Nature vs. Nurture: What Makes a Morphine Addict?

Morphine is powerfully addictive. Each case of addiction is different; the drug affects each body and mind differently. The choice to abuse morphine is initially under the user’s control. However, some individuals’ genetic makeup may make them more susceptible to addiction once they begin abusing, and certain environmental factors play a role in vulnerability as well.

Morphine is a powerful opiate analgesic that is used to relieve severe pain. It produces a euphoric and calming effect. It is often injected as a component of surgical anesthesia or given to patients after surgery to keep them comfortable while they heal. The drug’s effective pain relieving properties make it beneficial for these patients when used properly. But for others, morphine poses a serious problem.

Genetic and Environmental Factors Contributing to Morphine Addiction

The basis for genetic predisposition is found in the body’s opiate receptors in the brain and other facets of the central nervous system. There are several aspects for researchers to consider when examining genetic vulnerability to drug addiction, including the following:

  • Immediate susceptibility – This is the individual’s initial response to the drug. For some people, as little as one dose of the drug can create an addiction.
  • Toleration and sensitivity – This is the rate at which tolerance builds and sensitivity decreases.
  • Dependence (revealed by withdrawal symptoms) – This is the rate at which the habit is formed and indicates the severity of the response to the absence of morphine.
  • Cravings – These indicate the level of psychological appeal and tendency toward relapse.
  • Elimination from the body – This is the rate at which the drug is metabolized and is removed from the system.

Experiences and upbringing can be as equally significant as genetic causes are in morphine addiction. Environmental factors that can influence the likelihood of addiction include the following:

  • Exposure – Those who have seen family or friends abuse morphine may be more likely to try it themselves. Those who have access to it, such as patients to whom morphine is prescribed, may also find themselves faced with the temptation to abuse it, especially if they are experiencing severe pain and choose not to follow the prescription and control the dose themselves.
  • Stress and difficult times – Certain circumstances or personality traits leave some people less equipped to deal with struggles and more likely to turn to the help of drugs in order to distract them or help them cope.
  • Peer pressure – During adolescence, friends are the primary influence in a person’s life. Poor self-image, academic failure or a need for social acceptance can lead some individuals to experiment with drugs.
  • Circumstances of use – Using morphine at a young age can contribute to serious abuse because the drug is extremely harmful to a developing brain. If the drug is injected rather than ingested, its effects will be felt more rapidly, and its addictive potential is increased.

Overcoming Morphine Addiction

Morphine abuse causes permanent damage to the central nervous system. It can impair physical and psychological functions and cause other serious, long-term side effects. With intensive inpatient treatment programs that take into account the influencing factors, morphine addiction can be safely and effectively overcome.

Help for Morphine Addiction

If you or a loved one is suffering from morphine addiction, don’t hesitate to seek out treatment. Call our toll-free helpline for information about treatment options and overcoming addiction. We are available 24 hours a day to offer you the guidance you need. Don’t give in any longer. Call us today.