How Long Does Morphine Stay in Your System – Morphine is a naturally-occurring opiate derived from the opium poppy and is among the most addictive substances available by prescription.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the following is an estimated range of times that a user can expect morphine to be discovered by various testing methods:
- A blood test can detect the presence of morphine for up to 12 hours.
- Morphine can be identified in the urine for up to three days.
- Morphine can be detected by a hair follicle drug test for up to three months.
Signs of Morphine Abuse
Using morphine without a prescription or in ways other than directed is considered to be misuse/abuse and could result in addiction. If you believe that someone you love has a problem with morphine abuse, look for these signs:
- Dilated pupils
- Nodding off
- Slurred speech
- Shallow breathing
The Dangers of Morphine
Morphine can be administered orally by tablet or syrup, but it is most commonly used intravenously when abused. An injection of morphine injection causes a rush of euphoria followed by cycling states of wakefulness and sleepiness.
Morphine tolerance can develop rapidly, requiring the user to take increasing doses to achieve the same effects. People who have built a tolerance to morphine often suffer from symptoms of withdrawal when they attempt to discontinue use or cut back.
These symptoms make it more difficult for users to stop using morphine, and this can result in dependence and addiction. Of critical concern, patients may become addicted to morphine even while taking it as directed by a health provider.
One of the greatest dangers of morphine abuse is an overdose. As a powerful central nervous system depressant, morphine can reduce breathing to the point of coma or death.
Short-Term Side Effects of Morphine
Short-term side effects of morphine vary based on the method of administration and the amount used. Most of the effects of morphine begin within 15-60 minutes and can last for up to six hours.
Possible short-term side effects of morphine use may include the following:
- Inability to concentrate
- Itchy skin (pruritus)
- Severe respiratory depression
Long-term Side Effects of Morphine
Regular morphine use over an extended period can result in many adverse side effects, including tolerance, dependence, and addiction. Other effects may include damage to veins at the injection site and mood disorders such as depression.
Long-term side effects of morphine use may include the following:
- Suppressed immune system
- Severe constipation
- Collapsed veins
Identifying Morphine Addiction
As is the case with many prescription drugs, it can be difficult to tell if someone is dependent on morphine or merely working hard to keep their pain at bay. Although morphine may be considered a minor miracle for those in extreme chronic pain, it is also a drug that is frequently and easily abused.
People addicted to morphine have usually developed a high tolerance, and oftentimes, a morphine addiction advances to the point that its users require ever-increasing amounts of the drug just to feel normal.
Some common psychological side effects of morphine dependency include depression, anxiety, and paranoia.
Some of the more obvious signs of a morphine addiction may include significant changes in behavior or time spend around people outside of normal social circles who are also morphine or opioid/opiate users.
There are several clinical criteria used for diagnosing morphine addiction, which include using more morphine than originally intended, spending a considerable time obtaining, using, or recovering from morphine, or prioritizing morphine use over important obligations.
Intervention for Morphine Addiction
Often, people who are morphine-dependent fail to realize the extent of their problems. It may take a friend or family member to intervene and suggest treatment. Addiction is a highly sensitive topic, and discussing it can be difficult for all parties involved. Staging an intervention, however, is one of the best ways to ensure your loved one knows how much you care about him or her. He or she may be more amenable to treatment after realizing how many people in their life are showing support and concern.
Morphine Withdrawal and Treatment
Morphine withdrawal symptoms may start to take place within just a few hours after the last dose. As noted, morphine users can develop a tolerance rather quickly, so withdrawal symptoms can manifest even if the person hasn’t been using the drug for very long. Early withdrawal effects may include watery eyes, sneezing, and yawning.
Other effects may include the following:
- Runny nose
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sweating and chills
- Muscle aches
- Rapid heartbeat
- Increased blood pressure
- Agitation and irritability
- Anxiety or depression
An addiction to morphine can be a serious, debilitating condition. The withdrawal symptoms of morphine, however, can be managed with a minimum amount of discomfort through a medical detox process, which due to its high level of clinical supervision also greatly reduces the risk of relapse.
After detox, patients are encouraged to undergo long-term treatment in a rehab facility. Our treatment center offers both inpatient and outpatient treatment that include comprehensive, evidence-based approaches to therapy, counseling, and other methods of support.
Recovery from addiction is a lifelong venture, but you don’t have to do it alone. We can help you get started and support you every step of the way!