Pain is a feeling that is synonymous with discomfort and agitation. As those feelings continue to grow, many people seek the assistance of a doctor in order to find a solution of some kind. Prescription opioids are often administered to help patients attain a level of comfort which allows them an opportunity to maintain a livable quality of life.
Regarded as the gold standard of pain relievers, morphine is a primary component in opium. Named after Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams, morphine is helpful in alleviating pain by leaving users in a euphoria filled, dreamlike state. As the brain’s chemistry changes and becomes accustomed to the beneficial sensations of morphine, users may experience signs of dependence.
What is Morphine?
Classified as a narcotic pain reliever, morphine works by hampering and inhibiting the brain's perception of pain. Every human has natural endogenous opioids inside of their body. When special receptors, like opioid receptors, enter a body, natural opioids can bind to those receptors.
Through the binding of receptors, morphine manipulates the body’s natural process by activating the same receptors used by endogenous opioids. By mimicking the effects of natural opioids, morphine can decrease the transmission of pain impulses throughout the central nervous.
Comprised of the brain and spine, the central nervous system integrates received information from all areas of the body and then coordinates those actions. As morphine enters the body, it interrupts messages of pain which run up and down the spinal cord and through the brain.
Commonly available in tablet, syrup or injection form, morphine is known for its high potency. Because morphine and heroin are in the same opiate family, morphine is often abused when users of heroin are unable to attain it.
One of the biggest issues that occurs with continued use of morphine is a possibility of developing an addiction. Though human bodies react to foreign substances in different ways, if anyone takes morphine for an extended period of time and on a regular basis, a physical dependence is a likely outcome.
A drug dependence means that as the user takes more morphine, higher dosages of the drug will be needed in order for them to experience similar levels of pain management. As the user continues taking morphine, the brain will eventually switch from enjoying the pleasure of it to craving the drug. Through these cravings, a user develops an unhealthy desire to augment a prescription with more morphine and other opiate painkillers.
Signs of Morphine Use
Any person that uses morphine without a doctor’s prescription is said to be abusing it. As abuse of morphine continues, the individual will begin experiencing certain side effects. These side effects range in severity and directly correlate to the amount of time morphine has been abused.
Due to morphine’s ability to inhibit emotions and alertness, one of the first and most common signs of use is dizziness and confusion. While under morphine, a person loses their sense of perception, making it exceedingly dangerous for them to drive or engage in activity that puts others in harm's way. Because a person experiences confusion, another sign to look out for is a person that has trouble putting coherent thoughts together.
As an individual continues using morphine, more severe symptoms like gastrointestinal disturbances and cyanosis develop. Cyanosis is a bluish discoloration that develops near the surface of the skin because of low oxygen circulation. The most common places that cyanosis can be spotted are the lips and fingernails.
If a person does not stop using morphine and, as a result of tolerance, ingests an amount that their body cannot handle, the individual may end up in a coma or die of an overdose.
Morphine Withdrawal Symptoms
When a person makes a decision to quit morphine, they will experience symptoms of withdrawal. Because the body has become used to sensations of the drug, it begins to crave morphine. The length and severity of the effects are in direct correlation to length of abuse and dosage levels.
Some side effects that a user can expect at the begin of withdrawals are:
- Runny nose
- Superficial joint and muscle pain
- Loss of appetite
- Accelerated heartbeat
- Overall weakness and fatigue.
A heightened sense of anxiety is a symptom that should also be expected. As a user begins to lose the beneficial sensations of morphine, their brain will begin playing tricks on them. Anxiety may cause the user to express thoughts of suicide. If anyone you know ever states an intention to end their own life, seek immediate professional help.
Street Names for Morphine
Because morphine can only be legally obtained through a professional, street dealers have had to come up with clever ways to disguise the identity of the drug. Many of the most common morphine street names are related to pill color. The following are common street names that can be used to easily identify morphine:
- Black Mollies
- Black Pill
- Mister Blue
- Aunti Em
For medical patients that have difficulty swallowing morphine in its pill form, a liquid version is prescribed. The liquid form of morphine has common nicknames different than those associated with its pill form.
- Tango and Cash
- Dance Fever
- Murder 8
Treatment for Morphine Addiction
Figuring out whether or not morphine use has turned into an addiction can be difficult, especially if you are questioning yourself. If you cannot control your cravings for morphine and find that it consumes a large part of your thoughts, reaching out to a trusted doctor is a vital step. Your doctor can help you come up with a plan to beat your addiction. For those ready to invest in their wellness, doctors can also provide users with great resources and references to recovery programs in their area.
Morphine residential rehab is necessary because it is the only way to thoroughly treat an addiction. Even if the dependence to morphine is purely physical, the reason why rehab is important comes down to several factors. Through rehab programs, a user is closely monitored. If the addict has underlying medical conditions, which is normally the case for those who were prescribed morphine, detoxing could lead to complicated repercussions.
Rehab programs also protect users from an accidental overdose. As a person begins experiencing withdrawal symptoms, the brain may start playing tricks on them. In a safe space like a rehab center, a user is able to go through all of the phases of withdrawal while a professional offers them supervised and regulated support.
When choosing the type of treatment that would be best for someone with a morphine addiction, there are a number of choices out there. From inpatient and outpatient to long-term and short-term options, a user can find the right program to overcome an addiction.
For those wanting a more comprehensive treatment program, there are morphine addiction treatment centers which focus solely on the physical dependence of the drug while other centers offer psychological treatments. However, due to the addictive nature of morphine, having a purely physical or psychological dependence to the drug is rare. Most people suffer from a combination of both, which is why facilities that offer treatments for the physical, mental and psychological aspects of morphine addiction are highly recommended.
As a person enters a rehab facility, one of the first steps that need to be taken is a detoxing of morphine from the system. The aim of the detox is to slowly taper them off of morphine using other opioid drugs, such as Methadone, instead of dropping it “cold turkey”. By administering other opiates at lower dosages, it helps the brain adjust itself and regain chemical balance.
Brain neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin (which regulate bodily functions like breathing and cognitive abilities) regain their influence on the body, which may cause the user to feel overwhelmed. With the presence of a professional, throughout the detoxing process, tough moments can be smoothed out.
During a rehab stay, patients will also go through behavioral therapy sessions which are used to help them understand their dependence on morphine. Therapy sessions can be administered as one on one or in a group setting. Either way, a user is forced to look within and examine their own psychology. As the therapy sessions continue, a professional is better able to understand the unique needs of a patient.
Because addiction is a disease, it is important to understand that the recovery process does not end after rehab. It is something that the user has to consistently work on for the rest of their life. Through continued communication with a professional, a recovering user can continue setting goals and staying clean.