Morphine Abuse: Effects, Signs & Symptoms

Morphine Abuse: Effects, Signs & SymptomsWhile intended to provide relief for significant pain, morphine is sometimes misused in ways that foster addiction. If you or your loved one have been impacted by morphine misuse, you must have access to reliable information that supports your recovery. This guide will help you gain that information and make the best possible decisions on your return to sobriety.

Symptoms and Side Effects of Morphine Addiction

Morphine1 has a long history of effective use for people with moderate or severe physical pain. However, the medication — which in its natural form acts as the source of heroin2 — is also a strong opioid with clear addiction potential when used inappropriately.  All cases of morphine addiction and damaging, non-addictive morphine abuse qualify for a diagnosis of opioid use disorder3. Doctors also use this same diagnosis to identify all other serious, opioid-related substance problems.

A person with morphine-related opioid use disorder will have symptoms of addiction and/or abuse such as:

  • Inability to limit your morphine intake (i.e., taking too much at once or using more often than prescribed by your doctor)
  • Inability to quit misusing the medication after at least two attempts
  • The presence of strong morphine cravings when not consuming the medication
  • Increasing tolerance to the medication’s painkilling and euphoric effects
  • Establishment of morphine misuse as a main recreational activity
  • Recurring intake of morphine in circumstances that put your life or the lives of others in danger
  • Failure to heed loved ones’ concerns when they object to your pattern of medication intake
  • Failure to modify your pattern of morphine intake after your consumption leads to declining physical or mental health
  • A morphine-related decline in your ability to function well in the classroom, at work or at home

Signs of Morphine abuse

Apart from these official symptoms, you may also notice other problems in a person who misuses the medication. These problems, common to all forms of opioid misuse4, can include:

  • Bouts of panic with no other obvious explanation
  • Slowed bowel function
  • A reduced ability to make logical decisions
  • Lack of the normal ability to coordinate muscle movements
  • An unexplained lack of energy
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • A listless or lethargic attitude
  • Unusual swings in your normal mood
  • Abnormal slurring of your words

Morphine occurs naturally in the seed pods of a plant called the opium poppy. This raw substance differs in some respects from the morphine sulfate used in prescription painkillers. However, the raw and pharmaceutical-grade forms of this opioid pose equal risks for addiction when misused. You can develop a physical dependence on prescription morphine, even if you never stray from your doctor’s dosing instructions. In contrast to people addicted to the medication, dependent people can avoid developing diagnosable opioid use disorder with proper medical guidance.

Reach Out For Help

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  1. U.S. National Library of Medicine – MedlinePlus: Morphine
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse: Heroin – What Is Heroin and How Is It Used?
  3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Substance Use Disorders
  4. American Academy of Family Physicians: Opioid Addiction
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