Morphine Addiction: Abuse Signs, Effects & Treatment

Morphine Addiction Treatment Guide

Morphine is an opiate used primarily as a pain reliever. It is added to certain drugs administered over the counter to treat short-term pain, including headache, toothache, and minor surgery. Morphine has also been used for many decades to treat severe chronic pain. Morphine can be highly addictive since its effects are similar to heroin or other illicit drug abuse.

The drug produces significant analgesia at its prescribed dose but very little euphoria. An overdose may be inevitable when clients obtain the drug from more than one physician or another source.

Morphine Addiction Treatment

Morphine Abuse

Abusing morphine and other opiates is a lot easier than one may think. Some people develop a tolerance to the drug and start abusing it to get the high they once got. This usually occurs when a person spends more time in euphoria, or an “opiate high,” rather than relieving pain. Abusing morphine causes changes in the brain and the nervous system, which leads to dependence in the long term.

Individuals who abuse morphine may show several symptoms, which may include the following:

• Visibly drowsy
• Inability to speak clearly because of slurred speech
• Mentally slow at thinking or responding
• Difficulty following directions
• Change in mood such as irritable or anxious behavior


Addiction can have many damaging effects on individuals and their families. It is important to note that you can still get help before severe damages occur. The person abusing morphine becomes trapped in an endless cycle of use.

Signs of morphine addiction include:

• Loss of control over drug use after a period of abstinence
• Feeling depressed or hopelessness
• Pronounced mood swings
• Attempting to obtain a drug in an illegal manner
• Loss of interest in recreation or other activities
• Continuing to use despite negative consequences

Morphine Addiction Treatment

Addiction treatment treats all the effects of morphine so that the person no longer has any desire for the drug itself or their surrounding environment. The best treatment options are highly dependent upon each individual’s physical and mental health and the severity of the abuse. Once they receive proper medical advice, addiction treatment can be initiated.

Agonist Medications

Agonist medications are a type of treatment given to help the client recover from their addiction to morphine. This therapy involves administering replacement drugs under controlled conditions so that a person no longer suffers from morphine’s withdrawal effects or the compulsive need to take more of it. The common types of agonist medications used in opiate replacement therapy for addiction include methadone, levomethadyle acetate, and buprenorphine.


Methadone is a semi-synthetic opioid used for treating pain, opioid (morphine and heroin) addiction, and detoxification from opioids. It is commonly known as the drug of choice in abuse treatment. Its long-lasting effects make it easier for the individual being treated to get through detoxification.

Methadone acts on specific opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord to replicate the effects of morphine without producing euphoria. The primary benefit of this treatment approach is that it can help stabilize a person’s moods.

Levomethadyl acetate

Levomethadyl acetate is a long-acting synthetic opiate medication that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat opioid addiction. It acts as an agonist to replace opioid drugs in addicts. It can help to reduce the symptoms caused by withdrawal.


Buprenorphine is a semi-synthetic opioid similar to morphine. Still, it also works as an agonist, blocking other opiates from activating their receptors. This helps clients recover from addiction much more quickly. However, it also reduces the euphoric effects that make morphine such a highly addictive drug.

Antagonist Medications

Antagonist medications are a type of opiate agonist medication that works to block or reverse the effects of an opioid in the brain and body. Unlike other agonist medications, antagonist medications do not produce any opioid-like effects.

Antagonist medications can help clients beat their addiction by blocking any pleasurable effects they receive from morphine, essentially eliminating the chance that they will use it again despite experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

Antagonists help reduce cravings and the risk of relapse while freeing them from dependency on opiates and allowing them to recover physically and psychologically. These medications include naltrexone, clonidine, and lucemyra.


Naltrexone is an opiate antagonist medication used to help people overcome their addictive behaviors by blocking the effects of opiates such as morphine. Naltrexone works by blocking opioid receptors in the brain, thereby reducing drug cravings and relieving withdrawal symptoms after stopping or reducing the use of opioids.
Long-term use of naltrexone can help addicts stay clean from drugs. It helps them maintain a positive outlook during rehabilitation.


Clonidine is a drug used to treat high blood pressure that works effectively to help reduce the physical symptoms of morphine withdrawal. Taking clonidine before going through morphine withdrawal may help reduce these withdrawal symptoms and make them more tolerable for the client.


The FDA has approved lucemyra, a medication with similar effects to opioids but less potent than them. It is used to treat withdrawal symptoms with short-term use. Lucemyra is an innovative treatment that helps to reduce opiate withdrawals and cravings for morphine and other opioids.

Steps of the Treatment Process

Clients in the inpatient treatment facilities will take the following steps.


The first step in the treatment process is to admit the individual into a treatment facility or rehabilitation center. The physician will be responsible for prescribing medications during the detoxification process and monitoring their progress. The treating physician may also recommend that the client take part in a rehabilitation program for opioid addiction and substance abuse if deemed necessary.


During intake, the doctor will examine the client’s past medical history. This includes reviewing any previous surgeries and current physical conditions that may affect their overall health during this period. The client’s mental health will also be reviewed, and additional assessments may be required to determine their mental state.


