Morphine, which is a narcotic, is one of the most addictive prescription drugs. It has been in use as an analgesic since decades, even centuries. These days, it is used medically to treat acute pain, to suppress cough, and at times prior to surgery. Unfortunately, the highly addictive nature of morphine often causes patients to start abusing the drug, usually resulting in full blown addiction.
Addiction to morphine has become a grave problem in the U.S., with it tending to happen rapidly, often to unsuspecting people prescribed the drug for legitimate reasons, to ease their pain. The addiction can sneak up insidiously, and once a person is addicted to morphine, it is often too late to find easy solutions to treat the addiction. One of the best ways of treating the addiction is a program of drug detoxification.
The aim of any drug detoxification program is to get rid of the accumulated toxins in the body due to the continuous use of a drug. Therefore, the detox program begins with the drug being withdrawn from the addict. Behavioral and physical withdrawal symptoms usually follow once a powerfully addictive drug like morphine is discontinued by an addict. The withdrawal symptoms’ severity depends on how long the drug has been used, in what amounts, and in what frequency. Detoxification aids in diminishing the distressing symptoms of withdrawal of a drug.
Most people focus primarily on what drug they will use during their detoxification so that the withdrawal symptoms are less acute. However, it is important for them to keep in mind that any detox program will not be successful if they don’t think and discuss about how they are going to cope without the opiates; along with whom they will see and what they will do once they are successfully detoxified.
When a person uses opiates like morphine it is harder for his/her body to produce noradrenaline. Hence, the body works extra hard to produce this chemical. When the opiate is reduced or stopped, the body continues producing extra noradrenaline. It is believed that most of the withdrawal symptoms are due to the excessive production of noradrenaline, which over-stimulates the central nervous system and the brain.
Once a detox program starts, most of the withdrawal symptoms begin fading within 14 to 21 days, when the noradrenaline production by the body begins getting back into balance. The second and third day after the reduction or stopping the opiate drug is usually when the withdrawal symptoms are at their worst.
A deficiency of natural endorphins can be another cause for some of the long lasting problems occurring after detox is begun, such as the inability to sleep well and a general feeling of lowness. The body produces endorphins as a natural mechanism to kill pain and to feel good. It is believed that the body stops producing endorphins when an individual starts taking opiates, and on giving it up, it often takes about six months for the body to start producing normal levels of endorphins again.
It has been found that one of the best ways to detoxify from drugs like morphine is by using buprenorphine (Suboxone). Buprenorphine was initially developed as a medication to manage pain and was only used in hospitals. However, its efficacy as a tool for detoxification against opiates like morphine was discovered subsequently, and hence it was given approval by the Food and Drug Administration to be used for the purpose in 2003.
Unlike other opiates, buprenorphine does not adhere as persistently to the receptors in the brain. Hence, as the dosages of the patient get titrated and there is a gradual process of him/her being weaned off from the medication, he/she does not experience withdrawal symptoms. In the place of anxiety and lethargy, the patient using buprenorphine has normal levels of energy and is completely functional throughout the period of detoxification. Plus, detoxification of opiate drugs like morphine by using buprenorphine eradicates all cravings for the drug.
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Information on this page last updated on 06/10/2007