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Article Summary

Morphine Withdrawal

Morphine is a prescription narcotic pain reliever used in the treatment moderate to severe pain conditions. It is synthesized from poppy plant and is classified under the category of opiates. It works by binding itself to the opiate receptors in the central nervous system, the brain and spinal cord and alleviates pain. These activated receptors in the brain affect the pain experience and trigger the pleasure centre, and play an important role in addiction. Opiates are highly addictive, so do Morphine. Morphine withdrawal effects are common among individuals who take the drug legally or illegally once the drug is stop taken.

Morphine withdrawal effects are not fatal, however they are unpleasant and bothersome for the individual. The withdrawal effects start appearing as early as six to twelve hours after the last dose and can last up to ten days depending on the duration and dose taken by the individual.

Morphine withdrawal symptoms:

1. Flu like symptoms:

Major Morphine withdrawal effects peak anywhere from 48 to 72 hours after the last ingested dose. In addition, it may take approximately seven to ten days for all these withdrawal effects to dissipate from the body system. For most people, the initial side effects to manifest following Morphine cessation include excessive sneezing and nasal discharge, watery eyes, and runny nose. These symptoms may get worsen as the withdrawal effect continues before they resolve.

2. Gastrointestinal upset:

An upset stomach may be experienced by individuals who tend to stop or reduce Morphine use. Most common withdrawal effects that are concerned with gastrointestinal upset includes vomiting, diarrhoea, nausea, abdominal cramps, or loss of appetite. Gas or bloating in the abdomen may also be experienced by individuals, particularly when they suffer from diarrhea. The person undergoing withdrawal usually will have mild gastrointestinal symptoms in the beginning. As the withdrawal effects continue, these effects become more intense and worse.

3. Mood and activity changes:

The continual of withdrawal effects leads to major changes in the mood and activity of the person. Within 48 to 72 hours after stopping the medication, the person may experience severe mood changes. It is likely that the person may experience depression or anxiety, as well as agitation. Other common withdrawal effects include hyperactivity and restlessness, all these often accompanied with trouble or difficulty in sleeping.

Additionally, Morphine withdrawal can also cause abnormal muscle activity, like shakiness. This is due to the fact that, opiates are known to dull certain activities of the sympathetic nervous system, like muscle movement and alertness. Reactivation of this particular area of the nervous system at the time of withdrawal can result in abnormal muscle function. Muscle tremors are common, and can make the body to uncontrollably shake. The person might not be able to hold even a glass with his or her trembling hands, which in turn leads to agitation. Sometimes, the person may not even be able to stand properly due to tremors.

4. Body aches:

During withdrawal, some people may experience wide spread busy aches. They can be mild to severe before withdrawal symptoms resolve, and may include pain within the muscles or bones of your legs or arms.

5. Sweating:

Morphine withdrawal patients may sweat profusely. They may complain of extreme chills or cold, and excessive flushing or sweating.

6. Insomnia:

Severe insomnia can bother Morphine withdrawal patients for several days. It is a condition which is characterized by the inability to stay in the sleep or fall asleep normally. Additionally, the person may also experience excessive fatigue or irritable, if he or she is unable to sleep for several days due to withdrawal from Morphine.

7. Drug cravings:

Strong cravings for Morphine can be experienced by people undergoing Morphine withdrawal. It creates a feeling that makes the person believe, by taking Morphine all the side effects associated with withdrawal will be alleviated. Drug cravings usually subside after five to ten days following the last Morphine dose.


Morphine withdrawal occurs with a few hours following stopping the medication. It can happen with either complete drug abstinence or just a lesser dose or frequency of dose. Morphine withdrawal symptoms can make a person trapped and needing to continue using Morphine again and again. Proper help and support from family members, peer groups and professional care providers can help individuals suffering from Morphine withdrawal and address their problem safely and effectively.

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