One of the opiate painkillers with the longest and most well known history Morphine is not only a widely used medical drug, but a major drug of abuse. Classified as a potent opiate analgesic drug it is one that is said to relieve moderate to severe pain. Unknown to some, morphine has a rich history dating back many centuries.
According to information from the National Institute on Drug Abuse more than 5 million people misuse prescription pain drugs every year. A percentage of these mis-use and abuse morphine as well as others in the opiate/painkiller family.
History of Morphine
In 1804 a man named Friedrich Sertuner isolated the formula that was named Morphine [a Greek name meaning ‘god of dreams’]. In 1817 the substance started to be sold and was monopolized by Merek in the year 1827. After the hypodermic needle began to be used the major route for morphine use was injection.
However reports indicate that a form of the drug was used much earlier (2100 BC or before) by the ancient Greek Minoan culture. Other tales indicate that morphine was also used in Cyprus and Egypt, and later (1000 AD) by Arabic physicians to treat things like diarrhea and eye disease.
The later developments of the substance by Sertuner were considered the first standardized use of morphine for pain.
The drug is generally an isolated form of opium that originates from the opium poppy plant.
Effects of Morphine
Because morphine is a painkiller it also has a high potential for abuse and addiction. Morphine is abused in many different forms including a liquid (injectable form), a pill and even a patch that can be put on the body that delivers the drug to the body the drug on a time-release schedule.
When an individual takes morphine there are specific signs and symptoms which include:
• Slow breathing.
• Constricted (small) pupils.
• Short breaths.
• Nodding Off – intermitted periods of wakefulness and dizziness.
• Clammy skin.
Overdose is likely on Morphine as is addiction. With addiction comes a ‘morphine tolerance’ where one has to take more and more of the drug to achieve the same effect.
Signs of Morphine Overdose
As with most opiate painkiller drugs when one is addicted to morphine they will likely experience Morphine withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can range from moderate to severe depending on the amount of time the drug is used as well as the amount being taken.
Some of the most common morphine withdrawal effects are:
Nausea & Vomiting
Morphine withdrawal often begins anywhere from 8 to 12 hours after the last dose and can last for days to weeks.
Morphine Addiction Treatment – The Stages of Morphine Addiction
No one sets out to become addicted to morphine and the substance abuse problem often goes in stages. As a side note many morphine addicts deal with prescription opioid abuse problems in general. There is a wide amount of cross addiction issues with the drug and poly drug use problems. For example many will start out using another prescription like Vicodin, Hydrocodone or even Oxycontin and gateway to Morphine. As the addiction progresses one will use any opioid drug to feed the craving. This also includes the use of the drug heroin.
The stages of morphine addiction are as follows:
1. The drug is used for the first time [or first few times] and relieves some problem, pain or unwanted feeling from the user.
2. Seeing that the drug “worked for them” the user will have seemingly valid reasons of why he or she should keep using it.
3. The mental addiction sets in. The user feels that they need the drug.
4. After this the physical addiction sets in. The user may attempt to quit and be unable to do so.
5. Now that the user is both mentally and physically addicted he or she will start to commit transgressions in order to get more of the drug. Some of these include things like trying to get a fraudulent prescription, doctor shopping, stealing the drug or trying to obtain it from friends or family members or off the street.
6. The individual will start to have problems in life. Things like being arrested, falling ill or having a health problem [or problems], fights with family members or the loss of a job.
7. At this point the user may attempt to get help or other family or friends may intervene. Or, the use could continue only becoming more severe.
8. Without help the user will likely end up in jail or prison, suffer from a morphine overdose or some will receive help. The best solution to handle any morphine problem is residential care.
Approaching someone addicted to morphine or other opiate drugs can be a challenge. The first step is getting educated on the subject and being sure that there is a morphine addiction problem. Researching rehab programs and finding the right fit is another necessary step. Once this is complete you can confront the user or do this with the support of other family members or friends. Urge the morphine abuse to seek treatment for his or her problem and even get them on the phone with a qualified counselor to make arrangements to admission.
Often the person may be in such ‘bad shape’ that they have to detox medically to avoid issues like seizure from withdrawal form the drug. Help them in making arrangements for this or if they enroll directly into treatment they may need help packing or putting together basic toiletry items.
While in treatment for morphine addiction the first days are most often the most difficult. With the physical withdrawal symptoms setting in an individual may be in grief or pain begging to leave treatment. Offer support and kindness in ‘sticking it out’ and encouragement that one will feel better after a few days. Then the treatment process can begin that will put an end to morphine addiction for good. Contact us today for morphine treatment information.