Over the years, there have been a number of different substances to make devastating marks on society. Some of these substances are actually legal yet prone to repeated abuse. Others seem innocuous, perhaps they’re found readily in nature, so using them doesn’t seem like a serious risk. Then there are those substances that were actually created to help people, but they end up triggering epidemic levels of abuse and addiction. This has been the case with prescription medications like morphine.
We have quite a long history with morphine. Fortunately, it’s not found on the street in the same amounts as other substances, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still pose a problem. At Malvern Institute, we provide a solution for those who have become addicted to morphine, whether it occurred by taking prescribed medications or through intentional substance abuse. So let’s take a closer look at morphine by reflectindeg briefly upon its long history and what makes it such a dangerous drug.
What is Morphine?
Like other opiate drugs, morphine is an addictive substance derived from the opium poppy. References to substances created from the opium poppy extend as far back as the Byzantine Empire although the exact formulation used at time is unknown. Considering that morphine is the first active opium alkaloid to be distilled from the opium poppy — occurring in Germany in 1804 — it’s plausible, if not highly likely, that many of the anxiety opium “elixirs” contained significant amounts of morphine. However, it wasn’t marketed to the public until 1817 at which time it was marketed for use as a pain reliever, which remains the drug’s primary use to this day. It was also purportedly used in the treatment of alcohol and opium addiction; the latter had become a major problem due to the export of opium from China into many other parts of the world where it would trigger major addiction epidemics.
It wasn’t until after the American Revolution that we realized just how addictive morphine was, even more addictive than alcohol and opium. By that point, nearly half a million injured war survivors were suffering from “soldier’s disease”, which referred to morphine addiction. With the synthesis of diacetylmorphine, or heroin, in 1874 — discovered to be up to two times stronger than morphine — there was an increasing focus on the physical dependence people were developing after taking morphine and morphine-like substances. Under the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914, morphine and a number of other opioid drugs became controlled substances, which meant that their use was illegal unless prescribed by a physician for legitimate reasons.
Today, morphine is one of a number of substances derived from opium that continue to pose a major threat to our society. In recent decades, there have been pharmaceutical painkillers of increasing strength and potency released to market, instigating a major way of prescription drug abuse, the effects of which we’re still feeling today. Like other opiates, morphine is an incredibly habit-forming drug and morphine addiction is very difficult to overcome, but there are resources available to help morphine individuals struggling with morphine addiction regain their sobriety, beginning with morphine detox.
The Dangers of Morphine
Although it’s prone to abuse, morphine tends to be abused much less frequently on the street than other opioids and pharmaceutical drugs. Today, morphine is used mostly in hospitals and in other surgical settings, but that’s not to say morphine abuse doesn’t happen at all. One of the reasons why morphine is one of the most popular drugs for surgical use is because the euphoric effects it produces when abused aren’t quite as intense as with other opioids, resulting in morphine being much less desirable to substance abusers.
Like a number of other prescription drugs, morphine is quite dangerous and associated with a number of particular effects. When a person takes morphine, typically the drug causes slowed or shallow breathing, itchiness, and slowed heart rate and/or irregular rhythm. If a person were to take a large enough dose, the morphine could cause the individual to simply stop breathing, resulting in his or her death. As well, the steadily decreasing heart rate could lead the individual’s heart to stop beating. However, there are a range of other effects that result from morphine abuse, some of which help with identifying the warning signs of morphine addiction while others are mostly just unpleasant. For instance, individuals using morphine often exhibit constricted or ‘pinpoint’ pupils, confusion, drowsiness, constipation, and similar effects.
The habitual use of morphine results in a number of lifestyle and overall behavioral changes. Specifically, individuals who regularly use or abuse morphine could experience loss of appetite and dramatic weight loss, seemingly unprovoked mood swings, seizures, loss of consciousness, dizziness, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, and urinary retention.
Overcoming Morphine Addiction at Malvern Institute
When a person continues to imbibe and abuse morphine for an extended period of time, the habit causes chemical changes in the brain, which is the mechanism by which physiological addiction occurs. Since a morphine addict will experience unpleasant effects from the abrupt cessation of morphine, it’s usually necessary for him or her to receive treatment, especially when it comes to morphine detoxification.
It can be quite unpleasant and somewhat scary to be living in active addiction to morphine or any other opiate substance. Many people remain in active addiction by choice due to the fact that they have intense fear of withdrawal symptoms; however, Malvern Institute offers high-quality, evidence-based treatment for those in need. In many cases, morphine addiction recovery will begin with an initial period of detoxification, which is the first step of the Malvern Model of Care. Upon completing detoxification, a patient transitions through our continuum of care, including induction, inpatient care, and a form of outpatient treatment. Once the treatment program is complete, we invite the individual to participate in our alumni and aftercare programs, allowing us to be a continuous resource as he or she progresses into more advanced stages of recovery.
At Malvern Institute, you’ll find only the most proven, high-quality treatments administered by a staff of experienced professionals. It’s our mission to provide individuals with a level of care that they won’t find anywhere but at Malvern. If you would like to learn more about morphine addiction treatment at Malvern Institute, or for any other questions you may have, please call us anytime at 610.MALVERN (610.625.8376).