What is Morphine?
Morphine is a potent opioid drug derived from the opium poppy plant. The DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) classifies morphine as a Schedule II controlled substance. A schedule II indicates the high abuse, diversion, and addictive potential of the specific drug. It is a prescription pain reliever and considered as one of the most potent opioid drugs in existence.
Morphine was first isolated in Germany in 1804 by a pharmacist who named it “morphium” after Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams. It is manufactured and sold in liquid, tablet, capsule, suppository, or injectable forms under brand names:
- Infumorph P/F
- Arymo ER
- MorphaBond ER
- Oramorph SR
Morphine is a highly potent opiate (narcotic) analgesic that is used to treat moderate to moderately severe chronic pain. Extended-release Morphine tablets are only to be used by patients who require around the clock pain relief while short-acting formulation is taken as needed.
How does Morphine Work?
Morphine is a fast-acting opiate analgesic and the primary agent in opium. It acts directly on the central nervous system to relieve severe pain, much like other opiates including heroin. It is also used to treat pain from surgery, illness, and trauma, along with chronic pain conditions associated with cancer, kidney stones and other ailments. Reports by the National Institute of Drug Addiction (NIDA) show that morphine acts by attaching to the opioid receptors located in the brain, spinal cord and gastrointestinal tract.
Everyone produces naturally endogenous opioids called endorphins. These endorphins bind to particular receptors, located in the brain, spinal cord, and gastrointestinal tract. This interaction leads to several effects in the body including:
- Pain relief,
- Respiratory depression
- Drowsiness and sleepiness
- Euphoria “High”
Understandably, the sense of euphoria, as well as the sensation of relaxation, are the hallmark effects of what morphine abusers enjoy. However, the repeated use of morphine can cause a person to develop a physical tolerance. Tolerance leads to increased use of the drug. Consequently, addiction occurs.
Specific and more severe symptoms can mean that a person might have taken too much morphine or is overdosing.
These symptoms can include:
- Shallow breathing
- Feeling faint or dizzy
- Low blood pressure
- Loss of normal muscle tension
- Cardiac arrest
- Cold and clammy skin
- Circulatory collapse
If you feel any of these symptoms, please call for immediate medical assistance.
When trying to quit morphine use, consider detoxing under the supervision of an experienced physician. Withdrawal from opiates can be quite challenging, and sometimes diminish one’s resolve to become drug-free.
Symptoms of morphine withdrawal may include:
- Diarrhea and cramps.
- Fast heartbeat
- Joint and muscle pain.
- Nausea and vomiting.
From Dependence to Morphine Addiction
Not every person who develops a physical dependence on morphine becomes also addicted, but in both cases, detoxification is required. Furthermore, when someone uses the drug for an extended amount of time, the risk for becoming addicted increases.
The consistent dose increase often turns into a loss of control over drug usage. The need to obtain and use the drug becomes a priority regardless of negative consequences; that is the main sign of an existing morphine addiction.
There are many reasons why someone can become addicted to a drug. Studies have shown that opioid addictive disorders may be heritable, meaning, genetics might be significant addiction contributor. Environmental factors, such as trauma, stress can also influence whether someone becomes addicted. One of the most common influential factors is emotional distress. Often people find relief of emotional pain in opioid drugs.
With an effective medical detoxification and a comprehensive emotional treatment, opioid addiction can be overcome, and real recovery can be reached.
Addiction Treatment Options
An inpatient medical treatment can help minimize the painful withdrawal symptoms and increase one’s chances of completing detoxification. Additionally, because of high rates of relapse during the detox phase in drug rehabs, anesthesia-assisted rapid detox becomes a great option.
Rapid detoxification gets patients through the worst of the withdrawal while under sedation. The process maximizes comfort and decreases the risk that the user will abandon detox in the middle of the process. However, other options are also available. It is important to consider what you or your loved one will medical, and recovery needs are before choosing a program.