The Basics of Dilaudid Rehabilitation

This guide was written to provide an overview of the Dilaudid rehabilitation process, as well as to offer helpful resources for persons recovering from Dilaudid addiction.

Dilaudid rehabilitation is a multi-step process that starts with an orientation to the treatment facility. During the orientation period, the individual has an opportunity to tour the facility, meet the treatment staff, and learn about the programs offered by the rehabilitation center. The individual also undergoes a medical assessment and works with treatment professionals to develop a customized rehabilitation plan that addresses addiction triggers and any underlying psychological conditions that could be contributing to the individual’s addiction.

Once the individual has gone through the assessment process, the detoxification period begins under the supervision of licensed treatment professionals. Detoxification is the process of clearing Dilaudid from the body. Tapering off Dilaudid slowly reduces the risk of withdrawal symptoms and makes the withdrawal process safer for the individual. When the detoxification process is over, the individual has access to therapy and other rehabilitation services. Participating in the rehabilitation process provides social support, which can help the individual stay sober even after the treatment program ends.

the four steps of rehab process

What Makes Dilaudid Rehabilitation Difficult?

Dilaudid is listed as a Schedule II drug, which the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) defines as a substance that has a high potential for abuse. Schedule II drugs also have a high potential for psychological or physical dependence, making it difficult for many users to stop taking Dilaudid and other opioids. One of the reasons Dilaudid misuse is on the rise is because the global supply of the drug has increased rapidly. Between 1998 and 2014, the world supply of hydromorphone increased by approximately 600%, according to the 2019 World Drug Report.

It’s especially difficult to recover from Dilaudid addiction due to the way opioids affect the brain. When an individual takes Dilaudid, his or her brain releases dopamine, a chemical involved in feelings of pleasure. The release of dopamine causes the individual to experience a pleasant “high,” activating the brain’s reward center. Over time, the individual must take more and more Dilaudid to experience the same pleasurable feeling.

The Unique Struggle of Dilaudid Addicts
  • has a high potential for abuse because it causes the brain to release dopamine
  • causes severe withdrawal symptoms if an individual stops taking it suddenly
  • has a high potential for dependency and addiction
  • addiction is difficult to overcome without the right resources

Dilaudid Rehabilitation Statistics

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) estimated in 2015:

  • 2,484,000 individuals, 0.9% of the population, 12 years of age and older used hydromorphone products
  • 1,548,000 individuals 12 years of age and older were addicted to pain relievers like Dilaudid and in need of treatment
  • 148,680 individuals 12 years of age and older in need of treatment were enrolled in a rehabilitation program for opiate use

Opioid Treatment Admissions by Gender

52.7% Male
47.3% Female

Demographics of Individuals Seeking Treatment for Opioid Addiction

According to a 2017 SAMHSA report that charts admissions to and discharges from publicly-funded substance use treatment facilities, men are considerably more likely to seek treatment for opioid abuse, which includes Dilaudid. The gender breakdown of treatment admissions for opiates other than heroin was 52.7% male and 47.3% female. While opioid addiction occurs in all age groups, the most common age group admitted to a treatment facility for the use of opiates other than heroin was individuals aged 25 to 34, with 35 being the average age of all individuals from all age groups who are seeking rehabilitation.

Opioid Treatment Admissions Percentages by Age Group, 2017
Age at the Time of Treatment Admission Percentage of Opioid Treatment Admissions
12-17 0.4%%
18-24 10.4%
25 – 34 44.9%
35 – 44 25.4%
45-54 12.1%
55-64 5.9%
65+ 0.9%

Dilaudid Detoxification and Withdrawal Process

The recovery process for Dilaudid addiction begins with an initial detoxification process, during which Dilaudid is eliminated from the user’s body. Dilaudid has a half-life of 8 to 15 hours, indicating that about half of the substance will be removed from the user’s body in this time frame. Therefore, the initial detoxification period usually lasts for two to three days. However, it may take several weeks to complete the full withdrawal process.

