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Morphine Addiction Signs & Symptoms

Elena Hill, MD, MPH profile image
Medically Reviewed By Elena Hill, MD, MPH • Updated Aug 14, 2023 • 7 cited sources

Morphine is an opioid medication prescribed for short-term or long term pain relief. Your doctor might give you pills to help you recover from surgery or injury. But about 6% of people keep taking drugs like morphine long after they are physically recovered.[1] 

Anyone who uses morphine can develop an opioid use disorder (OUD), and anyone with one can get better with treatment. There is no cure for OUD, but it can be successfully managed.

Here’s what you need to know about what morphine addiction looks like. If you recognize these symptoms in yourself or someone you love, ask for help. 

What Are Common Signs of Morphine Addiction?

There are several symptoms/signs of morphine misuses, and opioid misuse in general, including the following:[2]

  • Loss of control: Taking more of the drug than prescribed
  • Cravings for drugs: Having a strong urge or desire to take the drug
  • Continued use: Using the drug for longer periods of time than recommended
  • Withdrawal symptoms/Physical dependence: physical symptoms when the drug is not used, including tremors, muscle aches, anxiety, headaches, diarrhea, nausea/vomiting [3] 

Many people start using morphine because of pain. Often, a person initially starts using morphine after receiving it from a doctor for a medical condition or injury. While morphine can be used safely for a period of time, the longer the use, the greater the risk of developing physical dependence and a subsequent use disorder. 

Understand Morphine Overdose Risks 

People with a regular morphine habit, just like any opioid, can also be at risk of overdose. More than 90 Americans die every day from opioid overdoses.[3] This can be from opioid misuse but can also occur accidentally even from appropriate use of a medication as prescribed by a doctor. 

An opioid overdose can cause the following symptoms:[5]

  • Shallow breathing
  • Choking or gurgling sounds during breathing
  • Small pupils 
  • Pale or blue-colored skin, lips or nails 

The opioid agonist naloxone can reverse an overdose in minutes. It’s typically delivered via a nasal spray that anyone can administer. If you or someone you love is using an opioid regularly, it is an extremely good idea to have Narcan available in the home and to know how to use it in the event of an overdose. 

How Does MAT Help?

If you have been using Morphine either as prescribed or illicit and are having trouble discontinuing use, treatment can help.

Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT) programs use either methadone or buprenorphine-based medications to help treat opioid withdrawal symptoms acutely and subsequent opioid use disorder more long term.

Bicycle Health uses telemedicine to expand access to MAT for patients in need.. Visit with a doctor in a video call, and pick up your prescription at a convenient pharmacy near your home. Check in with the team regularly to monitor your progress. 

If you’re struggling with morphine addiction or any opioid use disorder, contact Bicycle Health to find out if a virtual treatment model is right for you.

Medically Reviewed By Elena Hill, MD, MPH

Elena Hill, MD; MPH received her MD and Masters of Public Health degrees at Tufts Medical School and completed her family medicine residency at Boston Medical Center. She is currently an attending physician at Bronxcare Health Systems in the Bronx, NY where ... Read More

  1. The Opioid Epidemic. Global Emergency of Mental Disorders. May 2021. Accessed April 2023.
  2. Recognizing Opioid Abuse. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Accessed April 2023.
  3. Opioid Abuse. American Society of Anesthesiologists. Accessed April 2023.
  4. Opioids. Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Accessed April 2023.
  5. Warning Signs: How to Recognize and Respond to the Signs of Addiction. New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports. Accessed April 2023.
  6. Opioid Withdrawal in Adults: Clinical Manifestations, Course, Assessment, and Diagnosis. UpToDate. March 2022. Accessed April 2023.
  7. A Randomized, Double-Blind Study Investigating the Relationship Between Early Childhood Trauma and the Rewarding Effects of Morphine. Addiction Biology. June 2021. Accessed April 2023.

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