Addiction Treatment

Morphine Addiction

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Medically reviewed: 03/07/2018
Last updated: 04/1/2020
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review

Reading Time: 4 minutes

What is Morphine Addiction?

Morphine is a potent opioid painkiller used to treat moderate to severe pain. Morphine creates a “high” when taken in large doses, but carries a large risk for addiction, and overdose when misused. Over-prescription for pain management can be a contributing factor to morphine addiction, however many people choose to abuse this drug because it is relatively cheap and easy to obtain.

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Patients who are prescribed morphine are advised on how to avoid abuse and other issues associated with the drug. This is still a severe issue, though, as many people misuse morphine and drugs like it to experience euphoric effects. Other individuals take higher doses of the drug to counteract tolerance and dependence, which is also considered abuse. Any misuse of morphine can quickly lead to addiction, especially the more often it occurs, and the higher one’s dosage becomes.

What are the Risks of Morphine Addiction?

Over 155 Americans die each day from opioid addiction, which includes prescribed painkillers such as Morphine, as well as illicit substances like heroin. Morphine is a Schedule II narcotic under the Controlled Substances Act, which means it has the highest potential of abuse for a drug that can still be legally used for medical treatment. Those who misuse the drug also experience effects similar to that of heroin because the Schedule I semi-synthetic drug is derived from morphine.

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Morphine abuse can lead to an overdose occurring, which may result in a coma, or death if left untreated.

Here are the signs of a morphine overdose:

  • Respiratory depression (lack of breathing)
  • Constricted pupils
  • Blurred vision
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • A slowed heart rate
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Hallucinations
  • Blue tint to skin, and lips

If someone you know is showing the signs of an opioid overdose, it is important to call emergency responders immediately. 

What are the Symptoms of Morphine Addiction?

The signs and symptoms of morphine abuse are similar to those associated with other opioid drugs. Drowsiness is common, and when the drug is taken in high doses, it can cause euphoria. Other common symptoms include:

General physical side effects of morphine abuse include:

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Small pupils
  • Drowsiness
  • Difficulty peeing
  • Itching
  • Constipation

The most serious psychological side effects of morphine addiction is depression. Prolonged morphine abuse causes a feeling of euphoria while preventing your body from being able to create a sense of well-being without the drug. The lack of natural well-being causes the user to feel depressed whenever they are off the drug, making it difficult to stop using.

What are the Signs of Morphine Addiction?

Morphine can cause addiction, just like other opioid drugs when abused, and it is extremely important to try to prevent this issue before it occurs. Here are some signs that someone may be addicted to morphine:

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  • They are unable to stop using morphine
  • They cannot reduce dosage without feeling withdrawal symptoms
  • They have drug paraphernalia
  • They are experiencing financial problems
  • They are having relationship problems
  • They are showing signs of drug-seeking behavior (e.g., drug shopping)
  • They have to take higher doses to get the same effects (tolerance)
  • They are experiencing extreme mood swings

What to do if Someone You Love is Abusing Morphine?

If you know someone who is currently abusing morphine, it is vital to do a welfare check on that individual. Even if they are refusing treatment, since the chance of overdose is increased, you should check in on them every couple days to make sure they are okay.

Try to get your loved one into a treatment facility as soon as you can. If they are willing to go, their likelihood of staying sober significantly increases. However, interventions and other alternatives exist for users who cannot accept their addiction.

Do not enable their addiction in any way. Enabling includes providing money, housing, or even denying their addiction. Enabling an addict will prevent them from coming to terms with their reality, and could prevent a quicker recovery.

Which Treatment Options are Available for Morphine Addiction?

The best treatment options for morphine addiction are inpatient, medication-assisted treatment, alongside behavioral therapies. Medications such as methadone and buprenorphine can assist in reducing withdrawal symptoms. These therapies are overseen by medical professionals and are much safer than attempting to withdraw from morphine at home.

Once you have chosen a recovery center, it is essential to be as honest as possible about your drug history, especially if you are having medication-assisted treatment. Knowing about problems beforehand can give doctors the chance to prescribe alternatives and to make sure that treatments are of minimal duration and carefully monitored.

Patients addicted to morphine should also be screened for any mental health issues, as this addiction is closely tied to depression. Treating underlying mental health problems should be a priority alongside detoxing from morphine, as this will help with long-term recovery.

Morphine can be a highly beneficial medication for those in severe pain, but it can also cause serious problems for those who misuse it. If you are suffering from morphine dependence or morphine addiction, it is essential to seek treatment as soon as possible.

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