Dilaudid–known generically as hydromorphone hydrochloride–is a potent opioid pain reliever used to treat moderate-to-severe-pain. A derivative of morphine, Dilaudid works similarly, but is more potent. The prescription drug affects opioid receptors in the brain to change how the body responds to pain. People addicted to opiate drugs like heroin often seek out Dilaudid because of its greater potency. The medication can be a pill taken by mouth, but it also comes as an injectable medication or as a rectal suppository. People who abruptly stop taking Dilaudid after prolonged use can experience painful physical and mental symptoms known as Dilaudid withdrawal. In addition to psychological changes, the symptoms are flu-like.

Dilaudid Abuse, Addiction and Withdrawal

People who take Dilaudid over a few days or a few weeks can build up a tolerance and become dependent on the drug. Many do not realize they are addicted until they experience withdrawal symptoms. Dilaudid abusers chew, crush, snort, or inject the medication when it is in a dissolved form to achieve feelings of calm and euphoria. Dilaudid abuse can lead to overdose and death. Users who suddenly stop using Dilaudid go through withdrawal,

There Are Risks in Quitting Dilaudid Cold Turkey

Those who have become addicted to Dilaudid may decide to quit “cold turkey” by stopping altogether. However, people who abruptly stop taking Dilaudid after heavy use, especially over a long period, are likely to experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. The process is rarely life-threatening, but it is painful and difficult. These withdrawal symptoms–such as nausea and fever–are similar to ones experienced by people who abruptly stop using heroin or oxycodone. The side effects can cause some to return to using Dilaudid to end their withdrawal symptoms.

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Dilaudid Withdrawal Symptoms

Dilaudid Withdrawal Signs and Symptoms

Common Dilaudid Withdrawal Signs and Symptoms

Heavy Dilaudid users who stop using the drug likely will go through withdrawal, an uncomfortable and taxing process.

How long the process lasts varies. Factors that determine the length and intensity of withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Age, health, and lifestyle
  • Demerol tolerance
  • How long Demerol has been used
  • Dose of Demerol taken
  • Whether other substances, such as alcohol, were used along with Demerol

Withdrawal symptoms set in after a dependant user stops taking the drug. After usage is stopped, the body will react to not having the drug in its system. When this happens, people who are addicted to Dilaudid can have these symptoms:

Physical Symptoms:

  • Appetite loss
  • Backache
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Fever
  • Goose bumps
  • Muscle and bone pain or cramps
  • Nausea
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Stomach cramps
  • Sweating
  • Teary eyes
  • Vomiting
  • Yawning excessively

Psychological Symptoms:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Brain fog
  • Compulsive scratching
  • Depression
  • Dysphoria
  • Emotional instability
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Insomnia
  • Irrational thoughts
  • Restlessness

Respiratory Distress Major Risk with Dilaudid Use

Do not take Dilaudid at high dosages or with alcohol or other depressants, including muscle relaxants, tranquilizers, and sedatives. Doing so can slow down breathing or lead to drowsiness and dizziness. Overdose on this drug can be fatal.
*If you are exhibiting serious symptoms, such as fast breathing, a shortness of breath a fast or irregular heartbeat, call 911 immediately or visit an emergency room or urgent care center immediately for medical attention. These symptoms are red flags that your situation is urgent, and you must seek help now.

Withdrawal Is Uncomfortable: You Don’t Have to Do It By Yourself

Signs of withdrawal symptoms will not look the same for everyone. If you have questions, we can help you figure out your next steps.
Drug Treatment Center Finder can help you or your loved one with understanding more about withdrawal and help you find a treatment center that fits your needs. Our services also can help you find a medically supervised detox that can start before symptoms get worse. The sooner you call us, the sooner you can start feeling better. Call us now at (855) 619-8070.


Dilaudid Withdrawal Timeline

Dilaudid Withdrawal Timeline

Duration of Dilaudid Withdrawal

Below is a general schedule of the process, which can last three to five days. Although the process is generally shorter than those of other opioids. former users have reported that the symptoms are more intense. Not everyone will have the same withdrawal signs or symptoms, so consult your physician with specific questions about any side effects you or your loved one are having or anticipate you will have.

  • Within the first 4-6 hours

    Symptoms can start within four to six hours after the last dose. Users who have reduced their Dilaudid usage or stopped it altogether may become more anxious or restless.


  • Days 1 to 2

    Physical changes, such as a runny nose, muscle and bone pain, and cramps, among other symptoms, are experienced during this period.


  • Day 3

    Physical symptoms of Dilaudid continue in this period and tend to peak by or before day three, or 72 hours into the withdrawal period. Recovering users may still feel some nausea and may start to experience psychological side effects, such as depression and insomnia.


  • Day 5 and beyond

    Medical professionals recommend that users in this stage start a recovery program that can help them manage their psychological symptoms. Some people in this stage of withdrawal may experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms, known as PAWS. The PAWS condition, which occurs during a prolonged period of withdrawal, can be felt for months or years after a person has stopped using the drug. Depression, changes in appetite, sleep patterns, or feelings of fatigue and high stress and anxiety are among the PAWS symptoms Dilaudid users may experience. A recovery plan that promotes wellness on all levels can help recovering users manage this condition.


Dilaudid Detox and Treatment

Dilaudid Detox

Dilaudid Detox: How It Works

Withdrawal treatment for Dilaudid can take place in either an inpatient or outpatient setting. Health professionals recommend a three- to five-day medically assisted detox setting at a residential treatment facility or hospital for the most severe cases. Medical staff often treat clients at a detox or drug rehab facility using intravenous (IV) therapy, gradually lowering the dosage and easing people off the drug. This method known as a taper and is the best approach for treating symptoms.

