Morphine is a powerful narcotic opioid drug that comes from the opium poppy plant. It is a prescription strength pain reliever that the Global Information Network About Drugs (GINAD) reports is one of the most potent opioid drugs that exists. Morphine is described as a very effective painkiller, and may be manufactured in various different forms, such as liquid, tablet, capsule, suppository, or injectable forms, and sold under brand names that include MS-Contin, MSiR, Oramorph SR, Roxanol, Kadian, and RMS. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies morphine as a Schedule II controlled substance. Schedule II is the highest regulation for drugs that are used medically, which indicates their extreme potency and potential for abuse.

Is morphine addictive?

Morphine is addictive and can be habit-forming. An individual can easily become both physically and mentally dependent on the drug. Even when used as directed, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) publishes warnings that morphine can be habit-forming and cause physical dependence.

What happens when you take morphine?

Morphine is designed to block feelings of pain in the body and alleviate some of the higher-pressure functions of the central nervous system by slowing heart rate, controlling blood pressure, and respiration all while enhancing a sense of calmness inciting pleasure. Even when the drug is used as directed, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published warnings that morphine can be habit-forming and cause physical dependence.

Dependence on is not the same as addiction. Instead, dependence refers to what happens when the brain and body become accustomed to the dosage and depend on the drug’s effects on the body. Addiction is when drug use becomes compulsive. As an opioid, morphine binds to opioid receptors in the reward circuits of the brain, as well as to parts of the pathways related to pain sensations, which is how it produces pain-relieving effects, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) describes. Morphine can interfere with the way chemical messengers in the brain are produced, distributed, and reabsorbed. When an occurrence makes an individual happy, such as the sight of a particular person or the smell of a certain food, neurotransmitters such as dopamine are released in the brain, triggering the feeling of happiness. A person is then subconsciously encouraged to repeat whatever actions led to those pleasant feelings, and a reward pathway in the brain is created. Morphine destroys this natural process by creating dopamine that floods the brain and induces euphoria or a “high.” This happens particularly when abused or used recreationally. As morphine is taken or abused continually, it begins to change the chemistry of the brain. Morphine may become one of the only ways a person is able to feel pleasure, making an individual dependent.

Effects of Morphine

Morphine can have a number of effects on the body, depending on how long an individual takes it. The short-term effects of morphine of course include the decrease of pain in the body caused by various conditions like arthritis, back problems, broken bones, etc. Other short-term side effects include vomiting, drowsiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, dry mouth and weakness.

Morphine’s long-term effects may include rashes, difficulty urinating, fainting, seizures, a blue tinge to the skin, and difficulty breathing. It is extremely important to seek emergency medical services if any of these effects occur, as they can be life-threatening.

During the detoxification process, an individual will likely experience withdrawal symptoms from morphine. Withdrawal can cause a number of issues, depending on how much of the drug was being taken. Withdrawal symptoms may appear as irrational behavior, anxiety, agitation, and depression. It is safest to undergo withdrawal under the supervision of a medical professional.

Morphine Addiction Treatment

Treatment for abuse of morphine is normally a process of weaning an individual off of the drug. This process of weaning common practice in removing the medication from the patient’s body with little to no withdrawal symptoms during or following treatment. During a taper, the dosage of the drug is decreased over a period of days or weeks. In addition to stopping the drug, psychological help can be very useful to individuals when journeying through the detox process. This can assist individuals change habits and behaviors, so that addiction in the future does not reoccur.