How to treat morphine addiction

Morphine addiction is both physical and psychological. Treatments include detox, the use of medications such as methadone, LAAM, buprenorphine and naltrexone, as well as behavioral interventions. More on how to treat morphine addiction here.

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Reviewed by: Dr. Juan Goecke, M.D. Dr. Dili Gonzalez, M.D.

Are you addicted to morphine (or know someone who is)?

Given its powerful effects, morphine is highly addictive. To treat morphine addiction, you must address both physical and psychological dependence on the opiate drug. The powerful euphoric feeling of the pain relieving drug is difficult to compete with. And because morphine stays in the system for a few hours, addicts return again and again for similar effect.  Furthermore, addicts will experience many aches and pains upon trying to quit. Here, we explore treatments for morphine addiction. There is a section at the end for your questions.

Am I addicted to morphine?

If you like use morphine to get high, you are more likely to develop a morphine addiction than someone using morphine for pain relief. But how can you tell the difference between therapeutic use and addiction?

Simple. Addiction is characterized by drug craving, compulsive use, the loss of control, and continued use despite negative consequence. On the other hand, regular users may become physically dependent on morphine and experience withdrawal when they stop or cut back doses…but the psychological elements of addiction ARE NOT PRESENT in a non-addict.

Treating morphine addiction

There are two principle ways to treat morphine addiction. The first is through psychotherapy. The second is by using medications to help address cravings. In fact, several medications for morphine addiction treatment which are best used in combination with psychological therapies. The main treatments for morphine addiction include:

1. Behavioral treatments for morphine addiction

Behavioral treatments for morphine addiction are best introduced after morphine detox has occurred. Specifically, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT) can help address thoughts, beliefs, and patterns related to morphine use. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps to address dysfunctional emotions, maladaptive behaviors and cognitive processes through goal-oriented systematic procedures. Rational emotive behavior therapy, on the other hand, revolves around resolving emotional and behavioral problems that lead to people being happier and leading more fulfilling lives. Addicts work with a therapist or counselor in this case and establish a collaborative therapeutic working alliance based on the REBT education model. The first step to successful behavioral treatments such as CBT and REBT are accepting emotional responsibility and having the determination to change. Other behavioral treatments for morphine addiction include:

  • 12-step Facilitation
  • Anger Management
  • Community Reinforcement Plus Vouchers
  • Contingency Management/Motivational Incentives
  • Matrix Model
  • Motivational Interviewing (MI)
  • Relapse Prevention
  • Substance Abuse Counseling

2. Pharmaceutical treatments for morphine addiction

Pharmaceutical treatments are often used in drug detoxification programs for opiate or opioids like morphine. Pharmacotherapeutic medications for morphine addiction include medications known as Methadone, LAAM, buprenorphine (Subutex), nuprenorphine-naloxone (Suboxone) and naltrexone. These medications either address cravings for morphine or block the euphoric effects of morphine. These medications have proven to be effective for morphine addiction and can be prescribed by a doctor.

Treatment for morphine addiction

So where can you go to receive treatment for morphine addiction? The first place to seek help is in your own community. Consult with your family doctor, a trusted friend, or a spiritual/religious leader. Clinical social workers can also refer you to addiction treatment services in your area. The main centers to receive treatment for morphine addiction are:

Morphine Detox Clinics – Morphine withdrawal is necessary for nearly everyone who becomes addicted to morphine. During morphine detox, addicts will often experience insomnia, chills, sweating, weakness, stomach cramps, and high heart rates. However, there are medications that can be used to help aid in lessening these symptoms. Morphine detoxification should always be monitored by licensed professionals and never attempted at home. Morphine detox usually completed within just a few days.

Morphine Addiction Treatment Centers – Treatment centers are designed specifically to help those with addiction and provide specialized care for morphine addicts. Treatment centers may provide detoxification and therapy after the detox to help the addict live a drug free life. Additionally, morphine addiction treatment centers may be inpatient and require 28+ days of residential treatment, or outpatient, which requires daily or weekly group and individual therapy meetings.

Morphine Addiction Support Groups – Support groups for morphine addiction can be provided by local 12-step programs at rehab centers or online with self-help groups like SMART Recovery. It is recommended that you join a support group to become part of a community you can relate with.

