What to Expect During Morphine Withdrawal

Written by Abby Doty

& Medically Reviewed by Dr. Jessica Pyhtila, PharmD

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Last Updated - 08/29/2023

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Updated 08/29/2023

What to Expect During Morphine Withdrawal

Opioid addiction and overdoses have ravaged the country over the recent past. Among more than 72,000 drug overdose deaths, opioids caused 49,000 of them. That number has been increasing in recent years, causing an opioid epidemic. These deaths can be attributed to both illicit street opioid drugs as well as prescription opioids, including morphine. These powerful painkillers may initially be used to alleviate severe pain, but they can quickly lead to a debilitating addiction.

As if addiction itself was not enough, morphine withdrawal and detox can be an excruciating experience. While the decision to stop misusing morphine is a healthy one, the initial phases following morphine misuse are typically difficult to manage. Withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable and can even be dangerous, which is why it is recommended to enter a specialized facility to safely and effectively detox.

What Are the Symptoms of Morphine Withdrawal?

Addiction to morphine can develop quickly, and withdrawal symptoms can manifest after a person stops taking morphine. When a person takes high doses of morphine for an extended period of time, withdrawal symptoms can occur because the body requires a certain amount of time to adapt to the lack of morphine.

The types and severity of symptoms may vary from one person to another. Common morphine withdrawal side effects:

  • Poor sleep
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Muscle pain
  • Tearing of the eyes
  • Goosebumps
  • Yawning
  • Runny nose

After the initial 24 hours have passed, these symptoms can worsen, and other symptoms may be experienced, including:

  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Blurred vision
  • Dilated pupils

How Long Do Symptoms Last?

Symptoms of morphine withdrawal usually start within three to five hours after the last dose. As the effects of the drug start to wear off, cravings and other withdrawal symptoms can begin. Symptoms are usually at their worst during the first three days, and by the end of the week, they start to weaken. After one week, physical withdrawal symptoms usually subside. However, cravings for the drug and emotional symptoms such as anxiety can continue for at least a month.

Is It Safe to Detox Alone?

It is recommended that a person who experiences a substance use disorder enter a detox center to help handle the effects of withdrawal. Going the DIY route to detox is not only extremely difficult, but it is also potentially dangerous.

Going cold turkey can lead to complications such as seizures. Although it is rare for morphine withdrawal to be fatal, the symptoms are usually uncomfortable. This discomfort can make relapse more likely.

Instead, detoxing under the supervision of a medical treatment team can make morphine withdrawal more manageable. Detox facilities provide specific medications to alleviate symptoms of withdrawal and make the process of detox much more tolerable. For instance, meds like buprenorphine can move morphine from the opioid receptors in the body, which helps minimize withdrawal symptoms.

Detoxification in a medically supervised facility can save lives while patients are monitored and given medical care to make the withdrawal process more comfortable.

Where Can You Go For Help?

If you experience an addiction to morphine or any other type of opioid, there is help available, and it is more easily accessible than you might think. Reliable morphine addiction treatment resources in Colorado are waiting and ready to help you.

To find out what treatment center and program is best for you, contact The Recovery Village Palmer Lake today.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Data Overview: Opioids“>Data Ove[…]view: Opioids.” May 8, 2023. Accessed June 25, 2023.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “Protracted Withdrawal“>Protracted Withdrawal.” July 2010. Accessed June 25, 2023.

American Society of Addiction Medicine. “National Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder“>National[…] Use Disorder.” December 18, 2019. Accessed June 25, 2023.


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