At the beginning of the 21st century, prescription opioid use became one of the biggest drug-related crises in the United States. Millions of Americans need treatment for severe pain that occurs due to old age or injury, but many medications can be addictive. Opioids attach to receptors in the brain, which then block the transmission of pain messages and release feel-good chemicals that produce a euphoric high.
Morphine is one of the most popular and addictive prescription opioids. The medication is a key contributor to the 3.2 million Americans ages 12 and older who reported misuse of prescription pain-relief drugs in 2017, a statistic that was reported in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Understanding how morphine sulfate can become addictive and why people misuse the medication can prevent you or someone you know from developing a dependence on the drug.
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What Is Morphine Sulfate?
Morphine sulfate is a prescription painkiller used for relieving moderate to severe chronic pain. When taken, morphine sulfate binds to opioid receptors in the body which blocks pain signals from being sent to the nervous system. This also produces a strong euphoric effect for the person who is taking it. Morphine sulfate has the potential for misuse and abuse even when it is taken as directed by a doctor; however, carefully following instructions lowers the risk of Morphine Sulfate addiction.
Long-term use of morphine sulfate can lead to dependence, which happens after the body becomes familiar with the presence of the opioid and requires it in order to counteract pain.
Minor side effects of morphine sulfate include:
• Loss of appetite
Although they are uncommon, morphine sulfate has the potential to cause serious side effects. If any of the following side effects occur, contact a doctor immediately:
• Slowed breathing and heart rate
• Stiff muscles
• Difficulty swallowing
• Confusion and trouble focusing
• Red pinpoint spots on the skin (typically under the eyes)
Morphine Sulfate Addiction
Morphine sulfate has a high risk of addiction. With an addiction to morphine sulfate, a person may experience strong cravings and will often take the drug in ways that are not recommended in order to achieve stronger results more quickly-such as crushing the drug and snorting or injecting it.
When someone develops an addiction to morphine sulfate, they begin displaying behavioral changes such as losing interest in previous hobbies and constantly seeking morphine sulfate even when it is not needed for pain.
Increasingly taking more morphine sulfate is another sign of a substance use disorder. Morphine Sulfate withdrawal symptoms from the opioid analgesic can occur in as little as six hours and may include teary eyes, a runny nose, chills, insomnia, nightmares, anxiety, depression and irritability. If you or your loved one is struggling with opioid addiction, finding a medically supervised detoxification center is the first step to a substance-free life.
Morphine Sulfate Long-Term Effects
One of the biggest concerns related to the long-term use of morphine sulfate is becoming addicted to the drug. When someone has been taking morphine sulfate for a longer period of time, their brain actually relies on the medication to produce certain chemicals, even when pain is no longer present. One of these chemicals is a neurotransmitter called dopamine, which is responsible for many things such as pleasure and reward. A person’s brain will have a difficult time secreting this chemical on its own after using morphine sulfate, which often results in addiction.
If you have developed an addiction to morphine sulfate, seeking medical treatment is crucial to your recovery. The Recovery Village offers great treatment programs for anyone struggling with opioid addiction.