Opioid misuse and abuse is a deadly epidemic. More than 72,000 people in the U.S. have died from opioid use since 1999, which translates to about 115 people each day. This mortality rate makes opioid abuse the number one leading cause of preventable death in the country.

One of the opioids that is misused and abused is morphine. Morphine is a highly addictive painkiller that can be injected, taken as a pill or taken in liquid form to bring on feelings of intense euphoria and relaxation. Similar to heroin, people who abuse morphine quickly become addicted, and the consequences can be deadly. Between 2002 and 2016, the number of people in the U.S. succumbing to heroin or morphine abuse jumped 7.6 times.

If you suspect your loved one is addicted to morphine, it is critically important for you to confront them gently with your concerns and encourage them to seek treatment. Not doing so leaves them at risk for being one of this year’s statistics.

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Physical Signs and Symptoms of Morphine Addiction

One of the telltale sign of morphine addiction is constipation. Morphine slows down the body’s ability to process things in general, so a buildup of solid waste occurs. You may notice them seeking out constipation medicines when they didn’t previously need them. Beyond constipation, the physical signs and symptoms of morphine addiction are flu-like and can include:

  • Profuse sweating
  • Chills
  • Tearing eyes
  • A runny nose
  • Muscle and joint aching, including back pains
  • Difficulty with falling asleep and staying asleep
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach cramps from morphine-induced gastrointestinal issues
  • Rapid heart rate and high blood pressure

Behavioral Signs and Symptoms of Morphine Addiction

There are certain behaviors and emotional states that could serve as a sign that your loved one is addicted to morphine. These include:

  • Increased agitation over small changes in environment. If anything about your home life changes that may make it harder for your loved one to obtain or enjoy morphine, it will likely irritate them.
  • Higher levels of aggression for no apparent reason. Your loved one may lash out at you in random moments without sufficient reason.
  • Personality changes that make them less social. If your loved one was previously outgoing but is now more isolated, socially shy or introverted, it may be because they are dealing with addiction.
  • Lack of interest in activities they previously enjoyed. Morphine addiction can make a person lethargic, so if it seems like your loved one has given up all of their hobbies, or is generally disinterested in the world around them, they may be addicted to morphine.
  • Visiting different doctors. “Doctor shopping” is the term used to describe people trying to obtain several prescriptions for the same drug from different doctors.
  • Personal hygiene issues. People who suffer from addiction tend to ignore their personal hygiene, so if your loved one suddenly has a disheveled or outright dirty appearance, it is definitely cause for concern.
  • Poor judgement or mental performance. Morphine creates imbalances in the brain, which can greatly affect a person’s ability to make the right decisions. Additionally, mental performance suffers, so if your loved one is in school and suddenly starts doing poorly, addiction may be to blame.
  • Unexplained euphoria. If your loved one is randomly happy after bouts of depression and there is no apparent reason for the mood shift, drugs could be at play.
  • Coming down from the high can cause depression in people, so keep an eye out for periods of emotional highs followed by periods of deep emotional lows.

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What to Do Next

If you determine your loved one has an addiction to morphine, it is important to get them into an addiction treatment facility as soon as possible for medical detoxification. Following that, they will need either inpatient or outpatient rehab, depending on the extent of their addiction, which will include intensive behavioral therapy and other programs to support long-term sobriety. If you would like more information about morphine addiction treatment, or about Pine Tree Recovery’s detox, inpatient or therapy programs, call us now at (888) 693-1751.

Reviewed for accuracy by:

Randi Bruneau

Randi is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor and Supervisor who has over 20 years of experience in the field of mental health and addictions. She has worked in both clinical and administrative leadership roles and also has extensive career experience in gender specific trauma treatment, crisis intervention, structural family work and substance use disorder treatment and supervision.

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