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What is Tramadol?

Tramadol is an opioid that is generally prescribed for mild-to-moderate pain symptoms that can stem from chronic conditions ranging from surgery, injuries, or osteoarthritis. It has been listed under Schedule IV in the Controlled Substances Schedule by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Substances, chemicals, and drugs in this category have a low abuse potential and a low risk of dependence. 

Morphine, in comparison to Tramadol, is a Schedule II medication, which is further defined as a drug with a high potential for abuse that can lead to severe physical or psychological dependence. When an individual begins to abuse Tramadol, physical addiction and dependence can rapidly occur. If Tramadol use ends abruptly after heavy use, withdrawal symptoms might occur. 

Tramadol is a synthetic opioid that is often marketed as a safer treatment for a person’s pain when compared to drugs such as Vicodin or Oxycontin which have higher abuse. It is sold under the names Ultram, ConZip, or Rybix and is only available through prescription. This drug can be effective in treating pain that has been long-standing if it’s taken as directed when painkillers that are weaker won’t work. 

The following street names are slang for Tramadol:

  • Trammies
  • Chill pills
  • Ultras

Is Tramadol Addictive?

Simply put, yes. Even though Tramadol is considered to be highly effective at treating pain, the risk of Tramadol addiction and dependence still remains. Some individuals develop a substance use problem after engaging in Tramadol misuse. It’s vital to note that the risks for individuals who experienced previous substance use are much greater. 

Once a person takes Tramadol in pill form, it can cause a euphoric and opioid-like high that is extremely similar to the high that users experience when they abuse other prescription drugs such as OxyContin. Tramadol also has the ability to enhance an individual’s mood due to the increase of norepinephrine and serotonin levels in a person’s brain. Due to the pleasurable effects that Tramadol gives to individuals, they might repeatedly take large doses to experience:

  • Tolerance
  • Dependence 
  • Euphoric effects
  • Tramadol addiction 

For the majority of individuals, Ultram and various other Tramadol drugs still remain to be an effective route for managing chronic pain for up to six months. After that time period passes, a person engaging in the consistent use and misuse of Tramadol will become dependent on the drug. 

Tramadol Addiction 

Back in the 1990s when Tramadol was first approved, it was widely believed among many that Tramadol was less dangerous than a variety of other narcotic drugs. Since then, however, it was scheduled by the DEA that Tramadol is a Schedule IV substance in the U.S. It is well recognized that Tramadol dependence and Tramadol addiction are possible. 

There are more than 200,000 cases each year of opioid dependence and addiction in the United States being that there is a high risk for dependence and addiction on Tramadol. It’s extremely common that with extended use, the pain-relieving effects of Tramadol might decrease as an individual builds up a tolerance to the drug, and the pain begins to worsen. It’s imperative to remember that addiction occurs when dependence interferes with a person’s daily life.

Addiction can produce a significant amount of behavioral changes due to a person compulsively seeking the drug and becoming obsessed with using it. So, again, is Tramadol addictive? Once Tramadol is used for an extended period of time, it can certainly become addictive. When the Tramadol addiction occurs, physical and mental dependence also arrives. In turn, Tramadol withdrawal can begin making it even more challenging to stop using. 

How Common is Tramadol Addiction?

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2017, about 1,753 individuals or 0.6% of the population misused a variety of Tramadol products such as Ultram in the past year. There were about 63% of individuals who misused pain relievers such as Tramadol reported misusing because of an attempt to relieve pain. From that same survey, about 13% of individuals stated they engaged in Tramadol as an attempt to feel good and/or get high. 

In the U.S., tramadol addiction and abuse are considered to be extremely prevalent. Within the first three years of approval in the U.S., it was extremely evident that the patients on Tramadol were abusing it. Even though the vast majority of individuals abusing Tramadol had previous substance abuse issues, the overall addictive qualities of Tramadol were still a central factor in Tramadol abuse and misuse. 

