Morphine Withdrawal and Detox

Morphine is a highly addictive drug, whether you’re taking it as prescribed by your doctor or abusing it. Morphine stimulates your brain’s reward system and can eventually result in tolerance and drug dependence. When dependence has developed, you may not feel normal without it and quitting ‘cold turkey’ instead of tapering off the drug will lead to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, insomnia, sweating, irritability, and so on. These withdrawal symptoms are an expected physical, emotional and psychological response of the body in the absence of the drug, as your brain learns to function without it. In some cases, the symptoms become so severe that you may even revert back to taking morphine in order to find relief from withdrawal.

Undergoing morphine detox in a medical clinic offers you a higher chance of successful withdrawal. Detox in professional healthcare settings involves the help of substance abuse healthcare providers to rid your body of morphine. The main objective of morphine detox is to help you become physically stable, and then treat the psychological aspect of morphine addiction and abuse. Getting clean and sober from morphine addiction is the most important thing you can do right now. With help from professionals at Addiction Helper, you can begin your journey to recovery the right way and discover a new life in sobriety with the least amount of resistance possible.

What Is Morphine Withdrawal?

When you use morphine on a regular basis for a prolonged period of time, your body becomes reliant on it and by this stage, you will have reached a state of physical dependency. If you decide to stop using at this point, your system will become shocked, and the symptoms which follow are known as ‘withdrawal.’ Physical dependence can occur through prescribed morphine usage (as well as abuse). Morphine withdrawal is a characteristic of addiction that is accompanied by tolerance and patterns of drug-seeking behaviours. It occurs as your recreational drug usage becomes more frequent, gaining momentum and steadily growing into an addiction.

Morphine withdrawal can be physically, emotionally and mentally strenuous, and a variety of medications may be used to alleviate some of the physical symptoms, anxiety, fear and other troubling emotions. In addition, companionship can be essential during this period. Therefore, medical treatments are provided along with support, encouragement and a listening ear by treatment staff, who make up part of your support system when things get difficult.

Causes of Morphine Withdrawal

Morphine withdrawal occurs because your brain adapts to the constant presence of the drug and becomes used to it. After you stop using the substance, its absence is recognised by the brain, which begins to overcompensate in ways that lead to withdrawal symptoms. Morphine withdrawal is like having a dreadful flu. Physical symptoms include chills, runny nose, sneezing, cramps, tremors, restlessness, perspiration, vomiting, musculoskeletal pain, diarrhoea and physical weakness. Morphine withdrawal is also accompanied by psychological symptoms like insomnia, paranoia, depression, anxiety and cravings.

The symptoms will vary, based on your health and metabolism. It also depends on the amount of morphine you were taking and for how long you used the drug. If you are a long-term morphine user, you’re more likely to experience highly severe withdrawal symptoms than someone who has used the drug as prescribed, for a limited period of time.

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The Phases of Morphine Withdrawal

Morphine withdrawal can be divided into three phases, with each one having its own unique characteristics.

Phase 1 : This first phase starts off about 12 – 24 hours after your last morphine dose, and lasts for around five to seven days. Your body begins to miss the ‘high’ and reacts by experiencing withdrawal symptoms. The reactions are a result of the absence of morphine in your system, and they may include nausea and vomiting, cramps, diarrhoea, depression or insomnia. It is at this stage you will experience extreme physical discomfort.

Phase 2 : You may begin to feel better in phase two of withdrawal, and even though you may still experience physical discomfort, it should have lessened in intensity. The length of time you were taking morphine will determine how easily you detox. During this period, your body will be getting rid of harmful toxins and working to replace your endorphin levels, which were depleted during your drug usage. You can help the process by eating healthily, taking vitamins and getting enough sleep. The symptoms you can expect during this phase include restless leg syndrome, chills, leg cramps, sweating, dilated pupils and goose bumps. This phase lasts 10 – 14 days.

Phase 3 : This phase is commonly the hardest for a lot of people. The symptoms are more psychological than physical. It is possible to give up and relapse because of the challenging levels of anxiety, restlessness and insomnia that occur. The urge to use morphine again will be powerful, and you have to be mentally strong during this period, so that you don’t waste all the hard work you put in during the first two phases.

Risks of Withdrawal

Withdrawal from an opiate like morphine should not be started without professional help. About 12 hours after your last dose, you can expect to start having mild symptoms from agitation to insomnia, diarrhoea and muscle aches. About five to six days into withdrawal, more severe symptoms like panic attacks, vomiting and anxiety may manifest. If you’re attempting to break your opiate addiction at home, the risk of death is much higher due to the increased chance of relapse. As your body begins to cope without the drug, tolerance is reduced and as a result, the amount you’ll need to get high is less than your normal dose. You may fail to account for this in relapse and overdose.

Emotional instability is another risk of withdrawal that can result in death. You may experience severe emotional and psychological symptoms such as depression, rage, anxiety or paranoia, which causes you to display self-destructive behaviour. Suicide is a real risk, and the consequences of depression and anxiety are extremely high when you fail to seek treatment for withdrawal.

