Dilaudid Addiction: Symptoms, Signs and Side Effects

Last Updated: May 26, 2023

Editorial Policy | Research Policy

Dilaudid is the brand name for hydromorphone hydrochloride, an opioid agonist that’s used to rapidly treat and control severe pain for people who have chronic pain. Dilaudid comes in liquid, tablet and in an extended-release tablet form. Similar to other narcotic medications like morphine, heroin, oxycodone and other opioid drugs, Dilaudid stimulates the neurons in the brain to increase a person’s pain threshold and decrease their perception of pain.

Dilaudid is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. This classification indicates the potential for abuse and addiction is extremely high. Though it is similar to other opioid drugs, Dilaudid is a significantly stronger drug and Dilaudid side effects affect people physically and psychologically.

Symptoms of Dilaudid Abuse

If you suspect someone is abusing Dilaudid, there are symptoms to look out for that indicate the drug is being abused. Being able to recognize them can help you address the abuse sooner. Dilaudid addiction symptoms and signs include:

  • Increased tolerance to the drug
  • Taking the drug more frequently than prescribed
  • Taking Dilaudid without a prescription
  • Forging a prescription
  • Lying about use
  • Getting sick frequently
  • Trouble urinating
  • Increased irritability
  • Unusual mood swings
  • Track marks on arms or legs
  • Having cravings for Dilaudid
  • Psychiatric symptoms (e.g., extreme paranoia and hallucinations).

Side Effects of Dilaudid

Even if someone isn’t abusing the drug, it can still lead to physical and psychological changes. So, what are the side effects of Dilaudid? Side effects of Dilaudid pills include:

  • Difficulty falling and staying asleep
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive sweating
  • Headaches
  • Nausea, dizziness or vomiting
  • Muscle aches or joint pain
  • Stomach pain or constipation
  • Itching
  • Flushing
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Dysphoria
  • Euphoria
  • Pruritus

Side Effects of Long-Term Dilaudid Abuse

Not only can Dilaudid abuse cause serious, life-threatening short-term side effects, but it also has long-term implications. What are the long-term side effects of Dilaudid abuse? They can include an increased tolerance to the drug, social isolation, financial problems, risky and reckless behavior, changes in sleep patterns, difficulty falling and staying asleep, failed attempts to stop using the drug, an inability to work due to drug abuse, depression, delusions, panic attacks, hallucinations and withdrawal.

Signs of Dilaudid Overdose

People who abuse or are addicted to Dilaudid are more likely to overdose. Overdosing on Dilaudid can be deadly. Being able to recognize the signs of an overdose can save a person’s life. Dilaudid overdose signs and symptoms include:

  • Blueish fingernails and lips
  • Slow, shallow or the absence of breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Coma
  • Low blood pressure
  • Clammy or cold skin
  • Flushed skin
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Twitching
  • Stomach and intestinal spasms
  • Weak pulse
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Many of these signs also apply to drug overdoses in general. If you witness a person experiencing any of these symptoms and suspect a drug overdose is occurring, contact emergency medical assistance immediately.

If you, or someone you know, is addicted to Dilaudid, The Recovery Village Ridgefield can help. Addiction treatment specialists can help you achieve a healthier life through personalized treatment programs that address addiction along with any co-occurring disorders. Take the first step toward sobriety by calling today.


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    MedLine Plus. “Hydromorphone.” January 15, 2019. Accessed May 4, 2019.

    Cunha, John. “Dilaudid(Hydromorphone Hydrochloride) side effects drug center.” RxList, October 9, 2018. Accessed May 4, 2019.

    Heller, Jacob. “Hydromorphone overdoes.” MedLine Plus, September 23, 2017. Accessed May 4, 2019.