bottle and syringe of morphine

Duramorph/Roxanol (Morphine) Addiction – Side Effects, Abuse, Detox and Withdrawal

bottle and syringe of morphine

What Is Morphine?

Morphine is an opiate painkiller and a narcotic that can only be obtained with a prescription from a doctor. It is prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain, such as for an injury, after an operation, or for cancer. It may also be prescribed on a long-term basis if other painkillers are no longer effective in treating chronic pain.

Morphine provides relief for patients by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain. It comes in several different forms, including capsules, tablets, an oral liquid, and injections.

Sold under various brand names such as Duramorph, Roxanol, and Infumorph P/F, morphine has a high potential for addiction and abuse, especially when people take excessive doses of it or combine it with other street drugs or prescription drugs. It’s especially dangerous when consumed with alcohol.

Slang for Morphine

The following terms are street names or slang for morphine:

  • Mister Blue
  • Dreamer
  • Morf

How Common is Morphine Abuse?

Prescription drug abuse of opiates like morphine is common in the United States. According to SAMHSA’s 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.9 million Americans misused prescription pain relievers like morphine in the past year.

Typically, morphine is prescribed on a short-term basis to treat pain, but it may also be used long-term when other painkillers stop working. In some instances, short or long-term use can lead to physical dependence and addiction.

Morphine misuse isn’t always intentional, but using this opiate in any way other than prescribed by a doctor is dangerous. Misuse of morphine may include actions like:

  • Taking extra doses of morphine
  • Breaking, crushing, or chewing the pills instead of taking them as directed by a doctor
  • Taking morphine with other street drugs, prescription drugs, or alcohol

People with chronic pain may be more likely to develop a morphine addiction than others, but no one is immune. Anyone may become addicted to morphine, especially if they have had previous substance use problems and/or mental illnesses.

Morphine addiction does not have to define you.
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What Are the Side Effects of Morphine Abuse?

Some of the most common physical side effects of morphine abuse may include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Unconsciousness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Bluish-colored fingernails and lips
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Coma

There are also many harmful long-term effects of morphine abuse, including:

  • Collapsed veins
  • Weakened immune system
  • Insomnia
  • Hallucinations

Injecting morphine increases a person’s risk of contracting hepatitis B and C, and people who misuse morphine are also much more likely to develop depression and other mental health problems.

What Are Signs and Symptoms of Morphine Addiction?

A person may become addicted to morphine even after just a few uses of the drug. If you believe that you or a loved one may be addicted to morphine, there are several warning signs you can look for. They include:

  • Stealing, lying, or participating in criminal activities in an attempt to obtain more morphine.
  • Isolating oneself from friends and family members.
  • Needle marks on various parts of the body.
  • Developing a tolerance (needing more morphine to achieve the same physical effects).
  • Hurting oneself or faking injuries in an attempt to get more morphine from a doctor.
  • “Doctor shopping” or getting several prescriptions from different doctors.
  • Suddenly changing social networking habits.
  • Severe hygiene changes or weight loss.

Helping someone with an opioid addiction is a complex process and may involve one-on-one conversations or a planned intervention.

What Are Morphine Withdrawal Symptoms?

If a person is addicted to morphine, he or she will experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms once the effects of the drug wear off. These symptoms typically include:

  • Anxiety
  • Muscle aches
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Teary eyes
  • Yawning
  • Runny nose
  • Restlessness

Later symptoms of morphine withdrawal may be more severe and can include:

  • Chills
  • Dilated pupils
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Cravings

Although the symptoms of morphine withdrawal are typically just uncomfortable, and not life-threatening, medically-assisted detox is the safest and most comfortable method for morphine detox.

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Morphine Withdrawal Timeline

Morphine withdrawal will not be exactly the same for everyone who experiences it, but the timeline below is an estimation of what you may experience while you’re completing a morphine detox program.

6-12 hours after the last dose:Early symptoms of morphine detox and withdrawal may begin to appear, including yawning, sweating, runny nose, and teary eyes.
2-3 days after the last dose:More severe morphine withdrawal symptoms may peak during this time, including increased blood pressure, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, restlessness, insomnia, and cravings. Emotional problems like depression may also occur.
5-7 days after the last dose:Most morphine withdrawal symptoms will subside within a week’s time.

