Morphine addiction: symptoms, treatment, and consequences


In this article, I'm going to talk about morphine addiction. What are the symptoms and consequences of morphine addiction? I will also talk about possible treatments for this addiction.

Table of contents

Morphine is an opiate analgesic that is used to relieve pain. It is available in different forms: pills, injection... It is often used by doctors to treat very intense pain in the short and long term.

Being a very powerful substance to relieve very intense pain and, in addition, generating excessive euphoria and relaxation, it can become a potentially addictive substance.

In this article, I'll talk about the symptoms, treatment and consequences of morphine addiction.

Morphine (source: BBC NEWS)

Symptoms of morphine addiction

At the beginning of addiction, the symptoms are not very noticeable, but over time they become more visible. We can divide the symptoms of morphine addiction into three categories: physical, psychological, and behavioral.

1. Physical symptoms

These symptoms affect the body, either internally (constipation or fainting) or externally (skin rashes).

The most common physical symptoms are:

  • Small spots on the skin, rashes.
  • Excessive fatigue.
  • Excessive sleepiness (that does not go away).
  • Muscle contractions
  • Sudden and unexplained decreased appetite.
  • Difficulty breathing.

2. Psychological or emotional symptoms

It is difficult to identify these symptoms because in some cases they can be confused with other psychological disorders, such as depression. Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • Increased paranoia.
  • Depression.
  • Sudden mood swings.
  • Anxiety.
  • Great emotional instability.

3. Behavioral symptoms

Over time, people with morphine addiction show sudden and unexplained behavioral changes. Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • Excessively reserved behavior, hiding things, long and unexplained absences...
  • Withdrawal from friends or family.
  • Avoid social situations, especially if family or friends attend those events.
  • Decreased interest in activities that were previously very rewarding.
  • Big arguments with family or friends.

Consequences of morphine addiction

Occasional use of morphine does not usually have any side effects, but prolonged use can have both physical and mental consequences.

The most common side effect of prolonged morphine use is constipation and other digestive disturbances

Other consequences are:

  • Complete loss of muscle tone.
  • Heart attack.
  • Extreme confusion.
  • Eating problems.

The loss of muscle tone or confusion can disappear when the person stops using morphine, but other consequences such as cardiac arrest can have an impact on the person's life, even if they no longer use.

Morphine withdrawal symptoms

When morphine is taken over a long period of time, the body begins to develop a dependency.

This dependency is dangerous because the body tricks itself into believing that it needs morphine to function properly. Unfortunately, this type of dependency makes it difficult to stop taking morphine.

Morphine withdrawal symptoms occur when an individual stops using the addictive substance. In the case of morphine, symptoms can last from a few days to several weeks as the body learns to readapt to life without morphine.

Some of the more common symptoms of morphine withdrawal are:

  • Difficulty maintaining an adequate body temperature, ranging between fever and chills.
  • Crying eyes.
  • Runny nose.
  • Restless legs or a restless feeling.
  • Intense muscle pain.
  • Very unstable mood.
  • Accelerated heart.
  • Intense stomach pain.
  • Nausea with vomiting.
The severity of withdrawal symptoms varies from person to person. Some people have only a mild flu-like illness, while others have withdrawal symptoms severe enough to require medical attention.

Due to the complexity of the manifestation of withdrawal symptoms, it is recommended that the person stop the consumption of morphine under the supervision of a doctor who will monitor the symptoms and ensure that there are no problems.

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Treatment for morphine addiction

1. Detox

The first step in treatment to get off morphine is detoxification. The duration of this process depends on how long the person's consumption has lasted, ranging between days and approximately three weeks.

It is recommended that this process be supervised by a doctor who makes the least possible symptoms manifest and, therefore, the process is as uncomplicated as possible under the circumstances.

Many people rely on methadone as a support drug for the detoxification process. Methadone is known to help reduce withdrawal symptoms associated with the use of an opiate, such as morphine, by substituting for that substance.

Over time, the methadone dose is reduced until the person completely cleanses their body of morphine.

There are times when methadone cannot be used during the detoxification process because the person has previously had an addiction to this substance or because of an allergy. In such cases, the use of another substance should be considered.

2. Rehabilitation

After the detoxification process, something fundamental is that the person begins to rebuild his new life (without substance use).

Rehab focuses on overcoming morphine addiction. It can be done internally (the person enters a center) or externally (goes to a center at certain times of the day).

In this process, the person receives individual (behavioral) therapy sessions, support groups, etc. The goal of these sessions is to provide the person with strategies to help lead a drug-free life.

Some people find it very difficult to lead a normal life after an addiction. Therefore, after finishing the rehabilitation program, some people need to maintain certain therapy sessions that serve as a reminder of their new lifestyle.

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Disclaimer: This article is purely informative, I have no authority to make a diagnosis or recommend treatment. I invite you to visit a psychologist to treat your particular case.