MS Contin Abuse
MS Contin is a brand name for extended-release morphine tablets. Morphine is a non-synthetic narcotic with a high potential for abuse, and a principal component of opium. MS Contin is one of the most effective drugs known for the relief of severe pain, and should only be prescribed to patients with around the clock pain that cannot be effectively treated with other analgesics.
As an opioid narcotic, MS Contin functions by altering how the central nervous system responds to pain signals. It also produces feelings of euphoria. Due to its high potential for abuse, MS Contin must always be taken exactly as directed by your doctor. Taking a larger dose, or taking MS Contin more frequently or for a longer period of time than prescribed, will lead to physical dependence and addiction.
Understanding MS Contin Abuse
MS Contin is a controlled-release tablet form of morphine. Typically, addicts tend to prefer injecting morphine because the drug enters the blood stream more quickly, but even the tablet forms of the drug are highly addictive.
According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse, taking MS Contin and other opioids can actually increase your sensitivity to pain, leading to the problem of chronic pain and physical dependency, which is a precursor to addiction.
Like heroin and other opioid drugs, MS Contin attaches to opioid receptors in the brain, blocking pain signals. Because opioid receptors are located in the brain’s reward center, they can also trigger the release of dopamine, commonly known as the “feel-good” chemical, producing a state of euphoria and relaxation. This highly-desirable feeling is another factor in the widespread abuse of MS Contin and other opioid drugs.
Signs and Symptoms of MS Contin Abuse
Some signs and symptoms of MS Contin addiction may include:
- Needing to have a prescription refilled earlier than scheduled
- Seeing multiple doctors/clinics for pain prescriptions
- Changes in mood
- Changes in appearance or hygiene
- Mental clouding
- Isolation from family and friends
- Changes in eating habits
- Nervousness and restlessness
- Lack of interest in activities the user previously enjoyed
There is the potential for numerous serious side effects when taking MS Contin. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- blue or purple color to the skin
- changes in heartbeat
- agitation, hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist), confusion,
- shivering, severe muscle stiffness or twitching, loss of coordination
- nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weakness, or dizziness
- inability to get or keep an erection
- irregular menstruation
- decreased sexual desire
- extreme drowsiness
- chest pain
- itching, hives, or rash
- swelling of the eyes, face, mouth, lips or throat
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
Dangers of MS Contin Abuse
Sustained use of MS Contin will create a tolerance for the drug, forcing addicts to increase their dosage to experience the same effects. Taking large amounts of MS Contin will increase the number and severity of side effects, and as well as the risk of serious medical consequences.
Opioid receptors are found in the same areas of the brain that control respiration. High doses of opioids can cause breathing to stop completely, leading to fatality. The Drug Enforcement Agency’s fact sheet on morphine lists the overdose effects of the drug as: cold, clammy skin, lowered blood pressure, sleepiness, slowed breathing, slow pulse rate, coma, and possible death.
Who Abuses MS Contin?
A person of any age, gender, financial status, or ethnicity can become addicted to MS Contin. According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse, “regular use [of opioids]—even as prescribed by a doctor—can produce dependence, and when misused or abused, opioid pain relievers can lead to fatal overdose. The current epidemic of prescription opioid abuse has led to increased use of heroin, which presents similar dangers.”
Some addicts take MS Contin to combat feelings of anxiety, to self-medicate depression, or to enjoy feelings of euphoria, but many users take the drug due to chronic pain and an unbearable physical dependency that makes them unable to quit the drug on their own.
MS Contin Addiction
When used legally, under a doctor’s instructions, MS Contin can be beneficial, improving a patient’s quality of life during illness, injury, or recovery from surgery. When pain goes untreated, a patient suffers in all areas of life, and runs the risk of developing mood disorders and suicidal thoughts.
However, prescription opioids such as MS Contin are some of the most commonly abused prescription drugs, and patients must be careful to take it only as directed, and for the reasons the medication was prescribed. Overuse and abuse of the medication (such as taking it to relax instead of to treat pain) will lead to serious mental and physical consequences.
Taking MS Contin recreationally, especially in conjunction with alcohol or other drugs, is extremely dangerous and is a clear sign of a substance abuse problem.
Am I Addicted to MS Contin?
If you fear that you may be addicted to MS Contin, ask yourself the questions below:
- Do I abuse MS Contin every day?
- Do I abuse the drug in order to combat feelings of unhappiness, loneliness, depression, etc.?
- Have friends or family members mentioned more than once that they are worried about my drug use?
- Do I become hostile or angry when they do so?
- Do I ever experience side effects as those listed above, and yet continue taking MS Contin without consulting my doctor?
- When I attempt to stop taking or wean myself off of the drug, do I experience withdrawal symptoms such as: an inability to feel pleasure, feeling irritable or anxious, difficulty maintaining proper body temperature, fever and chills, runny nose, watery eyes, restlessness, muscle aches, fatigue and/or difficulty sleeping, thoughts of suicide, intense cravings, rapid heart rate, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, changes in respiration or tremors?
- Do I feel like I can’t have fun, be normal, or complete everyday tasks without MS Contin?
- Am I secretive about my drug use, and/or do I lie about when I use or how much I take?
- Do I need more and more MS Contin each time I abuse the drug in order to feel its effects?
- Have I experienced any major problems in the last year, such as a breakup, job loss, car accident, family problems, financial problems, or getting arrested as a result of my drug use?
- Despite these problems, do I feel unable to stop using MS Contin on my own?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may be addicted to MS Contin and in need of professional help.
MS Contin Addiction Treatment
Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease. The NIDA explains that “repeated drug use changes the brain, including parts of the brain that enable you to exert self-control. These and other changes can be seen clearly in brain imaging studies of people with drug addictions.”
This is why addicts require professional help to break the cycle of addiction. The treatment specialists at a qualified drug and alcohol rehab are trained in how to manage substance abuse issues and lead addicts safely to recovery.
Detoxification is the first step to any recovery plan. A person needs clarity of mind and a body free from addictive substances before they can be effectively treated. Because withdrawal from MS Contin can be extremely unpleasant, detoxing in a rehab center under the care of medical professionals is ideal. A doctor will likely have you taper off of MS Contin gradually, to minimize withdrawal symptoms, and may prescribe medications to help ease symptoms and more comfortably transition you into sobriety.
Whether addicts choose inpatient residential treatment, and/or outpatient treatment, all substance abuse recovery plans will include talk therapy.
Individual therapy allows patients to work intensively on issues specific only to them, while group therapy allows them to both support and experience support from other addicts who are struggling with similar challenges. Family therapy is a valuable tool to ensure individuals encounter the best possible environment at home, to prevent relapse.
Other treatment options include:
- Treatment for co-occurring conditions: most addicts suffer from undiagnosed mental health issues that underlie and fuel their substance abuse. These co-occurring disorders must be addressed as a part of recovery.
- 12-step meetings: Meetings based on the 12-step program that originated with Alcoholics Anonymous are an invaluable resource to support long term sobriety.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: CBT teaches patients to retrain their brains with new methods of coping with stress and cravings, and avoiding trigger situations
- Nutrition, fitness and recreational therapy: a strong body is just as important as a strong mind when it comes to long-term recovery. The better a person feels, the more prepared they will be to handle life as it comes.