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How Common Is Morphine Withdrawal in Men?

Overcoming addiction is a continuously challenging, long-term process, but the initial period of withdrawal is the time that your body puts you under the most pressure to relapse. All withdrawal is unpleasant, but morphine withdrawal is particularly difficult, putting users through an extended period of extreme flu-like symptoms that drives many sufferers back to some form of opiate use. If you’re concerned about withdrawal, finding out more about it gives you a clear idea of what to expect.
morphine withdrawal

Morphine Withdrawal Explained

When you become physically addicted to a drug, it means that your body has become dependent on receiving a regular dose. The effects of opioids like morphine are related to the body’s natural “opioids,” endorphins and encephalins. When you receive a regular dose of similar chemicals, your brain eventually stops making as many of them on its own. This not only reduces the effect morphine has on you (you develop a tolerance), it also means you need the drug to feel “normal.” With less being produced by your brain, without the extra dose you quickly become deficient in endorphins and encephalins. This deficiency produces withdrawal symptoms.

Morphine Withdrawal Symptoms

Morphine withdrawal symptoms are often compared to a severe flu, and will generally start less than half a day after your last dose of morphine. The symptoms are most severe in the first week of abstinence, but may last up to two weeks. The initial symptoms include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety

The symptoms change as withdrawal progresses, and you may experience:

  • Stomach pains and cramping
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Goose bumps
  • Dilated pupils

How Common Is Morphine Withdrawal in Men?

As explained earlier, morphine withdrawal describes the unpleasant symptoms that occur when your body and brain is readjusting to life without opioids. This means that unless you were a very light user, you’re almost certain to experience withdrawal symptoms. If you were heavily addicted, the symptoms will be more severe and last longer.

From 2011 to 2013, 0.36% of men in the U.S. used heroin in any given year, which is more than double the rate of use among women. Overall, 0.19% of the population abused or become dependent on heroin from 2011 to 2013. While precise estimates of the number of men who will experience morphine withdrawal is hard to estimate from this data, depending on how many attempt to get clean each year, the figure will likely be more than two in 1,000.

Conclusion: Don’t Go Through Withdrawal Alone

Getting both medical and psychological support during morphine withdrawal is essential if you want to give yourself the best chance of getting clean. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to overcome addiction, but buprenorphine, in particular, is 50% to 100% more effective than other medical treatments available. Combined with therapy, this makes it more likely you’ll get through withdrawal and overcome your addiction.


“Vital Signs: Demographic and Substance Use Trends Among Heroin Users — United States, 2002–2013” by Christopher M. Jones et. al.

“America’s Addiction to Opioids: Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse” by Nora D. Volkow

“Opiate and opioid withdrawal” – Medline Plus

Posted on March 11th, 2017

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