Morphine is not a drug people turn to when they want to gain or lose weight; however, it does affect a wide range of the body’s systems. Morphine can change the way the body uses food and can change a user’s eating and exercise habits. Body weight may go up or down as a result.
Morphine can cause food cravings in some people. An unusual desire to eat sweet things can drive some morphine addicts to eat candy and desserts and drink sugary sodas. The extra calories in these foods can lead to weight gain.
Morphine is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. Its direct physical effects take place mostly in the brain, but every process in the body that depends on the central nervous system is also slowed down. Heart rate, breathing and even thinking all slow down.
The slowing down of these systems reduces the amount of energy the body uses. This excess energy can be retained by the body and stored as fat, causing body weight to go up.
Morphine can also cause appetite loss. For patients using morphine medically, not eating enough food can become a big problem. Even though they need food to help heal from surgery or fight off a disease, morphine makes food look unappealing. Patients may also suffer from nausea, which makes eating and retaining food even more difficult.
Large amounts of morphine can cause a set of symptoms called narcotic bowel syndrome (NBS). Abdominal pain is the main symptom of NBS. Abdominal swelling, constipation, bloating and vomiting commonly accompany the pain.
Although morphine usually relieves pain, it does not lessen the pain of NBS. The addict may not be able to identify morphine as the cause of NBS. Even if the addict understands the problem, the addict may have difficulty reducing morphine intake. Hoping to alleviate the abdominal pain, the addict may even take more morphine, making things worse instead.
Eating less food, however, does reduce the symptoms of NBS. If a morphine addict cuts food intake to avoid the pain of NBS, the addict’s weight can drop quickly. The effects of anorexia on the body can be severe and dangerous.
If you or someone you know is struggling with morphine addiction, call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline. Our trained counselors can answer your questions and discuss your treatment options to bring the body back into balance. Call now.