First isolated from opium in 1805 by the German pharmacist, Wilhelm Sertürner, morphine is a narcotic analgesic that derives its name from Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams. Highly addictive, morphine simulates the brain’s reward systems causing intense cravings.

Withdrawal Symptoms

  • stroke
  • heart attacks
  • restlessness
  • lacrimation
  • rhinorrhea (runny nose)
  • yawning and sneezing
  • perspiration
  • goose bumps
  • mydriasis (dilation of the pupil)
  • twitching and spasms of muscles
  • kicking movements
  • severe aches in the back, abdomen, and legs
  • abdominal and muscle cramps
  • hot and cold flashes
  • insomnia
  • nausea or vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • coryza
  • increases in body temperature, blood pressure, respiratory rate and heart rate


The first stage of treatment for morphine addiction includes a period of detoxification. Because withdrawal can be fatal, detox must be done under medical supervision and self-detoxification or out patient detoxification is not recommended. Following detox, continued treatment can include a methadone prescription to aid in the withdrawal process, followed by long-term residential care that includes cognitive-behavioral therapy and group and individual counseling as part of the rehabilitation process.