Factors Influencing Withdrawal and Detox

There are a number of factors influencing withdrawal and detox, such as:

Biological or genetic influences: the history of drug use in your personal or family life, in addition to other biological factors can contribute to your level of drug dependence.

Amount and duration of drug use: the longer the duration and amount of morphine you ingest on a regular basis, the more likely you are to become seriously dependent on the drug

Co-occurring disorders: your drug dependence, treatment and withdrawal may be impacted by your underlying medical and mental health conditions.

Environmental factors: issues such as peer pressure, stress and other elements of your external environment may also contribute to drug abuse and dependence.

Polydrug abuse: a combined abuse of morphine and other drugs (or alcohol) can increase your chances of severe and fast occurring dependence, which will in turn affect your withdrawal and detox process.

Morphine Detox Process

Morphine detox involves both physical and psychological symptoms in varying levels of intensity, which is what makes it so challenging. A medically supervised detoxification programme can be really helpful in ensuring your comfort as much as possible during the process. During your morphine detox, doctors will examine your previous basic health and determine the best treatment plan to rid your system of the drug. Depending on your condition, they may recommend quitting at once, or gradually. Usually, the gradual reduction of morphine dosage is preferred over abruptly stopping, because it offers less severe manifestations in withdrawal.

How to Safely Detox from Morphine

Morphine detox is aimed at helping you become physically free from the substance and its effects, before undertaking the necessary treatment to help you deal with the psychological aspects of your substance abuse disorder. When dependence has occurred, the best way to detox and manage withdrawal is with the help of professional substance abuse treatment experts. However, your options include inpatient, outpatient, medical or non-medical detox, and what works for every individual might vary. So, simply choose a detox suitable for your needs.

Home Detox

You may prefer to detox from morphine in the comfort of your home, and it’s possible to do so. However, it’s necessary to have a strong support system of family members and close friends. Morphine stays in the body for a couple of days, but your detoxification symptoms can begin merely hours after your last dose. Also, the duration and intensity of symptoms can’t be predicted,as it varies from one person to the next. About two to four days after you stop taking the drug, you may experience some of the worst symptoms, which can be expected to peak after about72 hours of detox.

Your first step with home detox is to begin slowly reducing your regular dosage. This is key, as it controls the intensity and severity of your detox experience. Home detox is quite tricky, especially because of the crushing withdrawal effects. Furthermore, you may easily lower your resolve and return to using the drug – or even increase dosage – because of intense cravings. If your addiction is severe, a detox centre might be a better option than home detox. They may be able to help you deal with painful or extreme symptoms by prescribing the appropriate medications.

Medically Supervised Morphine Withdrawal Detox

Researchers keep working tirelessly towards uncovering the most effective ways to handle detox from morphine abuse and manage the sheer number of people affected by dependence. Currently, three drugs (methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone) have been approved for the treatment of opioid addiction. They work by mitigating withdrawal symptoms during detox, and lessening the intensity of morphine cravings. Medicated treatment takes place under the close supervision of professional and qualified treatment providers.

Morphine withdrawal is not typically life-threatening, even though the process can be extremely uncomfortable. During medically supervised withdrawal, professionals provide supportive care, and make you as comfortable as possible. This approach to detox helps to ease your transition to an opiate-free state. If required, medication can be prescribed to help deal with the anxiety, muscle aches, cramping and cravings associated with morphine withdrawal. They will also closely monitor you for any signs of complications. For instance, electrolyte imbalances and dehydration can be caused by diarrhoea and vomiting, so you will be kept hydrated with fluids.

Medications Used During Morphine Detox

Morphine detox is often a difficult experience, which is why the symptoms of withdrawal that may occur are suppressed or prevented (where possible) with withdrawal medications. The most common medications used during morphine detox include:

  • Clonidine: helps to reduce the physical symptoms of morphine withdrawal, but does not prevent cravings for morphine. It is an important medication, because severe withdrawal symptoms make detox even more difficult. Since it is not effective against morphine cravings, it’s typically combined with other morphine withdrawal medications.
  • Methadone: has been used for a long time as an opioid drug. It works by activating the same opioid receptors targeted by other narcotics, and effectively eliminates the symptoms of withdrawal. When administered in the right doses, it can alleviate your symptoms and prevent you from suffering morphine cravings. In addition, it’s easy to taper off methadone, which is one of the reasons it is very effective as a narcotic addiction treatment.
  • Buprenorphine: is similar to methadone, as they both activate the same opioid receptors in the brain, effectively cutting down withdrawal symptoms and lowering cravings for morphine. It is quick working and boosts detoxification faster than methadone.
  • Naltrexone: if you give up on your detox at the third stage, this medication will be very useful. Naltrexone is typically meant to help you avoid succumbing to the lure of morphine and relapsing.

Morphine withdrawal and detox can also be treated with alternative procedures such as exercise, yoga and joining support groups, as these equally go a long way to helping you deal with withdrawal symptoms. Essentially, they boost your morale and help you to stay focused on your objective of quitting morphine once and for all.

