Morphine Withdrawal

Morphine is a highly addictive and dangerous opioid painkiller. The drug, like other opioids, is derived from opium which is extracted from the poppy plant. Morphine produces euphoric effects as it attaches to the opioid receptors in the brain, causing intense feelings of pleasure.

By acting on the central nervous system, morphine decreases the sensations of pain. It has a long, rich history as well. Originally isolated in the early 1800s by Friedrich Serturner, it became marketed by Merck in 1827. Today, it is used in the synthesization of various other opioids such as hydromorphone (Dilaudid), oxymorphone (Opana), and even heroin.

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The influx of dopamine in the body aids in how quickly you can become dependent on morphine. Much like other opioids, the presence of morphine alters the actual chemistry of the brain and causes physical and psychological dependence. Since the drug is highly addictive, tolerance and dependence will develop quickly—ultimately leading users to experience morphine withdrawal when the drug is no longer in the body.

Although morphine addiction isn’t a widely popular opioid today in terms of the opioid epidemic, morphine use is actually a large factor in the number of people succumbing to opioid addiction. Morphine is one of the purest and potent opioids available. However, it is extremely dangerous while actively using and morphine withdrawal can be severe and highly unpleasant.


What Are the Morphine Withdrawal Symptoms?

The severity of morphine withdrawal symptoms relies solely on the individual:

  • How long they have been using
  • If they are using other drugs in conjunction with morphine
  • The method by which they are using the drug (orally, intravenously, etc)
  • The amount they are using
  • They’re overall physical health
Morphine Withdrawal Timeline

Typically, an individual who is using a smaller amount versus someone doing a larger amount will experience less severe withdrawal symptoms. However, the exact symptoms will be the same. Morphine is such a strong substance that the withdrawal process can be daunting, feared, and distasteful.

The morphine withdrawal symptoms that users may experience after building a tolerance and dependence to the drug consist of:

  • Irritability
  • Lack of concentration
  • Restlessness
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Intense emotional instability
  • Mood swings
  • Cold sweats
  • Insomnia
  • Joint and muscle pain or spasms
  • Watery eyes
  • Excessive yawning
  • Excessive yawning
  • A runny nose and other flu-like symptoms
  • Nausea
  • Itchiness throughout the body
  • Sweating and gooseflesh skin
  • Pupil dilation

Although morphine withdrawal alone does not pose life-threatening consequences, withdrawal from other drugs as well as morphine can cause serious complications. Other substances that might lead to fatal or near-fatal consequences are alcohol or benzodiazepines. These substances are equally as harsh as morphine, but when the body becomes dependent on multiple substances, coming off of them can lead to seizures and other dangerous health complications.

Another aspect of morphine withdrawal to keep in mind is the propensity of aggravating pre-existing medical conditions. While the actual withdrawal process itself only presents uncomfortable symptoms in lieu of life-threatening symptoms, if you suffer from a medical condition, the stress the withdrawals put on your body can cause unforeseen health complications.

What Are the Stages of the Morphine Withdrawal Timeline?

The severe of the symptoms associated with morphine withdrawal gradually increases after taking the last dose. Although your chances of fatalities are slim, depending on the substances you are using, the withdrawal process will make you feel incredibly ill and even that it is life-threatening. At times, withdrawal can be so severe that you might not be able to get out of bed, eat, or sleep for a few weeks. Unfortunately, this is the reality of morphine addiction, which can be treated by professionals to ease the symptoms and help transition you from active addiction to recovery.

Morphine Withdrawal treatment

Since morphine is considered a fast-acting substance, the symptoms of withdrawal will begin to set in fairly quickly after the last dose. Although withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person, typically you will begin to feel acute symptoms between the first 3 – 12 hours after the last dose. Early morphine withdrawal symptoms consist of:

  • Yawning
  • Sweating
  • Teary eyes
  • A runny nose

These initial symptoms may seem mild and may even go unnoticed at first. However, as the withdrawal process gains momentum, it becomes clear that you are experiencing morphine withdrawal as opposed to basic common cold or flu-like symptoms.

