Morphine Addiction

If a person is showing signs of addiction to morphine, he or she may display unusual changes in mood or behavior, or go through a prescription too quickly. Morphine is a type of narcotic opiate, which is why it is a highly desired drug of abuse. You should seek help if you believe you or someone else may be showing signs of addiction.

Is Morphine Addictive?

Morphine is a potent narcotic opiate. As such, it has significant potential for abuse and addiction. However, morphine is also a very important pain medication that can be quite effective and safe when used properly. Healthcare providers and patients alike must take measures to make sure the medication is used to its fullest potential while minimizing the risks for addiction to morphine.
 

Morphine Addiction Versus Inadequate Pain Control

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" an 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. For instance, if your prescription for morphine is not strong enough for your pain, you may display unusual changes in behavior due to the pain, or you may take your morphine more frequently than prescribed. If you feel your pain is not adequately controlled, please discuss this with your healthcare provider. However, many people start down the slippery slope of addiction by using inadequate pain control as an excuse.
 

Morphine Addiction Versus Physical Dependence

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.
 
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD; Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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