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Coming Off of Morphine: Dealing with Addiction and Withdrawal

Morphine is an opioid drug that is manufactured from the poppy plant. It has been around for centuries, and it was developed as an alternative to opium. It was used in surgeries to lessen the pain experienced before anesthesia was available. During the Civil War, many soldiers took this drug to help with intense pain from the loss of limbs and other severe injuries. The drug was highly addictive and the addiction became known as “Soldiers Disease.” Even though the drug lost favor as other less addictive drugs were introduced, it’s still in use today for pain relief and other situations.

Morphine is a drug that’s often given as an accompaniment to anesthesia during surgical procedures, and it’s also used to relieve severe pain during the healing process and is found in some cough syrups. It’s important that the drug is given only under certain circumstances, and only for a short period of time because of the fact that it’s so addictive. Medical professionals are always careful to wean patients off it slowly when they’re ready to stop it.

Heroin is developed similarly to morphine, and it was first used to treat an addiction to the drug. However, it was soon found to be just as addictive and other treatments had to be used. Relapse rates are highest among morphine users of all addictive substances.

Most of the time, morphine use is monitored so closely that addiction doesn’t have the opportunity to form. However, this is not the case all the time. There are those who may be predisposed to addiction who can easily become addicted to this drug. There are also some doctors who will prescribe it for chronic pain. The drug can be purchased on the street as well. Some of the street names it’s found under include:
  • Miss Emma
  • Cotton Brothers
  • Monkey
  • Black Mollies
  • Blackies
  • Mister Blue
  • Junkie
  • White Rain

If you’re addicted, it’s so important for you to realize how serious this addiction is. Getting help from a drug rehab center is vital to your recovery because this is not a drug you should try to stop on your own.

Morphine Use and Abuse

Because morphine is still prescribed by doctors for pain relief, it’s most commonly used in a medical setting. However, it can easily be abused by the patient when it no longer provides relief from the severe pain they are experiencing.

Abuse often begins by the person taking a pill a little sooner than recommended. They may take an extra pill because the first one doesn’t quite knock out the pain anymore.

The body often builds a tolerance to morphine. While it may work remarkably well in the beginning when it’s first prescribed, it becomes less effective the longer you take it. You may need a higher dosage or to take it more frequently to get the same effects.

Many people choose to change the dosage on their own without talking to their doctor. The changes may be minor in the beginning, such as taking it an hour earlier. When they run out of the medication, they will find excuses to get it refilled sooner or go to another doctor who will give them an additional prescription without knowing they already have one.

Drug use turns into abuse when the person takes the medication in a way other than how it was prescribed. Other signs of drug abuse are taking it for another purpose such as to get high, thinking about using even when you’re not, and avoiding people and activities that would inhibit your ability to use. Often, people think abusing a drug is no big deal, but it can become a problem, especially if it leads to financial, legal or relationship troubles.

What is Morphine Addiction?

As you continue to abuse the drug, your system becomes dependent on it. The brain produces less of the chemicals naturally that are found in the morphine so it depends on the drug to attain the right equilibrium.

Once your body is addicted, it cannot function correctly without the drug. It sounds out warning signs in the form of withdrawal symptoms which force you to find more of the drug so you can feel normal once again. At this point, you cannot stop using whenever you want to.

Morphine is a dangerous drug for several reasons. Besides causing addiction of its own, it can lead to other addictions. It often becomes increasingly difficult to get a prescription when you’re taking more of this drug than you should. You may go out on the street to try to get it where you’ll find it readily available. However, you may soon discover that morphine’s illustrious cousin, heroin, is cheaper to buy and even more readily found. One of the biggest dangers of abuse is that you’ll soon switch to another, even more dangerous drug.

This drug is known as a depressant which means it depresses the central nervous system. This is how it stops you from feeling pain after an injury or surgery. It is dangerous to combine morphine with other drugs, but many addicts do so to achieve a more intense high or to make it last longer.

When you combine it with another depressant or sedative, you increase your risk of overdosing because both drugs do the same thing. They will slow down your heart rate and breathing. It could end up slowing things down too much.

