Morphine Withdrawal and Detox

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Whether morphine is being misused or was prescribed by a doctor, the substance is highly addictive. It stimulates the brain’s reward system, eventually leading to tolerance and dependence.

Once morphine dependence has developed, the person struggling with morphine use disorder must keep taking it to feel normal. If the individual stops actively using the substance abruptly — rather than tapering off the drug — they may experience morphine withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can include irritability, sweating, insomnia, headache, and more, as the brain struggles to relearn how to function without it.

Morphine withdrawal symptoms are a predictable emotional and physical response to the body’s absence of morphine. The symptoms of a morphine detox are often so unpleasant that individuals often go back to misusing the substance in hopes of relieving them. Morphine detox in medical clinics lead to higher chances of recovery.

A morphine detox in a health care setting involves the application of medical, clinical, and substance use treatment to remove morphine from the body. The primary objective of morphine detox is to help the individual experiencing symptoms of morphine withdrawal to become physically stable. Once the withdrawal from morphine is complete, the goal is then to treat the mental aspects of morphine use disorder.

Morphine Withdrawal

Dependence and physical tolerance to morphine can begin after just a few weeks of regular morphine use. Physical dependence for morphine is said to have occurred when an individual’s central nervous system gets used to presence of morphine and uses it to substitute its natural chemicals. When an individual quits taking the substance, the central nervous system struggles to readjust its chemical balance. This struggle is manifested in the form of physical and psychological withdrawal from morphine.

Because morphine is considered a quick-onset drug, its withdrawal symptoms begin within 6 to 12 hours after the last dose. The symptoms of morphine withdrawal vary in intensity depending on the individual’s tolerance and overall health. Other factors that may influence what type of symptoms an individual experiences include: metabolism, level of tolerance,dosage, frequency of use, duration of use, individual physiology and social support. Generally, those who have been taking high doses of morphine and have been using the drug for an extended period of time experience more severe morphine withdrawal symptoms.

Morphine Withdrawal Symptoms

Psychological and physical morphine withdrawal symptoms begin as soon as the substance is flushed out of the bloodstream. Symptoms of morphine withdrawal progress through three phases.
The early physical morphine withdrawal symptoms include extreme sweating, a runny nose, yawning and teary eyes. The more severe physical symptoms peak in the later stages, normally within two to three days. These symptoms include increased blood pressure, an elevated heart rate, chills, insomnia, irritability, cravings, appetite loss, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea and tremors. Physical withdrawal side effects of morphine are usually likened to an extreme case of the flu.
The psychological withdrawal symptoms can also be excruciating, manifesting in forms of dysphoria, anxiety, memory loss, hallucinations, delusions, and irritability.

Some of the common morphine withdrawal symptoms:

  • Chills
  • Watery eyes
  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Agitation
  • Muscle aches
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Increased blood pressure

The process of withdrawal from morphine is different for every individual. The symptoms of withdrawal can begin as early as six hours after the last dose. The flu-like symptoms normally last three to five days, but each person’s detox experience varies. The psychological symptoms can last longer and may not dissipate for several weeks. At The Recovery Village we offer individual counseling during detox to help mitigate psychological symptoms.

Withdrawal Timeline

When enrolled in a morphine withdrawal and detoxification program, an individual can experience certain morphine withdrawal symptoms as the body tries to adjust to the absence of morphine. Typically, withdrawal begins to appear within six to twelve hours after the last use, but depending on the dosage and length of morphine misuse, one should start to feel a little better after five to six days.

During this time, the brain will start normalizing the absence of morphine and most withdrawal symptoms will begin to subside. The individual should start feeling better, both psychologically and physically, and motivation levels will rise. Withdrawal from morphine can be divided into three broad stages, and each phase has unique aspects.

Stage one: This is the period right after an individual comes off morphine, beginning twelve to thirty hours after the last use. The body starts trying to adjust to the sudden and immediate absence of morphine. This is the stage when one experiences most of the physical pain. The common withdrawal symptoms during this stage include: insomnia, cramps, nausea, diarrhea and depression. While each person’s recovery varies, this stage can last for five to seven days.

