Morphine is a powerful opiate and a Schedule II controlled narcotic.
Opiates are chemical compounds derived from the fibers and sap of opium poppies. Opioids, on the other hand, are synthetic or semi-synthetic chemical compounds. Like all opiates, tolerance to morphine builds rapidly, often followed by abuse and addiction.
Prescribed for the treatment of moderate or severe pain, morphine is also sometimes administered for the treatment of chronic pain. Other medical applications for morphine include treating cancer-related pain, alleviating pain after major surgery, and addressing breathing issues in those at the end of life.
While morphine is a highly effective pain-reliever used the world over, the substance also triggers a dreamy sense of euphoria. These effects lead many people to abuse this potent opiate.
Morphine is an opiate and a narcotic analgesic. The medication works on the CNS (central nervous system) to relieve pain.
The medication is available only with a prescription. In addition to generic versions of morphine, you can also find branded versions, including:
Historically, morphine was almost exclusively administered in injectable form. There are now other forms available alongside morphine injectables:
The extended-release formulations are used for the treatment of pain so severe that it warrants continuous and long-term opioid therapy. Morphine is used where other pain medications were ineffective or not tolerated.
Is morphine addictive, then?
If morphine is used long-term, it can become habit-forming, leading to the development of both physical dependence and psychological dependence. Like all Schedule II controlled substances, morphine is highly addictive.
Those who require morphine for long-term relief of chronic pain may develop physical dependence as tolerance builds but will be unlikely to develop psychological dependence if the medication is used purely for pain relief.
Becoming physical dependent on morphine means you will need the substance to function normally and to prevent the presentation of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms in its absence. You will also experience urges and cravings for morphine. These effects can be minimized in those using morphine for legitimate pain-relieving purposes with a tapered reduction in dosage.
Most people who become addicted to morphine – formally diagnosed as opioid use disorder – abuse the substance long-term before finding themselves unable to control or moderate their use of this opiate.
Morphine induces a variety of effects, including:
Morphine is mainly abused for the sense of euphoria it triggers.
All of the following scenarios are considered morphine abuse:
If you take morphine in high doses, you will increase your risk of experiencing opiate overdose. According to 2020 data from CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), opioids and opiates were implicated in more than 75,000 of the 100,000 drug overdoses reported in the United States that year. The same data shows that opioids were associated with just 55,000 overdose deaths in 2019.
These are the most common indicators of morphine overdose:
Morphine overdose can cause unconsciousness and fatal coma.
How addictive is morphine, then?
Morphine addiction most frequently stems from chronic abuse. If you take this medication long-term, tolerance quickly forms. This triggers two outcomes:
You will require more morphine to achieve the same euphoric and pain-relieving effects.
Withdrawal symptoms will present in the absence of morphine.
Taking increased quantities of morphine to mitigate tolerance and the diminished effects of the drug accelerates the development of physical dependence. Addiction often but not always follows.
The symptoms of opioid addiction vary from person to person and depending on the substance used. Some signs are noticeable almost from the onset of opioid therapy, will other symptoms manifest after months of opioid abuse.
These are some early signs of morphine abuse:
If addiction to morphine develops, this is classified as opioid use disorder per DSM-5-TR (fifth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).
For a diagnosis of morphine addiction, at least two of these criteria must present during a one-year period:
Morphine addiction can be treated similarly to other opioid addictions. A combination of these behavioral and pharmacological interventions is proven effective:
MAT (medication-assisted treatment)
Psychotherapy like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) or DBT (dialectical behavior therapy)
Counseling (individual and group)
The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) approves three medications for treating opioid use disorders like morphine addiction.
During MAT, naloxone (an antagonist) and buprenorphine (a partial agonist) can mitigate the rewarding effects of morphine, so discouraging subsequent abuse of this opiate. Methadone is also proven effective for improving treatment retention and minimizing the likelihood of relapsing during recovery.
Medication-assisted treatment is best complemented by behavioral interventions like psychotherapy and counseling.
If you’re ready to fight back against morphine addiction, we can help you at Gratitude Lodge.
If you have abused morphine long-term and developed opioid use disorder, kickstart your recovery at Gratitude Lodge. We have affordable luxury rehab centers located in:
Take advantage of a supervised medical detox to streamline the challenging initial phase of morphine addiction recovery. After a week or so, you can transition directly into one of the following treatment programs:
Opioid addiction, like alcoholism, responds positively to MAT (medication-assisted treatment) both during detox and throughout ongoing therapy. You can also access these evidence-based interventions if you commit to recovery at Gratitude Lodge:
When you are ready to reclaim your life from morphine addiction, call Gratitude Lodge at 888-861-1658.
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