How to Identify the Symptoms of a Morphine Overdose

Morphine is an opioid that is used to treat severe pain. It is typically prescribed for short periods, but regular use can lead to dependence. A morphine overdose can lead to severe complications and even death if not treated properly. It is important to understand the signs and symptoms of a morphine overdose to take the appropriate action if someone close to you is suspected of overdosing.

Signs and Symptoms of a Morphine Overdose

1. Disorientation, Confusion, or Delirium

One of the most common signs and symptoms of a morphine overdose is disorientation. This can manifest as confusion, difficulty understanding simple instructions, or delirium. It is also common for an individual to become overly talkative and have impaired judgment.

2. Drowsiness, Exhaustion, or Loss of Consciousness

With a morphine overdose, an affected person can rapidly become exhausted due to the nervous system’s sedative effects. Sometimes, a person experiencing a morphine overdose can lose consciousness or slip into a coma.

3. Nausea and Vomiting

Another common sign of a morphine overdose is nausea and vomiting. This is due to the medication’s effects on digestion and the individual’s physical reactions.

4. Respiratory Depression

Morphine works to slow down the body’s breathing and can lead to respiratory depression in an overdose. This can range from shallow breaths to complete cessation of breathing. This is one of the most serious and potentially dangerous effects of a morphine overdose.

5. Pinpoint Pupils

Due to morphine’s effects on the central nervous system, affected individuals can develop constricted pupils or “pinpoint” pupils. This is an involuntary response and can be a sign of an overdose.

6. Cold and Clammy Skin

When the body is in shock from the effects of morphine, it can produce cold, clammy skin. This is another sign of an overdose.

7. Low or Weak Pulse

A low or weak pulse can be an indication of a morphine overdose. This can be caused by the medication’s effects on the body’s circulation and can be life-threatening if untreated.

8. Abnormal Heart Rhythms

Morphine can affect the heart’s electrical impulses and lead to abnormal heart rhythms. These can range from mild arrhythmias to severe ventricular tachycardia.

9. Slow Breathing or Difficulty in Breathing

One of the more noticeable signs and symptoms of a morphine overdose is slow or difficult breathing. This can be seen as shallow breaths or complete pauses in breathing.

10. Decrease or Loss of Reflexes

Morphine affects the entire body, including the reflexes. A decrease or loss in reflex responses can be a serious sign of an overdose.


A morphine overdose can be a life-threatening medical emergency. If you believe someone you know is experiencing a morphine overdose, it is important to call 911 immediately and administer naloxone. Additionally, you should place the person in the recovery position and monitor their pulse and breathing. If necessary, you should perform rescue breathing and CPR. It is essential to take the steps needed to ensure the person receives the proper medical treatment and recovery.

Always remember that you are not alone if you or someone you love is struggling with addiction. The American Addiction Institute of Mind & Medicine is here to help. We offer comprehensive addiction treatment services in Orange County to help our patients achieve lasting recovery. Call us today to learn more about our programs and how we can help you or your loved one.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top