Addiction to any narcotic drug, such as morphine, is a behavioral process by which an individual uses it repeatedly, until it escalates to the extent wherein it develops into a craving, until the individual can no longer control his/her cravings. The use of drugs can begin when a person has difficulties facing life’s realities, and perceives the need to be soothed or calmed, which is brought about by the benumbing effect of narcotic drugs.
Teenagers, in particular, tend to be susceptible to peer pressure, which results in drug usage. They usually develop a conviction that they can escape their problems by using drugs. Since one of the effects of narcotic drugs is a blurring of reality, and there is a resultant perception of happiness or pleasure, they continue using the drug to remain in that state of gratification. This, in turn, causes a further increase in the cravings for the narcotic effects of a drug. Another reason for the cravings to continue escalating, once a person starts using drugs, is the residue of the drug remaining in the body.
Sometimes people can also get addicted to drugs when they become physically dependent on the painkillers prescribed to them to relieve acute pain.
Morphine is an exceedingly additive drug. The tolerance level of morphine, which means needing increasingly higher amounts of the drug to sustain the same narcotic effect, and the psychological and physical dependence on it, develops very swiftly. The withdrawal symptoms of morphine are sweating, nausea, chills, and repetitive yawning, which lasts for about three days. Morphine also can cross the placental barrier; hence, the babies of mothers who use morphine experience the withdrawal symptoms of morphine.
Morphine affects the central nervous system directly. Apart from its pain relieving effects, the drug impairs physical and mental performance, alleviates anxiety and fear, and induces euphoria. Morphine also inhibits hunger, hampers the coughing reflex, causes constipation, and can even diminish sex drive. Morphine also has the ability of interfering with the menstrual cycle of women. The euphoric effect of morphine is one of the main reasons why it is so addictive.
There are many other side-effects of morphine, the most serious being the impairment of the respiratory function of the body. The nausea caused by morphine induces vomiting because the drug stimulates the chemotactic trigger zone in the brain, or the area in the brain which is related to vomiting. Morphine can also cause the release of histamine, which results in an itching sensation of the nose and skin.
People who are addicted to morphine experience an acute sense of boredom and lack of energy, which causes a loss of interest in the activities of their daily lives. Thus, they usually have problems with their personal relationships and their jobs. Like other addictive drugs, morphine becomes the only thing that they can focus on, and their lives quickly center on acquiring the drug to use it. The costs of morphine addiction can go up to $100-$200 per day, which usually results in addicts quickly turning to theft, shoplifting, burglary, prostitution and drug dealing in order to support their addiction.
The effects of addiction spread insidiously. Not only are addicts adversely affected, but it causes pain and sorrow to the other people in their lives. However, it is important not to stigmatize drug addicts as morally defective or mentally ill people. Addiction must be recognized as just a problem which needs to be solved with the help of effective drugs, such as buprenorphine (Suboxone), and methods of treatment.
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Information on this page last updated on 06/10/2007