Morphine - Opioid Drug Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline & Treatments

What is morphine withdrawal?Opioid dependence, addiction, and their effect on the brain & body

Morphine is an opioid analgesic (painkiller) commonly used for moderate to severe pain relief. The drug dulls the perception of pain by triggering opioid receptors in the central nervous system and brain which deliver feelings of pleasure and euphoria to the user. Over an extended period of use, the user’s body may start to develop a morphine tolerance. Consequently, the user may feel that they must abuse the drug to experience the desirable effects that they had become used to. If the user continually exceeds the maximum dose prescribed by their physician, the likelihood of physical dependence on morphine increases. Often, a user won’t know that they have developed an opioid dependency or become addicted to morphine until they try to stop taking it. At this point, they will encounter the uncomfortable and painful side effects known as withdrawal. Opioid withdrawal symptoms are often what drive morphine abuse, tolerance, and dependence. Many users develop an aversion to the discomfort associated with the withdrawal process and consequently choose not to pursue morphine detox.

Morphine facts:

  • Morphine is a non-synthetic opiate derived from opium.
  • According to information provided in a National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 7.9% of pain relief drug users in the US reported misusing morphine in 2018.
  • Morphine is named after Morpheus, the Greek God of Dreams.
  • Common morphine drugs include Arymo ER, Morphabond ER, and MS Contin.

Symptoms of morphine withdrawal

Opioid withdrawal symptoms can include many psychological and physical symptoms that vary in both severity and commonality. A person’s experience with morphine withdrawal is largely influenced by individual factors such as level of health, height, weight, mental health, and the treatment options they choose (if any).

Common symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • The emergence or exacerbation of mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, lethargy, indifference, paranoia, hallucinations, panic attacks, and bipolar disorder.
  • Attention-deficit.
  • Bodyweight gain.
  • Bodyweight loss.
  • Insomnia or changes in sleeping patterns.
  • Flu-like symptoms such as runny nose, headache, tremors, sweating, and changes in body temperature.
  • Respiratory depression.
  • Significant difference/changes in blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Dilated pupils.
  • Muscle aches, pains, and cramps.
  • Stomach pain and abdominal cramps.
  • Nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.
  • Opioid cravings.
  • Wet dog shake (involuntary shivering).

Opioid withdrawal management and the morphine withdrawal process

Morphine withdrawal and the detox process last little more than 1 to 2 weeks in most cases. However, the period of time it takes for someone to make a full recovery is heavily affected by physical and psychological circumstances, as well as the extent of morphine use and the method of rehab/detoxification treatment. The ANR rehab method is the fastest addiction and withdrawal treatment, with patients typically experiencing a recovery in just a few days. More factors that can influence the duration of symptoms include:
  • The method used to take the drug (pill/tablet, intravenous injection, snorting, etc.)
  • If the drug was taken with alcohol or other drugs.
  • The length of time the user had been taking the substance and their level of morphine dependence.
  • The doses of morphine the user had been taking.
  • If the patient has a history of addiction or substance abuse.
Morphine Withdrawal Timeline

Days 0-3

Patients will begin to experience common morphine withdrawal symptoms within 72 hours of their last dose. These effects may include anxiety, cravings, high blood pressure, muscle aches, fever, and chills.

Days 4-6

At this stage, most patients will begin to experience acute withdrawal, where opioid withdrawal symptoms are at their most intense. Among these, severe withdrawal symptoms are anxiety, depression, fatigue, insomnia, attention deficit, and diarrhea.

Days 7-14

While at this point most physical symptoms will have subsided, it can still be one of the most challenging times for those in recovery. Various psychological symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, and depression can begin to take hold as the patient is left to deal with the guilt of their drug-induced behavior. Combine this guilt with other psychological symptoms such as insomnia and strong drug cravings, and the risk of relapse becomes high. Patients must be given all the support they need from medical professionals and loved ones during this time.

Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS)

Although many will overcome the symptoms of morphine withdrawal in 1 to 2 weeks, some outliers will continue to experience what is known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). The post-acute withdrawal period is known to last several weeks, months, or even years. Although post-acute symptoms can be physical, they are mostly psychological. PAWS can present anxiety, depression, mood swings, attention deficit, insomnia, indifference, lethargy, mood swings, and other mental health such as eating disorders or bipolar disorder.

While the road to recovery can be long for people experiencing PAWS, it can eventually be overcome as the patient learns to deal with their symptoms. However, it is best to seek the help of medical professionals and clinical care when dealing with any symptoms of opioid withdrawal.

Morphine withdrawal treatment at a medical detox center

Currently, ANR treatment is the only medical treatment that is shown to restore the endorphin-receptor balance in individuals with opioid use disorder. While many forms of long-term treatment attempt to alleviate the effects of morphine withdrawal by simply counteracting the symptoms, ANR treatment targets the physiologic mechanism behind dependency, attacking the issue at its core.

While most treatments can take weeks to take effect, ANRas opposed to a simple detox allows patients a full recovery in just a few dayscan enjoy a full quality of life without risks of further symptoms or relapse.

ANR Clinic has health care facilities to provide medication-assisted treatment in:

  • DeSoto Memorial Hospital, Arcadia, Florida
  • ANR Europe Thun, Switzerland
  • New Vision University Hospital, Tbilisi, Georgia
Morphine is a prescription opioid medication that can cause physical dependence, addiction, and opiate withdrawal, especially if it is abused. Often, if one develops an addiction due to chronic morphine use and cannot acquire it legally, they will turn to other or illicit street drugs to satisfy their dependence.
In most cases, the user will begin to experience symptoms within 72 hours of their last dose of morphine. The most severe symptoms will likely occur within 4-6 days.
Through direct intravenous injection, a standard dose in adults is 0.1-0.2 mg per kg every 4 hours as needed for pain relief. For oral tablets, the standard dose is 10-20 mg every 4 hours.

For most people, withdrawal symptoms will significantly diminish in 1 to 2 weeks. However, some people experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome, which can last weeks, months, or even years. The period and intensity of withdrawal symptoms largely depend on the individual, the nature of their drug use, and the method of treatment they use. The recovery period lasts only a few days at an ANR treatment center.

Mixing alcohol and opioids like morphine can have severe negative health effects. In addition to potentially causing alcohol addiction and co-occurring drug withdrawal symptoms, simultaneous alcohol and drug abuse can also have significant effects on a person’s health, such as brain damage, liver failure/damage, respiratory depression, and in some cases, death.

At the ANR Clinic, we offer an opioid addiction treatment program. is an extremely effective treatment that treats addiction by restoring the endorphin-receptor balance to regular levels. It is a much faster addiction treatment than other programs such as inpatient rehab, residential treatment programs, intensive outpatient rehab, and even medication-assisted treatment using medicines like methadone or buprenorphine.

Morphine drugs can function as both fast and long-acting opioids depending on the method of morphine administration. For instance, morphine treatment may be administered intravenously as a fast-acting opioid for the relief of acute pain. Alternatively, doses of morphine may be taken in the form of extended-release tablets for the long-acting treatment of chronic pain.

There are many signs of withdrawal from morphine. Common morphine withdrawal signs include drastic weight gain/loss, dilated pupils, body aches, muscle cramps, flu-like symptoms, and behavioral signs such as mood swings. See here for more health information and signs of opiate addiction.

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