MS Contin Withdrawal

  • Generic Name or Active Ingridient: Morphine

Rehabilitation specialists define MS Contin withdrawal as the normal, predictable consequence of using MS Contin for a long time and then suddenly stopping. A doctor will diagnose you as being physically dependent on MS Contin if you experience withdrawal symptoms when you miss a dose, take an inadequate dose or use a drug that lowers the level of opioids in your body. MS Contin withdrawal presents itself a variety of overpowering physical symptoms that can last five or more days; psychological symptoms of MS Contin withdrawal may last much longer.


Your body adjusts to the presence of certain substances in the body, including the morphine in MS Contin. With continued use, your body becomes tolerant of certain chemicals like morphine, which means it takes an ever-increasing amount of MS Contin to cause the intended euphoric or pain-relieving effect.

With prolonged use, your body grows dependent on morphine; this means you must continue to take MS Contin for your body to feel normal. If the level of opioids drops rapidly, your body struggles to maintain its chemical balance. You feel this battle for chemical stability through physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. Doctors call this process "detoxification."

The risk for experiencing MS Contin withdrawal symptoms rises when you use high doses of this drug or use MS Contin for a long time.


About 9 percent of people abuse opioids such as MS Contin at some point in their lives. Many people use drugs such as MS Contin for non-medical reasons, either to get high or to treat an illness for which the doctor had not prescribed.

MS Contin is a controlled-release formula of morphine sulfate, available in 15 mg, 30 mg, 60 mg, 100 mg and 200 mg formulas. Doctors prescribe the 100 mg and 200 mg MS Contin preparations only for patients who have been taking opioids for a long time and, as the result, have built up a tolerance to this prescription painkiller. A person struggling with chronic dependence on morphine has probably built up a significant tolerance to opioids and may seek out these stronger preparations. A stronger dose saves money and lasts longer.

Withdrawal symptoms are painful and demoralizing, but usually not life threatening. The severity of withdrawal symptoms may depend on how long you have been opioid-dependent and the doses you typically take.

Abuse, Dependence and Withdrawal

Potential for abuse, physical dependence or addiction are possible side effects associated with MS Contin. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, or DEA, classifies substances according to the potential for abuse. The DEA has classified MS Contin as a Schedule II narcotic, which means it carries a high potential for abuse and mental or physical dependence.

Some drug abusers dissolve MS Contin and then crush, chew, snort or inject this powerful opioid. This dangerous practice results in uncontrolled morphine delivery, which can cause overdose and death. Others may take MS Contin along with alcohol or other drugs to enhance the effects of morphine.


Detoxification from MS Contin causes flu-like physical withdrawal symptoms, but detoxification also causes psychological symptoms whose demoralizing affects can be just as overpowering as the physical symptoms of withdrawal.

Physical symptoms of MS Contin withdrawal can be relieved with medications, by taking a replacement drug that mimics morphine, or by taking another dose of MS Contin. The promise of relief from withdrawal symptoms causes many determine individuals to relapse back to MS Contin abuse.

Physical MS Contin Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Muscle and Bone Pain
  • Intense Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Fever
  • Flu-like Symptoms
  • Tremors
  • Cramps

Symptoms last five or more days, with the worst symptoms occurring on or about the fourth day.

Psychological MS Contin Withdrawal Symptoms

Many people overlook or discount the psychological symptoms of MS Contin withdrawal. Psychological symptoms can leave you feeling unable or unworthy of rehabilitation. Left untreated or undertreated, psychological symptoms increase the risk for relapse to MS Contin abuse.

Psychological symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Irritability
  • Poor concentration
  • Restlessness
  • Social isolation

Possible Complications

The greatest complication associated with MS Contin withdrawal is the return to morphine abuse. Without adequate treatment, you can expect many cycles of remission and relapse to MS Contin abuse.

You stand a greater chance for overdose after you experience MS Contin withdrawal symptoms. Detoxification reduces your tolerance to morphine; after experiencing even modest withdrawal symptoms, you can overdose on a much smaller dose of morphine than you are used to taking.

Other complications of MC Contin withdrawal include vomiting and then breathing the stomach contents into your lungs, which may result in infection. Extreme vomiting and diarrhea may result in dehydration.

Treatment options

Opioid abuse and physical dependence is a growing epidemic among American adults and youth. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 23 million people in the United States over the age of 12-years needed treatment for alcohol or substance abuse in 2010; of these, only about 11 percent received treatment at a specialty facility. Just over 5 percent of admissions to publicly funded substance abuse programs were for treatment of opioid abuse. These treatment facilities assist individuals in overcoming physical dependence, withdrawal symptoms during detoxification and rehabilitation.

The American Society of Addictive Medicine warns that addiction to MS Contin may result in "disability or premature death, especially when left untreated or treated inadequately." Unless you seek help, you may fall into a dangerous cycle of recovery and relapse.

Your treatment for MS addiction consists of two phases: detoxification and rehabilitation. Detoxification is the medical process of lowering the level of opioids in your body. Without medications to ease withdrawal symptoms, you can expect five or more days of intense discomfort as your body adjusts to lower levels of morphine.

The rehabilitation phase focuses on restoring the neurological function disrupted by MS Contin addiction. Rehabilitation includes behavior modification and counseling that give you the tools to live without MS Contin.


