Morphine Addiction And Treatment Options
Morphine is a powerful opiate painkiller with a high potential for abuse. The highly addictive nature of morphine almost always requires a professional, individualized treatment program.
What Is Morphine?
Morphine is a very strong, narcotic type painkiller. Like all opiates, it is derived from the poppy plant. Morphine has been said to be one of the most potent opioid drugs in existence, according to the Global Information Network About Drugs. It works by acting on the receptors within the central nervous system (CNS) to alter the way pain is perceived by the body and produce a euphoric effect. Due to its extreme potency, morphine has a very high potential for abuse.
Some brand names from morphine tablets include:
- Arymo ER
- MS Contin
Morphine also has many different illicit names which may include:
- God’s drug
- Mr. blue.
When used as prescribed, morphine can be helpful in relieving moderate to severe pain. However, even when used as recommended, over a long period of time it can still cause individuals to develop a dependency on the drug.
Once a tolerance begins to build within the body, a physical dependence on the drug is established. This physical dependence means that someone will not be able to function as they normally would without their regular dose of morphine in their system. As the tolerance to morphine builds, it takes greater amounts of the drug to achieve the same effects the smaller amount once had.
Morphine addiction is similar to heroin addiction because their action mechanisms in the brain are very similar. Both addictions are considered to be some of the toughest to overcome, due to the powerful nature of these drugs. Suddenly stopping morphine intake can result in serious, and sometime life-threatening, withdrawal symptoms.
This is why detox and treatment for morphine addiction is best completed at an inpatient treatment facility. Medically-managed morphine detox is one of the better ways of ridding the body of the substance for the long-term.
Signs And Symptoms Of Morphine Abuse
Morphine is often used to treat chronic, around-the-clock pain which increases the likelihood of a dependence developing. It is often abused due to the intense euphoric effect it produces within the CNS. However, when too much morphine is consumed at once, negative side effects can occur. Anytime someone uses morphine without a prescription it is considered abuse.
Often morphine abuse is accompanied by physical and behavioral changes. Someone who is abusing morphine may appear uncoordinated, have stiff muscles and shallow breathing, and be extremely sleepy, or fall unconscious.
It is also possible for someone under the effects of morphine to exhibit reduced sensitivity to pain, slurred speech, and involuntary eye movement. Morphine naturally causes fluid retention, so individuals abusing the drug may also look more bloated and experience swelling around their joints.
Morphine can also have powerful influence on someone’s emotions. People suffering from addiction to morphine may display signs of anxiety, depression, irritability, and severe or irrational fears.
These side effects can include:
- stomach pain and cramps
- dry mouth
- mood changes
- dilated pupils
- trouble and pain urinating
Morphine can also cause more serious side effects, especially when not used as recommended.
Severe side effects from morphine abuse can include:
- blue or purple color to the skin
- changes in heartbeat
- agitation or hallucinations
- irregular menstruation
- sexual dysfunction in males
- chest pain
- hives rash or itching
- swelling in the face, eyes, lips, or throat
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
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How Is Morphine Abused?
Morphine is available in liquid and tablet forms, so it can be abused in many ways. This can include oral, rectal, and intravenous (IV) methods of abuse. If someone is abusing morphine it is possible that they will also poses pill bottles or syringes with small bottles of morphine liquid sulfate.
Dangers Of Morphine Abuse
The most dangerous thing about abusing morphine, is the potential of overdosing on the drug. Morphine overdose can cause severe side effects. Overdosing on morphine can cause the respiratory system to be so depressed that it stops breathing completely and can result in death by suffocation.
Side effects of morphine overdose may include:
- slow, shallow, or irregular breathing
- loss of consciousness
- limp muscles
- cold, clammy skin
- small pupils
- slowed heartbeat
- blurred vision
- nausea and vomiting
Morphine Withdrawal Symptoms
Withdrawing from morphine can produce various symptoms in every individual based on the intensity of their tolerance, state of health, and the frequency and duration of morphine use. Typically, consuming large doses of morphine frequently for an extended period of time will cause more severe symptoms during the withdrawal process.
Morphine withdrawal symptoms can include:
- runny nose
- watery eyes
- nausea and vomiting
- sweating and chills
- muscle aches
- rapid heartbeat
- increased blood pressure
Morphine withdrawal is among the most common signs of abuse. Withdrawing from morphine often produces flu-like symptoms like a runny-nose and body aches. Morphine withdrawal is a very uncomfortable process, and is why many people struggle to break their addiction to the drug, because they continue taking morphine to avoid going through withdrawal.
An individualized morphine treatment program that offers medically-supervised treatment can help people through this intense withdrawal process and reduce the risk of relapsing.
Medically-Supervised Morphine Detoxification
Because treating morphine addiction requires both physical and psychological dependence are addressed, it is advisable to complete this stage of the withdrawal process within the confines of a medical detox program. In medically-supervised detox, doctors monitor the progress of individuals going through the process of detox closely.
This individualized care can help in determining the best treatment plan and successfully rid morphine from someone’s body systems. Tapering off the dosage amounts of morphine is the safest and most effective way of breaking an addiction to the drug because it allows the body to slowly adjust to no longer having it in its systems.
This gradual reduction helps keep the uncomfortable effects of morphine withdrawal at bay and gives the body time to heal. Certain addiction treatment medications also exist for treating opioid addiction such as naltrexone, methadone, and buprenorphine (suboxone).
Treatment Options For Morphine Addiction
There are various treatment options for morphine addiction available. At times, choosing treatment can be a difficult decisions. Therapy sessions are vital in uncovering the root cause of the addiction.
It has also been shown that outpatient programs are not as effective in treating morphine addiction as inpatient, or live-in programs are. In addition to medically-supervised morphine detox, and inpatient treatment programs, there are also various support groups for morphine addiction.
Support groups for morphine addiction can be provided by localized 12-step programs, at rehab centers, and even in online formats. It is often recommended that individuals who complete the recovery process join a support group so that they can belong to a group of people they can more easily relate to, for having gone through similar struggles.
Global Information Network About Drugs – Morphine
National Institute on Drug Abuse – Localization of opiate binding sites within the brain and spinal cord
U.S. National Library of Medicine – Morphine