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Effects Of Morphine And The Withdrawal Symptoms

An opiate analgesic, morphine is a medically prescribed drug for providing relief from mild to acute pain. In fact, it is considered one of the most effective narcotic painkillers. The drug is available in suspension, capsule, injection, and pill form. Its prolonged use can cause multiple side effects that involve the urogenital, gastrointestinal and the central nervous system of the user.

Long-term effects of using morphine

  • Constipation -
    This drug slows down the speed at which the contents move within the intestine. The movement of matter within the intestine is called gastric motility. Since the drug retards gastric motility, constipation occurs in the drug user. The user can prevent this difficulty by drinking lots of water, taking a fiber-rich diet and exercising without fail.
  • Lower sex drive -
    Men and women who have been using the drug in higher amount for an extended period suffer from poor libido.
    Men also suffer from problems related to ejaculation. Impotence too is evident. It happens because morphine affects the testosterone levels in the male body.
  • Physical dependence on the drug -
    Long-term use causes physical dependence on this drug. The user suffers destabilizing withdrawal symptoms if he stops taking the drug all of a sudden. Since the drug influences the disposition, heart rate, gastrointestinal system, and blood pressure of the user, abrupt stopping of consumption produces the withdrawal symptoms.
    The drug not only provides relief from pain to the user but it is also able to behave like certain chemicals that are already present in the brain. Hence, the user experiences extreme happiness. Prolonged use of the drug leads to changes in the brain chemistry. Since the brain becomes dependent on the drug, the lack of its availability triggers withdrawal symptoms.
  • Drug addiction -
    Long-term effects of using morphine can lead to addiction. The user keeps using the drug beyond the recommended duration. The obsession with the drug may force him to use any means for procuring it. His life revolves around seeking of the drug and consuming it at any cost.
  • Damage to the immune system -
    The drug boosts the production of dopamine. The increased levels of this chemical cause reduction in the levels of three very significant cells related to the immune system. These cells are known as B cells, natural killer cells and T cells. Naturally, when the levels of these cells fall in the body, the immune system of the user deteriorates. He becomes prone to getting infections.
  • Tolerance to the drug -
    With prolonged use, the brain of the user develops tolerance for the drug. Therefore, the user needs an increased dosage for getting the same effect. The growing need for the most amount of the drug places the user in the risk of overdose. The results of overdose are damaging to the body and they sometimes even prove fatal.

Withdrawal symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms occur when the consumption of a habit-forming drug is halted suddenly. The habit for the drug may not necessarily be an addiction. It may simply be physical dependence of the user on the drug caused by prolonged use. On the other hand, an addict seeks the drug compulsively even when he is aware that it is costing him his health, career and relationships.

No matter whether it is physical dependence or addiction, the sudden cessation of morphine intake induces severe withdrawal symptoms.

Initial symptoms

The symptoms start becoming evident within hours of the last dosage of this drug. The mode in which the user took the latest dosage determines how soon the withdrawal symptoms will occur. If the drug was taken orally, the initial symptoms appear later than if it was administered intravenously.

The patient yawns frequently but faces difficulty in sleeping. He is nervous, irritable, and highly agitated. Muscle aches are common. He sweats and has a runny nose.

These symptoms are not generally lethal for the patient. However, they are definitely very disturbing.

Later symptoms

Within 48-72 hours, the withdrawal symptoms become worst. These indications can exist for 5-10 days. The patient goes through very tough and agonizing moments.

Vomiting is usual and he gets goose bumps. He feels nauseated and gets chills. He has severe abdominal cramps. His pupils are dilated. He suffers from diarrhea.

Additionally, the patient suffers from depression. He shakes, sneezes and has a flushed appearance. Bone aches may cause him further distress.

Relapse in cases of addiction

The patients who develop physical dependence on morphine do not run the risk of having a relapse once the withdrawal symptoms get over. However, for the addicts, environmental triggers can cause a relapse. The factors like stress, access to the drug and the availability of similar environmental setting that he had during drug abuse, can become triggers for relapse.

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