You may be tempted to break the cycle of remission and relapse by "going cold turkey." This phrase refers to the appearance your skin takes on during detoxification: pale, cold and clammy with goose bumps, much like a plucked turkey. Your skin will return to normal a few days following self-detoxification.

Self-detoxification offers you no protection from uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Without medications and proper monitoring by trained staff, you experience the full brunt of withdrawal symptoms and face an increased risk for suffering complications.

The goal of self-detoxification is to last five or more days, with the worst symptoms occurring on or about the fourth day. Many people succumb to overpowering physical and mental withdrawal symptoms and take another dose of MS Contin just to ease the discomfort.

The Thomas Recipe

Other people plan home remedies that include medicine to ease withdrawal symptoms. One such treatment is The Thomas Recipe, which includes valium or some other benzodiazepine to calm the nerves and help with sleep. Imodium eases diarrhea while mineral supplements relieve muscle aches. Hot baths help too.

On or about the fourth day, you will with overwhelming malaise and lack of energy that makes it difficult to move around. L-Tyrosine with B6 provides a surge of energy. When withdrawal symptoms subside, you will wean yourself from the benzodiazepine by taking successively smaller doses further apart.

While the Thomas Recipe eases your withdrawal symptoms a bit, you are still at risk for complications such as aspiration, dehydration and relapse. Relapse to opioid abuse may result in life threatening overdose.


MS Contin addiction may result in overdose, which can be fatal. Symptoms of MS Contin overdose include:

  • Breathing that Stops
  • Cold, Clammy Skin
  • Confusion
  • Extreme Drowsiness
  • Fainting
  • Pinpoint Pupils
  • Shallow Breathing
  • Weak Pulse

MS Contin overdose is a serious, life threatening medical emergency requiring immediate care. In the emergency department, doctors administer naloxone and other medications to reduce your morphine to safe levels. Nurses establish an airway to help you breathe and monitor your vital signs. Nurses may empty your stomach or administer charcoal to absorb excess MS Contin. If necessary, nurses and doctors perform life-saving measures such as CPR.

Drug Replacement Therapy

If you struggle with MS Contin withdrawal symptoms but are in otherwise stable condition, you might benefit from Drug Replacement Therapy, or DRT. DRT replaces morphine with medications such as methadone, Suboxone or buprenorphine. DRT medications act similarly to morphine, so you do not experience withdrawal symptoms, but DRT drugs will not get you high. This allows you to put off the detoxification stage while you engage in behavioral modification. After you learn how to live without MS Contin, you wean yourself from the replacement drug.

Many patients passionately support DRT because it allowed them to work and live at home during treatment. Opponents of DRT say it is merely trading a morphine addiction for a methadone addiction.

Many people have trouble quitting the replacement drug. Harvard Medical School cites estimates that 25 percent of methadone DRT patients eventually abstain, another 25 percent continues to take the DRT drug and 50 percent go on and off methadone.

DRT is just one kind of Medication-Assisted Treatment, or MAT. Medications reduce the overpowering symptoms of withdrawal, enabling you to tolerate the process long enough to successfully detoxify your body.

Rehabilitation professionals say that MAT is an important and effective treatment approach because it:

  • Improves Survival Rates
  • Increase Retention in Treatment
  • Decreases Illicit Opioid Use
  • Decreases The Risk for Hepatitis and HIV
  • Decreases Criminal Activities
  • Increases Employment
  • Improves Birth Outcomes for Pregnant Women Battling Addiction

You will have to stay in a hospital to receive standard inpatient MAT. During your stay, doctors will administer naloxone and other medications to reduce your morphine levels and other medications to ease your withdrawal symptoms. While standard inpatient MAT relieves the strength and duration of your symptoms a bit, you must still battle the psychological symptoms that can interfere with your recovery. Medically assisted detoxification is only the first stage of addiction treatment and by itself does little to change long-term drug abuse or MS Contin addiction.

Rapid detox is the most humane form of detoxification available today. During rapid detox, board certified anesthesiologists administer the standard detoxification and anti-withdrawal drugs alongside sedatives and anesthesia, so that you rest in a pleasant "twilight sleep." When you awaken, you will have no memory of the grueling detoxification process. Instead of a few days, you are ready for meaningful behavior modification in a few hours.


Dependence on MS Contin and addiction are complex but treatable diseases. Because MS Contin addiction is a neurological disease that manifests itself through behaviors such as craving and drug-seeking, participation in behavioral modification is essential for your recovery.

Each person experiences addiction differently, therefore no single treatment is appropriate for everyone. Effective treatment addresses all your needs, not just your MS Contin withdrawal symptoms. Many who suffer addiction to or dependence on MS Contin or other drugs have other mental disorders, legal trouble, social problems or relationship issues that compound addiction and increase the risk for relapse.

While in treatment, your counselor or advisor will assess you for conditions such as HIV/ AIDS, hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases. Rehabilitation programs should include counseling to help you modify or change behaviors that place you and your family at risk of contracting or spreading infectious diseases.

You will probably participate in individual counseling, group therapy and other behavioral modification programs. No matter which treatment plan you participate in, your treatment needs to be readily available to encourage maximum participation. Remaining in treatment for an adequate amount of time is critical to prevent relapse. Your counselor will monitor your treatment course and progress to make sure your treatment meets your particular needs. Relapse is common and professional monitoring reduces the risk for return to MS Contin abuse.