It’s also dangerous to mix morphine with a stimulant even though these drugs have opposite effects. A stimulant will speed up your metabolism and give you energy. When you combine the two drugs, you’re at an increased risk for overdosing because you won’t feel the effects of the drugs as strongly since the other one is providing the opposite effect.

It’s quite possible to overdose on morphine, especially when you’re seeking a high. It’s important to know what an overdose looks like so you can get help right away. If you have a loved one using or abusing this drug, make sure you know the signs of overdose, which include the following:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bluish tint to the lips and fingernails
  • Difficulty breathing or slowed breathing
  • Feeling drowsy
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Coma
  • Stomach spasms
  • Seizures

If an overdose isn’t treated with immediate medical help, the person could die.

Morphine Rehab Programs Advise Against Quitting Cold Turkey

Many people opt to try and stop taking morphine cold turkey before they will consent to any types of formal rehab. This is actually very dangerous because of the withdrawal symptoms that can result from stopping. Even under the most controlled circumstances, and in a medical environment, stopping use is likely to lead to withdrawal. However, in drug rehab, these symptoms can be managed, and immediate intervention can take place if symptoms become dangerous.

It takes a long time for morphine to leave the body, and even after it has left the body, you can still experience withdrawal symptoms such as:
  • Chronic, ongoing insomnia
  • Bouts of confusion
  • Symptoms of depression
  • Sudden and severe mood swings
  • Bouts of forgetfulness
  • Cravings

Going to drug rehab will provide you with the support you need so that you can avoid relapsing.

What if You’re Not Sure You’re Addicted?

Morphine Addiction Information
It is possible to take morphine and not be all that sure that you’re addicted to it. This happens all the time, and it occurs mostly because people tend to not believe it’s as addictive as other drugs since it’s prescribed by a doctor or given in the hospital. There are some physical and behavioral signs of addiction that you can look for, and these include:
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Becoming very anxious or having panic attacks
  • Experiencing a lack of coordination
  • Having trouble urinating
  • Experiencing memory loss or learning difficulties
  • Feeling like more Morphine is needed in order to achieve the desired effects

If you experience any of the above, it’s likely that you’re addicted to this drug. Talking with someone from a drug addiction treatment center can help you understand more details about your personal situation and treatment needs.

Detox for Morphine Addiction

Once you’ve decided that you have a problem with morphine abuse or addiction, you need to take the first step to recovery. Before you go into treatment, you need to get clean. The drug must get out of your system, which is done through a process called detoxing.

When you detox, you stop taking the drug and let your body go back to functioning normally. It can take some time to accomplish this goal because it has become dependent on the drug. Morphine is labeled as a Schedule II drug, which means it’s highly addictive but does have medicinal value. It can be swallowed, snorted, smoked and injected. The method of use affects how long it takes to get out of the system. It usually starts working in at least 15 minutes to an hour. You’ll feel the effects of the drug for up to six hours. However, it’s still in the system and can be detected by drug tests for several days.

You’ll start to notice the first symptoms of withdrawal within about six up to 12 hours after you last used the drug. It will start with sweating, yawning, a runny nose and watery eyes. This is your body’s way of requesting the drug.

The symptoms continue to worsen up until about two to three days later when they peak. During that time, you’ll experience a variety of problems, including not being able to sleep, having chills, a faster heart rate, high blood pressure, anxiety, muscle pain, vomiting, depression and loss of appetite. You’ll crave the drug and want to get some to stop the symptoms, but you must continue on to get through the drug detox process.

It takes about a week for you to begin to feel good again and even longer for the effects of the symptoms to subside. You can compare it to a really bad case of the flu along with some major emotional and mental issues. It can be months before you notice the cravings disappear and your body to feel completely normal.

Because morphine is such an addictive drug, many drug detox centers offer medications to help you get through the worst of the process. You can use the same drugs for morphine as for any opioid detox. Three medications have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They include the following:

  • Buprenorphine
  • Methadone
  • Naltrexone

The goal of all these drugs is to help you move through the detoxing process with fewer withdrawal symptoms and those that are less severe. Another option is to reduce the amount of morphine being used until the body doesn’t need it anymore.

Before you decide this is the way to go, you need to know what each of these drugs do and the negative impact of medical detox.

