How to Get Through Morphine Withdrawal Phases

Morphine is a highly addictive drug that is often prescribed to manage pain. It is in the opioid family, along with codeine, heroin and oxycodone. Some people are more susceptible to the effects of morphine and become addicted to it. As they use it more often, they become tolerant to its effects and need higher and higher doses to get the fix they need. This can make morphine withdrawal a very long and difficult process. Often abusers will move from pill form to crushing it so it can be snorted or injected. This gives them a quicker and more intense effect.

Phases of Morphine Withdrawal

The withdrawal from morphine can be broken down into three phases, each with its own specific characteristics.

Phase One

Phase one starts about 12-24 hours after you stop using the drug. Your body will start reacting by having physical withdrawal symptoms. The reactions are caused by the absence of it in your system. You may experience nausea, diarrhea, cramps, insomnia or depression. This is the point of the most extreme physical discomfort, but it may not be the most difficult phase. Phase one lasts 5-7 days.

Phase Two

You will feel a little better when you start phase two, which lasts 10-14 days. While you will still feel physical discomfort, it will not be as painful. Your body will be ridding itself of harmful toxins during this period. You should start eating healthy, taking vitamins and getting enough sleep. How long you were on the morphine will determine how easy it will be to detox. Because your endorphin levels were drained during your drug use, your body is working during phase two to restore them. Common physical symptoms experienced during this time are sweating, leg cramps, chills, restless leg syndrome, goose bumps and dilated pupils.

Phase Three

Phase three is the hardest phase for a lot of people. The symptoms during this period are more psychological and less physical. Many people give up and relapse because they cannot deal with the high levels of anxiety that accompany this phase. Other symptoms include insomnia and restlessness. You have to be mentally and physically strong during this period or you will lose all the hard work you put in during phase one and two. The urge to use morphine again will be very strong, but resist and you will be completely detoxed soon.

When Does It Get Better?

You will start to feel physically better from withdrawal from morphine in about 5-7 days, but mentally it can take much longer. A lot depends on how long you were using the drug. Getting enough sleep will be hard at first, as your dreams will be more vivid and you will be restless, but it will get better. As your body brings everything back into balance, you will feel more normal and your withdrawal symptoms will fade more and more every day. Some days will be worse than others, so don’t despair if there are days when relapse feels like it is inevitable. This is a normal feeling. Be strong and resist.

How to Get Through It

1.    Have Support

Having someone to talk to during the withdrawal process is an important aspect of recovery. Join a support group or see a therapist. If you have a trusted friend or family member, let them know what is going on and lean on them when times are rough or just to talk to them when you need to vent. Having an outlet to express yourself when you are anxious or afraid of relapse is a good way to prevent it from happening.

2.    Exercise

Add exercise into your routine. It does not have to be anything overly strenuous. It can be as simple as taking a brisk walk every morning or evening. It is also a great way to relieve stress and unwind. When you are physically active, your body releases serotonin, which is a mood enhancer. This can help alleviate anxiety and negative feelings.

3.    Eat Healthy

You may not be hungry the first couple days of the withdrawal from morphine, but your appetite will eventually return. When it does, it is really important to eat healthy. You may only drink liquids only at first, because of the initial nausea, so make sure to stay hydrated. When you can add solid food, stay away from salty or processed foods or snacks. Try to eat lean protein, foods rich in antioxidants and vegetables. Eating as much natural ingredients as possible is best. Your liver will need extra support while it cleans out your system so consider adding foods like broccoli, nuts, artichoke, olive oil, wild fish, leafy greens and seeds to your diet. Also, vitamins and minerals like black seed, GHB and passionflower are known to have detoxifying properties.

4.    Get Enough Sleep

During this period, your body will need a lot of rest. It may be hard to sleep, but you need to try. You may want to consider taking a few sick days, if you are employed, while you attempt withdrawal. This will allow you to get sleep and rest when you can. It may be tempting to keep your mind off things with work, but it may only make it worse.

5.    Detox Center

If your addiction is severe, you may want to go to a detox center. At the facility, a group of medical professionals can help you get through the withdrawal process. They may be able to prescribe you medications designed to help you deal with the withdrawal symptoms so they are not as extreme or painful. Sometimes, it is recommended to slowly wean yourself off morphine instead of stopping outright and these professionals would be able to help you do this correctly.

Medications to Alleviate Morphine Withdrawal

These medications can help with withdrawal from morphine, but only through the guidance of a medical professional.

  • Methadone: This drug provides you with the same effects as morphine but with less intensity. It is less addictive so it is considered a good alternative. The process is to slowly reduce the dosage until you can completely stop. It is considered safer than morphine so you can stay on it for a few months without complications. Methadone is the most widely used drug for the withdrawal process.
  • Clonidine: Unlike methadone, clonidine does not provide the same effects of morphine. Instead it helps relieve the physical symptoms of withdrawal. Often the painful effects, such as cramping, nausea, sweating, aggressiveness, diarrhea, body aches and headaches are too hard for you to bear and you give up in the early stages because of it.
  • Buprenorphine: Buprenorphine works much like Methadone, but is designed to help the detoxification process move faster. While it is meant for short time use, it can be used for a long period as well. It can be combined with Naloxone if needed to help with the final stage of withdrawal.
  • Naltrexone: This drug is designed to help you with the final stage or the psychological stage of the withdrawal from morphine. It is helpful in preventing relapse due to mental agony or anxiety of detoxification.
 
 
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