Long Term Effects of Morphine

Morphine is a commonly used pain medication, and it is a drug that involves nearly all organ systems of the body. Long term use of morphine is associated with harmful health effects. It may even cause death if the respiratory system is involved. This article outlines the long term side effects of morphine in detail. 

Long Term Effects of Morphine

Morphine can affect many parts of our body. It not only has short term effects such as headache and sedation, but also has lots of long term effects. The most common long term effects of using morphine are listed below.

1.      Development of Dependence and Addiction

Long term use of the drug makes cells become tolerant to the effects of morphine. In order to obtain the same results, you have to take more of it, which dramatically increases the likelihood of cardiac and respiratory arrest.

With the increase in dose, a person may eventually become addicted to morphine. Morphine addiction takes control of every aspect of a person’s life, and may lead to severe deterioration of his or her physical and mental health. A morphine addict starts neglecting his friends and family, and shirks away from his obligations. The craving for the drug takes over every other priority and the person starts ignoring his own health. Financial problems may even lead the person to involve in criminal activities.

2.      Gastrointestinal Side Effects

Morphine affects the gastrointestinal system due to the fact that receptors for opioid drugs are present in the gut. Morphine causes delayed emptying of the gut, resulting in severe constipation. By stimulating the vomiting center located in the brain, morphine also triggers nausea and vomiting. 

3.      Skin Changes

Morphine triggers the release of histamine, the chemical mediator of allergic reactions, in the skin, resulting in flushing of the skin. Urticaria and other allergic skin reactions can also occur. In severe cases, hypothermia can also develop, resulting in cold and clammy skin.

4.      Libido Decrease

Prolonged use of morphine causes the circulating levels of testosterone, the male hormone, to decline, which can lead to decreased libido and impotency in men.

5.      Respiratory Problems

Taking morphine may lower blood oxygen level by suppressing the respiratory system. Healthy body can automatically adjust the breathing rate according to blood oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. But if people have morphine in his or her body, this function will be suppressed. This is a very dangerous side effect that overdosed people are more likely to have.

6.      Other Side Effects

Long term effects of morphine also include:

  • Headache
  • Restlessness
  • Delirium
  • Depression
  • Seizures
  • Weakened immune system
  • Collapsed veins
  • Infections like hepatitis and HIV from sharing of needles among the addicts
  • Weakened pain sensations

Morphine Withdrawal and Addiction Treatment

1.      Morphine Withdrawal

The long term effects of morphine make the morphine addicts become dependent on the drug to such an extent that discontinuing its use leads to severe withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms of morphine withdrawal depend on the length of drug abuse and the time that has elapsed since last drug use. The earliest withdrawal symptoms of morphine abuse are the result of the detoxification of the body, as the system tries to purge itself of the harmful toxins. The common manifestations of morphine withdrawal include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Excessive sweating
  • Chills and tremors
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Depression

2.      Morphine Addiction Treatment

Here are some home remedies for you to deal with the painful morphine withdrawal process at home. 

  • Take a hot shower: Hot shower can give you instant but temporary relief. The hot water helps ease withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, anxiety, tension and muscle spasms. You may take water as a remedy because putting your body in water can really work wonders to help you relax.
  • Get into the sun: Firstly, the sunlight can promote the production of serotonin that will greatly motivate your mood. Besides, the sun also can provide you with sufficient vitamin D. It is known that lacking of this vitamin will lead to depression. What's more, you will feel good and alive in the warm sunlight.
  • Do a massage: Massage can give relief to your muscle tissue, and therefore let you feel less painful. 
  • Sleep more: When you are sleeping, your body heals fast because it gets the opportunity to repair the injury by itself. Therefore, it is important to get more sleep during the withdrawal process.
  • Eat healthy diet: Do not eat fast food and processes food any more. Your body needs nutrition to heal itself. Eat more fresh fruits, vegetables, and foods that are rich in protein. 

However, the process of morphine withdrawal state can be particularly debilitating, addicts should seek medical institutions help if needed, therefore addiction can be treated under supervision. Some of the most commonly used morphine addiction treatments include:

  • Treatment with a taper: To avoid the sudden onset of withdrawal symptoms, abrupt discontinuation of the drug is not suggested. Instead, the dose of the drug is tapered off in a stepping down pattern. Firstly, the dose is reduced to one fourth of the abused dose, then slowly comes down to one half of the initial dose, and continues in the same fashion until the person recovers completely.
  • Psychological help: During the addiction treatment, psychological counseling of the patient is done by expert psychologists or psychiatrists in hospital or other medical institutions. Psychological rehabilitation is imperative to help the patient adjust his behavior and thought, and it can eliminate the possibility of relapse.
  • Available place to receive treatments: A number of organizations like hospitals, private clinics, and anonymous groups offer professional help for treating morphine addiction. These organizations are usually equipped with state-of-the-art facilities to help the morphine addicts overcome the long term effects of morphine abuse. 
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