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Morphine is one of the oldest yet most common pain relievers throughout the world. While it has helped many people overcome pain for their injuries, the drug is commonly misused and abused. The drug works by activating natural opioid receptors in our body. The purpose of morphine is to treat acute pain stemming from injuries, surgery, or other chronic conditions.
Unfortunately, even when used as prescribed, morphine carries a significant risk of addiction. Although individuals who abuse the drug will develop a chemical dependency faster, it will occur over time, even if they consume moderate doses. While overcoming a morphine addiction is possible without treatment, it may be more than most people can handle alone.
Once a person develops a morphine addiction, it can lead to drug-seeking behavior and cause a person to use heroin. Addiction is considered a chronic disease, which can lead to a severe substance use disorder or, worse, death. If you or someone you love was prescribed morphine and you fear they are starting to abuse the medicine, you need to educate yourself about the signs to nip the problem in the bud.
Someone in the beginning stages of addiction will not show any signs that their lives are changing, and they will likely still be contributing members of society fulfilling their obligations. However, as they continue to use, the first signs will slowly appear. If you are concerned about someone you love developing a substance use disorder, it’s important to learn the signs to help you better understand what’s happening.
The first sign of a substance use disorder is when your body becomes tolerant to morphine. As it adjusts to the chemical in your body, the effects will be noticeably weaker than when you started taking the medication. Your nervous system works to counteract the substance to balance brain chemistry, which will eventually lead to physical dependence. What this means is that your body is relying on the drug to maintain everyday functions. If you slow down or stop altogether, you will notice uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
The final stage is an addiction, which affects our limbic system significantly. Addiction is the compulsive use of drugs or alcohol despite the consequences. If you are worried that you or a loved one is falling victim to addiction, there are signs to look out for and steps to take. These include:
While some may discuss their success in overcoming addiction without treatment, it is not recommended to stop in this fashion. When you stop using morphine cold turkey, you will not treat the underlying causes of addiction, which is likely to cause a relapse in the future.
Those entering treatment will start in the most intensive stage, known as medical detox. It will allow you to transition safely into a sober state under the supervision of clinicians and addiction specialists.
Once you complete detox, there will be several options awaiting you.
If the clinicians find you have no history of relapsing or your addiction was not severe, they may suggest lower levels of care, such as outpatient treatment or intensive outpatient (IOP).
Those struggling with severe substance use disorders or a history of relapse will be placed into residential treatment, which is more intensive and will give you 24-hour care. Speak to a medical professional today to determine your options.