How to treat morphine addiction questions

With willingness and determination, morphine addiction can be successfully treated so that you can lead a healthy and productive life. Do you have any questions about morphine addiction? If so, please leave a question below and we will try our best to answer each query promptly.

Reference Sources: NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse: Medical treatment for opioid addictio
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
Medical Reviewers
Dr. Goecke is a medical doctor and general surgeon with personal experience of...
Dr. Dili Gonzalez, M.D. is a general surgeon practicing women's focused medici...

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a licensed medical professional.


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  1. We actually treat patients that want to come off morphine in an accredited hospital where doctors can manage the withdrawal symptoms and vital adequately. I believe, an inpatient medical detox is truly the most effective, comfortable and safe way to get through a morphine withdrawal.

  2. I have been on long-acting morphine with immediate-release morphine for breakthrough pain for over a decade. With the recent attention about opioid abuse (which is not my case) and the recent raids on pain clinics, I am very concerned about being able to get the needed relief I have to have. I have Fibro, as well as AS, RA, and OA in my spine (from my head to my tail bone), in addition to having suffered multiple injuries from an abusive ex-husband (beatings, thrown through a window, hit with a car, and sundry other abuses), car wrecks, falls, sports injuries, etc. I have gone through various treatments, including physical therapy, pool therapy, RFTCs, PStims, MUAs, chiropractic, acupuncture, cupping, TENS, nutrition therapy, massage therapy, and just about every other type of therapy out there.

    I recently talked to my doctors about what my options were since I am now over 50 and the FDA and DEA making it harder for chronic pain patients to get the medication they need just to function. On a scale of 1-10, with the medication, I live at a 7. When I have break-through pain, it often leaves me in tears and unable to move at all…so a 10.

    I am now looking into a spinal cord stimulator, but the doctor I saw yesterday indicated there are serious issues with those, including infection. When I saw the orthopedist for my knees, which have no cartilage left, he told me I was too young for replacements and I need to lose weight…despite the fact that my knees were dislocated at age 9 by brothers trying to hurt me so I wouldn’t want to play with them.

    Instead, they look at me and tell me to lose weight and stop complaining. Oh, and if I cry…which happens a lot when I am in pain or being required to recount the drama of the past…the reasons I was injured and am in such agony…I am told I need to see a psychiatrist to deal with “depression”, despite not being depressed.

    The pain still wakes me from sleep every night. I am in near agony every day. And now I am facing not having the medicine that makes being mobile tolerable.

    My pain doctor told me “It’s scary coming off the drugs.” I told him “Coming off the medicine doesn’t scare me. The pain I am going to suffer scares me.” After all… I’m the one who brought up the subject of coming off the morphine to begin with.

    So now I have to go to more doctors to see if a simulator is a possibility. I’ll pay out of pocket if it will help. But if they don’t let me get one, I am stuck with the morphine.

    So what other options are there? Because being on such strong medicine as I get older increases the likelihood of having a bad outcome. It becomes less effective and my body will begin to react to it in less than desirable ways. I know this. Which is why I started this conversation in the first place.

  3. I say to the “professionals”, using drugs to beat an addiction is NOT the answer! I know. Then they get addicted to that stuff. It’s the medical profession’s fault that we have this epidemic. All they care about is money. They surely don’t give a damn about anyone. All doctors are GREEDY s o bs.

  4. I’m taking prescribed Morphine 30mg ER 3x day for Chronic back pain. My pain doctor states I should remain on a powerful pain medication due to degree of back problems that I have. I originally had asked to stop using the Morphine. The physician has recommended Belbuca instead of Morphine but I can’t ascertain why. My research show’s Belbuca is meant for addiction withdrawal which I don’t have. Is there another drug you are aware of that will control my pain but not addictive or as addictive as MS?

  5. I am conning off 60mg morphine twice a day at home without any help I am past the stomoch pains diarrhoea but the hot sweats and lethargy are very strong and am tempted to take it again please can anyone help thanks

    1. Hi Ruby. I suggest that you speak with your doctor to help you plan an individualized tapering schedule. Also, I did a research on suggested morphine tapering schedule, and I found this:
      – Decrease dose by 20%-50% per day to 45 mg/day, then…
      – Decrease by 15 mg/day every 2-5 days.
      Find more info, here:

      Moreover, here’s suggested reading on morphine withdrawal:

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