Stage two: At this point, the body fights to drive out most of the toxins which have accumulated over the period of morphine use. The shorter the amount of time an individual has been taking morphine and the lower the quantity they consumed, the easier it is get through this stage. The body finds it easier to eliminate smaller amounts of chemicals, allowing it to reset to its normal operation quicker.

During this period, an individual may start supplementing with vitamins to help their body maintain optimal levels of endorphins (which can get depleted by the presence of morphine). During addiction, endorphins often get depleted. As dosage and tolerance increases, the body stops producing its natural endorphins and relies on morphine stimulation. The most notable morphine withdrawal symptoms at this phase include goosebumps, leg cramps, sweating, dilated pupils and restless leg syndrome.

Stage Three: This is the morphine withdrawal peak — it is often the toughest stage, and some people may experience a setback. Withdrawal symptoms during this stage are more emotional than physical. However, the individual can still experience some physical discomfort and pain. These symptoms may include restlessness, anxiety, hallucinations, insomnia, agitation and irritation. During this stage the craving for morphine becomes overwhelmingly strong.

Morphine Detox

Detoxification is the removal of morphine from the body. Once morphine dependence has developed, morphine withdrawal is best managed through medical detox offered in a specialized facility. This process takes place under the watchful eye of qualified and professional substance use treatment providers. The primary objective of detoxification is to help individuals become psychologically and physically stable and then introduce them to a treatment which focuses on eradicating the dependence, addiction, and the emotional aspect of morphine use.

The sheer number of people affected by morphine use disorder and addiction has driven numerous researchers to work tirelessly toward finding the best ways to manage detox from morphine misuse. The best and most effective method is to medically detox at a rehab facility. Currently, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves several drugs for the treatment of opioid addiction.These drugs are given to individuals during medical detox to slowly relieve detoxification withdrawal symptoms and reduce morphine cravings

morphine withdrawal

How to Safely Detox From Morphine

Morphine stays in the body for a couple of days. Usually, morphine detoxification symptoms can start within hours of taking the last dose. However, the duration and the severity of morphine detox varies from one person to another. Many of the worst symptoms are always experienced about two to four days after an individual. Symptoms tend to peak after about seventy-two hours of detox.

It’s important to note that there are alternative methods such as yoga, joining support groups, and even exercise in place of medication-assisted detoxification. Most importantly, they can help boost your morale, making you stay focused and not falter from your objective.

How Long Does It Take to Detox From Morphine?

Morphine stays in the body for a couple of days. Usually, morphine detoxification symptoms can start within hours of taking the last dose. However, the duration and the severity of morphine detox varies from one person to another. Many of the worst symptoms are always experienced about two to four days after an individual. Symptoms tend to peak after about seventy-two hours of detox.

It’s important to note that there are alternative methods such as yoga, joining support groups, and even exercise in place of medication-assisted detoxification. Most importantly, they can help boost your morale, making you stay focused and not falter from your objective.

The Dangers of Quitting Morphine Cold Turkey

Withdrawal is a painful and a dangerous process during which the body undergoes opiate detoxification. Simply put, as long as a physical addiction has developed, morphine withdrawal symptoms are inevitable.
Trying to quit “cold turkey,” in addition to these symptoms, can result in life-threatening seizures. Regardless of the dose an individual is taking, it is not a good idea to quit morphine without proper medical assistance. Other withdrawal symptoms from morphine include adamant cravings for the substance, bone and muscle pain, extreme agitation, insomnia, seizures, hot flashes and tremors.

morphine detox

Can someone Die as a Result of Morphine Withdrawal?

With adequate, proper and professional medical treatment as well as other useful therapies, the risk of death can be significantly reduced. Most patients are fearful of withdrawal and this keeps them in the cycle of substance use disorder.

When Morphine Withdrawal Can Be Deadly

It’s essential that anyone undergoing withdrawal from any substance opt for medical detox. Attempting a detox at home or abruptly without medical assistance can be dangerous and even life-threatening.

The U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that there have been adverse reactions, including death, from at-home detoxes or detoxes without medical assistance. Another study printed in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) demonstrates that these types of detoxes are not effective for long-term recovery, and are more likely to result in setbacks.

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