The highly addictive opioid painkiller known as morphine is a drug used frequently within a hospital setting to treat acute pain. It is carried on ambulances for those who suffered a severe injury to mitigate some of their worst pain symptoms. It is very similar to other opioids that are derived from opium, as it is extracted from the poppy plant. The high attached to morphine is described as euphoric as it binds with opioid receptors in the brain. Users describe intense waves of pleasure overcoming them, and feelings of pain disappear.
Morphine works on our central nervous system (CNS) and is designed to decrease the sensation of pain.
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Morphine has a long history and came into existence in the early 1800s because of Friedrich Serturner. In 1827, Merck began marketing the painkiller, and today it is used in the synthesization of several opioids such as oxymorphone (Opana), hydromorphone (Dilaudid), and heroin.
As an unintended effect, morphine also increases dopamine in our body, and it highlights how quickly you can become dependent on the substance. Similar to other opioids, the presence of morphine alters the chemistry of the brain and causes physical and psychological dependence. Morphine is highly addictive, and because of this, tolerance and dependence can develop immediately after someone starts using it. Unfortunately, it can lead to someone experiencing morphine withdrawals when the presence of the drug leaves the body.
While morphine addiction is less common when it relates to the opioid epidemic, morphine use is a significant factor that can cause someone to become a drug user. It is one of the purest and most potent opioids available today, and unfortunately, it is dangerous while using outside of a hospital setting. In addition to the dangers, morphine withdrawal can be severe.
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What Are Morphine Withdrawal Symptoms?
Withdrawal of any drug varies from one person to another, and when it comes to morphine, it is no different. One person who has used the drug for an extended period will experience worse withdrawal symptoms than someone who used for a short period. Other such factors may include:
- Polysubstance use
- Method in which they are using the drug
- The amount they are using
Someone that consumes lesser amounts of morphine is going to experience milder withdrawal symptoms than someone consuming significant amounts. It’s imperative to mention, however, that the symptoms will remain the same despite those factors, and the difference will be in the severity. Morphine is one of the more potent opioids on the market, and the withdrawal process is typically the reason drug users will avoid sobriety despite being fed up using the drug.
The most common morphine withdrawal symptoms someone can expect to feel once they’ve become dependent include:
- Lack of concentration
- Restless leg syndrome
- Intense emotional instability
- Mood swings
- Cold sweats
- Joint and muscle pain or spasms
- Watery eyes
- Excessive yawning
- A runny nose and other flu-like symptoms
- Itchiness throughout the body
- Sweating and gooseflesh skin
- Pupil dilation
Opioid withdrawal, in general, is not inherently dangerous when comparing to benzodiazepines or alcohol, but complications can still arise. When the body becomes dependent on several substances, stopping them can lead to seizures or other adverse effects.
An area to consider about the morphine withdrawal process is its ability to aggravate pre-existing medical conditions. The withdrawal process itself presents uncomfortable symptoms, but if there are certain medical conditions present as well, the stress of withdrawal can create a dangerous environment.
What Are the Stages of the Morphine Withdrawal Timeline?
The severity of the morphine withdrawal symptoms will gradually become more intense after the last dose has been consumed. While life-threatening symptoms are unlikely, that does not mean the withdrawal process can’t make you feel incredibly ill.
At times, withdrawal can become so severe that you will be unable to get out of bed, eat, or sleep for several weeks, depending on your dose. Unfortunately, this is a routine part of the morphine withdrawal process, which can be treated by professionals to alleviate the symptoms and help transition you from addiction to recovery.
Morphine is known to be a fast-acting opioid, and withdrawal symptoms will set in shortly after the last dose. The symptoms are going to vary from one person to another, but the acute symptoms can be felt between the first three to 12 hours after the previous dose. The initial morphine withdrawal symptoms include:
- A runny nose
- Teary eyes
It may start as mild and be overlooked, but as the process marches forward, it will become evident you are going through morphine withdrawal instead of cold or flu symptoms.
As the withdrawals run their course, symptoms will intensify, and more symptoms will become present. The worst of the symptoms will peak around 48-72 hours after your last dose, and the physical effects of morphine withdrawal at their peak include:
- Heightened blood pressure and heart rate
- Stomach pains
- Muscle and joint pain
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive sneezing
- Intense cravings
At around the seven to 10 day mark, physical symptoms will begin to become more manageable. Some symptoms such as insomnia, depression, and mood swings may linger as your body adjusts to its newly founded sobriety.
Emotional and mental withdrawal symptoms will appear, and they can be worse than the physical withdrawal symptoms and persist for quite some time. Psychological aspects of morphine withdrawal and lingering physical effects are referred to as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS).
Why Should I Detox?
Opioid withdrawal symptoms are overwhelming, and it can be challenging to overcome alone. The detox process can be painful and unsuccessful due to the vulnerability you will experience during these times. Medical detoxification ensures you are held accountable for your choices, and that you recover in comfort while the worst of the symptoms occur. It’s imperative to surround yourself with professionals dedicated to treating this in the event adverse effects occur.
What Is The Next Treatment Step?
During detox, the professional team will evaluate your condition and determine the best course of action. It will all depend on the severity of the addiction, and they could suggest you attend a residential treatment center that shelters you from outside temptation. Detox alone will not address the underlying issues that cause addiction. It is a crucial portion of long-term abstinence. Some therapies and service you should expect during treatment include:
Call California Vistas For Morphine Withdrawal Treatment Immediately
Is your loved one struggling with substance abuse or addiction? Are you? If you answered yes to that question, it’s imperative for you to treat it with the seriousness it requires and get help before it’s too late.
For a free and confidential consultation with a specialist at California Highlands Vistas Addiction Treatment, call or contact us online now. These professionals are available around the clock to help you navigate your treatment options, verify your insurance, and answer any questions you might have.
Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). (n.d.). from https://www.semel.ucla.edu/dual-diagnosis-program/News_and_Resources/PAWS
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. (n.d.). from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/cognitive-behavioral-therapy
Kosten, T. R., & George, T. P. (2002, July). The neurobiology of opioid dependence: Implications for treatment. from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2851054/
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019, January 22). Opioid Overdose Crisis. from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis
Morphine: MedlinePlus Drug Information. (n.d.). from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682133.html