Clinical assessment is an essential step of the treatment process. It is performed to determine the client’s overall health. They will also assess the ability of the client to participate in the detoxification period. In some cases, psychological evaluations may be conducted on clients who appear to have issues that need to be diagnosed before moving forward in the rehabilitation process.


During detoxing, physical and mental health assessments will be conducted, and medications will be prescribed to address any medical conditions that may affect the client’s withdrawal process. More attention will often be given to clients who show signs of a medical condition that could cause complications or detoxify on medication for this period.

Morphine detoxification is not comfortable for anyone dependent on the drug. The severity of withdrawal will depend on how much morphine the client has been taking. It would be best to take notes while detoxing to help develop a timeline of your experience during the recovery process. You can also use this information to help explain the detox process to your family. A timeline will also keep you focused on the steps you need to follow to overcome addiction.

Inpatient Care

The most intensive treatment for addiction takes place in an inpatient program. This is done regularly, and clients are not allowed to leave unless they are accompanied by a staff member from the opiate rehabilitation center.

Clients admitted into inpatient care often begin their detoxification process within the first few hours of entering the facility. Staff members will provide them with medications and supportive care until they have weaned off morphine. Clients receiving medical and psychological care may be required to stay in the facility for a more extended period than those who only receive medical treatment.

Intensive Outpatient Program

An intensive outpatient program is an option for clients who cannot afford to stay in an inpatient program or do not have time due to other obligations, such as work or family commitments. You may choose to take a less expensive treatment option if you cannot afford inpatient treatment. Intensive outpatient programs can last up to 28 days.

Morphine Detoxification

Detox is the removal of drugs from a client’s body. It is the last step in recovery. It may take place in an outpatient or inpatient setting. The length of morphine detoxification can depend on the type of morphine being used and individual factors such as health status and tolerance levels. Typically, medically supervised detox takes place over days to weeks or longer, depending on factors such as the amount of time spent abusing morphine and the route of administration, i.e., intravenously (IV), epidural, intrathecal, oral, or smoked.

For an opioid detox to be successful, the person participating in the program must be honest and forthcoming during all stages of treatment. Often, people with a history of drug abuse may experience withdrawal symptoms used to prevent relapse in the form of cravings. They may subconsciously try to avoid withdrawal by continuing to use morphine.

Drug addiction is hard to overcome on your own, so it is important to seek out professional treatment.

Admitting that you have a problem and admitting yourself into treatment or a rehabilitation center for pain management is essential for morphine detox.

Morphine withdrawal symptoms include:

• Cravings – The person experiencing this will become fixated on having another dose of the drug and often find themselves searching for a way to obtain it.

• Agitation – The client will often become agitated and irritable, especially when around family or friends who are not drinking or using drugs. They may find themselves restless and agitated at night when they should be sleeping.

• Sleep disturbances – Those who have a history of abusing morphine may experience insomnia during their detoxification process. They may wake up frequently and be unable to get back to sleep. This can be frustrating and exhausting for the individual.

• Anxiety – Many people who are detoxing from morphine tend to experience feelings of anxiety, particularly in social settings. This can bring extreme levels of stress and discomfort to the individual while trying to recover from their addiction or dependence on morphine.

• Depression – This is a symptom that many dependent people on morphine will experience once they enter detox. They will likely feel sad, lazy, and even hopeless about their ability to overcome their addiction. They may also become more irritable, moody, anxious, and depressed than usual.

• Nausea or vomiting – Those detoxing from morphine may experience nausea, particularly around mealtime. They may also vomit uncontrollably and experience abdominal discomfort.

• Diarrhoea – This symptom is common among those detoxing from morphine. It occurs as a result of opiate withdrawal symptoms. Because of this, diarrhea may become severe and last for an extended time during the detoxification process.

Aftercare Support

Aftercare support is a series of services and programs that continue after a treatment period to help you learn new coping skills and develop the tools needed for continued sobriety. There is no one set way to create aftercare support. It varies between individuals depending on the nature of their issues.

Some common programs include:

• Group therapy – This type of therapy focuses on helping people with addiction develop their social skills and develop strategies for maintaining sobriety.

• 12-step groups – This type of meeting involves people recovering from addiction sharing their experiences, providing advice, and learning from others who have been through similar experiences. These meetings can help those struggling with addiction identify methods to avoid triggers and cravings.

• Individual counseling – This is a beneficial program that helps people recovering from addiction develop coping mechanisms and learn more about themselves from experienced professionals.

• Counselling sessions with family members – Families of recovering addicts may also benefit from counseling sessions to help them deal with their feelings about their loved one’s addiction and recovery.

Morphine is an extremely addictive and dangerous drug and has a long history of use among the population. It has been shown to have deep connections to the opioid epidemic we face today. This addiction can be overcome with professional assistance, but only if you are willing to admit that you have a problem. This article guides you on how you can beat morphine addiction, access the addiction treatment, and provides you with the after-treatment care options.

Vertava Health Massachusetts is here to help. Call us today to start your journey into recovery.

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Reviewed By:

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis completed medical school at The University of Mississippi Medical Center and residency in general psychiatry in 2003. He completed a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in 2005. Following this, he served as Chief Medical Officer for 10 years of Brentwood Behavioral Healthcare a private health system including a 105-bed hospital, residential treatment, and intensive outpatient services.

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