Tramadol is a painkiller that is both powerful and addictive. Unfortunately, it was once thought to be tame enough to be substituted for other opioids when possible. However, many overlooked the addictive possibilities that still exist in tramadol. What is tramadol, exactly? Explore the dangers and risks of this prescription drug, as well as how you can fight back against a tramadol addiction.
- Exactly What is Tramadol?
- What are the Side Effects of Tramadol?
- How Do Users Become Addicted to Tramadol?
- How Can You End an Addiction to Tramadol?
Precisely What is Tramadol?
Tramadol is a schedule four prescription painkiller that falls within the class known as opioid analgesics. As the name suggests, tramadol is an opiate drug. That means that chemically, it has a lot in common with substances like heroin or opium. When the body breaks down tramadol, it becomes an even more potent substance known as M1 or O-desmethyltramadol.
Some people break down tramadol more rapidly than others. These people are known as ultra-rapid metabolizers. M1 can pass through breast milk, and if there is enough M1 in the milk, from someone who is an ultra-rapid metabolizer or for any other reason, the baby may overdose.
Tramadol works by impacting the way the brain feels pain. Moreover, it essentially blocks feelings of pain, causing users to feel more comfortable after suffering from accidents, injuries, or chronic pain. Tramadol typically comes in pill or tablet form, and it is available in varying strengths. However, it’s also available as an extended-release tablet, which means that users don’t have to take it as often.
Tramadol can be crushed, snorted, or injected. All of these methods distort the way that the tramadol was meant to be ingested. These methods also produce an intense high, but tramadol is addictive. It is addictive enough that it has a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS)
A REMS is a plan created by drug companies that provides certification to pharmacists, doctors, and even patients sometimes so that they understand the effects and possible side effects of the medication that the drug company is selling them as required by the government.
What are the Side Effects of Tramadol?
Some of the side effects of tramadol are:
- Blood in the urine
- Severe Nausea
- Severe Cramping
- Irregular heartbeat
- Pale, blueish-color, or cold hands or feet
- Recurrent fever
While tramadol can have benefits to those who are experiencing pain, the drug is not without flaws. Even if users take tramadol as recommended and prescribed by their doctor, there are some common side effects that can appear. Therefore, when the drug is abused, the side effects can worsen.
Using tramadol can commonly lead to headaches and dizziness. Furthermore, many users also report nausea and constipation. Like most depressants, tramadol can cause drowsiness, a dry mouth, and a lack of appetite.
The side effects become worse with prolonged use. For example, constipation can go from uncomfortable to painful, and a perforated bowel is possible. A perforated bowel is when there is a hole or tear inside your bowel. Taking too much tramadol at once, or mixing it with other substances, can lead to an overdose.
Not only do other substances make tramadol addiction worse, many other commonly abused substances like:
React negatively to tramadol. When someone abuses more than one substance, it is known as polysubstance abuse. Polysubstance abuse can be more difficult to treat, and detoxification from polysubstance abuse is a more involved process that our staff takes special care with as we do with all our patients.
There are also financial, social, and emotional side effects of tramadol abuse that can arise once a person has become addicted to tramadol. Many people with a substance abuse problem fail to take care of their responsibilities and fail to take care of themselves. All that matters to a person with a substance abuse disorder is having the substance(s) they abuse. As a result of this, they can neglect their:
- And other vital duties to themselves and others.
Many people who become addicted to tramadol will find themselves lying to others and stealing in order to keep up with their substance use. Tramadol is a controlled prescription drug that can get your loved one in a lot of trouble.
If you know someone who needs help for a tramadol addiction or any other addiction, please do not hesitate to get them help. Even if that help is simply giving them Narcan to carry on their person and carrying Narcan yourself. Narcan, or naloxone, will reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, including a tramadol overdose.
How Do Users Become Addicted to Tramadol?
Even among those who use tramadol according to their physician’s orders, addiction is possible. That’s because the brain starts to adjust to a constant influx of tramadol. Over time, that amount becomes a baseline. Many users look for larger and larger doses in order to avoid pain or feel relaxed.
