Morphine: characteristics and short and long term effects

Whether it is because we have received it on a certain occasion, through general knowledge, or because we have read or seen it on a certain occasion, most of the population knows what morphine is. This substance is derived from opiates it produces deep anesthesia while generally generating sensations of pleasure. However, most people generally have a vague and general idea of ​​its effects.

In this article they will be presented the effects of morphine, both short and long term.

    Morphine as a psychoactive substance

    Morphine is a psychoactive substance derived from the opium or rubble plant. This drug is like the rest of opium derivatives a powerful depressant of the nervous system, belonging to the group of psycholeptic substances.

    In this way, morphine has effects which they are associated with decreased brain activity and that they cause a powerful relaxing, analgesic and narcotic effect. In fact, its own name evokes these effects, since it comes from the Greek figure of Morfeo.

    In addition to this narcotic effect, it also causes pleasant sensations, such as the sensation of floating and a certain euphoria.

      Its use

      The use of morphine it is widely used medically as an anesthetic and pain reliever when fighting the pain of certain surgeries or diseases such as cancer.

      It has also been used occasionally to treat addiction and withdrawal syndrome from heroin, a drug derived from morphine. However, you run the risk of acquire dependence and addiction to this substance, Its use must therefore be highly regulated.

      On the other hand, in some cases it has come to be used for recreational purposes. Consumption is usually intravenous, Although there are presentations in the form of ingestible pills.

      It should be noted that its consumption can cause strong side effects which can even endanger the lives of subjects if the dose is not properly controlled.

      Action mechanism

      Morphine, like most opium derivatives, works in the body due to its interaction with endogenous opioid receptors present in our body, of which it is an agonist.

      It also causes an effect on the synthesis and transmission of norepinephrine, producing less transmission of this substance.

      Short-term effects of morphine

      The short term effects of morphine are many and varied, which is usually the reason they are applied both medically and in other situations. However, they can also cause side effects or damage if overdosed. Some of them are as follows.

      1. Analgesia

      Morphine is one of the strongest pain relievers known, Causing the absence of pain perception in most cases. Pain caused by cancer, trauma, heart attack, or surgery can be treated medically with morphine or a derivative of it.

      2. Sedation

      Another major effect of morphine is sedation, which it can range from mild relaxation to drowsiness excessive and prolonged. In fact, its potency is such that excessive administration could lead to a coma in the patient.

      3. Initial euphoria

      Opium derivatives like morphine initially generate a high level of euphoria and later lead to feelings of relaxation and drowsiness.

      4. Gastrointestinal and digestive disorders

      It is not uncommon for people who take morphine to suffer from gastrointestinal upset, as well as constipation, dry mouth, nausea and vomiting.

      5. Effects on muscles: feeling of heaviness, heat or stiffness

      It is common for one of the effects of morphine to be a feeling of heaviness in the muscles of the limbs. however when the doses are high, Morphine can cause severe stiffness in the abdominal and chest muscles as well as other muscle groups.

      6. Effects on the respiratory system

      As we have said, morphine causes depression of the nervous system which generates the analgesia and sedation described above. One of the nuclei that reduces its activity is the one related to respiration, which it becomes slower and shallower.

      It can also cause depression of cardiorespiratory function which can lead to the death of the user if the dose used is not controlled.

      7. Reduces blood pressure

      Another of the effects of morphine occurs in the blood pressure, which decreases by reducing the performance of the autonomic nervous system. too much may produce bradycardia or arrhythmias.

        8. Miosi’s pupil

        As with heroin, morphine often causes alterations such as miosis or contraction of the pupils.

        9. Hallucinations

        Sometimes the consumption of morphine produces the perception of elements which are not correlated in the real world.

        However, outside of hospital settings where the dose is controlled, this effect usually indicates the presence of severe intoxication.

        10. Seizures

        Sometimes, and especially in case of overdose, they can be generated reactions in the form of restlessness, tremors, and even seizures uncontrolled.

        Long term effects

        The use of morphine is usually given in specific and controlled settings in which a large number of doses are not used, or it is used as a palliative in terminally ill patients. In these cases, they generally do not consider the existence of serious long-term effects.

        However, sometimes the consumption of morphine must be prolonged for a period of time, or the user frequently uses it regardless of professional indications. In these cases, in addition to possible short-term effects, they should add those that have accumulated consumption over time, the main risk being the acquisition of tolerance and dependence to the substance. In this regard, we can consider the following effects.

        1. Dependency

        One of the possible long-term effects of morphine with more or less frequent use, as with other opiates, is the acquisition of dependence on it. Morphine is a substance with high addictive potentialLike heroin, it can lead to serious mental and behavioral consequences.

        2. Cognitive and impulse control effects

        One of the long-term effects of morphine in cases where prolonged and continued use and dependence occurs is to cause alterations such as decreased judgment, dysphoria and decreased impulse control.

        3. Severe constipation

        One of the effects of morphine is the presence of intestinal discomfort and difficulty in excretion. In the long term, severe constipation can occur for the average consumer.

        4. Social problems and risky behaviors

        Dependence on and abstinence from this or other types of opiates can lead to impulsive and antisocial behavior, which can occur disconnection and loss of relationships to the commission of thefts or even blood crimes in order to obtain resources to obtain a dose.

        They may also engage in risky behaviors such as sharing syringes among dependent people, which can lead to the spread of diseases such as HIV and hepatitis.

        5. Withdrawal syndrome

        Stopping use by addicted consumers, if done suddenly, can have serious effects on the patient. health. Physiologically, it usually produces dysphoria or emotional discomfort, anxiety, an urge or urge to consume, vomiting and diarrhea, pain, mydriasis or dilation of the pupils, insomnia, fever and even seizures.

          Alterations in pregnant women and infants

          Morphine can be passed through the blood or breast milk, so it should not be used in pregnant or breastfeeding women. This can lead to dependence on the offspring, so in addition to possible short term effects, it can have serious repercussions on the baby’s development.

          Bibliographical references:

          • Sants, JL; Garcia, LI; Calderon, MA; Sanz, LJ; of rivers, P .; Left, S .; Román, P .; Hernangómez, L .; Navas, E .; Lladre, A and Álvarez-Cienfuegos, L. (2012). Clinical Psychology. CEDE PIR preparation manual, 02. CEDE. Madrid.

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