ClickCease Morphine Withdrawal: Symptoms, Timeline & Detox Process - Granite Recovery Centers

Morphine Withdrawal: Symptoms, Timeline & Detox Process

Authored by Granite Recovery Centers    Reviewed by James Gamache    Last Updated: October 7th, 2021


James Gamache Medical Reviewer
Jim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) and Licensed Masters Level Addictions Counselor (MLADC). He has been working in the field of mental health/addiction treatment since 1995. Jim earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services from Springfield College in 2000, and a Masters Degree in Social Work from Boston University in 2002. In 2002 Jim was hired by the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester holding the position of Clinical Case Manager. From 2004-2019, Jim was employed at WestBridge Inc. During his time at WestBridge, Jim held the following positions; Clinician, Team Leader, Director, & Chief Operations Officer. In 2019 Jim transitioned employment to GateHouse Treatment Center as the Clinical Director for 10 months. In October of 2020 Jim transitioned to Granite Recovery Centers and is currently serving as the Senior VP of Clinical Services and Quality Assurance.

6% of the American population over the age of 12 misused opiate medications in the last year. More than 60% of these people admit to having gotten the drugs from relatives or friends. With these shocking statistics, it is evident that morphine abuse and addiction affect many families and communities. As such, it’s becoming an increasingly significant concern. The United States pays +$500 billion in criminal justice costs, health care expenses, lost productivity, and even accidents.

Like many prescription drugs, finding the proper dosage for morphine requires knowledge and often takes in-depth experimentation. Even if someone is under a doctor’s supervision, it takes high expertise to ensure a patient doesn’t cross the line from treatment to abuse. However, people can sometimes find it challenging to detect morphine abuse, particularly when the person misusing it has a prescription.

Understanding Morphine

Poppy Flower

Morphine is a potent, naturally occurring opiate painkiller used to relieve severe pain. Like other opiates, morphine is obtained from the Asian poppy plant. In most cases, this painkiller is used in hospitals to relieve severe, moderate, and chronic pain. Additionally, it can help relieve pain after surgeries, treat cancer-related pain and in end-of-life care. Morphine is a drug that should be used under a doctor’s prescription. However, some individuals abuse this medication by consuming it outside prescription limitations, leading to addiction.

The Global Information Network About Drugs classifies morphine under the most potent opioids that work by interacting with receptors across the central nervous system (CNS) to produce a euphoric effect and adjust how the body perceives pain. This drug has a high potential for abuse. Plus, its highly addictive nature often requires a professional and tailored treatment program. Morphine can be consumed in the form of syrup, tablets, or injections. It can even be smoked.

How Is Morphine Abused?

Morphine usually comes as tablets, liquid, or an injection, and most people abuse it orally or transdermally. Others crush the pill and snort it. The nose’s blood vessels send it directly to the bloodstream, which causes an instant and intense effect. It can also trigger a rush of euphoria, which alters the state of drowsiness and wakefulness. Injecting morphine is another way of abusing the drug. Although morphine injection is thought to be safe when used under a physician’s care, injecting higher amounts or using it frequently can increase the risk of overdose or even damage the veins. Morphine abuse is very serious.

Signs and Symptoms of Morphine Overdose

Morphine alters the user’s CNS function, which affects essential functions such as heart rate, temperature control, and breathing. Indeed, taking morphine too often or consuming higher amounts at once can be dangerous. If you or someone close to you seems to be abusing this drug, knowing the specific signs of overdose can save a life.

Some signs of morphine overdose may include:

  • Limp muscles
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Slow, difficult breathing
  • Intense drowsiness
  • Lack of sufficient oxygen, leading to bluish fingernails or lips
  • Pinpoint pupils

Consequently, combining morphine with other CNS depressants like opioids, benzodiazepines, or alcohol increases the risk of overdosing. The drugs’ effects are amplified when mixing, leading to coma, unconsciousness, and even death.

Signs of Morphine Abuse

While morphine is an excellent painkiller, using it frequently can lead to the development of dependence. Typically, morphine abuse occurs when an intense euphoric effect is caused within the central nervous system. Keep in mind that too much consumption of morphine can result in severe adverse side effects.

Using this drug without a doctor’s prescription is considered abuse. A person who abuses morphine often exhibits various physical and behavioral effects, including shallow breathing, unconsciousness, sleepiness, and muscle stiffness. In other cases, a person can experience involuntary eye movement, low sensitivity to pain, and slurred speech.

Furthermore, morphine abuse can cause fluid retention, making users experience swelling joints and appear bloated. Ultimately, misuse of morphine can take a toll on a person’s emotions. People suffering from morphine addiction may experience irritability, anxiety, irrational fears, and depression.

Short-Term Side Effects of Morphine

Immediate effects of morphine will vary based on different factors, including the amount taken, method of administration, and a person’s general health. You will experience short-term effects within the first few minutes and last up to six hours depending on how the drug was administered. These effects include:

  • Mood swings
  • Constipation
  • Lower body temperature
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Changes in heart rate
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness upon standing
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • A false sense of well-being

Long-Term Side Effects of Morphine

Morphine isn’t the first choice for any form of pain although it is commonly used in hospitals. This is because it has a high risk of overdose and dependence, which is a significant concern. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that 1 out of 4 patients treated with opioids for a prolonged period have a high risk of developing opioid-related disorders. Moreover, frequent use of morphine can cause long-term effects by altering your hormones, immune system, and GI tract. Some of these long-term effects include:

  • Acid reflux
  • Chronic constipation
  • Weight loss
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased blood sugar
  • Bloating
  • Immune system problems
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Osteoporosis and increased risk of fractures
  • Issues with menstruation

Dependence on morphine is established when tolerance starts to build in the body. Worse, once your body develops physical dependence, it means you will not be able to function as you would without your regular dose. Morphine withdrawal may also dismay a user from quitting.

