Tramadol is Supposedly a “Gentle” Opioid, But Addictive
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Tramadol is a relatively mild synthetic opioid analgesic medication. Doctors prescribe Tramadol to treat moderate to moderately severe pain. Although Tramadol was developed as a safer opioid medication, it is an opioid, therefore it’s highly addictive.
Like other opioids, Tramadol works by binding to the nerve cells’ opioid receptors in various parts of the body that send pain messages to the brain and blocking or reducing the pain messages.
Tramadol comes in pills, capsules and liquid. Some brands have recently been discontinued. Brand names that are still available include
- Ultracet (combination of Acetaminophen and Tramadol)
There may be generic versions also available.
Street names for Tramadol include
- Chill pills
Tramadol is available in extended release capsules, extended release and immediate release tablets, and liquid. Extended release is prescribed for constant around-the-clock pain.
Tramadol comes with warnings to be very careful not to exceed recommended dosage, and not to double-dose if you forgot to take your regular dose. Warnings recommend carefully measuring out liquid dosage with a syringe. Tramadol is not safe for children under 12.
Side effects of Tramadol can include
- Dry Mouth
- Mood Swings
Tramadol is a Schedule IV narcotic. As such, it is extremely dangerous to deviate from your physician’s instructions when taking this medication. Even when taken as prescribed, problems can develop.
Is Tramadol Addictive?
Tramadol is considered mild compared to other opioid drugs. However, it is a controlled substance, which means it can be dangerous. Even taken as prescribed, Tramadol is addictive. Patients are warned not to discontinue use without a doctor’s supervision. Doctors wean patients off Tramadol by gradually reducing dosage. Combined with careful monitoring, a gradual reduction in dosage can avoid extreme discomfort and dangerous opioid withdrawal symptoms.
A Drug Enforcement Agency report published in March 2020 states that, over the past few years, between 1.6 and 1.9 million Americans aged 12 and older abuse/abused Tramadol. The report states that groups who most commonly abuse Tramadol include
- Drug addicts
- Chronic pain patients
- Healthcare workers
There’s a high risk of opioid addiction among people who abuse Tramadol.
Signs of Tramadol Addiction
Tramadol can cause feelings of calmness and euphoria, especially if one takes more than the recommended dosage. Patients may be tempted to take too much, or even to kick caution aside and prescribe their own dosage—enough to help them feel better.
Symptoms and signs of abuse can include
- Mood swings
- Change in behavior
- Dilated pupils
- Sedation or lethargy
- Change in friends
- Work problems or job loss
- Change in lifestyle
The euphoric feeling one gets from a high dosage and the withdrawal symptoms one experiences once the supply is gone can change a patient who suffers from chronic pain into a full-blown opioid addict. The patient may doctor shop to get multiple prescriptions. They may seek to purchase Tramadol from street/online sources or, failing that, graduate to using stronger opioids to avoid withdrawal if no Tramadol is available.
Tramadol Withdrawal Symptoms
It is very easy for the body to become dependent on an opioid drug if a patient has been using it for any length of time. When Tramadol use is stopped abruptly, withdrawal will almost certainly result.
Symptoms of withdrawal from Tramadol range from uncomfortable to life-threatening, and can include
In some cases, unsupervised opioid withdrawal, including the relatively mild opioid Tramadol, caused extreme dehydration from vomiting and diarrhea which, left untreated, caused death.
Help for Tramadol Addiction and Withdrawal
There’s no safe way to withdraw from Tramadol outside a medically supervised detox. If you suspect that you or somebody you love have or may have a problem, you can choose to get help now.
We will help you to connect to a caring and experienced team of medical detox clinicians who can safely treat your withdrawal symptoms and ensure you are as comfortable as possible.
If you choose to get more help after detoxing, we can refer you to the right recovery program for your individual needs. We’ve helped thousands of people to safely recover and go forward on a path of healing and health.
All phone calls are completely confidential. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have. You don’t have to suffer alone any longer. We’re here for you. Contact us now to ask about your recovery options.