An individual may experience withdrawal symptoms for several months after completing the detoxification process. When withdrawal symptoms persist for more than two weeks, they are classified as post-acute withdrawal symptoms. Depending on how long the individual has been using Dilaudid, along with how much Dilaudid was used each day, it may take up to a year to fully withdraw from this substance.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Body Mind
Short-Term Symptoms Teary eyes
Muscle aches
Runny nose
Long-Term Symptoms Vomiting
Abdominal cramps
Dilated pupils

Dilaudid users may experience severe withdrawal symptoms

The most common symptoms of Dilaudid withdrawal include muscle aches, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, sweating, and diarrhea. In addition to these symptoms, some users experience severe withdrawal effects, some of which can be life-threatening. For example, withdrawing from Dilaudid has been known to cause seizures in some individuals. Some people also experience hallucinations, which makes them see or hear things that are not really happening.

The vomiting and diarrhea associated with Dilaudid withdrawal can lead to death in some users

Vomiting and diarrhea may not seem like serious withdrawal symptoms, but they can be deadly for some users who try to stop using Dilaudid. These symptoms are both associated with a loss of fluid and electrolytes. If an individual does not replace these lost fluids, persistent vomiting and diarrhea can lead to death from a dangerous electrolyte imbalance.

During the initial detoxification process, Dilaudid users may feel like they have the flu

One of the reasons it’s so difficult to stop using Dilaudid is that the initial withdrawal symptoms can cause serious discomfort. Many users experience nausea, vomiting, shaking, chills, and sweating, all of which can make an individual feel like he or she has a severe flu.

Dilaudid withdrawal can cause a dangerous increase in autonomic nervous system activity

The autonomic nervous system regulates critical functions such as breathing, digestion, and heart rate. Stopping Dilaudid suddenly causes an increase in autonomic activity, which increases heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure. In people who have heart and lung conditions, the increased autonomic activity associated with Dilaudid withdrawal can be deadly.

Dilaudid Detoxification Medications

Several medications have been approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to help with Dilaudid detoxification. Agonists are prescribed to reduce cravings for Dilaudid. These medications suppress cravings by activating the brain’s opioid receptors. Antagonists have the opposite effect; instead of activating opioid receptors, they block the receptors. This prevents the user from experiencing the pleasant effects of Dilaudid and other opioids. Partial agonists also activate opioid receptors but not as effectively as agonists do. This prevents users from experiencing the pleasant effects of Dilaudid.

For more information about withdrawal, read our guide on Dilaudid Addiction.

Treatment for Dilaudid Addiction

Behavioral therapies and medication-assisted treatment are both used to treat Dilaudid addiction. Medication-assisted treatment refers to the combination of approved medications with behavioral therapies to help people modify their behavior and stay sober. Agonists, partial agonists, and antagonists are given to reduce Dilaudid cravings or prevent the individual from experiencing the pleasant effects associated with Dilaudid. Behavioral therapies help individuals adjust their attitudes and improve the overall quality of their lives. Therapy may also help the user address other risky behaviors, such as participation in criminal activity or engaging in risky sexual behavior.

Rehabilitation Settings

Within either an inpatient or outpatient setting, treatments such as detoxification services, behavioral therapies, and medication-assisted treatments are offered for varying lengths of time.

Inpatient treatment involves living full-time (including overnight) at a treatment facility for a set period of time. Outpatient treatment involves scheduled appointments at a facility in which you are free to come and go. Within each category, there are several distinctions.