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Guided Morphine Therapy

Morphine detox keeps you physically safe and comfortable as you undergo withdrawal, while therapy takes care of the mental aspects. Depending on the severity of your addiction, it can take about one to three weeks to rid your body of withdrawal symptoms. However, you may require months or even years of counselling in order to recover from the mental side effects of morphine usage. Guided morphine therapy is available in a variety of settings, from inpatient or outpatient residential rehab programmes to sober-living homes, private clinics and different support groups. The goal of therapy is to prepare you for life after detox and treatment. Your need for therapy decreases as you learn to deal with potential trigger situations and cope with the underlying causes of your addiction.

Advanced, evidence-based therapy for addiction has shown that the different forms of therapies available are effective in treating substance use disorders, in addition to anxiety, depression, increased stress, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other co-occurring mental health issues. Therapy is therefore not a one-size-fits-all process. The appropriate therapy for you will depend on your age, level of abuse, dependence or addiction, as well as the factors that initially contributed to your addiction. Some of the most common therapies that can be effective in treating you include: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Dialectic Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and the matrix model. You can also benefit from alternative and holistic therapies such as yoga, meditation, acupuncture and music and art therapy.

Live a Sober Life Again

After your morphine detox and treatment, you will start to feel better both physically and mentally. Living a sober life is difficult, but not impossible. The journey to getting sober and drug-free is different for everyone. It all begins with a desire and determination to work to achieve your goal of sobriety. It’s now time to learn how to stay clear of drugs, with relapse prevention skills and to engage in positive, healthy methods of coping to enjoy a happy, drug-free life.

Create a daily routine and stick to it. Also, include exercise in your daily plans, but not anything overly tasking. Something as simple as taking a brisk walk every morning or evening is a great way for you to ease stress and unwind. Physical activity helps your body to release mood enhancers like serotonin to aid in alleviating anxiety and other negative feelings. There are many more ways to activate the life of your dreams. It all comes down to you and your needs. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by options and need to make the best choice for you, we can help you take that critical next step to freedom.

Preventing relapse

Successfully preventing relapse after detox and withdrawal is an essential part of your recovery process. Having someone to talk to is a key component of maintaining your sobriety. If you have a trusted friend or close family member, talk to them and let them know what you are going through, especially in your most difficult moments. You can also join a support group like NA, to have a safe place to vent and express yourself. This will be very helpful when you feel anxious and afraid of a relapse.

You will also need a lot of rest during this period. It may be difficult to sleep, but it is essential to make the effort. When you are well-rested, it is easier to cope and avoid temptations and triggers. Consider taking a few sick days in the early days after treatment, if you are employed. This will give you the chance to sleep and rest, as much as you need to.

Find a Treatment Centre

The best way to undergo morphine withdrawal and detox is at a detox facility, under medical supervision. By choosing a medically supervised detox programme at a treatment centre, you can get access to the methods, medications and professional help to support your body and mind as you work through detox.


How Long Do Morphine Withdrawals Last?

Morphine withdrawals can last for five to seven days. Generally, the duration depends on your drug dependence and the length of time you were using.

What Recovery Programme is Right for Me?

Understanding your substance abuse issues is key to choosing the right recovery programme. Choosing an inpatient or outpatient recovery programme depends on your personal situation.

When does it get better?

You can expect to feel physically better from withdrawal in about a week. Mentally, it may take much longer, depending on how long you were using the drug.

Are There any Home Remedies for Getting Clean Safely?

Some common home remedies include heating pads and warm baths tocope with physical discomfort. It’s important to take in plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. You can also control runny stools, nausea and vomiting, using medications such as Loperamide (Imodium).

How long does it take to Detox from Morphine?

The duration of the morphine detox process varies according to individual differences and pattern of usage. Typically, the most intense withdrawal symptoms happen in the first few days after you stop using the drug, making it necessary to seek immediate medical help.

Can You Die From Morphine Withdrawal?

In spite of the severity of its symptoms, morphine withdrawal is hardly ever deadly. However, overdosing on morphine can result in asphyxiation, which can lead to death.

Can Medication Help?

There are some very effective medications for dealing with withdrawal. Doctors may prescribe methadone, buprenorphine or clonidine. When used correctly, clonidine can ease some of your withdrawal symptoms.

What Is Morphine Withdrawal?

Morphine withdrawal is used to describe a set of symptoms that can develop when you suddenly stop taking morphine after developing a dependence. If you are addicted to morphine, you will experience withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and nausea when you quit.

Is Morphine Withdrawal Dangerous?

Morphine withdrawal may be unpleasant, but it is not commonly life-threatening. However, it is essential to slowly taper off the drug to avoid potentially dangerous outcomes.

Can I Find Help?

Medical detox offers all the help you need with withdrawal, from reducing side effects to lessening drug cravings and preventing serious complications.

Are there ways to prevent or reduce withdrawal symptoms?

Slowly reducing your dosage instead of abruptly quitting can reduce your symptoms. Also, in a medically supervised detox facility, doctors may prescribe medications to prevent or reduce the symptoms you experience.

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Call our admissions line 24 hours a day to get help.