The change intolerance is just one sign that addiction is already developing. If you try to stop taking tramadol and experience withdrawal symptoms, then you’re struggling with a chemical dependence on the substance.
When someone abuses tramadol, it binds to the opioid receptors in the brain, which causes the brain to release dopamine and stops the dopamine and other feel-good chemicals like serotonin from being reabsorbed by the brain which makes the person feel good. As the person continues taking tramadol, the brain starts to develop more opioid receptors. In order to get that same intensity of good feelings, the person has to abuse even more tramadol.
However, if you are using tramadol as recommended, your possibility of becoming addicted is much smaller than if you abuse the substance. Using as recommended means having a prescription for your amount needed by a doctor. Self-prescribing is not any part of using it as recommended.
How Can You End an Addiction to Tramadol?
Fortunately, addiction treatment can help clients overcome an addiction to tramadol. No addiction is every truly beaten, though. No matter how far you move away from your period of active addiction, you are always on the road to recovery. That does not mean that you will not get your life back.
Residential Treatment for Tramadol
While undergoing residential treatment, you will live at our rehabilitation facility. This means that you will be able to have access to our staff 24/7 in case of an emergency. Residential treatment also offers more structure than outpatient treatment, and it is also much harder to get ahold of tramadol and other substances while undergoing residential treatment. If you do not have a stable, substance-free, place to live, residential treatment might be best for you. If you have been abusing tramadol for a long period of time, residential treatment is the best fit for you.
Outpatient Treatment for Tramadol
If you have only been abusing tramadol for a short period of time then you might be a fit for our outpatient program. During our outpatient program, you will live at home and come to our clinic for a set number of hours of treatment per week. Outpatient treatment allows you to keep up with responsibilities at home, such as caring for small children or other family members. You will also still be able to go to your job during outpatient treatment.
Comprehensive Therapies for Tramadol Treatment
At Crest View Recovery Center, rehab treatment involves a comprehensive approach to wellness. We look beyond the physical symptoms and help clients find freedom, health, and happiness in sobriety. For example, treatment includes a long list of therapies, just some of which are:
In individual therapy, you will work closely with one of our mental health professionals to develop the skills you need to succeed and explore areas that might have driven you to abuse substances.
Substances can wreak havoc in the family system. Many families want to heal. They miss their mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter; they miss all of you. But for true healing to begin your need help from a licensed professional
Recovery from addiction can feel very lonely at times. In group therapy, we will help give you an environment where you feel less alone. You will also have the opportunity to make friends and use the group as a sounding board for new ideas and realizations.
- Recreational therapy
Recreational therapy can be fun, but it’s not all play. Important lessons are taught in wilderness therapy amoungst other activities like yoga and acupuncture.
Dual diagnosis is the name given to a co-occurring disorder when it is diagnosed. Any mental health disorder that occurs with an addiction disorder is a co-occurring disorder. Some common co-occurring disorders are:
For some people, the issue that caused them the pain that eventually leads them to tramadol could also be causing them PTSD. Car crashes and other traumatic events can easily cause someone PTSD as well as physical pain.
If you have a co-occurring disorder and all of your mental health disorders are not treated, you might start abusing tramadol again. This is because one of the things that lead you to not taking the drug as prescribed was also mental pain. Or you may have turned to tramadol for reasons unrelated to physical pain — either way. We are here to help.
Tramadol is a dangerous opioid, and the world is now starting to wake up to the problem that it is causing millions of people’s lives. There is no such thing as an easy recovery from addiction. However, there is such a thing as a worthwhile recovery from addiction. We see it every day. You will see it every day when you wake up sober and ready to take on a new day without the need for tramadol.
Tramadol is a highly addictive drug, but you can start your road to recovery at Crest View Recovery Center in Asheville, North Carolina. Call (866) 986-1371 when you’re ready to start your personal path to freedom. You can also contact us here.