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Effects of Morphine on the Body

effects of morphine on the body

Named after Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams, morphine is an opioid extracted from the opium found in poppy plants.

Doctors have used morphine for pain relief and sedation since the time of the Byzantine Empire, making it one of the oldest medications in history. Despite its long history, morphine was first isolated by German pharmacist F. W. Serturner in 1803. Since then, other alkaloids in opium, like codeine, have been isolated, and morphine continues to be used in medical practice today. However, as effective as the medication is, there has been much controversy surrounding the effects of morphine on the body and its potential for abuse. Our drug rehab in Philly is looking into how morphine works and why it’s addictive.

How Morphine Works on the Brain

Morphine is usually used intravenously or is injected into the bloodstream via a syringe or IV drips. Once absorbed into the bloodstream, it’s carried to the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), where it activates receptors in the brain such as M1-receptors, M2-receptors, K-receptors, and D-receptors. This causes the brain to release an increased amount of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in mood and reward. That’s why morphine causes a sedative and euphoric high when people take it in high doses. As a result of this repeated action or the repeated use of morphine, the brain and body become accustomed to this high and begin to crave it. This can eventually develop into an addiction, and if so, PHP treatment may be needed for recovery.

What Are the Side Effects of Morphine on the Body?

Whether it’s taken illegally or with a prescription, morphine has a high potential for abuse. If unmonitored, morphine use can quickly spiral out of control and result in physical dependence. Despite the damage that it can cause, morphine’s effects on the body and brain make it addictive and difficult to quit.

Short-Term Effects of Morphine on The Body

Morphine side effects vary in severity and duration depending on factors like dosage, strength, how long you’ve used the medication, and your metabolic rate. When you first take morphine, you may experience certain immediate side effects, such as:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Constipation
  • Itching
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lower body temperature
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Slow breathing
  • Sleepiness or drowsiness
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness every time you stand up
  • Confusion
  • Nervousness
  • Erectile dysfunction

Long-Term Effects of Morphine on the Body

A person who takes morphine in high doses may also experience euphoria, sedation, and a feeling of well-being. These are factors of a morphine high that make the drug so addictive and difficult to quit using. Over time, however, morphine abuse can result in serious repercussions.

Some long-term effects of morphine use on the body include:

  • Tolerance
  • Physical dependence or addiction
  • Chronic constipation
  • Weight loss
  • Compromised immune system and increased vulnerability to disease and infection
  • Increased blood sugar
  • Menstruation problems
  • Osteoporosis
  • Sexual dysfunction

A person who’s addicted to morphine should receive professional treatment. We offer opiate addiction treatment at Banyan Philadelphia that can help morphine addicts physically recover from its side effects and safely get through withdrawal symptoms.

How Long Do Morphine Side Effects Last?

Depending on the dose and your sensitivity to the drug, the side effects of morphine can last 1.5 to 7 hours. The most common side effects of morphine are euphoria, pleasure, sedation, and reduced pain. It’s this pleasant feeling that motivates users to continue abusing the drug. Another important factor is how long morphine lasts in your system. The half-life of morphine is 2 to 4 hours, meaning that it could take up to 8 hours for it to flush out of the body. So, even after the high dissipates, this drug still affects the body.

A common morphine myth is that it’s not addictive if taken as a prescription drug, but this isn’t true. Long-term opioid use of any kind can result in a serious addiction. Opioid use disorders are among the most difficult to recover from, but even so, sobriety is possible with the right help. Banyan can help you or a loved one recover from drug or alcohol abuse. Call us today at 888-280-4763 to learn more about our Philadelphia drug treatment.

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.