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Opioid addiction and overdoses have ravaged the country over the recent past. Almost 75% of overdose deaths in 2020 involved an opioid, causing nearly 69,000 deaths that year alone. 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 unpleasant experiences. 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.
When you take an opioid on a regular basis, your brain and body become used to its presence and adapt accordingly. When you suddenly stop taking the medication, your system then struggles to adapt quickly to the drug’s absence. The resulting symptoms as your body tries to recalibrate are called withdrawal symptoms. Morphine withdrawal typically only lasts around a week but can be very uncomfortable without medical help.
Morphine withdrawal symptoms typically start within 8 to 12 hours of the last dose. The symptoms reach a peak after 48 to 72 hours and resolve over the next 7 to 10 days. However, prolonged withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, depression, insomnia and trouble concentrating may linger to some degree over the next few weeks to months.
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 include:
For short-acting opioids like morphine, withdrawal can last for around 7 to 10 days. Although, anxiety, depression, insomnia and concentration problems can persist for the next few weeks to months. For long-acting opioid drugs, including long-acting forms of morphine and methadone, withdrawal can last around 10 days.
Certain factors may influence how long withdrawal lasts and its severity. For example, someone prescribed medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with buprenorphine will often have an easier withdrawal process than someone trying to quit morphine cold turkey. In addition, if you abuse other substances alongside morphine, your withdrawal may be more complex than someone who only takes morphine.
Symptoms of morphine withdrawal usually start within 8 to 12 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 48 to 72 hours, and by the end of the week, they start to weaken. After 7 to 10 days, physical withdrawal symptoms usually subside. However, emotional symptoms such as anxiety and depression, as well as insomnia and concentration problems, can continue for the next few weeks to months.
It is recommended that a person experiencing a substance use disorder enter a detox center to help handle the effects of withdrawal. Detoxing alone is not only extremely difficult, but it is also potentially dangerous.
Going cold turkey can lead to complications such as dehydration. 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, MAT with buprenorphine 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.
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.
The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.
To find out what treatment center and program is best for you, contact The Recovery Village Palmer Lake today.
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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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