Some people use morphine not only for managing their pain but to feel better or to get high. When abused, morphine can be a very difficult habit to quit…yet not impossible.

Are you taking morphine continuously? Wondering how to stop? Here, we review some safe ways to quit using morphine. We also discuss the consequences of quitting morphine abruptly. Continue reading to learn more. At the end, we invite you to post your questions or your personal experiences on going off morphine.

Can I just stop taking morphine?

NO. It is not recommended to go cold turkey off of morphine.

People who usually stop taking morphine on their own experience intense and unpleasant symptoms, which can discourage them to continue fighting their addiction problem. Individuals who quit using morphine without the help for morphine addiction of a doctor have a higher risk of relapse and failure to reach long-term sobriety. Thus, morphine detox is most successful when performed under doctor’s care. In fact, medically supervised morphine detox can prevent dangerous withdrawal effects.

What happens when you stop taking morphine?

What are morphine withdrawal symptoms? Morphine withdrawal has several stages. Each stage is characterized by different symptoms, or various levels of intensity of the symptoms.

The FIRST STAGE – It lasts 6 – 14 hours after last dose of morphine. During this stage individuals usually experience:

  • anxiety
  • drug cravings
  • irritability
  • mild to moderate depression
  • sweating

The SECOND STAGE – Occurs 14 – 18 hours after last dose and is typically accompanied by:

  • crying
  • dissatisfaction
  • headaches
  • heavy perspiration
  • runny nose
  • yawning

The THIRD STAGE – It is expected within 16 – 24 hours after the last dose administration and is followed by:

  • aching bones and muscles
  • dilated pupils
  • hot and cold flashes
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle twitches

The FORTH STAGE – It occurs about 24 – 36 hours after the last taken dose of morphine and includes:

  • elevation of blood pressure
  • increase respiration and tidal volume
  • insomnia
  • loose stool
  • moderate elevation in body temperature
  • nausea
  • restlessness
  • severe cramping
  • tachycardia

The FIFTH STAGE – This stage lasts 36 – 72 hours since the last dose of morphine. The symptoms that you can expect during the fifth stage include:

  • frequent liquid diarrhea
  • increased white cell count and other blood changes
  • vomiting
  • weight loss of 2 to 5 kg per 24 hours

The SIXTH STAGE – It comes after you have successfully completed the previous five stages. During this stage the morphine addict start to deal with psychological symptoms of his/her addiction. This stage also includes the following symptoms:

  • colitis or other GI afflictions related to motility
  • hypertension
  • increased sensitivity to pain
  • normalization of food appetite
  • problems with weight control
  • stabilization in bowel function

Side effects of stopping morphine

Withdrawal symptoms usually occur when a dependent user stops taking morphine completely, or lowers the usual dose significantly. Common morphine withdrawal symptoms include:

  • chills
  • headaches
  • insomnia
  • moodiness
  • nausea
  • restlessness
  • soreness
  • sweating
  • vomiting
  • watery eyes

Stop taking morphine suddenly

Due to the drug’s highly addictive properties, suddenly stopping morphine might cause severe withdrawal symptoms and provoke relapse.

As an alternative for sudden discontinuation is a slow morphine tapper. Talk to a medical professional, or look for a morphine addiction treatment facility for supervision. This will increase your chances of successful recovery.

Stop taking morphine cold turkey

Going cold turkey off morphine might be very dangerous for people who have lung and heart problems. Another danger of stopping morphine abruptly are acute withdrawal symptoms.

Instead, doctors suggest following a tapering schedule and taking other medications to assist in the process. Your tapering schedule should be created along with your doctor, and with based on your health state, duration of morphine use, and your dose of morphine. Usually individuals require about 2 to 3 weeks to successfully taper doses down. Some general guidelines are:

  • 10% reduction in doses a day
  • 20% reduction in doses every 3-5 days
  • 25% reduction in doses per week
  • Avoiding more than 50% reduction off the daily dose at any given interval

How do I stop taking morphine?

Stopping morphine does not include drug detox only. It also means that you will have to go through physical, psychological and emotional rehabilitation. Only a 100% devotion into treatment will allow you to successfully treat and recover from your morphine addiction.

Structured morphine addiction rehabs provide addicts with doctors, counselors and therapists who will assist your recovery. During your treatment you will have the chance to work on different aspect of your morphine addiction. Individuals who go through a structured rehab program are able to discover their personal root causes for their addictive behavior, work to resolve them, and reach sobriety.

How to stop taking morphine safely

The safest way to stop morphine is if you do it by the book.

Seek help from professionals who are able to help you by advising you, prescribing medications, assist your detox and withdrawal, and work with you resolving your psychological and behavioral issues. Also, don’t underestimate the motivation and support coming from your family and friends. And, stay committed to your recovery after leaving rehab by joining a support group, such as 12-step support groups.

Stopping morphine questions

Still have questions about how you can quit morphine successfully and in a safe manner? We invite you to post them in the designated section below. We try to reply personally and promptly to all legitimate inquiries. In case we don’t know the answer to your question, we will refer you to someone who can help.

Reference sources: CPSO: When and how to taper opioids
NCBI: Neurotransmitter mechanisms of morphine withdrawal syndrome
NCBI: Immune cell activity during the initial stages of withdrawal from chronic exposure to cocaine or morphine

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from Addiction Blog