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Morphine Withdrawal: Symptoms, Timeline, and Getting Help

Pharmaceutical morphine is an opioid analgesic manufactured from opiate alkaloids extracted from the opium poppy.1 Besides pain relief, in a dose-dependent manner, morphine can elicit a pleasurable sense of euphoria.2 Morphine is a DEA Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it has a high potential for psychological or physical dependence and abuse.3 When someone is dependent on morphine and stops consuming it, they can experience a range of withdrawal symptoms.4 Because it can be painful and sometimes give rise to medical complications, morphine withdrawal is commonly managed with medical support and pharmaceutical intervention. Professional detox can provide monitoring for people during this time to ease morphine withdrawal symptoms as much as possible.

Are you or someone you love thinking about getting help for morphine addiction? Are you concerned about morphine withdrawal? In this article, we will explore some details about morphine addiction, detox, associated withdrawal symptoms from morphine, and morphine withdrawal management.

Why Does Morphine Cause Withdrawal Symptoms?

Opioids like morphine attach to opioid receptors throughout the body, modifying pain signaling while also increasing the release of dopamine.2 Such a surge in dopamine activity is associated with a rewarding or reinforcing effect, which can compel people to use drugs like morphine again and again.2

When someone continuously uses morphine, physical dependence may develop, as the body adapts to the presence of the drug. When dependence develops, a person may be at risk of experiencing characteristic mental and physical symptoms of withdrawal once the drug use slows or stops.5 Though short-term use of a medication like morphine can safely manage pain, physiological dependence becomes more likely if morphine is used several times a day for more than a few weeks.6

Addiction to morphine is another risk and is marked by a compulsive drive to use a substance, despite any harmful consequences that may come as a result.5 An addicted person may find themselves unable to stop using a drug, despite negative work, family, or social ramifications.5

What Are the Symptoms of Morphine Withdrawal?

While everyone’s experience is unique, some common morphine withdrawal symptoms include:7

  • Anxiety.
  • Dysphoria.
  • Irritability.
  • Muscular aches or spasms/tension.
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Bone pain.
  • Hyperalgesia, or enhanced pain sensitivity.
  • Chills and goosebumps.
  • Sweating.
  • Yawning.
  • Watery eyes.
  • Stomach cramps.
  • Diarrhea.

Morphine withdrawal symptoms can be intensely uncomfortable, with an onset within several hours after last use and withdrawal symptoms lasting several days.7 Withdrawal is different for everyone, and symptoms can range in intensity.

Symptoms of morphine withdrawal commonly include both physical and mental effects, but their precise character and severity may depend on a variety of factors, such as the magnitude of physical dependence, how long a person has been using morphine, general health, and any concurrent use of other substances.7

The effects of morphine withdrawal can be very uncomfortable but are not commonly life-threatening with appropriate medical management.7 However, the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms and the fear and stress they cause can discourage attempts at quitting opioids.7

How Long Do Morphine Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

Relatively short-acting opioids, like morphine, may give rise to a withdrawal syndrome that begins 8–24 hours after the last use. These withdrawal symptoms may peak in severity at around 72 hours and persist anywhere between 4–10 days.7,8

Even after significant resolution of many of these symptoms, some people may report relatively mild but more persistent symptoms such as depression/dysphoria, anxiety, irritability, and insomnia for weeks to months out from discontinuation of opioid use.7,9

How to Get Help for Morphine Withdrawal

In an opioid addiction treatment program, you might be given medications like buprenorphine or methadone to assist with the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms of morphine.8 As detox for morphine proceeds, medical providers may evaluate morphine withdrawal symptoms using assessment tools such as the Clinical Opioid Withdrawal Scale (COWS).8 Such a test can help healthcare providers decide when and how much medications are needed to best manage symptoms.

The process and morphine detox timeline in a professional rehab setting varies for each person. After the completion of detox, further rehabilitation or treatment may be recommended. Detox is typically only the beginning of morphine addiction treatment. Additional treatment, including inpatient care, behavioral therapy, counseling, and maintenance medication may follow. Medications for addiction treatment (MAT) protocols can help provide safe initial detox but also a decreased risk of relapse.10 

Find Out if Your Insurance Plan Covers Morphine Addiction Rehab

American Addiction Centers (AAC) can help you navigate treatment for those in recovery for morphine misuse and opioid use disorder (OUD). You can call to speak with an admissions navigator who can help you seek morphine addiction treatment. You can look at some of the facilities listed below to see if they provide the program you are looking for:

Cost of treatment may feel overwhelming but there are various options to help cover rehab. To find out if your insurance covers treatment at an American Addiction Centers facility, click here, or fill out the form below. Your information is kept 100% confidential. You can also click here to find a rehab near me.

To find out if your health insurance covers treatment at an AAC facility, click here or fill out the form below. Your information is kept 100% confidential. You can also click here to find a rehab near me.

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