Signs of Morphine Addiction

As a strong opioid, morphine changes how pain is perceived in the brain, creating a sense of euphoria. Furthermore, you may experience impaired mental function, sedation, and inability to pay attention. Furthermore, prolonged use of morphine can exhibit the following signs:

– Feeling a strong urge for morphine to get through the day

– Irregular eating patterns or significant weight loss

– Visiting different doctors within a short time

– Withdrawal symptoms

– Secretive behavior

– Stealing items or selling anything to pay for drugs

Morphine Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal

People with a psychological and physical dependency on morphine will experience intense withdrawal symptoms when this substance leaves their bloodstream. The drug often attaches to receptors across the nerve cells in a person’s spinal cord, brain, and other areas, preventing the proper transmission of pain signals.  Early morphine withdrawal symptoms occur within six to 14 hours after taking the last dosage. Yawning, runny nose, and sweating are common signs. Within 48 to 72 hours of taking the last dose, other severe morphine withdrawal symptoms may occur:

  • Body aches
  • Insomnia
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Watery eyes
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting
  • Anxiety

Certainly, morphine withdrawal can be a painful and uncomfortable process, explaining why many individuals struggle due to their dependence on the drug. The biggest challenge is that they must continue using the medicine to avoid the withdrawal process. Nevertheless, several treatment facilities across the nation are ready to walk you through your recovery journey.

Getting Treatment for Morphine Addiction

If you or someone you know is struggling to break a morphine addiction, feel free to get in touch with Granite Recovery Centers so that we can start preparing for your recovery plan. Granite Recovery Centers are committed to transforming lives by providing comprehensive client-focused treatment.

We have provided superior-quality addiction and mental health treatments for over 10 years in New England and beyond. We offer a unique blend of evidence-based therapy coupled with a 12-step curriculum. Our clinical psychotherapies feature a full range of care offerings:

  • Medical detox
  • Primary residential treatment
  • Extended care
  • Intensive outpatient counseling
  • Sober living
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Alumni community

We make it our responsibility to provide individualized treatment programs to help you manage cravings, identify harmful habits, pinpoint triggers, and start rebuilding your life the best way possible. Some of our comprehensive treatment programs include the following:

Detox Program

Our drug detox process will last for several days up to a week, depending on the type of drug used, the amount taken, and for how long. While at our facility, you can expect 24-hour medical monitoring, an around-the-clock structured setting, and professional help if you have difficulty controlling cravings. We work tirelessly to relax your mind, help you understand the process, and offer the detox support you need. You do not need to battle morphine withdrawal alone. Granite Recovery Centers provides medical detoxification for people who do not need immediate medical intervention, are not a danger to themselves, and are capable of self-evacuation in the event of an emergency.

Drug Rehab

We provide inpatient and outpatient drug rehab programs. Inpatient drug rehab requires that a person stays in our facility where he/she can participate in individual and group therapy, skill-building sessions, clinical psychotherapy, holistic therapy, community-based exercises, 12-step curricula, and focused recovery programs.

Clients can live at home or in an extended-care facility and attend therapy at a separate outpatient center. As a result, the program works well for people who need regular monitoring and guidance after undergoing primary care at an inpatient institution. For instance, some of our outpatient programs include group therapy, case management, education resources, access to psychotherapy, holistic classes, and skill-building workshops.

Sober-Living Programs

These programs provide our clients with the supportive environment they need while re-entering society. Our sober living programs are safe, dependable, moderately structured, and monitored by a house manager. Sober living is a great stepping stone toward complete independence.

Female-Specific Rehab Center

We understand that substance abuse affects each gender differently. Women are often reluctant to seek help due to legal and societal fears. We provide a safe and comfortable environment at our women’s rehab center. Women can feel free to discuss and share their experiences without fear or judgment. We focus on treating various forms of substance abuse, including alcohol addiction, prescription opiate addiction, benzo addiction, and heroin addiction.

Male-Specific Rehab Center

We have a specialized treatment program designed to help men struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. For example, men overcome societal expectations and share male-specific experiences. Our rehab center provides yoga therapy, depression treatment, recreational therapy, group and individual therapy, and anger management treatment.

Alumni Program

Graduates connect and bond through our alumni program. Former clients stay active and maintain valuable relationships while finding the support they need. The alumni program is a community of men and women who share values, experiences, respect, and a singular voice. Members have access to private groups, educational events and programs, and peer support. Additionally, participants take part in recreational programs like cookouts, outings, and meditation and yoga.

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to morphine, it’s important to know that help is available. You can contact our team today for more information about getting the treatment you need. Our team is available 24/7.

At Granite Recovery Centers, we want to provide accurate information about health and addiction so that our readers can make informed decisions.

We have credentialed medical doctors & clinicians who specialize in addiction treatment review the information on our website before it is published. We use credible sources such as government websites and journal articles when citing statistics or other medically related topics.