Buprenorphine is a drug used to reduce side effects and the likelihood of relapse. It produces similar euphoric feelings that aren’t as strong as with the opioid even if you increase the dosage. However, it’s enough to trick the brain into believing everything is normal and to prevent many of the withdrawal symptoms. This medication is allowed to be given in hospitals, correctional facilities and other places where it can be administered by a doctor.

Methadone is another option for medical detox and drug addiction treatment. It’s used to block the high you get from opioid drugs like heroin and morphine. It also provides a less intense euphoric feeling which helps prevent symptoms of withdrawal. It’s not a quick fix. In fact, many people continue taking it for about a year before being weaned off it slowly. You can go to rehab while taking this drug, but it slows down the recovery process.

The third option is naltrexone. It works in a variety of ways. First, it blocks the euphoric effects of the drug so you have no reason to keep using. It also decreases your desire to use and it prevents you from wanting to continue to use if you have a relapse.

While all three of these drugs have benefits with opioid detoxification and treatment, they carry their own risks. They are somewhat addictive though less than with morphine. However, a person can become addicted to them as well. It also slows down the recovery process because you must be weaned off gradually before you can be completely drug-free.

Another option is to attend a drug rehab facility that uses holistic detox. Instead of using drugs to help reduce withdrawal symptoms, a more natural approach is used. The focus is on getting the person healthy through diet and nutrition and letting the immune system do its job.

When your body is lacking certain nutrients, you’re more likely to experience certain side effects, including depression, muscle aches and more. In a holistic detox program, the nutritionist will make sure you’re getting enough nutrients which can reduce or even eliminate some symptoms.

Exercise is another important component of this type of program. Working out releases endorphins in the brain that mimic the high that comes from drugs. When the brain gets these chemicals, it will think everything is fine and you’ll experience fewer if any withdrawal symptoms.

Just like with medical detox, a holistic method isn’t a quick fix either. It takes some time to get your system back on the right track. However, you’ll get through the process much faster and you’ll learn important skills to help you feel healthier for the future.

You don’t have to try to detox on your own. With a detox facility, you have staff on hand to help you through the difficult times. They can provide support and even call for emergency medical help if you should need it. Don’t let the fear of withdrawal stop you from getting the assistance you need to begin the path to sobriety.

Is Inpatient Morphine Rehab the Answer?

Because this drug is so highly addictive, experts agree that an inpatient rehab is the answer for those who want to recover from their addictions. This allows for close observation and monitoring during the withdrawal phase, and staff are able to intervene as necessary to provide help to lessen the severity of symptoms. The right type of cognitive-behavioral therapy is also recommended in order to prevent relapsing eventually, and this is best achieved in an inpatient setting.

Getting enough support is so crucial to your recovery when you’re addicted, and you need the wrap-around services that going to an inpatient rehab can provide for you.

While inpatient rehab is recommended for a morphine addiction, it’s not the only option. Outpatient addiction treatment is available. There may be situations where this is your only choice to receive treatment. You may have a family who depends on you to care for them or go to work. If you have other obligations, outpatient programs may offer the flexibility you need to get treatment.

You will find programs that offer therapy during the day, in the evenings and on weekends. Outpatient treatment includes the same components as inpatient rehab. You’ll attend individual and group therapy and continue to be monitored for medications if you’ve been given any.

For outpatient rehab to be successful, you must make lifestyle changes. You can’t be around the same people or places that made you want to use before. You should also have a support network of friends and family who will help you stay strong when the cravings hit.

What to Expect in Rehab

Regardless of whether you attend an inpatient center or outpatient rehab, you’ll receive the same kinds of treatment. It will help to know what to expect before you go so you can be prepared.

You’ll attend individual counseling sessions with a therapist. During these sessions, you’ll talk about your addiction and any factors that led to your drug abuse. You may have to come to terms with other issues in your past or present. You’ll also work on developing new goals for your life going forward.

Group therapy is also part of treatment. It’s the part many recovering addicts dread. However, it’s essential and often becomes an important part of recovery. You’ll quickly see you aren’t alone. While your story is unique, it’s not unusual. You will build friendships as everyone encourages each other.

