Morphine Addiction and Treatment

What is Morphine?

Morphine is a powerful narcotic opioid drug that comes from the opium poppy plant. It is a prescription strength pain reliever that the Global Information Network About Drugs (GINAD) reports is one of the most potent opioid drugs in existence.

As a very effective painkiller, morphine may be manufactured in liquid, tablet, capsule, suppository, or injectable forms, and sold under brand names that include MS-Contin, MSiR, Oramorph SR, Roxanol, Kadian, and RMS. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies morphine as a Schedule II controlled substance. Schedule I drugs are substances with no approved medicinal uses, and Schedule II is the highest regulation for drugs that are used medically, which indicates their extreme abuse, diversion, and addictive potential.

How does Morphine Work?

Morphine binds to the opioid receptors, which are on the surfaces of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. This sets off a chain of chemical signals within the cell which ultimately cause the cell membrane to become less excitable. This means that pain-sensing nerve cells become electrically “sluggish” and don’t fire so many impulses.

As well as dulling pain by silencing nerves in the spine that carry pain signals, morphine also has complex effects in the pain processing areas in the brain, including suppressing the action of the nerve pathways that control breathing, heart rate and blood pressure. This is why an overdose of morphine is so dangerous, because it can trigger a person to stop breathing, which is called a respiratory arrest.

Morphine Tolerance

Morphine is effective at reducing sensations of pain, but this pain relief is accompanied by tolerance. Tolerance means that the dosage must be increased over time to maintain the desired effect. With increased doses of morphine other side effects become more prominent. These side effects may include the following:

  • Breathing problems
  • Lack of energy
  • Constipation
  • An increased potential for addiction
  • An increased potential for overdose

Through detox tolerance can be reversed, and the negative side effects associated with morphine can end. Tolerance is usually not permanent, and it is related to personal physical factors and the frequency and amount of use.

What is Morphine Abuse?

Morphine abuse occurs when users take more of the drug than prescribed or take the drug without a prescription. The most common form of ingestion is to take it in pill form. It is also commonly chewed or crushed and snorted for a more intense effect. Recreational highs are also often obtained by mixing the drug with alcohol.

Morphine abuse can have significant effects on your physical and emotional wellbeing. These effects include the following:

  • Higher risk of contracting Hepatitis C
  • Impaired mental and physical performance
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Confusion
  • Paranoia
  • Low self-esteem
  • Reduced level of consciousness

In addition to the effects on your body and mind, morphine can also be an expensive addiction. Many users find their financial priorities shifting in order to continue to pay for their addiction. Others may not recognize addiction until it affects their financial stability. Some of the ways that morphine addiction can affect you financially are the following:

  • Loss of productivity
  • Costs of illnesses
  • Increased insurance rates
  • Legal bills
  • Loss of earned income (abuse is strongly correlated with dropping out of school)
  • General loss (money goes to drugs instead of bills or food)

Is Morphine Dangerous?

There are many serious long-term side effects to morphine abuse. While some, like fever and hives, are merely uncomfortable, others are incredibly dangerous and could result in irreparable damage to one’s health.

For example, many people who use morphine find themselves at an increased risk for blood-borne pathogens like HIV. This is because many people who use morphine illicitly take the drug intravenously, sometimes with shared needles.

Should I Stop Taking Morphine?

It is not recommended that anyone go cold turkey off of morphine. Morphine detox is most successful when performed under doctor’s care. Further, medically supervised morphine detox can prevent dangerous withdrawal effects.

People who usually stop taking morphine on their own experience intense and unpleasant symptoms, which can discourage them from staying off morphine for good. Individuals who quit using morphine without the help of a doctor have a higher risk of relapse and failure to reach long-term sobriety. Thus, it’s suggested that you seek help from a medical detox clinic when you decide to stop taking morphine… for safety AND efficacy.

Who Abuses Morphine?

From stay-at-home parents to Wall Street executives, morphine addiction hits everyone with the same strength. Because opioid drugs are extremely addictive, nearly anyone who uses them is at risk of becoming dependent on their morphine-like effects.

Quitting Morphine

The safest way to stop morphine is to seek morphine detox under medical supervision. A medical detox clinic can offer 24-7 medical supervision. Detox clinic staff help you by advising you, prescribing medications, assist your detox and withdrawal, and work with you resolving your psychological and behavioral issues. There is also an element of emotional support you can get at a detox center that may not be available at home.

If possible, round up the motivation and support coming from your family and friends. Long term recovery from a morphine problem requires help from multiple sources. And, stay committed to your recovery after leaving rehab by joining a support group, such as 12-step support groups. Some people stay in psychotherapy for a year or two after they quit using.