The Basics of Morphine Rehabilitation

This guide was written to provide an overview of the morphine rehabilitation process, as well as to offer helpful resources for persons recovering from morphine addiction.

Morphine rehabilitation is a multi-step process that begins with an orientation to the rehabilitation facility. The individual has an opportunity to meet the treatment staff and find out what services are available. Orientation is usually followed by an individual assessment that covers the person’s health history, family history, addiction triggers, and history of substance use. This assessment helps treatment staff develop a plan for addressing the individual’s physical and psychological needs throughout the rehabilitation process.

The individual then goes through an initial detoxification period, which is medically managed to ensure morphine is eliminated from the body safely. Once the detoxification period is complete, the individual participates in therapy programs and receives other services to ensure that any underlying issues are addressed. These services also give the individual access to a support network, which can be helpful for avoiding relapse.

the four steps of rehab process

What Makes Morphine Rehabilitation Difficult?

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) classifies controlled substances according to their potential for abuse. Morphine is considered a Schedule II controlled substance, which means DEA officials consider it to have high abuse potential. Misuse of morphine is especially prevalent in the Middle East. According to the 2019 World Drug Report, drug-enforcement officials seized more than 63,000 kilograms of morphine in Afghanistan in 2017. Officials seized more than 15,000 kilograms in Iran and just under 7,300 kilograms of morphine in Pakistan during the same year.

It is difficult to recover from morphine addiction due to the way morphine affects the brain. Taking morphine triggers the release of dopamine, a chemical that enhances an individual’s sense of well-being. Dopamine is responsible for the calm, euphoric feeling a user experiences after taking morphine. The rush of dopamine is interpreted by the brain as a reward, reinforcing the behavior and making it even more difficult to recover from morphine addiction.

The Unique Struggle of Morphine Addicts
  • triggers the release of dopamine, which reinforces the user’s behavior and makes it difficult to recover from addiction
  • produces undesirable effects when an individual suddenly stops taking it
  • has a high risk of dependence due to its effects on the reward center of the brain
  • addiction recovery is a difficult process due to the physical and psychological symptoms that occur during the initial detoxification period

Morphine Rehabilitation Statistics

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) estimated in 2015:

  • 697,000 individuals 12 years of age and older — 0.3% of the population — misused morphine products.
  • 124,943 individuals 12 years of age and older in need of treatment enrolled in a rehabilitation program for misuse of opiates other than heroin, which includes morphine products.

Opioid Treatment Admissions by Gender

52.7% Male
47.3% Female

Demographics of Individuals Seeking Treatment for Opioid Addiction

According to a 2017 SAMHSA report that charts admissions to and discharges from publicly-funded substance use treatment facilities, men are considerably more likely to seek treatment for abuse of opiates other than heroin, which includes morphine. The gender breakdown of treatment admissions for opiates other than heroin was 52.7% male and 47.3% female. While opioid addiction occurs in all age groups, the most common age group admitted to a treatment facility for use of opiates other than heroin was individuals aged 25 to 34, with 35 being the average age of all individuals from all age groups who are seeking rehabilitation.

Opiate Treatment Admissions Percentages by Age Group, 2017
Age at the Time of Treatment Admission Percentage of Opiate Treatment Admissions
12-17 0.4%
18-24 10.4%
25 – 34 44.9%
35 – 44 25.4%
45-54 12.1%
55-64 5.9%
65+ 0.9%

Morphine Detoxification & Withdrawal Process

Recovery from morphine addiction begins with an initial detoxification process that clears morphine from the user’s body. Morphine has a relatively short half-life of two to three hours, which means about half of the substance will be eliminated from the body within this time frame. The initial detoxification process typically lasts about 72 hours, but it may take up to a week in heavy users.

Post-acute withdrawal symptoms are withdrawal symptoms that persist for more than two weeks after the individual stops using morphine. Depending on how long the user has been addicted to morphine, how much morphine the user had been taking, and other factors, these post-acute symptoms may last for several months.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Body Mind
Short-Term Symptoms Difficulty sleeping
Frequent yawning
Muscle aches
Runny nose
Increased tear production
Long-Term Symptoms Changes in pupil size
Abdominal pain

Source: MedlinePlus

Sudden morphine withdrawal increases the risk of death

Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are some of the short-term symptoms of morphine withdrawal. Some people with these symptoms lose excessive amounts of fluid and minerals, causing them to become dehydrated. Dehydration can be treated with IV fluids, but if left untreated, it can cause a dangerous electrolyte imbalance. Electrolytes play a role in the electrical activity of the heart, so untreated dehydration can increase the risk of death during the morphine withdrawal process.

Withdrawing from morphine can lead to serious lung infections

Vomiting also increases the risk of a condition known as aspiration, which occurs when the contents of the stomach enter the lungs. Once liquid and food particles are in the lungs, the risk of lung infection increases.

The risk of morphine overdose increases immediately following the initial detoxification period

According to MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the risk of morphine overdose increases once the individual has completed the initial detoxification period. This is because all of the morphine has been eliminated from the body, making the individual less tolerant to its effects.

Sudden withdrawal from morphine can cause seizures and other serious complications

Because morphine affects the nervous system, withdrawing from it suddenly can cause some individuals to have seizures. Morphine withdrawal can also cause rapid heart rate, changes in blood pressure, tremors, and mental confusion.

