How Fast Does Morphine Addiction Develop? Understanding Morphine’s Addictive Potential

Addiction can happen to anyone. Learn how fast you can develop a morphine addiction and find out if you’re at risk of developing an addiction. And if you are afraid you may have a morphine dependency, there’s hope. Find out why comprehensive, residential treatment is the key to recovery. It’s helped countless people get on the road to permanent life changes and it can help you, too. If you have the will to change, you have what it takes to quit morphine and take your first step toward recovery.

One morning, Gloria was teaching her fifth graders fractions when she felt pain in her neck and in both arms. She grew short of breath and collapsed. When she woke up, she was in the emergency room. Gloria had had a heart attack and was in severe pain.

The hospital gave Gloria morphine to help her cope with the pain. Not only did her body hurt, but the heart attack had left her shaken and terrified of having another. But when she was on morphine, she realized, her mind didn’t race with anxious thoughts of when the next attack might take place. Another fear began to grow in her mind—how would she face life, and her anxiety, without morphine to cushion the blow?

After she went home to rest and start her cardiac rehabilitation, she found herself buying the drug illegally out of desperation and fear. But she’d only been in the hospital for six days. How fast does morphine addiction develop? she wondered. Was just six days enough time to become addicted?

How Fast Can You Develop a Morphine Addiction?


If you’ve received a morphine injection, you know that it can cause a rush of euphoria. Not only does it help with physical pain, but it can make you forget about emotional distress too. And that can be very addictive.

Morphine can also change your brain’s physical chemistry. It’s an opiate and it interacts with receptors in the brain to lessen the sensation of pain throughout the nervous system.

  • First, it floods the brain with neurochemicals, including dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals are what give people a euphoric, “high” sensation.
  • Then, over time, the brain adapts to the presence of these chemicals and starts sending signals that it needs more of them to feel “normal”. This adjustment to the presence of morphine as the brain’s new normal, or homeostasis, is the first big marker of addiction.

Everyone is different. Many people can tolerate receiving morphine for pain management without becoming addicted. Some people are more sensitive to the drug’s effects. Some are particularly genetically vulnerable to opiate addiction. But everyone has at least some potential to become addicted to the drug, and the longer you are on it, the more likely you are to develop a physical (not to mention emotional) dependence.

As Gloria found out, morphine addiction can develop extremely rapidly under certain circumstances. While becoming addicted to morphine after a hospital stay is uncommon, it is not impossible—it can become addictive in just a matter of days for some. However, there is no hard-and-fast rule for how quickly addiction develops—which is why it’s important to be aware of the warning signs and recognize when it’s time to seek help. Some of the more common symptoms of morphine addiction include:

  • Frequent fatigue and/or mental confusion
  • Gastrointestinal problems, such as constipation and diarrhea
  • Nausea, possibly with vomiting
  • Trouble breathing and maintaining equilibrium

And, of course, if like Gloria you find yourself resorting to illegal avenues in order to get your next dose, chances are good you’re already addicted. The sooner you find the support you need, the sooner you can overcome morphine’s emotional and physical hold on you. For most, the best option for morphine addiction treatment can be found in a residential setting.

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Why Comprehensive Residential Treatment is the Key to Recovery


Morphine addiction is a serious problem, but it’s not unbeatable. With medical and psychiatric help, as well as the support of your loved ones, you can get through it. Residential treatment is a safe, comfortable place for you to begin walking the road to recovery. It offers round-the-clock care, medically supervised detox, interventional therapy, and sets you up on a long-term treatment plan that will give you the tools you need to get clean—and stay clean long after you return home.

Medically-supervised detox will help minimize withdrawal symptoms and their associated risks during the early days of recovery. Then, you’ll receive a plan composed of a variety of therapies to help you make long-term, lasting changes to your lifestyle. Your treatment may consist of individual, group or family therapies; weekly meetings with a psychiatrist; as well as experiential and holistic therapies, such as art therapy or mindfulness meditation. You’ll learn coping skills to deal with your addiction and work on the emotional triggers that cause you to use. At the end of the program, you’ll return to the outside world refreshed and armed with new skills and long-term support to help you overcome the temptation to use.

Taking the First Step Toward Recovery


Gloria’s story is, happily, one which ends with hope. Realizing her family, career, and life were on the line, Gloria eventually found the courage to call a residential treatment facility and ask for the help she needed to break free of her morphine addiction. Her dependency developed so quickly she didn’t almost recognize it for what it was, but once she did, she knew she needed another, better way to cope with her fears. Now, she’s back in her classroom and is committed to building a healthier life for herself.

As Gloria would tell you, hope isn’t out of reach, no matter how quickly your addiction developed or long you’ve been struggling with it. Beginning the recovery process is as simple as making that first call and taking that first step in a new, healthier direction.

Alta Mira offers comprehensive treatment for people struggling with drug and alcohol addiction as well as co-occurring mental health disorders and process addictions. Contact us to learn more about our renowned Bay Area programs and how we can help you or your loved one start the journey toward lasting recovery.