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Morphine Addiction, Side Effects, and Rehab

Morphine sulfate vial and syringe on black reflective surface

Published: April 18, 2024

Morphine addiction is a condition that occurs when someone forms a mental reliance on the drug. Without intervention, morphine addiction can be life-threatening and have detrimental effects on many areas of your life.

Luckily, there are countless treatment options for morphine addiction. Through proper treatment and professional guidance, it’s possible to recover from substance addiction.

Keep reading for more information about morphine addiction, its side effects, rehabilitation options, and frequently asked questions.

Why Does Morphine Lead to Addiction?

Morphine is a narcotic analgesic used to treat moderate to severe pain. It is an opiate, a natural opioid like oxycodone and fentanyl.

Morphine is a controlled substance. It is categorized a Schedule II narcotic, meaning it is highly associated with abuse and addiction.

The medication can lead to addiction by blocking pain signals from your central nervous system (CNS), which consists of the brain and spinal cord, and binding to opioid receptors in your brain. Additionally, taking opiates releases endorphins and increases dopamine levels.

Due to both of these factors, your brain and body can start to become reliant on the effects of opioids over time, which causes addiction.

In addition to the pleasant feelings this drug can cause, abusing it can slowly alter your brain chemistry.

Morphine Abuse vs. Morphine Addiction

Drug abuse and drug addiction are two separate conditions and though they are linked, it is important to understand the differences.

Because morphine can be prescribed in medical settings, it’s possible to use morphine in a safe and responsible manner that isn’t considered abuse.

That being said, morphine abuse is any use of the drug that is irresponsible or risky.

For example, morphine abuse can include taking a larger dose than you are prescribed, taking more frequent doses than you are prescribed, or using the drug without a prescription. Abuse of any drug can quickly develop into an addiction.

An addiction to morphine occurs when you begin to mentally rely on the medication to function, also known as psychological dependence.

Does Morphine Misuse Cause Dependence?

Yes, morphine misuse can cause physical dependence. Physical dependence occurs when your body relies on a substance to function properly. This is a common occurrence with opioid and opiate abuse.

Physical dependence is heavily linked to morphine abuse because with continued use, your brain and body build up a tolerance to the medication. Once your tolerance increases, not only will your body need a higher dose to feel the same effects, but it may also rely on the drug to function.

What makes morphine dependence difficult is the likelihood of experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking morphine.

Withdrawal symptoms can be extremely unpleasant and encourage people to keep taking the addictive drug even at small doses to avoid these effects.

Signs of a Morphine Addiction

There are countless signs and symptoms of morphine addiction that can help not only identify a potential drug addiction in yourself but also in others you may be concerned for.

Signs and symptoms of morphine addiction can include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Dizziness
  • Euphoria
  • Confusion
  • Social withdrawal
  • Constipation
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Engaging in risky behavior
  • Taking larger doses of morphine than prescribed
  • Inability to stop thinking about morphine

Morphine Withdrawal Symptoms

Physical dependence often causes withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking morphine. They are often very unpleasant and can be dangerous in some cases.

Withdrawal symptoms of morphine addiction may include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Anxiety
  • Yawning
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Runny nose
  • Goosebumps
  • Dilated pupils
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Shaking
  • Increased body temperature
  • Hyperventilation
  • Sweating
  • Increased pain
  • Irritability

Side Effects of Morphine Abuse

Morphine abuse comes with many side effects. While a handful may be pleasant or desired, many of them are very unpleasant and can be hazardous to your health.

Side effects of morphine misuse can be classified as short-term or long-term. The former refers to side effects that occur immediately after use whereas the latter to those that occur after repeated, extended use.

Short-term effects of morphine abuse include:

  • Euphoria
  • Pain relief
  • Dry mouth
  • Appetite suppression
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sedation
  • Stomach pain
  • Stiff muscles
  • Restlessness
  • Blurred vision
  • Rashes
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Opioid overdose
  • Death

Long-term effects of morphine abuse include:

  • Hyperalgesia
  • Memory problems
  • Mental illness
  • Chronic constipation
  • Breathing issues
  • Organ failure
  • Increased risk of overdose
  • Increased risk of bone fractures

Risk Factors for Morphine Addiction

As a disclaimer, it is possible for anyone who uses morphine to develop an addiction, but there are certain risk factors that make the condition much more likely.

General risk factors for substance addiction include:

  • Family history of addiction
  • Mental health disorders
  • Early exposure to drugs
  • Peer pressure
  • Lack of family involvement

Risk factors specific to morphine addiction include:

  • Being prescribed morphine
  • Being prescribed large doses of morphine
  • Being prescribed morphine for an extended period
  • Easy access to morphine
  • Having chronic pain
  • Being in your teens or 20s
  • Engaging in party-seeking or risky behavior

Diagnosing Morphine Addiction

It’s possible to identify a potential morphine addiction by looking out for signs and symptoms, but a substance use disorder (SUD) diagnosis can only come from a qualified healthcare professional.

If you are concerned that you or a loved one may have a morphine addiction, it’s best to seek out a medical evaluation from your doctor.

