Morphine is an opiate that is used to treat pain. When used as directed and under medical supervision, it can relieve pain without causing problematic side effects. However, when people abuse morphine, effects are intensified and some can be permanent.
Potentially Permanent Effects of Morphine Abuse
Some of the long-term and potentially permanent effects of morphine abuse include the following:
- Morphine affects the hypothalamus and decrease gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which affects levels of testosterone and estrogen. This can result in symptoms such as infertility, decreased libido, fatigue, increased risk of osteoporosis, anxiety, depression and loss of muscle strength. Hormone levels may affect sexual performance in men and cause menstrual irregularities in women.
- Morphine abuse can affect the immune system by decreasing antibody production and cellular immune response. This increases the risk of infections of all types.
- Those who abuse morphine long term can become more sensitive to certain types of pain. This may be because the peripheral and central nervous systems eventually change how sensitive the pain pathways become. This is known as Opioid Induced-Hyperalgesia (OIH).
- Morphine can decrease gastric motility and intestinal secretions, which can lead to chronic constipation.
- Morphine can cause persistent mental and cognitive impairment.
- Large doses of morphine can cause confusion, which increases the risk of accidents and other adverse effects.
- Morphine abuse leads to physical dependence and often to addiction. A number of factors contribute to dependency, including the fact that morphine affects the size and shape of opioid receptors in the brain.
- When people become dependent on morphine, they suffer withdrawal symptoms when they quit. Withdrawal symptoms can include stroke and heart attack.
- The stage of acute withdrawal from opiates generally lasts from five to ten days, but a post-acute withdrawal phase may last many months; some users suffer from permanent symptoms. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms include insomnia, anxiety, depression and irritability.
- Morphine abuse can have legal consequences, with associated permanent ramifications on present and future opportunities.
- Morphine abuse can lead to the loss of employment.
- Morphine abuse and addiction may cause permanent damage to interpersonal relationships.
- Morphine overdose can be fatal
Morphine Addiction Help
If you’re trapped in a cycle of morphine addiction, don’t put off getting help. The longer that morphine abuse continues, the more likely it is that side effects will become permanent. Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline and let us help you find a treatment program that’s right for you. Our phone counselors can check your health insurance coverage to give you a better idea of your range of options. We’re available around the clock, so call now.