A powerful substance derived from the opium poppy, morphine is one of the oldest, most widely used opiate analgesics. As early as the 1500s, doctors recognized the power of morphine as a pain reliever and as an addictive substance. In the Civil War, the extensive use of morphine to treat pain in injured soldiers resulted in widespread opiate addiction. Today, morphine continues to be prescribed for the treatment of moderate to severe pain. This federally controlled substance is also sold illegally.
Morphine acts on specialized receptor cells in your brain to minimize sensations of pain and create feelings of pleasure and well-being. When taken in large doses, morphine can produce euphoria and deep relaxation. But because morphine is a central nervous system depressant, it can also slow down vital functions like respiration and heart rate, resulting in breathing difficulties, heart failure, coma and death. Morphine addiction treatment can prevent the fatal consequences of abusing this potent opiate drug.
Signs of Morphine Addiction
Morphine has a high abuse potential. Once your brain and body have gotten used to the effects of morphine, you will experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop using the drug. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, these side effects may range from mild, flu-like symptoms (nausea, chills, runny nose) to severe anxiety, agitation, muscle cramps, vomiting and diarrhea. The following warning signs may indicate that you’ve developed an addiction to morphine:
- A compulsive need to seek and use the drug, in spite of its destructive effects on your body, your personal life, your finances or your career
- Lying, stealing or selling drugs in order to obtain more morphine
- The need to use more morphine (a condition called “tolerance”) to get the same high from the drug
- Severe cravings and withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop
- Feelings of remorse, guilt or sadness about your drug use
Getting clean from morphine usually isn’t life-threatening, but the experience can be so uncomfortable and unpleasant that many users fail to quit alone. You can dramatically increase your chances of success if you go through addiction treatment in a professional opiate rehabilitation program.
Stages of Detox and Treatment
The first phase of morphine addiction treatment is detox, a process in which the opiates are cleared from your system. When you detox at a professional addiction treatment center, you can receive ongoing clinical supervision as the drugs are cleansed from your body. You may be prescribed one or more of the following medications to help you get through the withdrawal process:
- Clonidine. A drug that reduces symptoms like muscle cramps, anxiety, agitation, restlessness and runny nose.
- Anti-nausea and anti-diarrhea medications. These drugs can help control the gastrointestinal symptoms of morphine withdrawal.
- Methadone. Methadone is an opiate drug that can help block the effects of morphine withdrawal. Methadone may also be used for long-term maintenance to prevent a relapse and help you maintain your recovery after detox.
- Buprenorphine. Sold under the brand names Suboxone and Subutex, buprenorphine is another medication that is becoming a popular alternative to methadone in the long-term treatment of opiate addiction.
Once you’re medically stable and you’ve been through the detox process, the real work of rehabilitation will begin. Intensive residential treatment programs give you the opportunity to recover in comfortable, secure surroundings, where you can focus on the healing process without the triggers and distractions of the outside world. In rehab, you’ll benefit from therapeutic strategies such as:
- Individual psychotherapy
- Behavioral modification therapy
- Couples or family counseling
- Peer group support meetings
- Self-help groups and 12-step programs
- Holistic therapies (massage, yoga, acupuncture, expressive therapy)
- Relapse prevention education
- Aftercare services
- Transitional living programs
From the time you enter detox to the day you finish rehab and move on to aftercare services, a comprehensive addiction treatment program will provide the support you need to maximize your chances of a successful recovery.
Finding a Treatment Program
Since the properties of morphine were discovered, people have known that this opiate can be highly addictive. Our compassionate staff here at Axis understands how hard it is to recover from morphine addiction. Our individually tailored treatment programs will give you the recovery tools you need to overcome addiction and begin rebuilding your life.