Morphine addiction symptoms & treatment

Rates of opioid addiction have risen in recent years, with opioid deaths also rising to more than 100,000 in 2021. One of the opioids that leads to serious addiction and contributes to these deaths is morphine.

What is morphine?

Morphine is an opioid made from the opium poppy plant. It is a drug named after the Greek god of dreams, Morpheus, and it has been around commercially since 1821. Its medical purpose is to treat pain, unlike opium, which people used recreationally from very early on. In fact, doctors used morphine in the 19th century to help treat opium addiction.

It was only in the early 20th century that governments began setting restrictions on the use of morphine.

Today, morphine is available in the form of a tablet, as an injection, or as a serum. There are also ways of smoking it. Because tolerance to the drug develops quickly, morphine is highly addictive, so the government deems it a Schedule II drug. Medically, it can help with pain after surgeries, cancer treatments, and during the end of a person’s life.

Morphine is more accessible than some other opiates. Some of the common street names for morphine include:

  • M
  • Miss Emma
  • Monkey
  • White stuff
  • Roxanol
  • Mister blue

Its chemical makeup is similar to that of heroin because they are both made from the poppy plant. Morphine is a Schedule II narcotic under the Controlled Substances Act.

How addictive is morphine?

Morphine is highly addictive because of the effects it has on the nervous system and three times as strong as codeine and tramadol. It binds to the opioid receptors in the brain, blocking pain signals. In only about a month of using morphine daily, a person can experience:

  • Psychomotor impairment
  • Reduced neuroplasticity
  • Diminished reflexes
  • Memory impairment
  • Reduced heart rate

Morphine floods the brain with the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine. This release of dopamine leads the reward system to crave more of the drug.

Symptoms of morphine addiction

According to the New York State Department of Health, there are some crucial symptoms that can let you know you may not be using an opioid like morphine correctly.

There can be psychological ones like:

  • Euphoria
  • Inability to concentrate on surroundings
  • Preoccupation with the drug
  • Impaired mental performance
  • Poor judgment
  • Continued use despite negative emotional effects

There are also behavioral symptoms that can point to abuse, such as:

  • Doctor-shopping for more prescriptions
  • Stealing or lying to obtain more morphine
  • Covertly using the substance
  • Concealing the drug in different locations
  • Continued use despite negative behavioral effects

Morphine addiction can also have a significant impact on your physical well-being. Some physical symptoms of addiction include:

  • Decreased hunger
  • Interference with the menstrual cycle
  • Impaired physical performance
  • Drug tolerance
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dry mouth
  • Dehydration
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Sleep apnea
  • Circulation problems
  • Respiratory distress

Long-term use of morphine can lead to issues with motor skills as well as an increased risk of falls and injuries. People who use any kind of opioid for a long time also have a higher risk of developing serious depression. It can also have an impact on memory and cognitive functions.

It is also important to know the symptoms of a morphine overdose, which can be fatal if not treated. These symptoms can include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Lower back or side pain
  • Slurred speech
  • Intense drowsiness
  • Fever
  • Increased thirst
  • Swelling of the face
  • Slowed breathing
  • Muscle cramps
  • Spasms
  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Lack of movement

A morphine overdose can lead to unconsciousness, coma, and depressed breathing that causes death.

Morphine withdrawal symptoms

Morphine withdrawal can be very difficult to go through, especially on your own. The effects of opioid withdrawal can include:

  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Diarrhea
  • Agitation
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Disorientation
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches

Dehydration is a major concern when dealing with morphine withdrawal, as it can be fatal if it is not managed properly. Morphine withdrawal can be extremely unpleasant and potentially dangerous when it is attempted without medical assistance. The discomfort can be so intense that people who are detoxing alone may relapse.

Treatment options for morphine abuse

There are excellent treatment options to help you with opioid addiction, from detox to rehab to other avenues of treatment. Many people find success in the below options.

Medical treatments

  • Medically assisted detoxification programs

Going through detoxification on your own can be dangerous, leading many to avoid the option entirely out of fear or trepidation. But having help from professionals can ease this discomfort and can help you avoid relapsing. There are programs that offer detox options for men and women separately so that everyone feels safe and can focus on healing.

  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)

MAT is a leading type of treatment option for people dealing with substance use disorders. It involves the careful administration of medications to help curb cravings, reduce withdrawal symptoms, and prevent relapses. The use of prescription medication is combined with therapy to help treat the underlying cause of the addiction. The non-addictive and FDA-approved medications for MAT include lofexidine, naltrexone, methadone, and buprenorphine.


Behavioral treatments

Counseling is vital for any kind of substance use disorder. Counseling can get to the root cause of the addiction and anything that may be preventing you from healing.

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is especially useful. It can help you identify negative thought patterns so that you can change your reactions and reduce distress appropriately. It can help you recognize distortions in your thinking patterns and gain a better understanding of the behaviors and motivations of other people.

  • Dialectical-behavioral therapy

Dialectical-behavioral therapy is another option. It is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that focuses on both acceptance and change. The person learns to accept past experiences and behaviors while also learning strategies to change negative behaviors. This type of therapy can involve group counseling, individual counseling, and more.

  • Experiential therapy

Experiential therapies are another option that can help people dealing with substance use disorders. These therapies allow individuals to participate in activities and events that can help them work through challenges and insecurities.

  • Trauma-informed therapy

There are also trauma-informed therapies that involve a focus on addiction as a response to trauma. Working through the trauma and how it has affected the person’s life can help the person understand how it may have fueled their addiction.

  • Group therapy

Group therapy sessions are also very helpful in treating morphine addiction. Engaging in therapy in a group setting offers an opportunity for people to interact with others and see that they are not alone with their addiction. Group therapy allows people to put new thinking patterns and communication exercises into practice.

  • Family therapy

The family of someone with opioid addiction can benefit from therapy sessions. Opioid addiction can affect all members of the family, and learning to understand and deal with the addiction is vital for everyone. The program can include weekly family contact with the person’s therapist, aftercare support, support for family members affected by the addiction, and intensive family workshops.

  • Recreation therapy

During this type of therapy, counselors use activities to help improve a patient’s mental well-being as well as their physical health. It can include outdoor activities, exercise, and art therapy. It can help promote socialization, stress relief, and much more. Yoga therapy is a type of recreational therapy that can teach people relaxation techniques and help relieve stress and even pain.

Inpatient rehab programs

After medically-monitored treatment, including detox, inpatient rehabilitation programs can help those who need more time to stabilize and adjust to a life in recovery.

Inpatient rehab programs offer 24/7 support and allow everyone to get personalized attention and treatment.

Patients receive one-on-one counseling, daily 12-step meetings, family sessions, psychiatric and medical care, individualized group therapy sessions, and integrative therapies.

Partial hospitalization programs

Partial hospitalization is the next step away from inpatient programs. It allows for more flexibility while still offering structure and support. Throughout the day, patients receive full treatment, but they are able to return home at night. This allows patients to put their new coping techniques to use.

Intensive outpatient programs

Intensive outpatient programs can be done on their own or as a transition from inpatient care. Typically, intensive outpatient programs offer multiple treatment sessions a week that can provide the structure patients need. These sessions can include daily 12-step meetings, relapse prevention education, counseling services, and more.

These types of programs can help you prepare for everyday challenges.

About Lakeview Health's morphine rehab program

If you have a morphine addiction or any type of opioid addiction, getting help is essential. Lakeview Health offers individualized programs to tackle your unique challenges and circumstances. With state-of-the-art facilities and the latest techniques for helping people with substance use disorders, Lakeview Health can help you get back on the right path. Contact Lakeview Health today at 866 704 7692 .

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