What is Morphine Addiction?
Morphine addiction is a unique condition, as the drug in question is very difficult to obtain outside of a hospital setting, and is only prescribed to those patients with the most severe pain management needs (serious injuries, cancer, etc.). It is largely regarded as the most potent opiate regularly given to hospital patients, and for this reason, it’s heavily regulated by the FDA.
If you or a loved one are addicted to morphine, the professional addiction treatment staff at Lumiere Healing Centers wants to help you recover from this condition, which left untreated, could be deadly. Call Lumiere for more information how our facility could be your key to lifelong sobriety.
Morphine addiction is a physical and psychological dependence on the therapeutic opiate drug morphine to the degree that the user has a compulsive habit of using the drug. It is an opioid, much like oxycodone and hydrocodone, but unlike these other prescription opiates, morphine is regarded to be too strong to be widely prescribed for pain.
According to Medline Plus, morphine is only prescribed outside of a hospital setting to manage severe, around-the-clock pain that cannot be alleviated by the use of more traditionally prescribed opioid pain relievers. The drug is regarded to be highly addictive, to the degree that the DEA has it classified as a schedule II drug, a category containing the most addictive drugs that still have therapeutic uses.
How Does Morphine Addiction Occur?
Morphine works in generally the same way as other opiates. This class of drugs binds to opioid receptors in the brain, flooding neural pathways with dopamine, a chemical that accompanies pleasure. As a result, the user experiences the dulling of pain and a euphoric feeling.
Prolonged use of opioid pain relievers have a few different results:
- The body and mind build up a dependence to the drug, causing a person to be less and less able to function normally without the presence of the substance in question.
- A tolerance to the drug’s effects is built, causing the user to need more and more of the drug to match the initial high.
Morphine is regarded as significantly stronger than other prescription opioids with the Global Information Network About Drugs (GINAD) calling it one of the strongest drugs in existence today.
GINAD also estimates that it takes only a few doses to become psychologically dependent on morphine, meaning that even a patient receiving regular morphine doses in the hospital during recovery from a surgery begins to crave the drug more and more as they are given it. Physical dependence takes place quicker than that of other drugs of the same class, although it can take a few weeks to set in.
What Are the Signs of Morphine Addiction?
Like with addicts to other prescription drugs, it can be difficult to differentiate between a person using it to manage severe pain and a person addicted to the substance. Here are a few signs that should tell you it’s the latter, and not the former:
- Morphine addicts use the drug without a prescription, or exceed the dosage recommended by the prescribing physician
- Addicts steal or ask for money to buy morphine
- Morphine addicts tend to use slang names for the drug
- Addicts to any drug will show the signs of abuse: usually they look tired, and may have track marks from injecting the drug.
What Are the Dangers of Using Morphine?
Abusing morphine can come with a number of direct and indirect risks. A direct risk of morphine addiction is complications of the drug, specifically, breathing problems. As morphine is used, it slows down bodily functions including breathing. As more and more morphine is used to retain the same high (to fight the body’s tolerance), overdose can occur where breathing stops completely.
An indirect risk of morphine addiction is the use of other opiate drugs when morphine supplies run out. Because of its heavily regulated nature, morphine is not always readily available on the street, and when it is it’s very expensive. This may lead morphine addicted people to turn to more dangerous drugs like heroin and fentanyl, opiates responsible for overdose deaths at a higher rate.
Withdrawal Symptoms of Morphine Addiction
When a person who is addicted to morphine stops using the drug, they subject themselves to withdrawal. The symptoms of morphine withdrawal are known to be harsh, but not typically fatal unless morphine addiction is co-occurring with another substance abuse disorder.
Here are some of the withdrawal symptoms for morphine addiction:
- Abdominal cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fevers and intense sweating
- Headache and muscle aches
- Difficulty focusing
- Anxiety, depression and thoughts of suicide
- Intense cravings for the drug
- Elevated heart rate and a higher rate of breathing
Although morphine withdrawal is not typically life-threatening, it isn’t recommended that addicts attempt to detox alone. Not only can it be hazardous to a person’s health, attempting to detox without supervision carries a very low success rate.
For more information about morphine addiction and how you or your loved ones can get help regarding morphine addiction, call Lumiere Healing Centers today at 513-909-2225.