Hydromorphone abuse and addiction (referred to clinically as opioid use disorder) starts when someone starts taking the medication for the high rather than to relieve pain, and as users consume more of the drug over time, the body will become physically dependent on the drug.
As physical dependence sets in, users require more of the drug to get the desired effects, and when it’s not present in their system, they will start to experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. In addition, opioids like hydromorphone can also produce a psychological addiction, leading to things like anxiety and cravings for the drug because of the way they affect the brain’s reward system.
Common behaviors associated with hydromorphone addiction include:
- Taking more than the prescribed dosage
- “Doctor shopping” for multiple prescriptions
- Tampering with pills before taking them
- Taking pills in any way other than orally
When someone is addicted to hydromorphone but unable to access the drug, they may look for ways to buy it illegally. Even worse, cravings for hydrocodone may even lead the user to cheaper, easier-to-find alternatives like heroin.