In milder cases, a client can receive outpatient treatment. During this process, doctors will reduce the dosage over time as a client attends treatment sessions and goes about their daily life.

An outpatient program may also include counseling to help the client through their post-Dilaudid use and checkups with their physician.

Start Dilaudid Detox Now: Your Withdrawal Symptoms Don’t Have to Worsen

Users who have symptoms can visit a medical center to start their detox before the symptoms of withdrawal start or worsen. The length of withdrawal from Dilaudid symptoms as the severity of a person’s specific situation will vary according to the user.

Common Dilaudid Detox Medications

Common Medications for Dilaudid Detox

  • Buprenorphine: Clients in Dilaudid detox treatment may receive this opioid medication, also known as Subutex, at a medical facility or doctor’s office. It also can be used at home under a doctor’s prescription. Buprenorphine affects the same receptors as heroin and morphine do, but it does not give the same intense high or harmful side effects, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
  • Clonidine: This medication used to treat blood pressure is also prescribed to help alleviate the physical symptoms, such as muscle aches, cramping and sweating, and psychological ones, including anxiety and agitation or restlessness.

Dilaudid Detox Is Over: What Happens Next?

Ending Dilaudid Addiction Is Only the Beginning

The detoxification for withdrawal symptoms is an important process, but it’s only one part of the process. After recovering users go through the medically supervised detox to end the physical part of active addiction, the next step is to put together a plan of action that helps clients address underlying issues that weren’t identified or faced when the person was in addiction. This plan also teaches clients how to change thought and behavioral patterns that can keep them free of Dilaudid addiction and relapse.

When the body starts the process of returning to its normal state after the drug has left its system, the mental, emotional, and psychological parts of the puzzle will have to be addressed.

This may include identifying triggers and other factors that could lead a person back to abusing Dilaudid and making key changes, such as to one’s environment or daily routines. This process can take several months, and for some people, it may take several years. Sobriety is the ultimate goal, but achieving clarity to reach the sobriety stage takes some time, so be mindful to take recovery one step at a time.

A post-detox recovery program can offer clients guidance as well as crucial support at such an important time in the process. Plans may include teaching clients coping skills and strategies to manage the issues that influenced them to use drugs. They also can involve connecting people to therapy or alumni groups, in which they will find people in recovery who share similar experiences.

Dilaudid Withdrawal FAQs

Dilaudid Withdrawal Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is Dilaudid?

    Dilaudid–known generically as hydromorphone hydrochloride–is a potent opioid painkiller used to treat moderate-to-severe pain. It is a derivative of morphine that is six to nine times more potent than morphine. When used recreationally and illegally, the quick-acting prescription medication is abused for its euphoric effects. It comes in an extended-release tablet or in liquid form.


  • How long does Demerol stay in your system?

    Demerol has a half-life of 2.5 to 4 hours in an adult person, which means it takes this long for half of the dosage to leave the body.


  • Is Dilaudid addictive?

    Yes, Dilaudid is addictive. While it is a derivative of morphine, it is estimated to be anywhere from six to nine times more potent than morphine. People who take Dilaudid regularly likely will build up a tolerance for it and require more of the drug to achieve the same effects. Taking Dilaudid in a manner that was not intended, such as chewing, crushing, or snorting it while in dissolved form, can lead to addiction.


  • What are signs of Dilaudid addiction?

    Intense Dilaudid cravings and changes in physical appearance, such as dilated pupils and drowsiness are among the signs of addiction. Another way to know if a person is in Dilaudid addiction is if the person experiences the onset of flu-like symptoms once the drug isn’t taken or if the dosage is reduced. The person also may begin vomiting and experience constipation and overall nausea. If you suspect that you or a loved one are addicted to Dilaudid, get help today. Call Drug Treatment Center Finder at (855) 619-8070, our 24-hour helpline. We can find you a treatment center in your area that can help you look at your options for medically safe withdrawal detox from Dilaudid.


  • What are some Dilaudid addiction withdrawal symptoms?

    Withdrawal symptoms include a number of physical symptoms, including bone and muscle pain, chills and cold sweats, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, dizziness, stomach pain, vomiting and more. Psychological symptoms include anxiety, emotional instability, depression, and cravings for Dilaudid.


  • How long can I expect symptoms of withdrawal to last?

    The duration of withdrawal symptoms and their intensity can vary. A few factors include:

    • Age, health, and lifestyle
    • Demerol tolerance
    • How long Demerol has been used
    • Dose of Demerol taken
    • Method of Demerol used

  • Is it safe to taper off Dilaudid?

    Tapering is a method used in medically supervised detox that gradually reduces the dosage of Dilaudid to gradually and safely wean the client off the medication as they endure the withdrawal symptoms. The physician usually determines the tapering schedule, but tapering too quickly comes with risks, among them withdrawal and relapse.


  • What are the risks of self-detox remedies for withdrawal?

    The process can be painful and unpleasant, so there are people who opt to relieve their symptoms with alternative do-it-yourself methods. These usually are carried out at home or outside of a medical center. Drug Treatment Center Finder, however, advises longtime Dilaudid users in withdrawal to seek out medical treatment administered by licensed medical professionals as an alternative option to these methods.


  • Is Dilaudid stronger than oxycodone for pain relief?

    If you are considering which pain reliever is better, Dilaudid or oxycodone, you have to consider what kind of pain you are treating, says HealthLine. Dilaudid is stronger than oxycodone, says HealthLine, but dosing depends on what kind of pain is being treated and what form of the drugs are being taken (both are available in tablet and liquid form). Because Dilaudid is stronger, its side effects are also stronger. Both drugs are also habit-forming, and if taken over a period of several weeks or months, physical and psychological dependence can develop.