Morphine Addiction, Withdrawal & Detox
QUALITY TREATMENT & CARE
Compass Detox is a state-of-the-art morphine detox facility in Florida.
Contact us to start your journey to recovery today!
Detox from morphine and other opiates in beautiful south Florida!
OUR COMMITMENT TO QUALITY TREATMENT & CARE
Unfortunately, addiction to morphine is a common result of taking all opiates and especially true with morphine, even when prescribed as a medication by a doctor and not the result of substance abuse. Morphine addiction almost always requires a medical detox program to overcome both the short-term withdrawal symptoms, and long-term psychological effects. At Compass Detox, our morphine detox program always begins with an evaluation to find the safest path possible towards your sobriety. We treat mind, body and spirit to set you on the right path.
Are you or a loved one struggling with morphine or other opioid addiction and in need of detoxification? Compass Detox, a morphine detox facility in Florida can help! Contact us today for your risk-free consultation and find out how we can help you begin your journey to recovery.
Understanding Morphine Addiction, Withdrawal & Detox
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), morphine is an opiate narcotic drug that comes from opium. While it has pain-relieving effects, morphine is typically used to make morphine-derivatives like codeine, instead of being made into a medication itself.
While morphine does have legitimate medicinal uses, some people may abuse the drug, which can be dangerous. In some cases, people may require treatment to stop using morphine.
What is Morphine?
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, morphine is an opiate or narcotic drug that comes in tablets, capsules, and a liquid solution. Tablets and capsules are extended release versions of morphine, meaning they only need to be taken every eight to 12 hours, whereas the liquid solution is typically dosed in a cup or syringe and taken as often as every four hours.
Morphine treats moderate to severe pain. Extended release capsules and tablets are for severe pain that occurs consistently and does not subside with other pain medications. This means that extended release morphine is not suitable for people who have pain that comes and goes and can be treated with medication that is taken only as needed.
Morphine is available under the following brand names:
- MS Contin
According to experts from Desert Regional Medical Center, Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, and Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, morphine is most beneficial for treating pain that occurs during palliative/end of life care, cancer-related pain, and pain that occurs because of sickle cell disease. Despite these being the most acceptable uses for morphine, doctors in the emergency room will use it to treat various forms of pain, such as headache, stomach pain, muscular pain, chest pain, and arthritis when pain relief does not occur with other medications.
Morphine may also be beneficial for those who are suffering from a heart attack, as it can slow the heartrate and reduce blood pressure. In addition, doctors may use it in combination with benzodiazepines for its sedative effects when a patient is undergoing a minor surgery.
Despite having medicinal uses, morphine can also produce unpleasant side effects. The following are common side effects of morphine, per the U.S. National Library of Medicine:
- Dry mouth
- Pain and cramping in the stomach
- Difficulty urinating
- Mood swings
- Pain when urinating
- Small pupils
Rare but more serious side effects, which may require immediate medical attention, include:
- Blue skin
- Breathing difficulties
- Chest pain
- Extreme dizziness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Agitated behaviors
- Rash or itching
- Sexual problems
- Swollen eyes, face, mouth, or throat
The potential side effects of morphine can be serious and should not be taken lightly. This is why it is critical that patients take the drug exactly as prescribed and never use morphine without the direction of a doctor.
Morphine may be a prescription medication, but as an opiate drug, it has the potential to be addictive. In fact, the DEA considers morphine to be a dangerous drug and labels it as a Schedule II Controlled Substance. Drugs in this category carry a high risk of abuse and can lead to significant psychological and physical dependence.
To understand just how addictive morphine can be, it is helpful to learn about the concepts of tolerance and dependence. As the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has explained, tolerance occurs when people use opiates like morphine over the long-term. As tolerance develops, they will need more and more of the drug to achieve the same effects. With tolerance, the body can also develop a dependence, meaning it adapts to morphine and cannot function properly without it. While dependence does not always progress to addiction, someone who has become dependent upon morphine may also become addicted, meaning the brain undergoes changes, and a person will begin to compulsively use morphine despite serious consequences.