Morphine Detoxification Medications

One of the most positive aspects of morphine detoxification is that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has approved several types of medications to ease withdrawal symptoms and make the detoxification process safer for opioid users. These medications include Methadone, Naltrexone, and Buprenorphine. Methadone is used to make withdrawal symptoms less severe. Naltrexone is used to help prevent relapse in people who use morphine and other opioids. Buprenorphine may reduce the amount of time it takes to detox from morphine. A medication called clonidine can be used to treat some of the physical symptoms of morphine withdrawal, including muscle aches, cramping, sweating, and runny nose.

For more information about withdrawal, read our guide on morphine addiction.

Treatment for Morphine Addiction

Medication-assisted treatment and behavioral therapies are both used to treat morphine addiction. Medication-assisted treatment combines medications with behavioral therapies to improve the individual’s chances of recovery and reduce the risk of relapse. Medications reduce withdrawal symptoms and help with cravings, while behavioral therapies help individuals change their attitudes, thoughts, and behaviors.

Rehabilitation Settings

Within either an inpatient or outpatient setting, treatments such as detoxification services, behavioral therapies, and medication-assisted treatments are offered for varying lengths of time.

Inpatient treatment involves living full-time (including overnight) at a treatment facility for a set period of time. Outpatient treatment involves scheduled appointments at a facility for which you are free to come and go. Within each category, there are several distinctions.

Morphine Treatment Programs
Setting Type of Treatment Description Duration Time Commitment
Inpatient Short-Term Residential Intensive treatment, sometimes in a hospital setting. Therapies offered are extensive. Medication-assisted treatment is available to those who qualify. 14-30 days Hours Per Day:


Days Per Week:


Long-Term Residential Intensive treatment in a non-hospital setting, most often a therapeutic community with other patients. Therapies offered are extensive. Medication-assisted treatment is available to those who qualify. 3-12 months Hours Per Day:


Days Per Week:


Partial Hospitalization Intensive treatment in a hospital setting. Patients do not stay overnight. Considered inpatient due to the hospital setting. Extensive services are provided and require a near full-time commitment every week. Medication-assisted treatment is available to those who qualify. 14-30 days Hours Per Day:


Days Per Week:


Outpatient Intensive Day Treatment Extensive services of an inpatient program but patients return home each day following treatment. After completion, patients often transition to less intensive counseling. Therapies offered are extensive. Medication-assisted treatment is available to those who qualify. 3-4 months Hours Per Day:


Days Per Week:


Counseling Both individual counseling and group counseling focus on short-term behavioral goals to develop coping strategies. Therapies offered are moderate. Medication-assisted treatment is not available. As long as desired Hours Per Day:


Days Per Week:


Support Groups Support groups center on maintaining abstinence after another form of treatment. Typically meet one day a week for 1-2 hours. As long as desired Hours Per Day:


Days Per Week:


Behavioral and Medication-Assisted Therapies

Behavioral therapy for substance addiction seeks to identify and manage addictive behaviors that lead to substance use and prevent relapse. Behavioral therapy is based on the concept that all behavior is learned. Thus, unhealthy behavior can be changed through learning coping skills and increasing awareness of negative thoughts and beliefs that contribute to substance abuse.

Behavioral Therapies for Morphine Addiction
Type of Therapy Definition
12-Step Facilitation Therapy

Further reading:

Individuals who participate in 12-step facilitation therapy are encouraged to participate in a 12-step program, which is one of the most common programs for people recovering from some type of addiction.

Those who participate in 12-step facilitation therapy receive the support they need to acknowledge their addictions, attend regular meetings, and learn to approach addiction as a disease that requires lifelong management.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Further reading:

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a structured form of psychotherapy that helps individuals develop the coping skills needed to overcome morphine addiction and avoid relapse in the future.

CBT helps people change their behavior by changing their thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes regarding what is happening around them. How people interpret their circumstances influences the way they think and behave; thus, changing the way people think can help them avoid addiction-related behaviors and adopt positive behaviors.

The Matrix Model

Further reading:

The Matrix Model combines therapy with education and social support to help individuals recover from morphine addiction and avoid relapse. Elements of the Matrix Model include drug education, CBT, family therapy sessions, attendance at 12-step meetings, and social support.

The Matrix Model is delivered on an outpatient basis, making it easier for individuals recovering from morphine addiction to seek support while also meeting their work and family obligations.

How to Find Help

Finding a Rehabilitation Center for Morphine Addiction

When seeking out a treatment facility for morphine addiction, looking for facilities that offer supervised detoxification can help the individual avoid some of the most uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and eliminate morphine from the body in a safe manner. During this detoxification period, experienced treatment professionals are available to help meet the individual’s medical and psychological needs.

Rehabilitation centers offering both behavioral therapies and medication-assisted treatment can help individuals get to the root of their addictions and develop better coping skills, both of which can help prevent relapse once the initial rehabilitation process is complete. Facilities that use cognitive-behavioral therapy and 12-step facilitation therapy may be the most effective, as both have proven to be effective in treating opioid addiction.

Inpatient rehabilitation is especially helpful for individuals with co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Inpatient facilities offer much-needed structure, access to experienced counseling professionals, and the social support individuals need to gain sobriety and prevent relapse when they return home.

Our Directory

Our directory of rehab programs includes a comprehensive list of available treatment centers and programs as provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In the directory, you will find tools to filter the programs by setting, price, and location.