Alcohol and morphine abuse by themselves can be dangerous, but when mixed, this concoction of chemicals can result in even greater risk of severe internal and external bodily destruction. It’s estimated that more than 10 million people are abusing opioids. Many of these individuals are addicted to prescription painkillers, like morphine. Alcohol misuse is a leading factor for premature death and disability, and many people with chemical addictions combine alcohol with other drugs. It’s important to understand these statistics and the dangers of mixing these highly addictive substances.
To understand how morphine and alcohol affects the body and the dangers they cause, we have to dive deeper into the interactions of each.
Alcohol’s Interaction With The Body
Alcohol is a depressant, which in turn can make you drowsy. It also changes your brain’s communication pathways, which influence coordination, speech, mood, and behavior. Alcohol also dilates blood vessels, which can result in flushed skin and a drop in blood pressure. Additionally, 20% of alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream through the stomach and 80% is absorbed from the small intestine, which can greatly impact where long-term effects occur.
Now keep in mind, that list of interactions is only pertaining to alcohol’s effect on the body. So, let’s discuss morphine.
Morphine’s Interaction With The Body
Morphine is a prescription opioid derived from the poppy plant. As one of the oldest medications in history, morphine is an effective and powerful drug. Regularly prescribed, the drug is designed to treat pain after surgery and/or injury. In fact, morphine is such a common medicine that in 2017 alone, statistics show that more than four million prescriptions for it were filled.
Morphine is typically injected into the bloodstream at the hospital, but it can also be taken as a pill or a syrup. It works by triggering various receptors, which include:
- 1-receptors (the inability to feel pain and causes euphoria)
- m 2-receptors (causes drowsiness)
- k-receptors (mild respiratory depression)
- d-receptors (causes delusions and hallucinations)
While morphine can affect all of these receptors, it most often creates a sense of euphoria and a decrease in pain – which is what an addict typically seeks while abusing this medication.
What Happens When you Mix Alcohol and Morphine?
When mixing alcohol and morphine, your brain receives conflicting signals – it is like getting multiple text messages to your phone with conflicting plans from your group of friends. No one knows what to do or where to go. When this happens, queues from alcohol will be masked by the morphine and vise versa, causing the body to intensify the effects of each. This involves the slowing of breath, increased chance of a rapid overdose, and more.
Signs of Mixed Alcohol and Morphine Abuse
When abused on their own, both alcohol and morphine have strong overdose signals. When the two are mixed, however, the symptoms start to mesh into one and produce similar signs. This makes combining the drugs especially dangerous from a diagnosis standpoint.
These signs include:
- Shallow breathing
- Cardiac arrest (from morphine)
- Loss of consciousness (from alcohol)
- Circulatory system collapse (from morphine)
- Impaired coordination (from alcohol)
If someone is experiencing these symptoms, it is important to call 911. Failure to get treatment fast can result in a coma or even death.
Long Term Effects of Mixing Alcohol and Morphine
The long-term effects of mixing alcohol and morphine come from a combination of each substance’s extenuating impact.
- Body dependence
- Diminished brain matter
- Memory and attention span loss
- Trouble learning and focusing
- Hepatitis by Alcohol
- Liver fibrosis and a fatty liver
- High blood pressure
- Cardiomyopathy Stroke
- Irregular heartbeat
- Body dependence
- Restlessness and insomnia
- Weakened immune system
- Bowel issues
With these individual long-term effects of alcohol and morphine laid out, you can now see how detrimental mixing the two can be to the body. There are more than fifteen different long-term effects that can occur when the two are mixed, and it is possible to experience every single one.
How Do I Get Help?
If you or someone you love has been abusing alcohol and morphine, it is important to get help as soon as possible. Even a one-time mixture of these substances can lead to an addiction, but if treated early, the long term effects can be minimized.
To learn more about addiction and to find a rehabilitation facility near you, click here.