Signs and Symptoms of Tramadol Misuse

As mentioned, Tramadol addiction is extremely common. The following signs can indicate that a person is suffering from Tramadol abuse or addiction:

  • Concerns about Tramadol withdrawal when the effects of the drug wear off
  • Continuous use of Tramadol despite the concerns of family members and friends
  • Fear or anxiety when thinking about not engaging in Tramadol use anymore
  • Feeling the need to use Tramadol to cope with daily matters
  • Physical discomfort when unable to take Tramadol anymore
  • Preoccupation with getting more Tramadol
  • Compulsive cravings to use Tramadol
  • Using a higher dose than prescribed by the doctor
  • Visiting numerous doctors to get more Tramadol
  • Mood swings and changes in behavior

Tramadol Withdrawal Symptoms

Tramadol withdrawal is extremely similar to various other opioid drug withdrawals and has similar symptoms. If you are undergoing Tramadol detox and withdrawal from Tramadol, you might experience some of the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Gastrointestinal issues/stomach pain 
  • Numbness in the feet and hands
  • Ringing in the ears 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hallucinations
  • Nightmares
  • Depression
  • Muscle pain 
  • Headaches 
  • Confusion
  • Diarrhea
  • Tremors
  • Insomnia
  • Cravings
  • Paranoia 
  • Sweating 
  • Nausea
  • Irritation 

The majority of medical experts definitely recommend slowly tapering as time goes on as an attempt to stop Tramadol addiction or abuse instead of quitting cold turkey. This overall process might help minimize the severity of withdrawal from Tramadol and Ultram. By engaging in a medically assisted Tramadol detox program, guided assistance will be provided in more of a realistic amount of time. 

What Treatment Options are Available for Tramadol Addiction?

There are various treatment options for Tramadol addiction. Defeating addiction isn’t easy, but it is certainly possible. Medical detoxification is often the first step in recovering from addiction with a solid comprehensive addiction treatment program. 

An individualized Tramadol detox plan will ensure that a person gets personalized treatment to comfortably and safely flush the body of Tramadol and any other substances that might be getting abused. During the detox process, individuals receive guidance and assistance from a professional team of nurses, clinical counselors, and medical doctors. This works to help people obtain mental clarity and physical sobriety while also preparing for rehab.

Regardless of a person’s drug abuse history, enrolling in a detox and addiction rehab program is one of the safest ways to overcome psychological and physical dependence on Tramadol. Even though detox is considered an essential first step in the overall addiction recovery process, other addiction programs will be necessary. In order to fully address social, cognitive, and psychological issues that are associated with addiction, addiction treatment will be vital.

Addiction Treatment Programs

There are many addiction treatment programs that can help those who suffer from Tramadol abuse. These may include the following:

Inpatient Drug Rehab

This drug rehab program is often referred to as residential rehab because the patients live onsite at the treatment facility. Each participant will need to follow a structured schedule daily. Individuals can attend individual therapy sessions, group counseling sessions, and various other group activities geared to sobriety. Residential treatment patients are also allowed free time for personal activities, such as: 

  • Taking a walk outside
  • Playing an instrument
  • Meditating
  • Journaling

Outpatient Drug Rehab

This drug rehab program provides similar types of services for individuals in recovery. The main difference is that the patients are permitted to reside at home while attending treatment. These types of programs consist of group sessions that generally meet twice a week. 

Your overall needs, budget, and personal circumstances can all help to determine whether inpatient or outpatient treatment might work best for you. A majority of individuals enroll in outpatient rehab because it allows more of a flexible schedule in terms of work, school, or childcare. However, if you find that your Tramadol addiction is severe, an inpatient program might pose to be more beneficial to attain long-term recovery.

Sober Living

Once you have officially completed your treatment program for Tramadol addiction, you may find that enrolling in a sober living program might pose ideal for your needs. These programs are designed to support individuals in recovery as they make that transition into society and become sober, high-functioning individuals. To summarize, sober living programs provide a sober and safe living environment, along with services such as:

  • Education and employment assistance
  • Tiered recovery programming
  • Personal sober coaches
  • Regular drug testing
  • Personal monitoring

The above-mentioned services assist individuals in establishing healthy habits and skills that support a life in recovery. They also provide accountability for individuals that struggle with chronic relapse. 

Tramadol Addiction Awaits at North Jersey Recovery Today

If you or someone you know is struggling with Tramadol addiction, know that you are not alone. It’s necessary that you commit to an addiction treatment program to begin your journey to a life that is free from substance use disorder. At North Jersey Recovery Center, we can help you overcome this weight and start living a life that is satisfying. Reach out to us today.