What Is Morphine
Morphine has been used since the 19th century and is one of the most commonly prescribed painkillers. It is an opiate, which means it is derived from the poppy plant and is an effective painkiller.
Morphine was named after Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams. Given this name because of its ability to make the user feel euphoric and sleepy, it is used in hospital settings as one of the most potent opiate painkillers. But like all opioids and opiates, it is highly addictive.
Morphine's Affect on the Brain
Along with other opiates, such as heroin, morphine can modify the plasticity of brain areas that regulate the morphology of dendrites and spines. The dendrites and spines are the primary sites of excitatory synapses in regions of the brain. This region of the brain promotes incentives, motivation, rewards, and learning.
Common effects of morphine include:
- Dream-like state
- Pain relief
- Drowsiness and lethargy
- A sense of wellbeing
- Relaxation and calm
- Reduced anxiety
Is Morphine Addictive
All opiates can be addictive, and morphine is no different. Due to its pharmacology and effects, morphine is highly addictive. Morphine is as addictive as heroin, and the consequences of morphine addiction can be devastating.
Morphine addiction is prevalent throughout America and can cause death if the addict does not seek professional treatment as an inpatient at a rehab center.
Who Abuses Morphine
More than two million Americans are addicted to opioid or opiate painkillers. The drug pandemic costs the United States half a billion dollars a year in treatment and other associated costs. Morphine is especially dangerous because it is more potent than other opioids. It is the third leading drug-related cause of emergency room admissions.
Morphine can be injected and therefore shares the demographic with other injectable drugs and addicts.
People who abuse and inject morphine are at a higher risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis if sharing needles with other users.
Signs of Morphine Addiction
It can be hard to figure out if your loved one is suffering from morphine addiction. Often, the user wants to continue using the drug as the throes of their addiction are compelling.
Some warning signs of morphine abuse to look out for include:
- Anxiety, depression, and mood swings
- Decreased appetite and weight loss
- Drowsiness or nodding off
- Higher tolerance to morphine and other painkillers; increased asthma attacks
- Relationship issues; slowed breathing; stomach pain, and constipation
- Injection marks or track marks*
- An increased interest in opiates, heroin, and drug paraphernalia
It can be difficult for an individual to admit that they have a problem, but it is essential to seek medical help if the above symptoms become apparent.
Side-Effects of Morphine Addiction
People get addicted to morphine because it causes a euphoric high, but the drug often comes with many other less pleasant and even deadly side effects. Opioid drugs target the central nervous and respiratory systems. They can slow or even stop breathing and lead to respiratory distress.
Other side-effects can include:
- Cardiac arrest,
- Dizziness, drowsiness, and nausea
- Respiratory arrest
- Shock, shortness of breath,
- Slowed or stopped breathing, sweating, and vomiting.
These side-effects may be fatal, especially when a person mixes morphine with alcohol or other drugs.
Morphine Addiction Treatment
Residential addiction treatment programs provide a person with counseling and workshops to understand the addictive personality and address underlying causes and triggers for their addictive behaviors. Professionals consider the use of morphine or, indeed, other substances or behavioral addictions as the symptom.
So, becoming abstinent is merely the beginning. The recommended residential stay also helps a person recognize the impact that their morphine addiction has had on their lives and others while providing them with the support they need to enter life in recovery.
Outpatient and daycare support then works well as a step-down service, where a person can still access support and ongoing therapeutic input as they start to rebuild their lives away from morphine.
In order to take the first step to recovery from morphine addiction, medical detox is required. Morphine detox can be dangerous and runs a high risk of relapse, and should only be done under the supervision of a medical professional. This is why medical detox from morphine is only recommended in an inpatient setting at a specialized addiction treatment center.
Throughout the detox process, the patient will be monitored, and given medication to manage the symptoms of morphine withdrawal.
When a person is detoxing from morphine, they may exhibit the following signs:
- A fever with watery eyes and a running nose
- Sweating or chills
- Restlessness and muscle aches
- Confusion and disorientation
- Insomnia and trouble sleeping
- Vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps
It is highly recommended that a medically assisted detoxification is sought out during the withdrawal process to access the support that they need to remove the drug from their body as safely as possible.
People addicted to morphine experience painful withdrawal symptoms when they do not have access to the drug. Withdrawal is one reason people continue to use these drugs. Withdrawal symptoms may be mistaken for the stomach flu or other illness. Often, the individual simply cannot face the withdrawal process.
Side-effects of morphine withdrawal can include the following:
- Diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting,
- Severe stomach cramps
- Restlessness and agitation
- Increased anxiety and panic attacks
- Muscle aches
- Flu-like symptoms
Morphine Addiction Therapies
Many treatment options have been successful in treating morphine addiction, including:
- Counseling and therapy
- Medical devices and medication used to treat withdrawal symptoms
- Therapies based on evaluation and treatment for co-occurring mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
- Long-term follow-ups and outpatient care to prevent relapse
- Support groups and group therapy, such as Narcotics Anonymous
Behavioral treatment includes a wide variety of programs for patients who visit a behavioral health counselor regularly. Most of the programs involve individual or group drug counseling, or both.
These programs typically offer forms of behavioral therapy, such as:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT, which helps patients recognize, avoid, and cope with the situations in which they are likely to use drugs.
- Multidimensional family therapy developed for adolescents with drug abuse problems as well as their families. Used to address a range of influences on their drug abuse patterns and is designed to improve overall family life.
- Motivational interviewing, which makes the most of people’s readiness to change their behavior and enter treatment programs and contingency management, which uses positive reinforcement to encourage abstinence from drugs.
A range of care with a specifically tailored treatment program and follow-up options are vital to success. Treatment should include both medical and mental health services and treatments as required.
Recovery from Morphine
With professional help, an individual has an increased chance of recovery. An inpatient rehab program for morphine addiction is the only way to achieve a successful outcome. Get in touch with one of our treatment navigators today so we can help you or your loved one recover from morphine addiction.