Morphine’s addictive properties have afflicted many across the country. Among prescription pain relievers, researchers found that 0.2% of the population aged 12 or older abused morphine.

Recognizing the causes and early signs of morphine abuse, as well as pushing toward recovery, are crucial steps to deviate from the drug’s misuse and consequences.

If you suspect that you or a loved one are developing a pattern of morphine abuse, you’ve come to the right place.

This article will guide you through morphine addiction’s implications, signs, effects, causes, and treatment plans to explore.

Brief Overview of Morphine

Morphine is a controlled substance prescribed to those experiencing chronic pain when other pain-relieving medications are ineffective.

The analgesic drug is made from opium poppy seeds. It’s primarily used in instances of labor pains, surgery, cancer pains, and major trauma from accidents.

With its increasing popularity, morphine has garnered multiple street names, including Dreamer, Emsel, First Line, God’s Drug, and Morpho. It’s often sold under several brand names, like Kadian®, RMS®, Oramorph SR®, MSIR®, and Roxanol®.

Morphine comes in different forms, such as tablets, oral liquid, injections, and capsules. Each formula differs in its timing. For instance, injections are typically more fast-acting than tablets.

How Does Morphine Affect Your Brain

Morphine produces similar effects on your brain like methadone, heroin, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and fentanyl, classifying it as a high-risk drug.

The opiate drug triggers euphoria, relaxation, and feelings of inspiration in your brain. It directly interacts with opioid receptors in your body’s central nervous system. It works by disrupting the pain nerve signals from reaching your brain.

Why Is Morphine Addictive?

According to research, morphine can be as addictive as heroin. The drug’s dopamine-inducing effects trigger the brain’s reward system. As time passes with the same dosage, you’ll start to develop a dependence on the drug as your tolerance increases.

Subsequently, someone suffering from substance abuse will be more inclined to take a higher dose to feel the same high as when they first started taking the opiate drug.

This increased reliance on the drug poses several risks. Once someone afflicted with opioid addiction ceases morphine use, they’ll soon feel the withdrawal symptoms crawling in.

These symptoms can manifest both psychologically and physically. Overcoming the addiction then becomes much more challenging.

Causes of Morphine Addiction

While morphine addiction can affect anyone, some factors may make you more vulnerable to falling into the abuse cycle, including:

Mental Health

If you’re diagnosed with mental health issues, you could fall into the drug-taking habit more easily. Those with the dual diagnosis resort to morphine to relieve emotional trauma and pain.

Family History

If your family has a history of drug use or morphine abuse, you have a higher chance of developing substance abuse.

Medical healthcare professionals found that morphine distorts an individual’s gene makeup. Consequently, this distortion can become hereditary.


You could be spending time with people suffering from substance use disorder, whether it’s your family member or friend. It can come from an early age when parents expose children to the drug.

Peer pressure from surrounding groups is also a risk factor.

How Is Morphine Abused?

Over 60% of those struggling with morphine addiction admit to receiving the drug from a relative or friend.

Those suffering from morphine drug abuse typically misuse the drug through injections. That way, it enters the bloodstream faster and triggers a quicker high for the user.

Nonetheless, some may use morphine through immediate-release tablets and capsules as well. To achieve a faster effect, those dealing with addiction may crush the tablets and snort the drug. People may even smoke the pain relievers.

Side Effects of Morphine Addiction

High doses of morphine can produce several physical and psychological effects. They can include:

  • Increased euphoria
  • Pain relief
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Sweating
  • False sense of well-being
  • Hallucination
  • Itchy skin
  • Dizziness
  • Lack of attention

Signs of Morphine Addiction

If you suspect a loved one is suffering from morphine addiction, you can observe their behavior for multiple signs, including:

  • Stealing someone else’s prescription.
  • Lying to medical professionals to receive a prescription.
  • Searching for the drug through illicit routes rather than prescription.
  • Being aloof in friend and family groups.
  • Exhibiting poor work or school performance.
  • Displaying self-isolating behavior.
  • Neglecting day-to-day responsibilities.

Signs and Treatment of Morphine Overdose

You can identify morphine overdose from the following signs:

  • Blue-tinted skin around the lips and fingernails
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Slow and shallow breathing
  • Impaired reflexes
  • Inability to remain fully conscious
  • Slurred speaking
  • Pinpoint pupils, pulmonary
  • Coma

As for treating overdoses, medical professionals will likely administer naloxone. Patients could feel immediate signs of morphine withdrawal afterward.

Withdrawal Symptoms of Morphine

Morphine withdrawal experiences differ between individuals, depending on factors like drug intake frequency. The higher the tolerance developed for the opioid, the higher the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms.

Most of the symptoms will result in dehydration. A lack of rehydration can be fatal to patients in this phase. That said, here’s what to expect when undergoing morphine withdrawal:

  • Watery eyes
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle aches
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Disorientation

How Long Does Morphine Withdrawal Last?

Morphine withdrawal symptoms usually begin about six hours after the last intake. Afterward, the physical effects, such as diarrhea and muscle aches, can last 3-5 days.

Meanwhile, the psychological effects of morphine withdrawal will likely last much longer. Symptoms like PAWS (Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome) and anxiety can go on for months after withdrawal.

Morphine Addiction Treatment Options

The first step on the road to recovery is acknowledging the addiction and taking action. Addiction treatment offers several options that can cater to any lifestyle.


The initial phase of recovery is the detoxification process. This involves ridding your body of morphine entirely.

During this stage, you’ll feel the withdrawal symptoms sinking in, and it’s best to go through detox under a medical professional’s supervision.

Evidence-based findings supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse showcased the effectiveness of using medication like buprenorphine to alleviate the physical withdrawal symptoms you’ll experience.

Inpatient Treatment Programs

Feelings of psychological and physical dependence on morphine can be challenging to overcome. For those suffering from severe morphine addiction, inpatient treatment could be the solution.

It involves 24/7 supervision and multiple group and individual therapy sessions to guide you towards recovery.

Outpatient Treatment Programs

Outpatient treatment offers a less intense treatment choice. It’s ideal if your loved one has family, career, or school commitments.

They’ll be living in their residence or a sober living environment, but attend individual and group therapy sessions at a treatment facility.

Behavioral Therapies

During inpatient and outpatient care, addiction patients will undergo therapy. During these sessions, the psychologist will employ a certain method to lead you toward recovery.

Those methods can include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT), holistic therapy, and other options.

Aftercare Plan

Following inpatient and outpatient treatment, those undergoing recovery will then receive an aftercare plan.

This can involve multiple avenues, such as a 12-step program, sober living homes, and ongoing therapy sessions.

These methods help patients maintain their progress and prevent any potential for relapses.

Wrapping Up

Morphine addiction is classified under Schedule II in the Controlled Substance Act, overseen by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This puts it under the same category as cocaine, showcasing its high potential for abuse.

If you or your loved one is showing signs of morphine addiction in the West Palm Beach area, don’t hesitate to seek help from Allure Detox. Take the first step today!

Published on: 2024-05-07
Updated on: 2024-06-26

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