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Effects Of Morphine Addiction

Dr. Richard Foster, LICDC-CS

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Richard Foster, LICDC-CS

March 5, 2019

Many prescription opioids, like morphine, were designed to help people experiencing severe pain that cannot be relieved with ordinary pain medications. While morphine is an effective pain relief medication, it is extremely potent carries a serious risk of abuse and addiction.

People who take opioids like morphine risk forming an addiction, even if they take them for a short time. Furthermore, when people no longer have a prescription or a way to obtain it, but have already formed an addiction, they may try to seek similar drugs elsewhere. This is how people who first abuse prescription opioids often turn to heroin abuse. Yet many people are still not aware that prescription opioids such as morphine even pose a threat of developing addiction.

If you know someone who may be struggling, we at may be able to help find the appropriate treatment for them. Read on to learn more about morphine addiction, the effects of it, overdose signs, and possible treatments.

Morphine Addiction

Morphine is a narcotic prescription opioid. It is typically prescribed to treat pain, but may be abused for recreational purposes. What makes morphine potentially addictive is the way it works in the brain. Morphine can change the way a person’s body responds to pain. Over time, and with prolonged abuse, a person may develop a tolerance to the effects of the drug.

Eventually, a person abusing the drug may require a higher or more frequent dosage to achieve the effects he or she previously experienced. This is what puts a person at risk of overdose; taking more frequent or higher doses may lead to an excess of the drug in the body.

Morphine, like many opioids, works by calming a person through slowed breathing, producing a feeling of well-being and relaxation. However, this effect is intended to happen over time as the drug slowly releases. When people abuse the drug, changing the method of administration and resulting in a faster release, they force morphine’s effects to happen at once. This “rush” feeling may be what people seek, even after they are no longer in need of the medication to treat pain.

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Morphine Addiction Effects

As with any medication, morphine use may result in a number of side effects. However, prolonged abuse of the drug may cause a person to experience increased side effects ranging from moderate to severe. The following are possible side effects, some of which may be serious:

  • Agitation
  • Blue or purple appearance of skin
  • Chest pain
  • Coordination loss
  • Decrease in sexual desire
  • Erection troubles
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Extreme stiffness of the muscles
  • Fainting
  • Fever
  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of appetite, dizziness, or weakness
  • Menstruation troubles
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Twitching
  • Seizures

Recognizing Signs Of A Morphine Overdose

An overdose can result from a person taking too much of a drug at one time, or from prolonged abuse. If you think a person may be experiencing overdose, it is best to seek medical help right away, and contact emergency services if necessary. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the following are signs to watch for when you suspect a person may be at risk of overdose:

  • Blurred vision
  • Breathing troubles: slow, shallow, or irregular breathing patterns
  • Cold or clammy feeling of the skin
  • Extreme nausea
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • Muscle limpness
  • Pinpoint pupils (extremely small pupils)
  • Sleepiness
  • Slowed heartbeat

What Treatments Are Available For Morphine Addiction?

Traditionally, one of the most effective treatment methods for opioid addiction is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. With this method, recovering individuals learn to overcome abuse by recreating their lifestyles and abstaining from drug abuse. Participants focus on a fulfilling lifestyle free from triggers.

Another method that is growing in popularity and effectiveness is Medication Assisted Therapy (MAT). Some medications may quell the urges many addicted individuals experience during detoxification. Further, medication may help a person to slowly train his or her body not to need substance use. While some clinicians feel that drugs such as buprenorphine simply replace one addictive drug with another, others are finding that medications may aid in helping people to safely recover from addiction. With proper monitoring, a person can have tapered use of medication until such a time when he or she no longer needs it.

MAT is offered as part of an inpatient residential program conducted at a rehab center, where it can be also used to assist in detoxification. MAT is also available in various levels of outpatient treatment programs, as well as prior to a patient’s transition back into the community following treatment.

MAT should be used in conjunction with a treatment program and support groups. Many facilities will offer medication as part of treatment in addition to other beneficial methods, such as group or individual counseling, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or 12-step programs.

Find Help For Morphine Addiction Treatment Today

If you know someone who is struggling with morphine addiction, that person may think he or she has the abuse under control. Unfortunately, opioid addiction can be a gateway for other addictions, especially if the source to the prescription ends. Don’t wait for your loved one to form a habit that could affect him or her for life. Contact us today at to learn how to get help for morphine addiction.

Mayo Clinic - Morphine (Oral Route)

National Institute On Drug Abuse - Prescription Opioid And Heroin Abuse

U.S. National Library Of Medicine - Morphine

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