Morphine Addiction Rehab

In an interview published in The Guardian, a recovering addict describes her entry into rehab in this way: “Even as I entered the clinic, I was determined that I wasn’t a drug addict. I felt, like many other people, that because I’d been given the drugs by the hospital and my GP that they must be safe. But in rehab, any preconceptions I’d held about myself were stripped bare.” In rehab, this woman learned what morphine and other drugs were doing to her body, and she was forced to overcome her denial about her addiction. In the end, she learned what she’d need to do to keep her cravings under control.

It’s unlikely that anyone who has been through rehab for a morphine addiction would say that it was fun. As this woman’s story makes clear, days in rehab are filled with hard work, learning and practicing new skills. Sometimes, those days are spent in quiet contemplation, thinking about things users might have once used morphine in order to forget. However, all of this hard work is well worth the effort, as morphine rehab can allow people to heal and move forward with their lives. It could be just the thing addicted people need in order to get well.

Defining Rehab

Morphine is an opiate medication that attaches to specific receptors in the body that may clamor for the drug when it’s removed. During the detoxification stage of recovery, morphine addicts will go through opiate withdrawal and allow their bodies to learn how to function without the use of morphine. In the past, medications were used to help people move through detox, and when that stage was complete, no more medications were used. Now, experts believe that medications may have a place in the rehab phase of recovery as well.

During rehab, morphine addicts will be asked to participate in a variety of therapies, and they’ll be encouraged to learn more about their addictions and what they’ll need to do in order to get well. This can be intensive, demanding work that requires the addict’s full attention. Sometimes, cravings for morphine can still be ongoing, weeks or even months after detox is over, and this can derail an addict’s success in rehab. Sometimes, medications can help addicts to stay calm, focused and successful in rehab.

Rehab can take place in an outpatient setting, allowing the addicted person to return home and live with family while accessing care on a regular basis in a series of appointments. Rehab can also take place in an inpatient setting, where the addicted person lives in a facility staffed by experts who provide around-the-clock care and monitoring. The proper setting for care depends heavily on the person’s home life, motivation to succeed in rehab and personal preferences. In general, there is no “right way” to treat a morphine addiction. Instead, it’s best to tailor the care provided to meet the needs of the specific person who needs help. For some people, inpatient care is best. For others, outpatient care is a better option.

Assessing Need

When the detoxification phase is over and rehab begins, medical staff assesses the need for medication. People with these symptoms might be provided with medications during rehab:

  • Severe cravings
  • Physical discomfort
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

Some people might be provided with anti-anxiety medications or antidepressants, but others might be provided with opiate-replacement medications such as buprenorphine. These medications can ease symptoms of withdrawal, and make a relapse less likely. These medications are even effective for use in adolescents. For example, a study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that teens who were given extended treatment with buprenorphine stayed in counseling longer, and had fewer incidents of drug use, when compared with teens who only received medication for a short period of time. It’s clear that some people need to stay in medication treatment for longer periods of time in order to truly beat back an opiate-based addiction.

At the beginning of rehab, medical staff might also provide addicted people with a series of tests, designed to determine if people also have underlying mental health issues that could be contributing to their addictions. People who have mental health issues such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or borderline personality disorder might need specific types of therapeutic interventions, above and beyond those commonly provided as part of a comprehensive addiction treatment program.

Addiction Therapy

While some people enter morphine addiction rehab programs with a firm desire to stop abusing the drug, others enter these programs because they’re asked to do so by their friends and family members. They may not firmly believe that they need the help these programs can provide. People like this might benefit from motivational interviewing. Here, therapists use a gentle, conversational approach to help addicted people understand that their drug use will not allow them to reach their goals. By asking questions, and using gentle prodding, experts can help people to really understand why therapy is vital for long-term success. This technique has been proven effective in assisting with a wide variety of addiction disorders. For example, a study in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review found that people who had mental illness and a substance abuse disorder benefitted from motivational interviewing. Those who received this form of care reported less substance use at six months, and they maintained that benefit at the 12-month follow-up point. It’s clear that this kind of therapy has the power to change people’s mind about their substance abuse.

Many therapists use a form of therapy with their patients known as cognitive behavioral therapy. According to an article in the American Journal of Psychiatry, this form of therapy is designed to provide people with skills training, allowing them to understand what situations put them at risk for a relapse, and provide them with a range of tools they can use to avoid relapsing, if they can’t avoid these situations altogether. The article goes on to point out that the skills picked up in cognitive behavioral therapy could help people control almost any aspect of their lives, and this might also explain why the therapy has been proven to provide long-term benefit to people who receive it. People who pick up life skills in their cognitive behavioral therapy sessions might better be able to handle stress of all sorts, and they might then be less inclined to use drugs.

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Family therapy might also be helpful for people in recovery from addiction. Here, the addicted person and his/her family come together as a group to discuss how the addiction issue began, and what damage might have been done to the family at large due to the drug use. For some families, addictions cause trauma as the addicted person lies, steals or otherwise breaks promises in order to keep the addiction alive. The family, in turn, might become hostile or resentful as they attempt to keep the person from using drugs. Put these two issues together, and it’s clear that the entire family might need to heal from the damage the addiction has caused. Family therapy can help the entire group to do just that.

Therapy is difficult, as mentioned, and some people are tempted to drop out of care before it has been completed. In order to ensure that people complete their programs, some therapists provide their patients with contingency management therapy. Here, patients are provided with vouchers for each portion of care they complete, such as therapy sessions attended or clean urine screenings provided. Prizes can vary, but in one study of the practice conducted on people who had been addicted to morphine, money rewards were chosen by 95 percent of participants. In this study, those who participated in contingency management demonstrated significantly lower drug use rates, compared to the rates they demonstrated before therapy began. This study seems to indicate that morphine addicts need additional incentives in order to stay engaged in their treatment programs.


Ongoing Care

According to treatment protocols published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, people in recovery from opioid addictions need to be closely monitored with random drug screening tests. This is the best way to ensure that the addiction isn’t growing stronger, and that the person isn’t returning to using morphine on a recreational basis. If experts discover that a person has returned to drug use, through a drug screening test, that person can be encouraged to return to detox, or the person can be placed in a more intensive form of rehab. Screening tests aren’t designed to spy on the person, but they are designed to help experts spot a problem and solve it, before it grows in intensity.

When a formal rehab program is complete, the person might still need some form of ongoing care in order to ensure that a return to addiction doesn’t take place. Morphine can be a strong drug, and addiction can be difficult to overcome. For example, a study in the journal Behavioural Brain Research found that rats who were provided with morphine in a specific feeder continued to show a preference for that feeder even 12 weeks later. As this study demonstrates, addictions can persist for a long period of time, meaning that a morphine addiction can be considered a chronic, relapsing condition that might need a lifetime of work in order to control.

An ongoing care plan for addiction might include:

  • Periodic drug testing
  • Touch-up therapy sessions
  • Support group meetings
  • Mentoring of those new to recovery

By continuing to learn about addiction, and working hard to keep cravings under control and a relapse at bay, people can and do recover from morphine addictions. If you’d like to know more about comprehensive care that could help you to leave a morphine habit behind for good, please contact us at Axis. We’re happy to describe our methods and help you get the help you need.