Morphine is a powerful narcotic pain medication used to treat mild, moderate and severe pain. It causes one to feel very relaxed and euphoric, and it has the potential for abuse. It’s also habit-forming for those who aren’t abusing it but taking it as prescribed. People who have had a history of drug abuse or addiction sometimes fall into the trap of becoming addicted to morphine. Overcoming such an addiction can be challenging on your own, and frequently requires help from a treatment center where a comprehensive treatment plan can be administered.
As a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Schedule II drug, those that use morphine can easily become dependent on it. Physically, the body gets used to having the drug. In fact, the body can get used to a certain amount of the drug and will need more of it in order to achieve the same effects. This is known as tolerance. As the level of tolerance increases, the likelihood of addiction increases too. Psychological dependence can occur as well. This is when a person thinks they cannot function very well without the drug.
Essentially, over time, the brain gets used to having morphine and when it doesn’t get it, will produce withdrawal symptoms that can be quite uncomfortable. These include:
The pace at which one goes through withdrawal can vary from person to person depending on different factors. Generally, one may start to feel flu-like symptoms as soon as four to six hours after the last dose. The most intense withdrawal symptoms usually occur between days two and three, and most people are symptom-free within a week or two.
Here is a general morphine withdrawal timeline:
Within three to five hours after the last dose of morphine, withdrawal symptoms can begin to surface. The body will start to crave another dose, and the person may begin feeling flu-like symptoms like sweating, body aches, runny nose, and nausea.
Withdrawal symptoms tend to peak during days two and three. This is the most uncomfortable time frame for the person, experiencing symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, rapid heartbeat, cravings, diarrhea, and irritability.
When you get to day four, many of the withdrawal symptoms will slow down or become less intense. You may still feel like you have the flu, but each day you should feel a bit better. The gastrointestinal symptoms will most likely have decreased significantly, and cravings won’t be as intense.
The physical withdrawal symptoms are likely to be gone after the first week. Psychological symptoms can linger on for several more weeks, such as occasional cravings, anxiety, or depression.
Ready to get Help?
We’re here 24/7. Pick up the phone.
The intensity of withdrawal symptoms, as well as the timeframe for it is unique to each person.
Detoxing from an addictive drug such as morphine is important because it gives the body time to get rid of the toxins associated with the drug.
The body purges the drug over time, which will break the physical addiction. When morphine detox is done correctly, preferably under the medical care of a specialized addiction treatment team, a patient is able to get through the withdrawal symptoms and be free from the dependence on the drug.
Experts state that no one should try to stop using morphine, or any opioid, cold turkey. The abrupt stopping of the drug can send the body into shock and can be extremely dangerous. It can also cause a person to relapse over and over again because it’s challenging to get through the withdrawal symptoms on their own. Therefore, a medical detox program with a taper schedule is always recommended.
Detox is the first step toward a full continuum of treatment for morphine addiction. Medical detox is beneficial to help one get through the withdrawal symptoms while the body rids itself from the drug. Continued treatment for any underlying issues is essential and provided.
Many detox and treatment centers utilize addiction treatment medications to help ease the withdrawal from morphine process. These include:
Also, a tapering schedule or strategy will be created, whereby the dosage of the drug will be slowly decreased to allow the body to detox in a more manageable way. Essentially, you decrease the use of morphine, while replacing it with an opioid replacement drug to make the withdrawal process less daunting. Eventually, the patient will be tapered off the maintenance drug as well.
Along with medication, professional treatment is recommended to deal with lingering cravings and any co-occurring mental health issues that may be going on, such as anxiety or depression. Treatment options include:
Inpatient Treatment – A patient resides at the treatment facility for the duration of addiction recovery treatment. Often, the timeframe is between 30 and 60 days but can be extended if the patient wants or needs it.
Outpatient Treatment – A patient lives at home and attends a certain number of sessions per week at the treatment center, varying from three to eight sessions per week. Over time, as the person recovers, the number of sessions will be decreased.
Both types of treatment offer help in terms of providing a safe environment to get free from the drug with the help of substance abuse professionals. They also provide:
If you are struggling with an addiction to morphine or another opioid, it’s time to take your next step toward recovery. You don’t have to struggle with addiction any longer, and you don’t have to face recovery alone. We’re here to answer any questions you have, so please give us a call today.
(August 2017). Prescription Opioids. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved December 2018 from https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/opioids/prescribed.html
(n,d). Controlled Substance Schedules. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. DEA Diversion. Retrieved December 2018 from https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/schedules/
(December 2017). Opioid Drugs. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved December 2018 from https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/opioids/index.html
(April 2015). Clonidine, Oral Tablet. Healthline. Retrieved December 2018 from https://www.healthline.com/health/clonidine-oral-tablet
(May 2016). Buprenorphine. SAMHSA. Retrieved December 2018 from https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/treatment/buprenorphine
Hitti, M, (April 2007). Nudging the Brain Toward Addiction. WebMD. Retrieved December 2018 from https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/news/20070425/nudging-the-brain-toward-addiction
Case-Lo, C, (July 2017). Withdrawing from Opiates and Opioids. Healthline. Retrieved December 2018 from https://www.healthline.com/health/opiate-withdrawal