Morphine is an opiate that’s used for pain relief from chronic conditions or surgical complications. In small doses under a physician’s prescription, using morphine shouldn’t pose any problems. However, for those who misuse or abuse it, the potential for dependence and addiction increases significantly.
When ingested or injected, morphine produces a “high” feeling that elevates one’s mood and alleviates discomfort. The experience is often described as “euphoric,” stimulating the brain’s reward system. This can cause you to begin using the drug over and over again to keep getting that same feeling, becoming addicted in the process.
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What Are Morphine Withdrawal Symptoms?
Once you’ve become dependent on or addicted to morphine, you may experience withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop using the drug. In general, morphine withdrawal symptoms will be very uncomfortable, but they will vary depending on your unique body chemistry and the level of dependence on the drug. Those who have higher dependence can expect to experience much more intense symptoms during the withdrawal period.
Morphine withdrawal symptoms are not relegated to particular periods of the withdrawal process, but instead can be felt at any point or stage. The intensity of these symptoms can differ considerably between patients.
Symptoms commonly experienced by those going through morphine withdrawal include:
- Runny nose or watery eyes
- Increased blood pressure
- Rapid heartbeat
Because of these various symptoms, morphine withdrawal can be very difficult, and the chance of relapse for any user is high. Therefore, withdrawal should only be undertaken with medical assistance and performed while adhering to a definitive treatment timeline.
What Are the Stages of the Morphine Withdrawal Timeline?
The pace at which you’ll go through the withdrawal stages can vary from person to person depending on various factors. In addition, the severity of symptoms can differ, depending on factors like:
- Level of dependence
- Frequency taken
- Method of ingestion
- Overall health condition
- Polydrug use
- Support system
- Taper schedule
The general timeline of withdrawal is as follows:
Day 1: Morphine will begin to leave your body, and it’s likely that you’ll feel some cravings for the drug. Mild side effects such as nausea, yawning, or aches may appear, much like if you were coming down with the flu.
Days 2-3: This point in the withdrawal process is most often the worst for many recovering users, as some of the symptoms will peak. Pain and discomfort, increased due to the body’s lack of a morphine supply, will become much more frequent and intense. Symptoms such as diarrhea and insomnia are common, as are conditions such as anxiety. Mood swings are to be expected, and continued cravings may occur. During this period, the desire for relapse may be intense. It is crucial that a strong support network is nearby to prevent a person from relapsing and taking more morphine.
Days 4-7: At this stage in the withdrawal process, many of the harsher symptoms will begin to relax and disappear. Users will still feel sick and weakened, but overall mood stability and body health will start to improve. Pain may remain, but it will become much more manageable. Making it to this stage of the withdrawal process is a great victory.
Day 8 and beyond: At this point, physical problems will fade away into minor versions and stop impeding daily life. However, emotional symptoms like depression or anxiety may remain for some time. It is common for users to experience these symptoms for a month or longer. This is why treatment after the withdrawal period is so critical.
Why Should I Detox?
Detoxification is the process by which a person’s morphine addiction is slowly “tapered off.” This is superior to quitting “cold turkey,” as suddenly removing a chemical that your body has been dependent on can throw your biological system into shock. In addition, quitting a substance abruptly can result in higher chances for relapse.
Therefore, a supervised detox under a doctor’s care is the best method of removing the influence of morphine from one’s body. By “tapering off,” your morphine ingestion is slowly and linearly lowered until the body no longer requires the drug for normal, everyday function.
How Long Will Morphine Detox Last?
Morphine, on average, stays in a person’s system for several days. Morphine detox symptoms can initiate in as little as a few hours after the last dose. The duration and intensity, however, will vary from one person to another. Many of the worst symptoms of detox are going to will occur around two to four days, and the symptoms will peak around the 72-hour mark.
It’s necessary to note that alternative methods, including support groups, yoga and exercise, can serve as a significant boost to your body during detox. It can help with morale, and keep you focused on your objective of reaching a sober state.
What Is the Next Treatment Step?
Detoxing is important, but it’s only the beginning of the recovery process. In fact, once the detox has taken place, the most vital next step is treatment for the habits and cravings, which caused addiction in the first place. Visits and monitoring through a clinic are the best ways to achieve appropriate treatment.
When it comes to treatment, there are a few different methods that suit the varying needs individuals might face. No one treatment is totally superior, but each has advantages and downsides.
This type of treatment involves a client remaining at a designated treatment center under the constant care and supervision of trained medical professionals. During their stay at the center, the client will be monitored for most of the day. Both physical and emotional resources will be provided 24/7.
A rigorous treatment regimen will be implemented to instill healthy habits and proper ways of thinking about morphine and other addictive substances. This is an excellent choice for those who have a risky home life where they are exposed to morphine or those who have difficulty controlling their addiction without outside intervention.
By contrast, outpatient treatment allows a patient to remain living at their home throughout the treatment process. Instead, scheduled times during the week are agreed upon, and the client visits a treatment clinic during these periods. They are assigned habits or regimens, which are then followed up on by medical professionals. This is a great option for those who need to work during their rehab period or who have strong familial or home-life support systems in place.
Fighting Addiction Yourself is Difficult. Let Our Experts Help!
Fighting Addiction Yourself is Difficult. Let Our Experts Help!
Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
This type of rehab is something of a middle ground between the other two types. It allows the client to remain at home but imposes more regular visits to the clinic or visits to the client’s home by medical personnel, as well as stricter regimens and routines to promote good habits and healthy living. This is a good option for those who need to remain working but live in challenging circumstances that offer a potential for relapse.
Quitting Morphine Cold Turkey
Withdrawal can be a long and painful process in which the body removes all traces of morphine from the body. The longer someone has used morphine, the longer and more intense they can expect the process to last. Even a light user of the drug is going to experience withdrawals at some level.
A method that is common among opioid users is stopping cold turkey. While it may seem like the right choice because of cost or other factors, it can result in extremely dangerous outcomes.
Morphine withdrawals, for the most part, are not dangerous when compared to alcohol or benzos, but no two people are alike, and the process is unpredictable.
While one heavy user has a smooth experience, a light user can have severe complications. For this reason, addiction specialists strongly advise against quitting morphine without medical assistance.
Withdrawals can cause intense cravings, tremors, hot flashes, dehydration, which can be deadly, and extreme agitation. If you are serious about getting help, you must go about the process in a manner that is safe.
Center For Disease Control. Drug Overdose. Retrieved from from https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/opioids/index.html
Web MD. Nudging the Brain Toward Addiction. Retrieved from from https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/news/20070425/nudging-the-brain-toward-addiction
Everyday Health. What is Morphine? Retrieved from from https://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/morphine
Coping with Opiate Withdrawal. (n.d.). Retrieved from from https://www.healthline.com/health/coping-opiate-withdrawal
Quitting Substances Cold Turkey: Safety, Risks, and More. (n.d.). Retrieved from from https://www.healthline.com/health/opioid-withdrawal/quitting-cold-turkey