5 Warning Signs of Morphine Abuse

morphine-abuse

Over 130 people die due to opioid overdose every day. 

While we hear a lot about heroin overdoses, morphine abuse occurs just as often. If you’re concerned about a friend or family member using morphine, recognizing the signs of drug addiction can help.

Here are the common signs of morphine abuse to look out for.

1. Short-Term Effects of Morphine

The short-term effects of morphine use depend on how much was taken. The method for administering the drug can influence these side effects as well. Most side effects occur within 15 to 60 minutes.

Depending on how much was taken, these morphine symptoms could last between 4 to 6 hours.

The possible short-term effects or morphine use include:

  • Nausea
  • Itchy skin
  • Apathy
  • Rapid heartbeats
  • Sleepiness
  • Euphoria
  • Hallucinations
  • Drowsiness
  • Problems sleeping
  • Slowed breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Respiratory depression
  • Dry mouth
  • Nervousness
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Dilated pupils
  • Irritability and anxiety
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Decreased sexual drive
  • Hallucinations
  • Coma

Morphine impacts the body’s central nervous system (CNS). As it depresses the CNS, morphine will slow down both the nervous system and brain.

This causes morphine users to experience drowsiness and take slower breaths.

In higher doses, the person might become unconscious or fall into a coma.

2. Long-Term Effects of Morphine

21 to 29% of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them. Using morphine over a long period of time can cause intense side effects. Prolonged use can lead to morphine addiction and dependence as well.

People who use morphine over an extended period of time might also develop depression or another mood disorder.

Constantly injecting morphine into the body can cause damage to a person’s veins as well.

Other long-term effects of morphine use include:

  • Confusion
  • Severe constipation
  • Restlessness
  • A suppressed immune system
  • Collapsed veins
  • Impaired muscle coordination
  • Kidney failure
  • Decreased metabolism
  • Changes in body weight
  • Blue or purple lips and fingernails
  • Depression

Morphine use impacts the brain’s pleasure-causing chemicals.

Like many opiates, morphine stimulates parts of the brain that releases these chemicals. This allows morphine to increase the amount of pleasure-inducing chemicals in the brain, creating a euphoric experience.

Risk Factors

People with a loved one who has experienced a morphine addiction in the past might develop the same addiction.

Another risk factor for morphine abuse is stress. When we experience long-term stress, or bodies tense up, causing joint and muscle pain. This stress can cause anxiety as well.

Morphine can produce euphoria to mask this pain and relieve anxiety.

If a friend or loved one is using morphine for chronic pain relief and experiences heightened stress, they might use morphine to cope.

3. Behavioral Changes

Morphine abuse can impact how people think, act, and communicate with the people around them.

Some of the general signs of drug addiction include:

  • Taking a substance longer than it was prescribed for
  • Spending a lot of time and energy trying to obtain the drug
  • Difficulty controlling how much or how often the drug is taken
  • Loss of interest in friends, family, or activities
  • Intense cravings for the substance

Morphine abuse also manifests through other behavioral changes. These can include:

  • Loneliness
  • Seclusion/introversion
  • A dramatic change in priorities
  • Neglect for personal grooming
  • Increased aggression without reason
  • Increased aggression concerning environmental changes
  • Personality changes
  • Lack of will power
  • Perceived isolation

You might also find pills, pill bottles, or syringes finding around.

Even if they’re using a prescription, it can take as few as two weeks on a regular dose for morphine addiction to development.

Despite knowing your friend or loved one is using morphine, other behavioral changes can indicate morphine abuse, including:

  • Doctor shopping to get multiple prescriptions
  • Stealing or lying to gain more morphine
  • Lying about how much morphine they’re taking
  • Using their entire prescription before it’s time for a refill
  • Purchasing morphine illegally
  • Losing their job
  • Hiding their morphine use
  • Hiding their morphine in different places
  • Complaining they’re tired or not feeling well
  • Taking their prescription with alcohol

If you notice these signs, it’s possible your loved one is experiencing a morphine addiction.

4. Mood Changes and Psychological Symptoms

You might notice your interactions with your loved ones have changed as well. If you’re concerned they’re experiencing morphine addiction, check for these psychological symptoms:

  • Poor judgment
  • They continuously use morphine despite knowing its negative effects
  • Impaired mental performance
  • They’ve developed an obsession with the drug and other opiates

Over time, it’s possible to develop a morphine tolerance. Patients who are prescribed morphine are warned it’s possible to develop a tolerance after just a few dosages.

If they’ve developed a tolerance, the patient might start taking higher dosages to feel an effect. They might also begin to take morphine more often than prescribed.

If they’ve developed a morphine tolerance, they’ll start to take higher and higher dosages. Otherwise, they won’t experience the euphoria associated with morphine use.

5. Withdrawal Symptoms

Morphine withdrawal symptoms can occur 6 to 12 hours after the last dose.

Remember, morphine tolerance can occur even when someone takes the prescribed dosage. Even if someone hasn’t taken the drug for very long, their body might go into withdrawal after they stop using the drug.

Some of the first withdrawal symptoms include yawning, sneezing, and watery eyes.

Other withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Increased blood pressure

These symptoms can be very intense, though most aren’t life-threatening.

Thankfully, recovery is possible. Despite the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, medical detoxification can help. This process reduces the change of relapse in the future as well.

While the physical symptoms can last three to five days, the psychological symptoms might take a few weeks to fade.

Your loved one doesn’t have to go through the withdrawal process alone. Instead, consider a detox program to help them heal in comfort.

Opiate Awareness: Understanding the Warning Signs of Morphine Abuse

Opiate awareness can help you keep an eye out for your loved one. With these five warning signs of morphine abuse, you can prepare to intervene if necessary.

If you have a loved one who is experiencing morphine addiction, we can help. Contact us today by calling (877) 978-3125, discuss the right drug detox plan for your friend or family member.

References:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis#five

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK431077/

 

Content Reviewed by Jacklyn Steward

Jacklyn StewardJacklyn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and an EMDR trained trauma therapy specialist with over 6 years of experience in the field of addiction. She has a Masters Degree in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling from Nova Southeastern University.