Morphine is a powerful narcotic that can be used as a pain killer. Morphine dependence is not uncommon, and treatment methods can involve the use of methadone or other medications as part of comprehensive detox plans. Suddenly stopping the drug without going through a treatment or detox plan can result in serious consequences, including death.
Withdrawal symptoms suffered by an individual who stops taking morphine can last for days. These symptoms can be severe and difficult to manage, so those who are undergoing withdrawal should do so under the care of a medical professional who can outline and prescribe a treatment plan that will have the highest rate of success while being in a safe environment. These detox plans can involve the administration of methadone or pain relievers to manage withdrawal symptoms, counseling and advice on life changes, as well as medical support to help the body through withdrawal.
Some health professionals use methadone to control the withdrawal symptoms from morphine. Methadone changes the signals in the brain and acts to help suppress some of the side effects as well as to change the way the brain interprets the pain of morphine dependence. Generally, a medical professional will begin the treatment by prescribing a high dose of methadone. As the symptoms of morphine dependence begin to fade, the individual will usually be instructed to take a lower dose of the methadone, or to stop taking it as frequently.
The goal of this treatment is to wean the individual off both narcotics, but should be done under supervision. Methadone itself is extremely addictive as well, and supervision will help keep the person from simply trading one addiction for another. Many of the withdrawal symptoms of morphine are similar to that of methadone, so proper dosing prescribed and monitored by a doctor is necessary.
When an individual with morphine dependence goes to a treatment facility for detox, he or she will typically be monitored around the clock by medical professionals who are equipped to deal with both the physical and psychological demands of morphine withdrawal. These professionals will be able to counsel the individual on how to manage the pain that ultimately resulted in addiction as well as guide him or her toward making lifestyle choices that will improve the chances of staying clean. Treatment for morphine dependence does not end after detox is complete, but often continues with therapy and addiction help to keep the individual from relapsing back into old ways.