Find Support For Morphine Addiction

Morphine is a strong painkiller usually used only to treat severe pain – such as following an operation, a serious injury, a heart attack or while being treated for cancer. It may also be prescribed for chronic pain when other, weaker painkillers are no longer effective.

Morphine can be very effective, but it can be highly addictive and dangerous if misused. Morphine addiction is a risk if the drug is used recreationally or in higher or more frequent doses than directed. However, people can develop an addiction even if they use morphine as directed.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which guides healthcare providers in the UK, says “prolonged use of opioid analgesics [such as morphine] may lead to drug dependence and addiction, even at therapeutic doses.

There is an increased risk in individuals with current or history of substance use disorder or mental health disorders.”

What is Morphine?

Morphine is a strong painkiller known as an opioid, which also includes other prescription medications such as codeine and illegal drugs like heroin. It is derived from opium, which comes from certain types of poppy.

It works similarly to natural pain-killing chemicals called endorphins that are made in the body. Like other opioids, morphine blocks pain messages from travelling along nerves to the brain.

It can come in a number of different forms, including tablets, liquids, injections, and suppositories. Morphine is only available on prescription and is a Class A restricted drug.

This means it is illegal to possess morphine without a prescription and produce, sell, or pass it on. Possession carries a maximum sentence of 7 years imprisonment and a fine. Trafficking offences carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a fine.

Why is Morphine Addictive?

All opioids can be addictive, and morphine is one of the most powerful opioids available. It can lead to physical and psychological dependence and is difficult to overcome once prescription drug addiction has developed.

Firstly, the brain comes to rely on the chemicals provided by the use of the drug, essentially rewiring itself. This affects parts of the brain related to pleasure, reward, and impulse control. Other things which previously aroused pleasure can start to have less effect until using morphine, or other opiates becomes the main or only source of pleasure.

The user can also build up a tolerance, meaning more and more of the drug is needed for the same effect. Eventually, you might need to use it just to feel normal. The physical dependence on the drug means you may suffer from morphine withdrawal symptoms when morphine is not used.

There is also a psychological element of morphine addiction. As well as its painkilling properties, it can provide sensations like euphoria and extreme relaxation, which some people attempt to seek out and repeat.

The Global Information Network About Drugs (GINAD) reports that it can take several weeks or months to build a physical dependency on the drug, and a psychological dependency could develop after only a few doses.

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The Dangers of Morphine Addiction

Morphine can have several side effects. These could occur even on your first time using the drug, but you may be at higher risk if you use higher doses or use morphine long-term.

Relatively common side effects include:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Feeling tired
  • Feeling dizzy or a sensation of spinning (vertigo)
  • Confusion
  • Headaches
  • Itchy skin or a rash

Rarer and more serious side effects can include low blood pressure, seizures, fits and difficulty breathing. You should call your doctor or contact 111 if you feel dizzy, tired and have low energy (which can be a sign of low blood pressure). If you experience seizures, fits or difficulty breathing, you should call 999 or go to A&E.

The fact that morphine can slow your breathing makes it particularly dangerous if combined with other substances that affect breathing – including other opiates, alcohol, some sedatives, and tranquilisers.

There is also a danger of overdosing on morphine, which could lead to unconsciousness, coma or death. If you develop morphine addiction, this can pose additional risks to your mental health and well-being.

What Are Morphine Withdrawal Symptoms?

If you develop a physical dependency on morphine, you might experience a range of physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms when the drug is removed. These symptoms can vary from person to person and are influenced by other factors such as the length and severity of morphine abuse.

Morphine withdrawals can include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Profuse sweating
  • Restlessness, agitation
  • Muscle aches and tremors
  • Dilated pupils
  • Irritability, mood swings
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Insomnia and trouble sleeping
  • Vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach cramps
  • Flu-like symptoms

These symptoms are always unpleasant and, at the most severe, can be potentially dangerous. It is always best to undergo a drug detox under medical supervision. This means you can get medical help if needed, and you may be given other medications to help with some symptoms and cravings. Consider morphine addiction treatment and rehab at Asana Lodge if you are struggling.

How We Can Help Treat Morphine Addiction

This sort of supervised morphine detox or detoxification can be done at a specialist detox clinic or a private drug and alcohol rehab centre like Asana Lodge. This is only part of any recovery journey, though, and a full morphine rehab programme will also address every part of your addiction.

This means treating the psychological aspects through various psychological therapies, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), group therapy, counselling and more. Relapse prevention sessions can give you the tools you need to maintain your recovery once the main part of the programme is finished.

A comprehensive aftercare programme we provide can help you keep on track. By completing morphine addiction treatment at rehab, you will be able to recover for good.

If you think you have a problem and need help, contact us today for confidential advice and guidance on the steps to take next.


Frequently Asked Questions

Does addiction affect mental health?

Yes, addiction can have a massive effect on a person’s mental health. Addiction often intensifies a person’s current mental health issues as substances cloud the mind and impair judgement. Drinking or taking drugs can worsen depression, heighten anxiety, and start a cycle where a person feels they can only cope with their mental health problems by self-medicating with those substances.

Can I refer a family member to drug and alcohol rehab?

Yes, absolutely. Asana Lodge offers a family and friend referral service for those worried about their loved one’s substance abuse. Our dedicated team can help family members through this difficult time, offering advice and guidance on the next steps to take. Throughout this process and beyond we offer family drug support as we understand that addiction affects many people beyond the addict.

How do I prepare for rehab?

To ensure that you are prepared to enter our drug and alcohol rehab, there are several things that you can do. Firstly, we recommend asking us any questions that you may have surrounding treatment, your time in our rehab and our facilities. In doing so, you will have all of the information you need, and you will find that you feel more at ease when the time comes for you to commence treatment. We also recommend informing your loved ones and others, such as your employer, that you will be attending rehab. Although you may want to keep your addiction and recovery a secret, upon attending our rehab, you will be required to remain within our centre for at least 28-days as you complete treatment. During this time, you will not be able to work, nor will you be able to leave to return home.


John Gillen - Author - Last Updated: 20 June 2023

John has travelled extensively around the world, culminating in 19 years’ experience looking at different models. He is the European pioneer of Nad+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) treatment to Europe in 2010; and recently back from the USA bringing state of the art Virtual Reality Relapse Prevention and stress reduction therapy. his passion extends to other metabolic disturbances and neurodegenerative diseases.

The journey continues, in recent times john has travelled to Russia to study and research into a new therapy photobiomudulation or systemic laser therapy working with Nad+ scientists and the very best of the medical profession in the UK and the USA, together with Nadcell, Bionad Clinics own select Doctors, nurses, dieticians and therapists, Johns’ passion continues to endeavour to bring to the UK and Europe new developments with Nad+ therapy in preventive and restorative medicine and Wellness. In 2017 John Gillen was made a visiting Professor at the John Naisbitt university in Belgrade Serbia.