Dilaudid Treatment Programs
Setting Type of Treatment Description Duration Time Commitment
Inpatient Short-Term Residential Intensive treatment, sometimes in a hospital setting. Therapies offered are extensive. Medication-assisted treatment is available to those who qualify. 14-30 days Hours Per Day:


Days Per Week:


Long-Term Residential Intensive treatment in a non-hospital setting, most often a therapeutic community with other patients. Therapies offered are extensive. Medication-assisted treatment is available to those who qualify. 3-12 months Hours Per Day:


Days Per Week:


Partial Hospitalization Intensive treatment in a hospital setting. Patients do not stay overnight. Considered inpatient due to the hospital setting. Extensive services are provided and require a near full-time commitment every week. Medication-assisted treatment is available to those who qualify. 14-30 days Hours Per Day:


Days Per Week:


Outpatient Intensive Day Treatment Extensive services of an inpatient program but patients return home each day following treatment. After completion, patients often transition to less intensive counseling. Therapies offered are extensive. Medication-assisted treatment is available to those who qualify. 3-4 months Hours Per Day:


Days Per Week:


Counseling Both individual counseling and group counseling focus on short-term behavioral goals to develop coping strategies. Therapies offered are moderate. Medication-assisted treatment is not available. As long as desired Hours Per Day:


Days Per Week:


Support Groups Self-help groups center on maintaining abstinence after another form of treatment. Typically meet one day a week for 1-2 hours. As long as desired Hours Per Day:


Days Per Week:


Behavioral and Medication-Assisted Therapies

Behavioral therapy for substance addiction seeks to identify and manage addictive behaviors that lead to use and prevent relapse. Behavioral therapy is based on the concept that all behavior is learned, and therefore, unhealthy behavior can be changed through learning coping skills and increasing awareness of negative thoughts and beliefs that contribute to substance abuse.

Medication-assisted treatment uses FDA-approved medications to help Dilaudid users manage their cravings. These medications also help the user’s brain chemistry return to normal after months or even years of Dilaudid use. With the right medications, users can control their physical withdrawal symptoms, allowing them to focus on therapy and other interventions.

Behavioral Therapies for Morphine Addiction
Type of Therapy Definition
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy


Further reading:

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) gives individuals the tools they need to stay sober and avoid relapse. The main focus of cognitive-behavioral therapy is helping individuals change their attitudes, beliefs, and feelings, which helps to unlearn harmful behaviors and replace them with healthy behaviors.


CBT is often used to treat Dilaudid users who have underlying psychological disorders that may contribute to addiction. These disorders include anxiety-post-traumatic stress disorder and eating disorders. During CBT, an individual learns to identify negative thoughts and respond to them in a healthy way.

12-Step Facilitation Therapy


Further reading:

12-step facilitation therapy encourages users to participate in a 12-step program, one of the most common community-based programs available for people with addictions to alcohol and drugs. Participation in a 12-step program gives the user access to social support, reducing the risk of relapse.


Participants of 12-step programs are asked to acknowledge that drug addiction is a lifelong disease, surrender themselves to the structure of the program, and maintain active involvement in the program by attending meetings and participating in other group activities.

The Matrix Model


Further reading:

The Matrix Model was designed to treat addiction to stimulants, but researchers have also used it to treat addiction to opioids and other substances. This model is a multi-pronged approach that may combine 12-step facilitation therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy with group therapy, family therapy, and education on the harmful effects of substance abuse.


One of the benefits of the Matrix Model is that it is available on an outpatient basis, making it easier for users to access treatment while maintaining employment and social relationships.

How to Find Help

Finding a Rehabilitation Center for Dilaudid Addiction

When choosing a rehabilitation center for Dilaudid addiction, it’s important to look for a facility that offers medically-managed detoxification. A medically-managed detoxification process is safer and reduces the risk of relapse.

Many rehabilitation centers offer behavioral therapy to help individuals overcome their addictions. For Dilaudid users, it may be helpful to choose a facility that offers medication-assisted therapy, as taking FDA-approved medications can reduce Dilaudid cravings, helping the user focus on changing his or her negative thoughts.

Our Directory

Our directory of rehab programs includes a comprehensive list of available treatment centers and programs as provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In the directory, you will find tools to filter the programs by setting, price, and location.