Oramorph is a brand name for a sustained-release, tablet form of morphine, a drug derived from the opium poppy. Morphine works by changing how your central nervous system responds to pain signals. Essentially, the drug blocks these signals, so that the pain is still technically there, but you no longer feel it.
Due to morphine’s highly addictive nature, Oramorph is only prescribed to patients suffering severe, around the clock pain, who can’t be effectively treated with other medications. Oramorph, an opioid narcotic, can produce feelings of euphoria. This is what makes morphine such a popular drug of abuse.
Understanding Oramorph Abuse
When the drug initially appeared in 1817, morphine was used as a treatment for alcoholism and opium addiction. Over time, it was revealed that morphine was far more addictive and dangerous than either alcohol or opium, but as it is one of the most effective pain medications available, it is still used, but as a Schedule II controlled substance.
Like all opioid drugs, Oramorph blocks pain signals by attaching to opioid receptors in your brain, but this process also triggers the release of the “feel-good” brain chemical dopamine. A rush of dopamine into your system results in a rush of euphoria and relaxation similar to taking heroin.
But not all Oramorph addicts take the drug to “get high.” You may find yourself taking the drug to simply avoid feeling the emotional and physical pain that results every time you attempt to wean yourself off.
According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse, taking Oramorph and other opioids can actually increase your sensitivity to pain, leading to the chronic pain issues and physical dependency.
Signs and Symptoms of Oramorph Abuse
Some signs and symptoms of Oramorph addiction may include:
- mood changes
- poor hygiene
- needle marks
- faking injuries or self-harming in an attempt to obtain a prescription
- inability to concentrate
- spending excess amounts of money to purchase Oramorph
- stealing or engaging in other unusual behaviors to obtain the drug
- isolation from family and old friends
- new friends and acquaintances
According to the drug information on MedlinePlus, Oramorph can cause a range of adverse effects, many of them quite serious.
- stomach pain and cramps
- dry mouth
- small pupils
- difficulty urinating or pain when urinating
- blue or purple color to the skin
- changes in heartbeat
- fast heartbeat
- 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
- swelling of the eyes, face, mouth, lips or throat
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
Dangers of Oramorph Abuse
It is quite easy to develop a tolerance to morphine drugs such as Oramorph. When you become tolerant, you are forced to take larger amounts of Oramorph in order to feel the same level of effect. Taking larger and larger amounts of any drug will make you vulnerable to overdose—even more so with a drug like morphine, which can severely cloud your thinking and impair your judgement.
The Drug Enforcement Agency’s fact sheet on morphine lists the overdose effects of the drug as:
- cold, clammy skin
- lowered blood pressure
- slowed breathing
- slow pulse rate
Who Abuses Oramorph?
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.”
Perhaps you began taking Oramorph to treat pain from surgery, but even after healing, you found yourself unable to stop taking the drug. Or maybe you started taking Oramorph without a prescription to self-medicate your depression or anxiety.
Either way, once you’re hooked on morphine, you will inevitably suffer very real physical symptoms whenever you try to quit. This can make it difficult to get sober without professional help.
MedlinePlus from the U.S. National Library of Medicine lists the following symptoms of Oramorph withdrawal:
- teary eyes
- runny nose
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- back, muscle, or joint pain
- nausea, vomiting
- loss of appetite
- stomach cramps
- fast heartbeat or fast breathing
When chronic pain goes untreated, you can suffer mentally as well as physically, running the risk of developing mood disorders and suicidal thoughts. This is why you should not refuse treatment with opioid narcotics when their use is medically warranted.
However, taking prescription opioids without a prescription is to play a dangerous game that has no rules—and if you lose, you die.
Am I Addicted to Oramorph?
You may be addicted to Oramorph if you respond yes to one or more of the questions below:
- Does it feel like my life has begun to revolve around my drug use?
- Do I abuse the drug in order to escape problems and negative feelings?
- Do I use Oramorph daily or several times a day?
- 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?
- Am I secretive about my drug use, and/or do I lie about when I use or how much I take?
- Do I feel like I can’t have fun, be normal, or complete everyday tasks without Oramorph?
- Have I had to increase my dosage in order to still feel the effects of Oramorph?
- Have I experienced any major problems in the last year, such as family problems, a breakup, financial problems, job loss, car accident, or getting arrested as a result of my drug use?
- Do I ever experience side effects and/or withdrawal symptoms such as those listed above, and yet continue taking Oramorph?
- Despite difficulties like these, do I feel unable to stop using on my own?
Overcoming drug addiction requires professional substance abuse help.
Oramorph Addiction Treatment
There is no shame in asking for help when it is needed. In fact, seeking help for a substance abuse problem is one of the best and bravest things you can do, not just for yourself, but for your family, friends, and community.
But maybe it isn’t shame holding you back. Maybe you’re worried that you won’t be able to find a good treatment facility near you, or that you won’t be able to balance rehab with life responsibilities, or that you won’t be able to afford treatment. The truth is there are more flexible, quality rehab options available than you think, as well as a great many ways to make these options affordable.
All recovery plans begin with you giving up your drug of choice. That means detoxification. You need clarity of mind and a body free from addictive substances before you can truly begin to heal.
Withdrawal from Oramorph can be physically and emotionally trying. Therefore, detoxing under the guidance of medical professionals is ideal. A doctor will likely have you taper off of Oramorph gradually, to minimize withdrawal symptoms.
Perhaps you will choose inpatient residential treatment, or perhaps you’ll stick to outpatient treatment. No matter which you pick, your program will most certainly include talk therapy—individual, group and family.
You most likely suffer from undiagnosed mental health issues that have been contributing to your addiction from the start. These dual-disorder/ co-occurring conditions must be discussed and dealt with before you can achieve long lasting sobriety.
CBT teaches you to retrain your brains with new techniques for coping with problems and cravings, and for avoiding trigger situations.
Support groups, such as meetings based on AA’s original 12-step program, are an essential part of most recovery plans.
Alternative and recreational therapies such as yoga, acupuncture and art therapy can work together to strengthen you in a holistic way, healing your body, mind and spirit. This healing will help you face whatever challenges life may bring after you’re discharged from rehab.