Why You Should Get Help During Morphine Detox
Morphine is a type of opioid drug commonly used to treat severe pain. The drug can cause dependence even when it is taken under a doctor’s care for a long period of time; however, many people also become dependent on and addicted to morphine after abusing it. Whether you have been taking the drug under a doctor’s care or not, if you have been on it for more than three months, it is important to get help during morphine detox.
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Why Do People Refuse Help for Morphine Detox?
Some individuals refuse to seek help during their detox period because they do not want to admit they are dependent on the drug. They may believe admitting this means they have a problem and would rather try to stop completely and on their own instead of asking for help. This is dangerous because morphine detox is a difficult time for anyone, even if they have not been abusing the drug.
Still, many users attempt to stop cold turkey, a term that refers to the goose bumps and chills opioid detox causes (National Institute on Drug Abuse). The social stigma associated with drug dependence, and how it is commonly confused for drug addiction, sometimes causes users to refuse help or treatment, but this is extremely unsafe.
Medically-assisted detox is available and, often, necessary to anyone who has been regularly using or abusing morphine for more than a few months. Though many individuals feel they can get by without a doctor’s help and go through withdrawal on their own, it is much safer and easier to do so when supervised by a medical professional.
What Does Treatment Entail for Morphine Detox?
Morphine detox treatment starts out with an assessment of the individual’s needs, including an evaluation of how much medication they require and if they are exhibiting signs of abuse and/or addiction. Then, the individual will likely be placed on a medication regimen, which will help minimize the symptoms of morphine withdrawal. These symptoms often include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Bone and muscle pain
- Goose bumps
- Runny nose
- Dilated pupils
The medication will be used as long as the patient needs it to become stabilized and then, slowly, the individual will be weaned off the medication until they no longer need to receive it. In most cases of morphine withdrawal, methadone, buprenorphine, or clonidine is used to minimize the withdrawal symptoms. Then, when the patient’s symptoms have subsided, addiction treatment can begin if it is necessary.
Why is Medical Morphine Detox Important?
Without the use of medication and other medical treatments, morphine detox can be extremely uncomfortable and even painful. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “It is not recommended” that a person or a doctor attempt to manage the symptoms of opioid withdrawal without medication. “Even mild levels of opioid use commonly produce uncomfortable levels of withdrawal symptoms,” so someone who isn’t even addicted to the medication could still experience extreme muscle and bone pain. “Management of withdrawal without medications can produce needless suffering in a population that tends to have limited tolerance for physical pain.”
Many people attempt to go through morphine withdrawal without medication because they do not realize the level of pain they are likely to experience. The medications listed above can only be taken under the prescription of a doctor, and if they are done so illegally, a person is much more likely to begin abusing them, especially buprenorphine and methadone. Tapering off your own dosage of morphine without a doctor’s approval is dangerous as well. It is important to receive a doctor’s help when treating morphine withdrawal because many of the medications involved are habit-forming and can cause addictive behavior, even if the individual is not addicted already.
Is Relapse Likely to Occur During Detox?
Someone who does not receive the necessary detox treatment also has a high likelihood or relapsing back to drug abuse because the withdrawal symptoms caused by morphine and other opioids are so intense. Heroin, a drug that is processed from morphine, can cause withdrawal symptoms so severe that “many users continue abusing the drug even after they no longer experience the euphoric effects, simply to provide relief from the painful, flu-like withdrawal symptoms” (Center for Substance Abuse Research).
A person attempting to go through morphine withdrawal without the necessary detox treatment and medication is likely to relapse back to drug use, especially if they try to go cold turkey. Relapse is a serious consequence of many unsuccessful attempts at opioid detox, and it is important to take this possible consequence seriously, as it can be extremely dangerous.
How Else Can Detox Treatment Protect Someone Against Relapse?
Morphine withdrawal itself is not deadly, but the symptoms can become so intense that a person may experience severe pain that makes them return to drug use. In many instances, a person needs detox treatment in order to start out on the right path toward addiction treatment.
According to the National Library of Medicine, “Most opiate overdose deaths occur in persons who have just withdrawn or detoxed.” This occurs because many individuals who do make it through detox do not receive the addiction treatment they need and then relapse back to the drug they are still craving. If someone receives the help they need during detox and stays in treatment for the duration of the program, there is a stronger likelihood that they will be recommended to attend addiction treatment by their detox doctors when it is necessary, and therefore, be more prepared during their recovery.
The NLM states, “Do not change the dose of your medication without talking to your doctor… [and] do not stop taking morphine without talking to your doctor.” This is because medical assistance is necessary when an individual withdraws or detoxes from an opioid drug. If you believe you are dependent on morphine and want to detox from it, you must discuss it with your doctor first and possibly even attend treatment at a detox center. These options are much safer and more beneficial than going through withdrawal alone, and you have a much lower chance of relapse if you get help during morphine detox.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Which Classes of Prescription Drugs are Commonly Misused?
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2018). Treatments for Substance Use Disorders.
- Center for Substance Abuse Research. (2013). Heroin.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2016). Opiate and Opioid Withdrawal.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2018). Morphine.