The severity and duration of morphine withdrawal will vary based on your drug abuse history, any other drugs you used with morphine, any medical or mental health conditions, and several other biological factors.

How to Safely Detox From Morphine

Those who are addicted and wondering how they’ll ever detox from morphine are not alone. Morphine addiction is a very difficult addiction to overcome and, much like heroin, morphine detox and withdrawal can be extremely uncomfortable. As such, medically-managed morphine detox is the best and safest way to rid your body of the substance.

When attempting to detox at home, a person is much more likely to give in to cravings or take more methadone to relieve their uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. On the other hand, in a medically monitored environment, such as a detox center, medical staff will treat any uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal so that the client can rest comfortably as their body rids itself of the toxins left behind by the morphine abuse.

Medically-assisted morphine detox also reduces the likelihood of relapse by addressing all of the physical, mental, and emotional needs of the client during detox. This process may include medicinal treatment and group or individual therapy in preparation for drug rehab and continued addiction treatment.

Long-Term Morphine Rehab for Addiction

Upon the completion of a morphine detox program, a person may also choose to continue their addiction treatment with a short or long-term drug rehab program. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that addiction treatment lasting at least 90 days in duration is more likely to produce favorable outcomes, such as long-term or lifelong sobriety.

Of course, the efficacy of morphine treatment is largely dependent on a person’s level of participation, the appropriateness of services, the quality of interaction between the person and the addiction treatment provider(s), and the motivation of the client. However, long-term morphine rehab of 90 days or more will provide the best opportunity for long-term sobriety.

During morphine rehab, a client can expect to experience some or all of the following things:

  • Educational lectures
  • 12-step group work
  • Relapse prevention education
  • Life skills development
  • Time and practice living sober

Inpatient Drug Rehab vs. Outpatient Drug Rehab

There are two main types of morphine rehab programs to choose from: inpatient rehab and outpatient rehab. Depending on the needs of the person enrolling, he or she may be better suited for one or the other.

Inpatient morphine rehab programs are typically gender-specific and are hosted by a drug and alcohol rehab center. Clients live on-site at the rehab center throughout the duration of their morphine treatment and usually share living quarters with other recovering drug addicts. Inpatient morphine rehab programs provide a high level of structure, with daily schedules that include group and individual therapy sessions, 12-Step Program groups, mealtime, exercise time, personal/free time, and nightly curfews.

Outpatient drug rehab programs provide more flexibility and less structure for clients who cannot commit to a full 90 days in a long-term inpatient facility. They consist of a series of group sessions that meet at a safe, clinical location several times a week. Groups are facilitated by a licensed addiction counselor and include addiction education, relapse prevention, 12-step group work, life skills development, and more.

The overall cost of drug rehab for morphine addiction will vary based on the type of program a person enrolls in, but clients typically have several different options for payment. These include:

Continued Care Options for Morphine Addiction Treatment

Full addiction recovery takes time and effort. As a result, many individuals who are recovering from morphine addiction may choose to continue their treatment after rehab with continued care options such as transitional living programs and/or aftercare programs. These types of morphine treatment programs can help people sustain long-lasting sobriety.

Sober Living Programs

Sober living homes (also referred to as halfway houses, ¾ houses, and/or transitional homes) are safe, sober, and clean living spaces that are designed to support men and women in their addiction recovery.

Sober living home residents must adhere to the rules and requirements of their transitional housing program, which typically involves maintaining their sobriety, completing all recovery program requirements, sustaining healthy and appropriate relationships with staff and other residents, and submitting to regular drug and alcohol testing.

The cost of a transitional housing program will vary based on the location of the sober living home, the type of recovery home, and the recovery support services offered.

Aftercare Programs

Aftercare programs are specifically designed for alumni of drug and alcohol rehab programs. These support services meet the needs of individuals recovering from addiction as they gradually adjust to an independent sober lifestyle.

Aftercare programs typically consist of weekly group meetings that serve as sobriety check-ins and offer a safe and welcoming place to talk about personal issues and challenges related to sobriety.

Nova Recovery Center offers a large range of substance abuse treatment services: detox, residential, outpatient and sober living.

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