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Morphine is an opiate drug derived from the opium poppy plant that is used medically to treat severe pain. When taken, it produces a high which reduces pain and tension and makes the user feel euphoria. This drug can be taken in pill form, as a syrup, can be injected intravenously, and even smoked.
As a Schedule II drug, morphine is used for the treatment of pain after surgery and can even be used for the treatment of some cancers. It’s schedule classification, however, also makes it a drug that has a high potential for abuse and dependence. Street names include: morph, Mister Blue, dreamer, roxanol, white stuff, monkey, M, and Miss Emma.
Just like opioid prescription medications, morphine can easily be abused. Using any prescription drug other than the way it was prescribed or directed is considered abuse. Here are some of the signs of morphine abuse:
Those who abuse this drug regularly can experience more serious symptoms, including:
- Sleep apnea
- Debilitated immune system
- Bouts of alertness and unconsciousness
- Collapsed veins
- Trouble with urination
- Severe breathing issues
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It can be difficult to tell if someone is addicted to morphine or simply using the drug to suppress chronic pain. Those who have a prescription for the drug can easily hide their addiction and use it as an excuse to continue taking the drug. As with any opiate painkiller, morphine can quickly lead to physical dependence and addiction. Once their bodies develop a high tolerance for the medication, they require more of it to feel the same relief the originally felt.
Opiates such as morphine bind to receptors in the brain that control the feelings of pleasure and pain. This prescription opiate works by blocking the pain receptors and increasing dopamine levels. Dopamine is the chemical known to give a person the feeling of happiness and euphoria. In essence, the user’s brain is rewarded every time they abuse the drug.
Once the drug is abused long-term, the natural balance of the user’s brain chemistry changes. Over time, dopamine receptors begin to shut down, sometimes permanently in severe cases, and the normal dopamine that is naturally produced by the brain slows down and even stops. This means that unless the user takes more of the drug, there is no way for them to feel pleasure in the short-term.
Others who suffer from addiction to this drug take it simply to avoid the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms they experience when they stop using it.
Some of these symptoms of withdrawal include:
If you notice someone you care about exhibiting these signs and symptoms of a morphine addiction, including changes in behavior and isolation, it is imperative to seek the help of a certified rehab facility.
Opiate prescription drugs are some of the most addictive and abused drugs in the United States. Receiving inpatient treatment from a licensed rehab facility is the best and most effective way to address physical and psychological addiction to morphine.
The first step of treatment will be to evaluate the patient’s current physical and emotional state. Once an assessment is complete, a treatment plan is developed, usually beginning with detox. A medical detox protocol is the safest and most effective method to help slowly wean patients off the addictive substance. Medications can be administered during this time to ease withdrawal symptoms and help curb the addiction. The withdrawal symptoms are closely monitored to ensure a safe recovery and avoid any emergency medical situations.
When the patient has overcome the most severe withdrawal symptoms, behavioral therapies can commence. Patients will receive therapy on an individual and group basis. They can also receive alternative treatments such as acupuncture or art therapy to help them cope. The ultimate goal of the therapy is to help the patient change their unhealthy behavior and replace it with positive alternatives.
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- Mandal, M. D. (2013, October 27). What is Morphine? Retrieved August 30, 2016, from http://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Morphine.aspx
- Opioid Overdose. (2017, February 09). Retrieved April 07, 2017, from http://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/index.html
- Abuse, N. I. (2014, May 14). America’s Addiction to Opioids: Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse. Retrieved August 30, 2016, from https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/legislative-activities/testimony-to-congress/2016/americas-addiction-to-opioids-heroin-prescription-drug-abuse
Last updated on April 7th, 2017 at 08:38 pm