Morphine Dependence – Signs of Morphine Use Vs. Abuse, Tolerance
- Print VersionIn This Article
- Is Morphine Addictive?
- Understanding Morphine Dependency and Tolerance
- Effects/Side Effects
- Withdrawal and Detoxification
- Treatment for Morphine Addiction
Is Morphine Addictive?
You might be wondering, “How addictive is Morphine?” Morphine is a narcotic drug and is a type of opioid. Because of the way morphine interacts with the body, the way the body senses pain changes. This drug is often used as a last resort for pain, or for pain that is seen to be extreme or unmanageable. It can be taken as an injection or as pills. It is used to relive moderate-to-severe pain. Morphine is addictive and can be habit-forming. You can become dependent on the drug, both psychologically and physically.
Understanding Morphine Dependency and Tolerance
Morphine dependence occurs when the body can no longer function correctly without the medication being taken. Morphine is taken in doses that last from 6 to 24 hours, depending on how it is taken into the body. A physical dependence relies on a drug to create a chemical in the body. In this case, the chemical is causing the body to redefine what it considers to be pain.
Morphine can also cause a psychological dependency. This causes the user to think that he or she needs to have the drug in order to function properly, when it actually is not needed by the body. Psychological dependency can cause panic symptoms when the drug is not administered.
A tolerance to morphine can be built up over time. The body will need more of the drug to feel like it’s working correctly and to achieve the same effects. Morphine tolerance can become quite high, so it’s important to taper off of the drug instead of stopping “cold turkey.” Stopping immediately can cause withdrawal and dependency issues. Some withdrawal symptoms or dependency side effects can present as the common flu.
The short-term effects of morphine include the reduction of pain in the body caused by many reasons, including arthritis and broken bones. Morphine can be habit-forming and should only be taken as prescribed by a doctor. Some side effects include vomiting, drowsiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, dry mouth and weakness.
The long-term effects of morphine may include rashes, difficulty urinating, fainting, seizures, a blue tinge to the skin, and difficulty breathing. If these side effects occur, seek medical attention as these may become life-threatening conditions when not treated properly.
Withdrawal and Detoxification
Withdrawal from morphine can cause a number of issues, depending on the dosage taken. Taking too much morphine can result in a depression of the nervous system and death. Withdrawal symptoms may present as irrational behavior, anxiety, agitation, depression (following the euphoric high caused by many types of opioids and narcotics) and others. If you suspect withdrawal symptoms are occurring when you’re stopping the use of morphine, contact your doctor right away. Withdrawal is manageable with many different techniques, so letting your health care provider know is the first step to preventing symptoms.
Treatment for Morphine Addiction
Treatment for addiction to morphine pills or solutions usually is done with a taper. A taper is very effective in removing the medication from the patient’s body with little to no withdrawal during or following treatment. During a taper, the drug is stepped down over a period of days or weeks, from a whole dose to three-fourths of a dose, to half, and so on. In medical emergencies such as overdoses, there is an antidote that can be administered to help the patient prevent respiratory depression. An acute overdose can present in a number of ways, but can lead to coma and death.
In addition to stopping the drug, psychological help is always made available to aid the user during the process of detoxification. This helps the patients change their habits and behaviors, so that addiction in the future is not as likely to recur. A psychologist or psychiatrist is on call at many hospitals, major health clinics, and in private offices. A psychological dependency is most likely to be treated with therapy sessions while the patient is tapered off of the drug.
Morphine abuse treatment is available from a number of organizations, such as hospitals, clinics, and private doctor’s offices. Many clinics provide anonymous help groups and treatment. Hospitals treat patients regardless of financial resources. People interested in inpatient or outpatient services for morphine addiction and recovery, or those interested in more information, can call 1-888-803-9961 to receive the information needed to start the healing process. A short contact form is also available for those who do not have access to a telephone or those who are hearing impaired.