Morphine Addiction Recovery Guide
Morphine is a type of opioid that is prescribed to treat pain and is available by prescription only. Opioids include natural opioids such as morphine and synthetic opioids. Opioids ignite a chemical change in the brain by activating opioid receptors on the brain’s surface, which releases pleasure chemicals such as dopamine.1
The term “opioid crisis” has been used quite frequently over the past several years. This refers to the significant increase in opioid use and overdose deaths in the United States since the 1990s. Beginning in 1990, the United States saw an increase in prescriptions for opioids morphine, which contributed to an increase in overdose deaths across the country.2 Fortunately, the state of Nevada has recently seen a decrease in the number of prescription opioid deaths. Deaths involving prescription opioids, including Morphine, decreased from 276 deaths in 2017 to 235 deaths in 2018.3
It is important to note that opioids, whether illegal or legal, synthetic or natural, can be habit-forming. They can also cause significant health problems. The purpose of this page is to provide education on morphine, morphine addiction, and how to access help for Morphine addiction in Nevada and nationwide.
What is Morphine?
Morphine is a natural opiate prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. Morphine can be prescribed in one of 3 forms: liquid, an extended-release long-acting tablet, and an extended-release long-acting capsule.4 The purpose of morphine is to treat chronic pain that cannot be treated with other types of pain medication. Morphine can be habit-forming and can lead to addiction. Therefore, it is crucial that morphine is taken as prescribed by a medical professional. Morphine should not be taken in higher quantities or for longer periods than prescribed. Failure to follow dosing and prescription guidelines can increase the risk of becoming addicted, which can lead to significant health and psychosocial problems.
Other Brand Names for Morphine
Some common brand names for morphine include Arymo ER, Kadian, and MorphaBond ER. ER stands for extended-release and it signifies that the medicine will be released for an extended period of time to provide long-lasting relief from pain. On January 1, 2017, the Food and Drug Administration approved Armyo ER to treat chronic and severe pain that is unable to be treated adequately by other pain medications. Armyo ER was designed to be abuse-deterrent and make injection of the drug difficult. However intravenous use, oral and intranasal administration is still possible.5
Kadian is another brand of morphine. Kadian contains polymer-coated extended-release morphine sulfate pellets that are used to treat moderate to severe pain that lasts for more than a few days.6 Kadian is designed to keep a steady amount of morphine in the bloodstream with little variations.
MorphaBond ER is another common brand name of morphine. MorphaBond ER is prescribed for chronic and severe pain that cannot be treated by other medication. It is prescribed specifically for pain that is never-ending and is not prescribed for sporadic pain. MorphaBond is prescribed as an oral medication and should be taken every 8 to 12 hours.7
What Are The Side Effects of Morphine?
Like most medications, there can be short-term and long-term side effects from taking morphine. Some of these side effects may be temporary while others can be permanent. The side effects range from mild to moderate to and severe. If side effects do not go away or if they become severe it is important to consult with a medical professional. Common mild to moderate side effects include:4
- Stomach pain.
- Dry mouth.
- Mood swings.
- Difficulty urinating.
- Pain when urinating.
- Small pupils.
More serious side effects require medical intervention immediately. These side effects can include: 4
- Irregular heartbeat and changes in the rhythm of the heartbeat.
- Purple or blue color to the skin.
- Inability to get or maintain an erection.
- Hallucinations (seeing and hearing things that don’t exist)
- Loss of coordination.
- Severe muscle stiffness or twitching.
- Decreased sexual desire.
- Extreme drowsiness.
- Irregular menstruation.
- Swelling of the face, eyes, lips, mouth, or throat.
- Difficulty breathing and swallowing.
- Chest pain.
Overdose is an unfortunate long-term, permanent side effect of morphine use. In 2018, nearly 41 people died each day from prescription opioid use, including morphine, totaling almost 15,000 deaths. This accounted for 32% of all opioid overdose deaths that year.8 The number of overdose deaths related to morphine and other prescribed opioids vary from state to state. In Nevada, for example, the overdose death rates remained stable from 2015 to 2017 and decreased from 2017 to 2018.8
One of the most severe side effects is morphine abuse, dependence, and addiction. While these terms may be similar given that they all reference the misuse of a substance, there are differences between the three. The easiest way to remember the differences among the three terms abuse, dependence, and addiction is that they vary in severity. For example, abuse signifies the use of a substance in ways that are unintended. This can look like taking more than prescribed, for longer than prescribed, and ingesting the drugs in ways that it is not intended to be ingested (intravenously as opposed to orally).
