its brand names are Dilaudid and Palladone, and it is a semi-synthetic opioid drug that alters the brain’s ability to feel pleasure and pain. By stimulating the receptors, hydromorphone increases the threshold to pain, reducing the perception of pain. It is used medicinally as a pain reliever in patients with chronic illnesses.
Addiction to Dilaudid can come physically, as the brain can require it when facing extreme amounts of pain, but also psychologically, with the brain only believes it needs it. As with any narcotic, the user builds a tolerance to it, requiring higher and higher doses to yield results.
Many of these symptoms begin early after hydromorphone exposure. When Dilaudid is administered by a doctor, these symptoms can be limited, but when abused over a period of time, the side effects become magnified and continue to persist as regular, long-lasting problems. With monitored use, they may exist as short term side effects, but when the drug is abused, these effects continue to plague the users, whether they are high or not.
The most severe long term effect of hydromorphone is overdose. Overdose can be near fatal, and can sometimes serve as a wake-up call, but can also lead to detrimental, irreversible health problems. In the worst case, overdose can be deadly. A person who has overdosed may be unresponsive and unconscious. They may have no muscle tone, and may be unable to support themselves. Their eyes may experience an extreme sensitivity to light, and they will be extremely drowsy. In cases of overdose, the user needs medical treatment right away, as there is high risk that they have damaged their brain and internal organs permanently. When left untreated, it is possible they will die from the overdose.
Some individuals are able to use narcotics such as Dilaudid responsibly, under the supervision of a doctor, without becoming addicted. However, people who are prone to addiction, based on a variety of factors, including genetic predisposition and social circumstances, may find themselves becoming dependent on a drug that was intended to help them deal with chronic pain. It is important to notice the symptoms as they are forming in order to prevent the long term effects of addiction.