Morphine Symptoms And Warning Signs

Morphine, a naturally occurring opiate used for relief from extreme pain, is one of the most highly addictive substances available by prescription.

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Signs of Morphine Abuse

It may be hard to detect morphine abuse, especially if the person abusing it has a prescription.

However, using morphine in ways other than directed is classified as abuse and could lead to addiction.


If you are concerned that someone close to you has a problem with morphine abuse, here are some signs to look for:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Nodding off
  • Slurred speech
  • Inattention
  • Shallow breathing
  • Neglecting daily responsibilities
  • Legal issues
  • Doctor shopping
  • Isolation from loved ones
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings

The Dangers of Morphine

Morphine can be taken orally, transdermally, intravenously, or nasally. In particular, snorting or injecting morphine induces a rush of euphoria followed by alternating states of wakefulness and drowsiness.

Morphine tolerance develops quickly, requiring the user to take larger doses to feel the same effects. People with a tolerance to morphine usually experience symptoms of withdrawal when they attempt to quit or cut back. These withdrawal symptoms can make it hard for users to stop taking morphine, and this can lead to addiction. People may become addicted to morphine even when taking it under medical supervision.

The greatest danger of morphine abuse is overdose. As a potent central nervous system depressant, morphine slows breathing to the point of coma, respiratory failure, or even death.

Immediate Side Effects of Morphine

Short-term side effects of morphine will vary based on how the drug was administered and how much was taken. Depending on the method of administration, most of the effects of morphine start to take place within 15-60 minutes and may last for 4-6 hours.

Some possible immediate side effects of morphine use include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Slowed breathing
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Apathy
  • Nausea
  • Itchy skin
  • Severe respiratory depression
  • Coma
  • Hallucinations
  • Dizziness
  • Decreased sexual drive/performance
  • Dry mouth
  • Nervousness
  • Mood changes
  • Chest pain
  • Rapid heartbeats
  • False sense of well-being
  • Relaxed and calm feeling
  • Sleepiness
  • Euphoria

As a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, morphine slows down activity in the brain and nervous system, which can result in slowed breathing and extreme drowsiness. The effects of sedation can be so intense that at high doses, a person may become unconscious.

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Long-term Side Effects of Morphine

Prolonged morphine use can lead to many negative side effects, not least of which is addiction. Other damaging effects include damage to veins at injection site and substance-induced mood disorders like depression.

Long-term side effects of morphine use include:

  • Depression
  • Suppressed immune system
  • Restlessness
  • Severe constipation
  • Collapsed veins
  • Confusion

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Recognizing a Morphine Addiction

As with many prescription drugs, it can be hard to tell if someone is addicted to morphine or simply keeping their pain at bay. Although morphine has been considered a godsend for people in extreme chronic pain, it is also a drug that is often and easily abused.

People addicted to morphine have developed a high tolerance to it. Sometimes, a morphine addiction is so advanced that its users need more of the drug just to feel normal.

Some common side effects of morphine addiction are anxiety, depression, and negative personal and professional impacts.

Some of the outward signs of a morphine addiction may include dramatic changes in behavior or spending time around people outside of normal social circles who are also morphine abusers. Clinically, there are 11 criteria for diagnosing a morphine addiction. A few examples of the criteria include using more morphine than intended or prioritizing morphine use over personal and professional obligations. Learn more about how addictions are clinically diagnosed.

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Intervention for a Morphine Problem

Many people who are addicted to morphine fail to realize they are in trouble. It often takes a friend or family member to bring it up and suggest treatment. Addiction is a sensitive topic, and talking about it can be difficult. Staging an intervention is one of the best ways to show your loved one that you care. He or she may be more willing to accept treatment after seeing how many people are showing their support and concern. Learn more about staging an intervention now.

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Morphine Withdrawal, Treatment and Next Steps

Morphine withdrawal symptoms start to take place as soon as 6-12 hours after the last dose. Morphine users build a tolerance fairly quickly, so withdrawal can set in even if someone hasn’t been using the drug for very long.

Early onset withdrawal symptoms include watery eyes, yawning and sneezing.

An addiction to morphine is a serious, debilitating problem, but recovery is possible. The withdrawal symptoms of morphine can be managed with minimal discomfort through a medical detoxification process — a process that also reduces the risk of relapse.

Though not as potent as heroin, the effects of morphine are just as concerning. Thankfully, many treatment facilities nationwide have had plenty of success in helping morphine addicts come clean. Give yourself freedom from your morphine addiction. Get in touch with a treatment center today.

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