Substance dependence references the point at which the body becomes physically dependent on the substance and without it, the body experiences physical signs of withdrawal. Substance dependence also references the point at which the body requires more of the substance to achieve the desired effect of the drug. An addiction to a substance refers to the compulsive use of a substance despite negative consequences on one’s life. Certain risk factors can increase a person’s risk of developing an addiction, such as family history of addiction and substance use, physical pain, and trauma. Mental health issues such as depression can increase a person’s risk of abusing and misusing morphine.4
Morphine Addiction Signs
Addiction is defined as a chronic and relapsing disorder that includes compulsive drug-seeking behaviors, continued use of the drug despite negative outcomes, and long-lasting changes in the brain.9(what is drug addiction) Addiction to drugs like morphine can look different depending on variables such as age, gender, socioeconomic status, type of drug, length of drug use, and frequency of drug use. There are some common signs and symptoms of drug addiction to look out for. Symptoms of drug addiction can present as social signs as well as physical symptoms. Knowing common social and physical symptoms of morphine addiction can help identify addiction in a loved one.
Common social signs of addiction to morphine include:10
- Job loss.
- Failing to follow through with personal responsibilities at work and with family.
- Poor personal hygiene.
- Making mistakes at work and at school.
- Financial problems.
- Problems with the law including arrests and jail time.
- Conflict and problems in interpersonal relationships with friends, family, and co-workers.
Addiction has physical effects as well. These signs may not be as easy to spot as the behavioral/social symptoms of addiction listed above. Common physical symptoms of addiction include: 10
- Experiencing strong and intense cravings for the drug.
- Developing a physical tolerance to the drug and needing larger amounts of the drug to reach the desired effect.
- Trying to stop or cut down use of the drug and not being able to do so.
Coming Off Morphine
Withdrawal occurs after the body stops receiving the drug. Remember, dependence on morphine is the point at which the body becomes dependent on the drug to avoid withdrawal and higher amounts of morphine are required to produce the same effect. Some withdrawal symptoms occur very shortly after the drug stops entering the body; other signs of withdrawal can occur later. Common signs of early withdrawal include:11
- Difficulty falling and staying asleep.
- Runny nose.
- Tearing up.
- Muscle aches.
Late symptoms of withdrawal include:
- Stomach cramps.
- Dilated pupils.
Withdrawal from morphine and other opioids can be very uncomfortable, although is not generally fatal. Withdrawal symptoms can begin as early as 12 hours after the last use and can last for several days. Withdrawal symptoms can be so intense that they can cause a person to continue to use morphine even when they want to quit. This is in an attempt to avoid withdrawal and increase comfort. Fortunately, substance abuse treatment can help ease the burden of withdrawal and make the process as comfortable as possible.
Types of Morphine Addiction Treatment
Treatment for morphine addiction varies depending on the person and is tailored depending on each person’s unique needs. Substance abuse treatment can involve several steps and each step changes in intensity. For example, detoxification is the first step for many people who are looking to receive medical interventions while they detox from drugs and alcohol. The assistance of addiction and medical professionals can help aid in the withdrawal process by reducing the severity of symptoms and making the experience as comfortable as possible. Detox can serve as a crucial first step in the process of sobriety and recovery.
After detox, many people choose to enter an inpatient substance abuse treatment facility. The length of stay depends on the treatment facility and insurance coverage and can last from several days to several months. In an inpatient treatment facility, days are structured to include individual and group therapy and support services that encourage abstinence from substances. Inpatient treatment provides an opportunity for people to learn about their addiction and how to protect their sobriety once they are discharged.
The least restrictive form of substance abuse treatment is outpatient treatment. Outpatient treatment can include individual, group, and family therapy and can involve one hour a week or several hours a week depending on the type of outpatient therapy services received. Intensive outpatient therapy can involve 9 or more hours a week over 3 to 5 days a week where individual or family therapy may involve 1 to 2 hours a week or every other week.
Finding Morphine Addiction Treatment Centers
American Addiction Centers (AAC) is a leading provider of morphine rehabilitation in both the state of Nevada and across the United States. AAC works with you and their addiction specialists develop personalized treatment plans that are tailored to your specific needs. AAC has trained and compassionate staff who are dedicated to your recovery and helping you along your recovery journey. Call our free and confidential helpline at 702-800-2682 The helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). Opioids.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Opioid data analysis and resources.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). Nevada: Opioid-involved deaths and related harms.
- S. National Library of Medicine. (2019). Morphine.
- S. Food and Drug Administration. (2017). Impact of exclusivity on approval of Armyo ER.
- National Library of Medicine. (2008). Kadian (Morphine sulfate extended-release) capsules for treatment of chronic moderate-to-severe nonmalignant pain.
- S. Food and Drug Administration. (2019). Medication Guide: MorphaBond Er.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Overdose death maps.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). What is drug addiction?
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Know the signs and get help for opioid addiction.
- S. National Library of Medicine. (2020). Opioid and opioid withdrawal.
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