Unfortunately, as NIDA has explained, people can become tolerant and/or dependent upon morphine when taking it as prescribed under the care of a doctor or when using a prescription for chronic pain. That being said, serious consequences like addiction are more likely when people abuse morphine. Morphine abuse can involve taking larger doses than a doctor prescribes, stealing morphine from a friend or relative, seeing multiple doctors to get more than one morphine prescription, or buying the drug illegally from drug dealers. With ongoing morphine abuse, morphine addiction can develop.
Signs of Addiction
While people commonly use the term “addiction” to describe a problem involving drugs, the clinical term for an addiction is a “substance use disorder.” More specifically, when a person has become addicted to morphine, an addiction professional will diagnose an “opioid use disorder.” The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, (DSM-5) lists the diagnostic criteria for an opioid use disorder. To meet the diagnostic threshold, a person must display at least two of the criteria, but a person with a severe opioid use disorder will meet six or more of these criteria.
The diagnostic symptoms of an opioid use disorder include the following:
- Taking larger doses of the drug than intended
- Spending large amounts of time seeking or using drugs
- Giving up social or work-related activities in favor of drugs
- Continuing to use drugs despite interpersonal problems
- Using drugs even if they contribute to a health problem or make it worse
- Being unable to meet demands at work or home because of drug use
- Using drugs in situations where it causes physical danger
- Experiencing strong drug cravings
- Being unable to reduce or control drug use
Given these criteria, a person who has developed an addiction to morphine and been diagnosed with an opioid use disorder may continue to use morphine despite having arguments with a spouse or significant other regarding drug use. The person may also begin to show up late for work or fail to complete assigned tasks on-the job because of being impaired by morphine. Furthermore, the person may continue to use morphine despite having serious side effects or suffering from worsened health problems, such as seizures, from morphine. A person who is addicted may also begin taking high doses of morphine, traveling long distances to see multiple doctors to get more of the drug, or giving up hobbies such as working out or spending time playing sports.
While morphine detox is the first step toward getting help for morphine addiction, detox alone is not sufficient to ensure that a person stays sober from morphine. Detox programs only help to address the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that can make it difficult for a person to stop using the drug. After completing such a program, a person must engage in ongoing addiction treatment to address the underlying issues that led to problems with morphine.
A morphine addiction treatment program may be either inpatient or outpatient, depending on a person’s needs. Some people may be able to live at home and attend treatment in an outpatient clinic while continuing to work, attend school, and fulfill family obligations. On the other hand, some people may have a severe addiction or risk factors that make it necessary for them to complete an inpatient program, in which they reside at a treatment facility while completing services.
Regardless of the location of services, morphine addiction treatment involves psychological and behavioral methods that help people to address the reasons they became addicted to morphine. Addiction treatment typically involves a combination of group and individual counseling. In group counseling, people can learn communication skills, obtain education about addiction, and connect with others who are coping with similar struggles surrounding drugs. Individual counseling sessions provide the opportunity to explore personal issues, such as trauma, abuse, stressors, mental health issues, or family problems that contributed to addiction.
One specific form of therapy that can be useful for morphine addiction is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). In this form of counseling, people can learn to address unhelpful thoughts and beliefs surrounding addiction and learn healthy ways of coping with stress. Relapse prevention programs, which teach people to identify and cope with triggers for drug use, are also a helpful part of addiction treatment.
Beyond psychological and behavioral techniques, some morphine treatment programs use medication-assisted treatment (MAT). As mentioned previously, morphine detox programs tend to use methadone or Suboxone. While some patients may be tapered off of these medications after two weeks, others will continue to take methadone over the long-term. As the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has explained, methadone alleviates morphine cravings and can help people to be more successful with treatment. Methadone is taken alongside participation in psychological and behavioral programs, and it must be used under the supervision of a doctor. Most experts recommend that people take methadone for at least a year, but some people may take the drug for much longer. Methadone itself is associated with withdrawal symptoms, so patients must work with a doctor to gradually taper off of the drug if they wish to stop using it.
MAT with methadone, alongside counseling and other behavioral supports, can help people to stop using morphine. While some people may take morphine for legitimate medical reasons and never develop problems such as addiction, there is a high risk of abuse associated with this drug. Given this fact, it is important to take morphine exactly as prescribed. It is never safe to take larger doses than a doctor recommends or to take medication that belongs to someone else. Purchasing morphine illegally or using it in ways other than intended, such as by snorting or injecting, is also dangerous. Abusing morphine can lead to serious consequences, including a life-threatening drug-overdose. If you have been abusing morphine and find that you are unable to stop or control your drug use on your own, reaching out for professional treatment can help you to achieve sobriety and avoid the negative consequences associated with morphine abuse and addiction.
