Morphine Addiction: Effects, Withdrawal & Treatment

Morphine, a potent opioid, has long been used in medical settings to help relieve pain. However, morphine has a high potential for misuse, dependence, and addiction.

Continue reading to learn more about morphine, risks of misuse, effects of addiction and how to get help for you or a loved one struggling with addicti

What Is Morphine?

Morphine is a prescription opioid medication primarily used for treating pain. It is available as a liquid, tablet, and in injectable preparations.1

Like heroin and prescription opioid medications, morphine can also induce feelings of relaxation and pleasure, and people may misuse the drug at higher doses to feel a “high” or “rush” of temporary euphoria.1

Effects of Morphine

The most common effects of morphine are:

  • Constipation.
  • Nausea.
  • Somnolence.
  • Lightheadedness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Sedation.
  • Vomiting.
  • Sweating.

Morphine Overdose

When someone misuses morphine, especially at higher doses or in ways it is not intended to be used, they increase their risk for experiencing a life-threatening overdose.

Signs of a morphine overdose include:

  • Respiratory depression.
  • Extreme drowsiness.
  • Skeletal muscle flaccidity.
  • Cold and clammy skin.
  • Constricted “pinpoint” pupils.
  • Slow heart rate.
  • Low blood pressure.

Signs of Morphine Addiction

Morphine is a powerful opioid that has a high potential for misuse which may lead to physiological dependence or addiction. Misuse of morphine or other opioids can be dangerous and has been associated with many serious health problems including overdose and death.1,2

Someone is misusing a prescription opioid when they take a prescription that doesn’t belong to them or misuse their own prescription (such as by taking more than prescribed or taking it in ways other than intended, e.g., snorting crushed tablets). 3

Someone who is abusing morphine or other opioids may display certain behavioral and physical signs, some of which are:4,5,17

  • Using morphine more often and in larger quantities than intended.
  • Wanting to stop or cut back use but unable to do so.
  • Spending a great deal of time getting morphine, using morphine or recovering from use.
  • Continuing to use morphine despite negative consequences to health, quality of life, relationships, and other key life areas.

While only a medical or mental health professional is equipped to diagnose an opioid use disorder, reading the diagnostic criteria may help you recognize whether you or someone you love needs help. View the full list of criteria.

Morphine Withdrawal & Detox

Once someone has become dependent on morphine, they will experience withdrawal symptoms when they reduce or cease taking the drug.3

It is difficult to predict how long or severe withdrawal may be because there are so many variables, such as someone’s general physical and mental health, their history of opioid misuse, how much morphine or other opioids they’ve been taking, and how often they’ve taken opioids, etc.7,8

Generally, withdrawal from morphine and other opioids usually begin within 8 to 12 hours of the last opioid dose and subsides after 3 to 5 days. 7 Common morphine withdrawal symptoms include:7,8

  • Anxiety.
  • Insomnia.
  • Excessive sweating.
  • Pounding heart.
  • Muscle twitching.
  • Abdominal cramps.
  • Muscle aches.
  • Bone pain.
  • Runny nose.
  • Teary eyes.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Nausea and vomiting.

While opioid withdrawal is seldom life-threatening, it is often very unpleasant and can be a major hurdle for people with OUD who want to quit, leading many of them to return to using opioids. With medical detoxification, patients are monitored and can be prescribed medications to stabilize any condition that may arise and make the process more bearable.7

Detox is an important first step in a person’s recovery because it allows them to safely withdraw from morphine and other opioids they were misusing, preparing them for further treatment, which is often necessary for long-term abstinence from illicit opioid use.7

Morphine Addiction Treatment

Woman meditating

While morphine and other opioids are powerfully addictive substances, OUD is treatable. With the right help, many people are able to overcome the disorder and regain their health and social functioning.9

Effective treatment of OUD often involves a combination of pharmacological and behavioral health therapies and may involve more than one level of care. There is no single treatment pathway that leads to remission of the disease of the OUD, and some may need higher levels of treatment intensity than others.9

Behavioral Therapies for Morphine Addiction

Behavioral therapy is a vital part of addiction recovery and remission of OUD. There are several behavioral therapy methods that have been shown to be effective in treating substance use disorders. These include:

Some treatment facilities also use supplemental, alternative therapies that many patients find helpful. For example, Desert Hope Treatment Center provides expressive art and music therapy in addition to the more traditional, well-established therapies like those listed above.

Medications for Morphine Withdrawal

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is also an important aspect of treatment for many people recovering from OUD.14

Two opioid agonists can be used in maintenance treatment, methadone and buprenorphine, and both have been demonstrated to be effective in preventing relapse to opioid misuse.15 These drugs bind to the same opioid receptors as morphine does to relieve withdrawal symptoms and cravings. When used as directed by a physician, use of these drugs will not produce a euphoric high in patients and are safe to use over the course of months or even years.15,16

Naltrexone—an opioid antagonist—is sometimes prescribed to patients with OUD after they have successfully detoxed from all opioids. Naltrexone is designed to discourage relapse, or a return to opioid use, by blocking the pleasurable subjective effects of opioids.16

Morphine Addiction Treatment in Las Vegas, NV

If you or a loved one is struggling with opioid use disorder, there is help. At our inpatient rehab in Las Vegas, NV we help people get on the road to recovery from addiction and get back to living the life they deserve.

Contact our compassionate and knowledgeable admissions navigators at to learn more about our multiple options for treatment, including inpatient, residential, and outpatient addiction treatment programs in Las Vegas and a nearby sober residence. Our navigators can also help start admissions, answer your questions about ways to pay for rehab, and check your insurance coverage for addiction treatment. Recovery is possible, so don’t wait. Call or text us today.

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