While morphine is widely used in healthcare to treat intense pain, people often question whether morphine is a depressant or stimulant. It is, in fact, a depressant and acts as one of the most common CNS depressants, meaning it slows down the brain’s activity and other essential functions associated with the nervous system.
By decreasing activity, morphine reduces pain and creates a calming effect, but it also decreases breathing, heart rate, and muscle coordination. Morphine also has potentially dangerous side effects, such as drowsiness, confusion, and sedation, so it should be used cautiously.
What is Morphine?
Morphine is a prescription drug opioid painkiller that affects the central nervous system (CNS) and is used to treat moderate to severe pain. It relieves pain from severe injuries, post-surgery, cancer, and chronic conditions. As explained by DEA.gov, morphine can be taken orally, through an injection, or via an intravenous or intramuscular pump.
It is also commonly used in pre-surgical and post-surgical treatment for pain relief. Its effects can last several hours, relieving pain for an extended period. Morphine can be an effective tool in managing pain; however, it carries risks of addiction, overdose, and other serious side effects.
Morphine’s Classification as a Depressant
Morphine is classified as a depressant because it acts on the CNS to reduce pain, slow breathing, and decreased heart rate, producing calm feelings. When used in higher doses, it carries a risk of addiction and abuse and can cause nausea, drowsiness, and confusion.
Additionally, since morphine is an opioid, it acts on the opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord to reduce pain perception. It can cause euphoria and other depressant effects, which can be life-threatening. Morphine’s potent action on the CNS can also have the paradoxical effect of depressing the CNS, resulting in drowsiness, confusion, and respiratory depression in some people, especially when taken in larger doses.
In addition, the potential for physical and psychological dependence can occur with regular use and lead to mental health issues. As such, caution should be exercised when taking morphine and only in the care of a licensed medical provider.
Morphine and Its Effects
The opioid system of the brain is a crucial complex of brain regions with a wide range of responsibilities. The opioid system also helps regulate heart rate, digestion, and breathing. When someone uses opioids, the drug latches onto opioid receptors in the brain and intestines. The drug stimulates the opioid receptors, telling other body systems to slow and relax, which leads to a slowed heart rate and breathing.
Not only do opioids depress significant organs, but they also depress other systems. When opioid receptors in the brain are stimulated, other hormones can be lowered and interfere with the hormone that regulates the adrenaline levels in the blood. This, in turn, leads to decreased awareness and attention.
Finally, opioids also cause the levels of dopamine and serotonin to increase with consistent drug use. These neurotransmitters play many roles throughout the body, and in the brain, they are responsible for mood. When someone uses opioids, the increased dopamine and serotonin levels produce a sense of pleasure, ease, and well-being. This can indirectly lead to depression or psychological states.
Depressants are substances that slow down the activity of the CNS and activate GABA receptors in the brain, leading to a reduction in neuron firing, which has a calming effect. Common examples of depressant drugs include alcohol, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and opioids. Like morphine, alcohol is a depressant drug that comes in many forms, such as beer, wine, spirits, and liqueurs. Barbiturates are used to treat anxiety and insomnia. Benzodiazepines are used to treat anxiety and panic disorders.
Side Effects of Morphine
Morphine can produce several side effects, including nausea and vomiting, dry mouth, constipation, drowsiness, confusion, cravings, and slow breathing. It can also reduce physical and mental alertness, addiction, and impaired judgment. Long-term use can cause respiratory depression, decrease muscle tone, and suppress the immune system. These effects can be severe, so following your doctor’s instructions when using them is essential.
When morphine is combined with other depressants, such as alcohol, it can increase the risk of adverse effects and intensify its impact on the body. This can lead to further physical and psychological problems, including increased risk of respiratory depression, coma, and even death. Individuals taking morphine should be monitored for adverse reactions, and substance use should always be discussed with a doctor.
Dangers of Mixing Morphine With Other Depressants
Morphine is one of many narcotic analgesics in the class of drugs known as CNS depressants. This class includes other opioids like fentanyl, valium, heroin, oxycontin, Vicodin, methadone, and oxycodone, as well as benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and alcohol.
Morphine acts on the central nervous system to relieve pain but can also have sedative effects, which, if unchecked, can lead to opioid overdose and overdose deaths. It can be used for short-term or long-term pain relief, depending on the condition’s severity.
Contact Us and Get Treatment for Morphine Addiction
If you or a loved one are addicted to morphine and experiencing substance abuse, seeking help as soon as possible is important. Withdrawal can be difficult and potentially dangerous if not managed properly. Rehabilitation and treatment programs can help with both physical and psychological addiction. Professional support can also provide the tools and resources to help sustain recovery. Seeking help is the best way to break the cycle of addiction and start on the path to recovery.
The Summit Wellness Group provides treatment options for morphine and other opioid drugs and dependencies. Our admission process to treat morphine dependency typically includes an initial medical evaluation and assessment. After that, treatment plans can be developed, including medication-assisted treatment, behavioral therapy, or both.
Speaking to one of our caring team members is vital to determining the best action and starting recovery. Reach out now by calling (678) 705-8762 (Atlanta), (770) 830-3119 (Roswell), or visiting our Atlanta or Roswell offices.