Do you know that 10% of the population in the United States has experienced opiate addiction once in their lifetime?
The opiate known as morphine is used to treat moderate to severe pain. It is medically approved to treat the pain patients experience after major surgery and even the pain associated with cancer.
The pain-relieving effects of this drug provide a euphoric sensation that takes you to a dream-like state. The intense joy you feel upon reaching the peak is the main reason why it’s abused. It’s hard to tell if a person is abusing it, especially if he has a prescription.
What Are Signs of Morphine Addiction?
The best way for you to avoid being dependent and addicted to this opiate is to abide by your doctor’s prescription. If ever you think that you or anyone in your family is abusing it, make an early intervention to help them recover.
Here are some signs that a person is abusing this substance:
Lack of Social Interaction and Ignoring Responsibilities
When you are addicted to this opiate, your focus is on using this substance repeatedly. You tend to forget that you have other things to work on and prioritize in your life.
A person under the influence of this opiate will have a myopic focus on how to get a constant supply of the drug and use it for recreation.
If you’re an addict to this opiate, your patience is small, so you’re prone to get easily irritated for any minor concerns. You are likely to burst out in anger when things don’t go your way, and you can’t think clearly.
Sudden Loss of Weight
Your addiction to this substance can lead to loss of appetite, that’s why you abruptly lose weight even without proper diet and exercise. You are also prone to nausea and vomiting, which further lose your appetite.
Lethargy or being sleepy and drowsy most of the time is also a sign of abusing this opiate. During peak concentration, your body goes into a crazy adrenaline rush, making you feel high and energetic. However, as the power wears off, you quickly crash into depression and lose enthusiasm for anything.
Most people who are addicted to this opioid experience problems with their finances. This happens because you cannot control your expenditure from buying this substance, you forget you have other needs and utilities to shoulder.
What Makes Morphine Addictive?
Our brain has two chemicals called enkephalin and endorphin which are responsible for mildly calming us or numbing our pain when necessary. Once a person starts taking this drug, its highly potent chemical attaches to our enkephalin and endorphin receptors. As a result, dopamine, the happy hormone, floods our brain and makes us feel elated and satisfied.
Our brain records this pleasant activity and continues to crave it. This is when our body starts developing a physical dependence on this opioid. With repeated use, our brain creates a new baseline above the function of our enkephalin and endorphin and starts to need more of the drug.
What Are Factors That Lead to Morphine Addiction?
You develop an uncontrolled craving and dependence on this opioid when you repeatedly use it in high dosages. It could be by not following the right prescription and taking doses more than what is prescribed or simply taking morphine even with the absence of pain.
There are also considerable factors in the life of a person that lead them to resort to addiction.
First is the genetic factor. Our genes contribute to developing mental health conditions such as:
- Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Bipolar Disorder
- Borderline Personality Disorder
Oftentimes, morphine addiction is associated with these mental health conditions.
The second is life’s history. Personal experiences such as depression, childhood traumas, or neglect make people vulnerable to morphine addiction. Even the ones with experience of substance abuse are likely to fall into addiction once they come in contact with this drug.
The third is the environment. With its accessibility among peers and in black markets, the risk of abusing this opioid is high.
What Are The Side Effects of Taking Morphine?
One significant aspect of this opiate is its ability to quickly develop tolerance among its users. This is the reason why the person craves higher doses.
As a result, severe withdrawal symptoms are likely to occur and prolong the withdrawal treatment in case the user decides to cut back from using the drug.
The following side effects may occur 15 to 60 minutes after your last intake and this could last from 4 to 6 hours. Here is a list of the short-term effects:
- Slowed breathing
- Inability to concentrate
- Severe respiratory depression
- Rapid heartbeats
- False sense of well-being
- Mood changes
- Itchy skin
- Dry mouth
- Chest pain
- Decreased sexual drive
Not only addiction but also long-term side effects are likely to develop with prolonged use of this opioid. It includes damage to veins at injection sites as well as mood disorders like depression. The following can also occur:
- Severe constipation
- Suppressed immune system
- Collapsed veins
Is there a Treatment for Morphine Addiction?
Treatments that are available for morphine addiction include therapy, support groups, and medications to manage withdrawal symptoms. If you know anyone who needs treatment, there are several treatment centers around the United States that you can search from the internet.
Choose a rehab center that’s well-equipped for treating opioid addiction and provide a physician-assisted detoxification program. It is highly recommended that you look for this kind of program in a treatment center.
Abuse of this substance leads to withdrawal symptoms which usually occur within 6 to 12 hours from the last intake. The level of these symptoms will progress until they peak between 36 and 72 hours.
The following are the withdrawal symptoms to expect once a person decides to cut back from taking opioid abuse:
- Depression and anxiety
- Abdominal cramps
- Muscle spasms
- Chills and sweating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Body aches
A physician-assisted detox is important as it lets the doctor slowly taper down one’s dosage until the user gets used to the absence of the drug. This can be administered using the drug or a substitute substance with similar effects.
- Clonidine is commonly used for morphine detox as it helps the user reduce experiences of anxiety, irritability, cramping, and sweating.
- Buprenorphine is also popularly prescribed for long-term morphine withdrawal treatment. This method is also known as medication-assisted treatment.
An inpatient rehabilitation program that lasts for 90 days is the best opioid addiction treatment a person can get. It is medically assisted so any complications that arise in the process can be immediately attended to. It is safe and it lets the user focus on the treatment alone.
A person’s battle against addiction does not stop after the detoxification treatment. It is a life-long process that demands a commitment to stay clean.