In some cases, you may need medication to help you deal with issues surrounding your addiction. Medication use will be monitored in treatment and may even be decreased or eliminated as you near the end of the program. Besides use to prevent relapse, medication may be given if you have a dual diagnosis.

Also known as co-occurring or co-existing disorders, this term means that you have a mental illness and a drug addiction. If you only treat the addiction, you’re likely to relapse and start using again when the symptoms of your mental illness become unbearable. Instead, the therapist will need to treat the mental illness with therapy and possibly medication.

More rehab clinics are paying attention to the whole person and not just focusing on the single goal of treating addiction. With a wellness program, the goal is to help the person feel healthy and more self-confident so they don’t desire to use drugs again.

Diet and exercise are usually part of the program, but so is social interaction and community involvement. The idea is to help create a well-rounded person who is better able to deal with stress and other triggers while avoiding relapse.

Many drug rehab clinics offer other therapy options besides traditional treatment. They are usually designed to provide new methods of dealing with addiction and the issues behind it. For instance, some people are better at expressing their feelings through art, music or journaling. Others may need to relearn responsibility or how to relate to others which is demonstrated through equine therapy or gardening therapy. Yoga and outdoor activities help a person release stress without turning to drugs or other negative behaviors.

While engaging in these activities, it doesn’t even feel like therapy. You can have fun while doing something positive in treatment. It also allows the therapist to observe you and learn more about your personality and struggles with addiction and life.

When Your Family Member is Addicted

If you have a family member abusing morphine or possibly addicted, you may be feeling concerned and rightly so. You should sit down with them and talk about the dangers of morphine addiction. Try to be factual and use statistics and information about the subject rather than sounding accusatory. Even if you are trying to avoid a confrontation, the other person may not listen. However, they may not realize the issues of addiction and your information may help them see their need for treatment.

If this doesn’t happen, you can also look for help with an intervention. Instead of you being the one to say something, several family members and friends meet with the addict to express their concerns. It often causes them to see the problem when so many people are saying the same thing.

Don’t give up on your loved one. You can help them see their need for treatment. Even if it doesn’t appear that they are listening, your words just might be getting through.

The Truth About Drug Rehab Cost

It’s possible that you’re concerned about the cost of rehab, and you’ve put off getting more information because you know you just can’t afford to pay for it yourself. Unfortunately, there are so many people who feel this way, and they don’t realize that paying for drug rehab yourself is no longer required for most people.

The Affordable Care Act has made it possible for everyone who wants to get help from addiction treatment programs to do so. Insurance companies are now required to provide payments for this type of addiction treatment, which is such a great change in our country’s healthcare laws.

You can easily find out what your insurance coverage is by contacting drug rehab centers and asking for an intake over the phone. If you choose a participating facility, you may find that you don’t have to pay anything toward your treatment yourself.

Amytal Addiction Treatment

How Do You Find the Best Morphine Rehab Facilities in Washington?

It makes sense that if you’re going to get professional help for a morphine addiction that you would want to invest in only the best treatment programs you can find in the State of Washington. Morphine treatment centers are not all the same, and it’s important to know how to choose the best that will be able to offer you the support and help you need for a successful recovery. Knowing what questions to ask can be helpful, and so, you should always ask the following:
  • How high is your staff to patient ratio?
  • What type of treatment do you offer patients who have a morphine addiction?
  • What do you provide for detoxification services?
  • Are you an accredited facility?
  • Will you provide support for my family during my treatment?
  • What is your overall, long-term success rate?

Here at Northpoint Washington, you’ll find that we’re eager to answer these and any other questions you might have about our approach to morphine rehabilitation. We understand how important it is for you to get the best help you can, and we’re confident that we can assist you in achieving your recovery goals. If you’d like to learn more, please contact us today.

We are based out of Edmonds, Washington, but we have facilities located around the state to help you overcome addiction. We have a low patient-to-staff ratio so you can get the attention you need when dealing with something as serious as morphine drug abuse. We use a holistic approach to help you begin the process of recovery with a focus on healthy lifestyle changes, socialization and community building. You can enjoy an afternoon of hiking or a yoga class as part of your treatment program.

If you want to know more about our program or about morphine addiction in general, contact us today.

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