Effects of morphine abuse and addiction (INFOGRAPHIC)

Morphine is a very powerful painkiller, but also notorious for its negative effects. In fact, morphine use can quickly result in physical problems and addiction. Read more on the effects of morphine and risk of addiction here.

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Morphine is addictive and can be habit-forming.

In fact, you can become dependent on the drug both, psychologically and physically. Morphine addiction is very cruel, as the drug causes strong cravings, strong enough to drive addicts to commit acts they would never otherwise commit. Withdrawal from morphine can cause a number of issues, too depending on the dosage taken and how long it was used.

Effects of morphine abuse and addiction (INFOGRAPHIC)

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So, what does morphine use and addiction look like? We explore here. Then, we invite your questions or comments at the end.

Morphine’s mechanism of action

Morphine binds to opioid receptors… more specifically to

1) The Mu-receptors, which are present in the brainstem and the thalamus. The activation of these receptors can result in pain relief, sedation and euphoria as well as respiratory depression, constipation and physical dependence.

2) Kappa receptors, found in the limbic system, a part of the forebrain called the diencephalon, the brain stem and spinal cord. When activated it’s responsible for pain relief, sedation, loss of breath and dependence.

3) Delta receptors present in the brain and also present in the spinal cord and digestive tract. Stimulation of this receptor leads to analgesic as well as antidepressant effects.

How addictive is morphine?


Morphine is a potentially highly addictive substance. It can cause psychological dependence and physical dependence as well as tolerance. Morphine also produces euphoria and other positive effects, which compel users to continue. Users have reported feeling addicted to it after few uses. So, this is certainly no “recreational drug”.

Is damage caused by Morphine permanent or reversible?

Possible permanent damage caused by morphine

  • collapsed veins
  • death as result of respiratory arrest
  • endocarditis: inflammation of the inner lining of the heart
  • inability to see colors (blue or yellow)

Possible damage caused by morphine

  • adverse allergic reactions
  • hepatic damage
  • swelling of lips and tongue

Reversible damage caused by morphine

  • CNS depression
  • low blood cells count
  • reduced gastrointestinal motility

How does morphine addiction really affect you?


  • reduced immunity and ability to fight infections
  • risk of developing hepatitis and HIV/AIDS
  • weight loss
  • possible death from overdose!


  • greater test error rate
  • impaired mental and physical abilities
  • poor performance on divided attention and psycho-motor tasks
  • slowed reaction time and poor concentration

Self esteem

  • altered personality
  • low self-esteem
  • mood swings
  • severe depression


  • broken interpersonal relations
  • inattentiveness
  • neglecting family
  • problems due to self-absorption
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.
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