Over the course of the withdrawal process and the next few days following the final dose of morphine, these symptoms will increase and worsen as new and more severe symptoms begin to appear. Morphine withdrawal symptoms will typically peak 48 – 72 hours after the last dose. The physical effects of morphine withdrawal during the peak hours are:

  • Chills
  • Goosebumps
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Heightened blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pains
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Excessive sneezing
  • Intense cravings

Because morphine has such a tight grip on its users, you might feel that it is impossible to continue without the drug, especially when experiencing the unpleasant effects of withdrawal.

During the peak of morphine withdrawal is when most addicts succumb to relapse. In order to stop the symptoms of withdrawals, addicts may feel they have no other option than to return to the drug in order to feel better. This is what makes morphine withdrawal so dangerous; t is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for morphine addicts to stop taking the substance on their own without medical intervention.

After about 7 – 10 days, physical symptoms should subside excluding a few symptoms that can linger such as insomnia, depression, and mood swings. Emotional and mental morphine withdrawal symptoms will appear and they can even be worse than the physical withdrawal symptoms and last a significantly larger amount of time. Emotional aspects of morphine withdrawal and the lingering physical effects are most commonly referred to as Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, or PAWS.

PAWS can last anywhere from one to six months after quitting morphine or other substances you might have used in conjunction with morphine. Generally, PAWS is almost unavoidable and the emotional effect it has on you can be challenging to overcome unless you have professional support and guidance.

Throughout the remaining morphine withdrawal process, it’s important to continually seek treatment for addiction in order to prevent returning to using morphine once more. The lingering anxiety and depression can be the catalysts for relapse.







Why Should I Detox?

Morphine withdrawal symptoms can be overwhelming and difficult to triumph alone. The detoxification process, without the help of medical staff, can be painful and unsuccessful due to the vulnerability and instability you will experience during these times. Detox facilities, such as the Palm Beach Institute, ensure your safety and comfortability throughout the entire process.

Addiction to opioids has such a powerful grip on individuals that they become weak and afraid of living life without their “help.” Detoxing in a medical facility, surrounded by addiction specialists can help you successfully overcome the hardships of addiction while also making the withdrawal symptoms easier to deal with. It is common for detox programs to administer medications used specifically to aid in the alleviation of intense withdrawal symptoms.

Quitting morphine cold turkey is one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome, which is why it is imperative to seek medical attention and follow up with continuous care.

What Is the Next Treatment Step?

After you have committed yourself to a professional detox facility, it is recommended that you continue care by attending a long-term program. Long-term programs consist of inpatient, residential, and outpatient programs, which you should attend after detox. Inpatient programs are crucial in the beginning stages of recovery due to the number of psychological and physical effects of addiction. The benefits of attending a program, which generally lasts around 45 days, is the accessibility of services such as:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Relapse prevention
  • Addiction education
  • Medication
  • Intensive therapy
  • Group or individual therapy
  • Constant support
  • Save environment to begin your recovery journey

Although the length of these programs seems long, the success rates for completing the continuum of care is high. Quitting morphine cold-turkey can lead you down the same road you are initially trying to escape.

After completing an inpatient program, you will be eased back into living in society as well as suggested to attend an outpatient program to further your treatment. Outpatient programs are designed to help you adjust to living life without the use of drugs or alcohol and keep you accountable and still provide you will the therapy you need in early recovery.

It is imperative to complete the entire process of recovery, especially in the early stages. Transitioning from the chaos of active addiction can be difficult and unsuccessful without having taken the preventive, proven, and effective methods to treating drug addiction.

Begin Your Recovery Journey Today

Morphine addiction and morphine withdrawal symptoms go hand-in-hand and they can be treated using the help of trained professionals. The opioid epidemic is on the rise and so are a number of opioid-related deaths. Don’t become another statistic. If you or someone you know is struggling in the grips of addiction, there is help available.

Contacting the Palm Beach Institute at (855) 960-5456 will get you the help you need. Our trained professional staff has been effectively treating addiction for many years. We also acquire experience, understanding, and knowledge of the hardships of addiction and how to overcome it. It’s never too late to regain control of your life, so why wait?