Pain Home > Morphine Abuse
As a potent narcotic opiate, morphine has significant potential for abuse and addiction. It can be difficult for healthcare providers (or even friends or family) to tell if a person has a problem with addiction to morphine or if the true problem is actually inadequate pain control. Often, healthcare providers do not adequately treat pain out of fear of "creating" a morphine addict. This sometimes leads to a situation in which a person is accused of abusing morphine, when instead they are simply trying to deal with the pain.
As a narcotic, morphine leads to physical dependence. However, physical dependence is not a sign of abuse or addiction; it is a predictable, physical response to chronic use of the narcotic. The body becomes accustomed to physical changes that morphine causes, and stopping the drug will lead to withdrawal symptoms. This is not necessarily a sign of addiction, at least in the sense that most people use the term.
(Click Morphine Addiction for more information on the dangers of abusing morphine. This article also describes the difference between abuse and a physical dependence on the medication and explains how to get help for morphine abuse.)