Morphine is an effective pain reliever. It’s administered frequently by healthcare professionals. It’s prescribed to manage moderate to severe pain after an accident, post-surgery, or for a chronic condition. It’s accepted for common use throughout the U.S.
Unfortunately, this use is not without cost. Like other opioids, this drug has drawbacks. While offering relief from pain, morphine also delivers the following side effects.
Effects on Behavior
- Abuse/Misuse/Addiction – As with other opiates, morphine use comes with the risk of dependence. Patients receiving morphine, even in healthy prescribed doses, can become physically dependent on the drug.
- Fatigue – Morphine affects the central nervous system. As it suppresses pain, it also makes you tired.
- Inattentiveness – With morphine in our system, it is harder to stay alert and focus our attention.
- Mood Swings – With this strong drug interacting with our system, our emotions are often erratically affected.
- Poor Performance – The combination of all the other side effects can diminish our mental, physical and sexual functioning.
Effects on Our Brain
- Slow Reaction Time – Morphine in our body slows our central nervous system, making our reactions slower.
- Psychomotor Impairment – Not only do our reactions slow, our overall physical movements and thoughts slow down. Both physical and emotional reactions are affected.
- Depressed Consciousness – Morphine decreases our ability to perceive and respond. Given enough, it can knock us out or even induce a coma.
- Seizures – Due to its interaction with the central nervous system, morphine has the potential to cause seizures, especially if abused in higher than prescribed amounts.
Effects on Our Psyche
- Abnormal Thoughts – Under the influence of morphine, our thoughts can become cloudy or impaired. We may have thoughts we would not under normal circumstances.
- Disturbed Sleep – Morphine can interrupt our normal sleep patterns.
- Severe Depression – As morphine slows down our systems and effects our physical and mental functioning, it can also lead to depression.
Effects on Our Sexuality
- Decreased Sexual Interest – With morphine in our system, we typically don’t feel our normal amount of desire.
- Difficulty with Conception – Morphine can interfere with reproduction, making it hard to get pregnant.
- Impotence – Studies have linked long-term use of morphine to erectile dysfunction and impotence.
Effects on Body Response
- Impaired Respiration – Morphine slows respiration. High doses can slow it too much and make breathing difficult or stop it completely.
- Gastrointestinal Impairment – This drug can reduce our digestive system’s ability to move food through our body in a healthy way.
Effects on Our General Health
- Vision Problems – Morphine can impair our vision and change our ability to see colors.
- Painful Urination – As it effects our entire digestive track, morphine can cause the process of urinating to become less than pleasant.
- Weight Loss – While to some this may seem like a positive side effect, it is generally a sign of poor health conditions.
Effects That Can Be Lethal
- Collapsed Veins – Injecting morphine into veins repeatedly can irritate the vein and cause collapse.
- Liver Damage – Processing the potent drug over time can deteriorate the liver.
- Endocarditis – Morphine can cause inflammation of the inner lining of the heart.
- HIV/AIDS – Shared needles used for morphine abuse spreads this deadly disease.
- Death – Heroin and morphine share the top slot for most common cause of overdose-related fatalities.
Is It Worth The Risk?
Do these harmful results outweigh the benefits? The hundreds of doctors who approve its use each day would say yes. Certain circumstances, it seems, warrant the use of this potentially dangerous drug. Due to its dangers, though, it is important to be aware of the risks morphine poses to our health. Administered carefully, it can be beneficial. Abused, it can be deadly.
Additional Reading: Understanding the Effects of Long Term Drug Abuse on the Brain
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