Morphine is a very powerful pain reliever that is prescribed following surgical procedures and accidents to help patients overcome the severe pain that they are feeling. While the drug is not considered widely dangerous when taken as prescribed, prolonged use can lead to dangerous outcomes including morphine withdrawal, dependence and addiction. Many people who take the drug for more than just a few days require more than just willpower when it comes time to quit.
What is Morphine Withdrawal?
When morphine is taken regularly or repeatedly, there is a risk of physical tolerance and dependence to occur. This dependence is the result of chemical changes that occur in the brain and cause the user to physically desire, crave and actually “need” the drug in order to feel comfortable or happy. When morphine use abruptly ceases or when the drug dose is reduced significantly, morphine withdrawal will often take place. This is the result of the brain telling the body that it “needs” morphine to survive.
What are Some Symptoms of Morphine Withdrawal?
Each individual is different and the various symptoms of morphine withdrawal that each user will feel can differ from one person to the next. Many factors can increase the intensity of morphine withdrawals or reduce the intensity of these symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms of morphine withdrawal include:
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
- Sweating or having hot or cold flashes
- Loss of appetite
- Diarrhea and abdominal cramping
As morphine withdrawal continues, the symptoms will often become worse before they actually get better. Around the fifth to seventh day, the symptoms of withdrawal will usually peak and be at their worst case before they slowly reside and allow the recovering addict some rest.
Is there Treatment for Morphine Withdrawal?
The process of coming off morphine and overcoming the withdrawal symptoms that so commonly result in relapse during the early days, weeks or even months of treatment is challenging but there is help. Treatment for morphine withdrawal will typically include a gradual reduction of the morphine dose, a method of slowing weaning the user off the drugs. This process can take months and leaves the user vulnerable to relapse or increased tolerance and is not the preferred method of recovery for some.
Some morphine addicts decide to seek professional treatment for morphine withdrawal in order to overcome the symptoms and get their lives back on track. Treatment may include medications that help to ward off symptoms as well as other medications that are commonly used to treat various aspects of the withdrawal such as the vomiting or the diarrhea. Ultimately, the method of treatment that will be most effective in helping an individual overcome morphine withdrawal is one that includes supervision, medical treatment, support and consistency.
Morphine withdrawal is a necessary part of overcoming morphine addiction and taking back control of your life. While the entire process will likely be challenging at best, it’s important to keep in mind that you are not alone in your plight to overcome this potentially deadly disease and that you can get better—time will heal your pain and you will soon overcome the symptoms of morphine withdrawal.