Medical evaluations for opioid use disorders (OUD) include analyzing the individual for any signs of morphine addiction, asking questions about their morphine use and behavioral patterns, and asking questions about related areas of their life.

Morphine Addiction Treatment Options

When it comes to addiction rehabilitation, there are many treatment options. You and your doctor may decide to seek out a particular type of treatment or pursue several treatment services as a comprehensive approach.

Opioid Detox Programs

Medical detoxification programs are a very common treatment service typically offered at the beginning of a treatment program. Detox programs are offered in both inpatient and outpatient settings.

Opioid detox programs are designed to safely detoxify the body of any addictive substances. In other words, this process gets any remaining morphine out of your system to provide a clean slate for treatment.

Detoxing on your own or at home can be very dangerous, which is why medical detox programs are so widely sought out.

Your care team will be there to administer any necessary medications or treatments, help you manage any withdrawal symptoms you experience, and monitor your vitals throughout the process.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is frequently used in OUD treatment as it has been found to be particularly effective in opioid addictions.

MAT uses FDA-approved medications such as Suboxone, buprenorphine, and methadone to treat addiction. These medications have been proven to reduce cravings and the risk of relapse.

Typically, MAT is continued for an extended period of time to encourage long-term sobriety. Eventually, individuals are tapered off the medication. Like many other services, MAT is the most effective when used in combination with other treatment options.

Opioid Rehab

Many people choose to enroll in an opioid drug treatment program as part of their recovery journey.

There are two major types of addiction treatment programs: inpatient and outpatient. Both are effective, but there are key differences that can make one more suitable for your needs than the other.

Inpatient rehab is considered the highest level of care. This is because participants live in their treatment center through the course of their program. The requirement allows for round-the-clock care and supervision. Inpatient treatment comes with a structured daily schedule to help form new routines.

Outpatient rehab, on the other hand, can be a better option for people who cannot leave their homes for an extended period of time or as a step down from inpatient care. Individuals in outpatient programs travel to a care facility several days a week for treatment.

What Happens After Morphine Rehab?

Once you finish morphine addiction rehab, you’ll progress to aftercare, sometimes called continuing care. These terms refer to treatment services you continue after completing a treatment program.

Essentially, aftercare is intended to encourage long-term recovery and help ease the transition between treatment and day-to-day life. As a result, aftercare is typically tailored to the individual. You and your provider will determine what services will benefit you the most as aftercare.

Aftercare can look like regular therapy or counseling sessions, joining a support group, moving into sober housing, or continuing MAT. Whatever you choose, it’s important to create a support system in your recovery journey for when things get tough.

Who Can Benefit From Morphine Rehab?

Morphine rehab can be beneficial for anyone who abuses morphine or has an addiction to morphine.

The benefits of morphine addiction treatment are immense and can repair areas of your life you may not even realize were affected.

Benefits of morphine treatment can include:

  • Improved health
  • Reduced risk of overdose death
  • Improved personal and professional relationships
  • Improved overall well-being
  • Repaired familial relationships
  • Improved social life
  • Improved financial health
  • New friendships

How to Prevent Relapse After Morphine Rehab

To prevent relapse following substance abuse treatment, it’s best to design a relapse prevention plan with your healthcare provider.

The purpose of relapse prevention is to reduce the risk of relapse while also building important foundations for maintaining long-term recovery.

Some treatment programs offer relapse prevention education which can help individuals learn about healthy tactics to prevent relapse.

Relapse prevention methods for morphine recovery include:

  • Joining a support group
  • Attending regular therapy or counseling sessions
  • Creating a support system
  • Learning healthy coping mechanisms
  • Taking up healthy hobbies

Find Help for Yourself or a Loved One with Morphine Addiction

Morphine addiction affects countless Americans and can completely change your life. However, morphine addiction treatment can make it possible to live a life after addiction.

If you’re ready to take the first step toward recovery, give our helpline a call today with any questions.

Morphine Addiction FAQs

How long does it take to become addicted to morphine?

Morphine addiction can develop swiftly. Although, this will differ from person to person. This is why it’s vital to know the signs and symptoms of addiction and keep an eye out for them.

The length of time it takes to become addicted can also depend on bodily characteristics, dosages, frequency of use, and more. Some may become addicted to morphine in as little as two weeks.

How do you treat a morphine addiction?

Morphine addiction is best treated through a professional addiction treatment program. There are many kinds of substance abuse rehab programs, but they are all effective in managing addiction.

If you notice yourself or someone you know exhibiting signs of morphine addiction, encourage them to seek out professional treatment.

How to cure a morphine addiction?

Morphine addiction cannot be cured, much like all other substance addictions, but it is possible to treat and manage.

With qualified medical help and treatment, you can effectively manage your addiction and live a life in recovery. It is a challenging process, but not impossible.

Can you quit morphine cold turkey?

It is not impossible to quit morphine cold turkey, but it is dangerous to do so. Medical detoxification programs, followed by addiction rehab, are designed to help people quit addictive drugs safely.

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