One of the diagnostic criteria for an opioid use disorder is continuing to use a drug, even when it is physically hazardous. Unfortunately, one physical risk associated with morphine abuse is a drug overdose. An overdose occurs when someone takes a larger dose of morphine than his or her body can handle, and as the U.S. National Library of Medicine has warned, overdose can cause dangerous breathing problems. This can occur even among people who are taking morphine as prescribed, especially when they first begin taking morphine or whenever a doctor increases their dosage. Abusing morphine, combining it with alcohol, or taking it along with other drugs, especially benzodiazepines, other narcotics, sedatives, sleeping pills, or tranquilizers, increases the risk of overdose.
Aside from breathing problems or completely stopped breathing, signs of morphine overdose include the following:
- Slow heart rate
- Limp muscles
- Becoming unconscious
- Blurry vision
- Cold, clammy skin
In the case of an overdose, emergency medical treatment is necessary, as stopped breathing during a morphine overdose can be fatal. An emergency medication called naloxone can treat an overdose by blocking the effects of opiates and reversing dangerous symptoms like stopped breathing. The risk of overdose is one reason that morphine is considered a dangerous drug. As NIDA has warned, an overdose from a prescription opiate like morphine can stop breathing to the extent that the brain does not receive enough oxygen. This can be fatal, but even in cases where morphine overdose does not cause death, it can result in coma or lasting brain damage.
Withdrawal and Detox
In addition to the risk of an overdose, another consequence of morphine abuse and addiction is withdrawal. When a person becomes dependent upon morphine, he or she will experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when morphine use is reduced or stopped. These symptoms can make it difficult to give up morphine.
NIDA has reported that the following withdrawal symptoms are common when someone discontinues use of a prescription opiate like morphine:
- Pain in the muscle and bones
- Sleep disturbances
- Gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting
- Cold sweats
- Extreme drug cravings
- Involuntary leg movements
Given the fact that morphine withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable, it is often necessary for people to complete a detox program if they are addicted and trying to discontinue their use of the drug. In a professional detox program, medical staff provide people with support and treatment to make the withdrawal process as safe and as comfortable as possible.
According to the World Health Organization, opiate detox programs typically involve the use of an opiate withdrawal scale. Staff in detox programs will administer such a scale to determine the severity of detox symptoms. When morphine withdrawal symptoms are mild, staff will ensure that patients consume an adequate amount of fluids to replenish what is lost due to sweating, diarrhea, and vomiting. They will also ensure that patients receive adequate nutrition, and they may provide medications to treat specific symptoms. For instance, medical staff in detox may give ibuprofen for pain or give a medication to treat diarrhea.
When morphine detox progresses to a moderate or severe level, additional medications may be necessary to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. Since morphine is a long-acting opiate, doctors will typically use a medication called methadone to assist patients through the detox process. This medication reduces withdrawal symptoms as well as morphine cravings. A person’s dose of methadone will vary depending upon how much morphine he or she was taking each day, but experts recommend beginning with a daily methadone dose of 30 milligrams for four days, followed by an increase to 35 milligrams for days five through eight, and then a reduction to 30 milligrams on day nine. After that, the daily methadone dose is reduced by 5 milligrams each day, until the patient discontinues it by day 15. While these are recommended doses, they may need to be adjusted to accommodate each patient’s unique needs.
Beyond medications used during treatment, it is also important to consider the morphine withdrawal timeline, which can give patients an idea of how long they can expect morphine withdrawal to last. The World Health Organization reports that withdrawal from long-acting opiates like morphine typically lasts 10 to 20 days and begins 12 to 48 hours after a person stops using the drug.
Help With Detoxing From Morphine
Give yourself or your loved one the best chance at getting sober safely and staying sober by admitting to our Florida morphine detox center. Get help from the caring and experienced medical staff at Compass Detox.
Get started on your road to recovery!
Additional Helpful Resources