Tramadol is the generic form of Ultram, a prescription opioid painkiller to relieve moderate to moderately severe pain. It’s often used for pain after surgery. Unlike other narcotic painkillers, tramadol has antidepressant properties that enhance its pain-relieving effect. It works in the brain by changing how it perceives, feels, and responds to pain. In addition, this narcotic-like pain reliever is addictive. Therefore, even well-intentioned users have an increased risk of becoming dependent on the drug. It has the potential for abuse and can be dangerous in large doses requiring Tramadol detox treatment.
It’s important to recognize the signs of tramadol abuse as early as possible in order to prevent addiction from developing.
Signs and side effects of tramadol abuse include the following:
- Dry mouth
- Appetite loss
- Itchy skin
- Joint pain
- Serotonin syndrome
Serotonin syndrome can be life-threatening if left untreated. It happens when too much serotonin, a chemical that relays signals in the brain, is produced or remains in the brain.
Serotonin syndrome most commonly happens in clients who take tramadol and antidepressants at the same time.
Symptoms of Serotonin Syndrome include the following:
- Jerky muscles
- Rigid muscles
- Lack of coordination
According to the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) , Tramadol exposes users to risks of addiction, abuse, and death. Hence, a person taking tramadol regularly may become tolerant to its effects. This means the drug will no longer work at the same dosage, and as a result, more drugs will need to be taken in order for it to be effective. This is called drug tolerance.
A person who abuses tramadol may not necessarily be addicted to the drug. However, the presence of both a physical and psychological dependence on tramadol typically indicates an addiction, and it’s necessary to begin a Tramadol Detox process.
The following behaviors are commonly linked with an addiction to tramadol:
- Habitual use of tramadol
- Visiting multiple doctors to gain more tramadol (doctor shopping)
- Ignoring duties at home, work, or school
- Social or interpersonal problems related to tramadol use
- Extreme drowsiness
- Mood swings
- Using tramadol without a prescription or getting it off the street
- Trouble concentrating
- Incapacity to feel pleasure
- Impaired coordination
- Vomiting from high doses
- Hiding or leaving around empty prescription bottles
- Having to take larger amounts to experience the same effects
- Withdrawal symptoms after stopping use
- Spending large amounts of money on tramadol
- Continuing to use tramadol despite negative consequences
- Spending the majority of time using, recovering from, or trying to obtain tramadol
Tolerance and withdrawal symptoms are signs of physical dependence on tramadol. In addition, craving the drug is a very common sign of psychological dependence.
Tramadol Side Effects
Commonly reported side effects of tramadol to include: pruritus, agitation, anxiety, constipation, diarrhea, hallucination, nausea, tremor, vomiting, and diaphoresis. Other side effects include insomnia.
Tramadol may cause critical side effects such as fast heartbeat, loss on consciousness. But is important to make clear, that those effects can be seriously affected by mixing tramadol with other substances like alcohol or drugs.
Side effects of tramadol and alcohol could be lethal, including suppressed respiration, blood pressure, and heart rate. Also, when combines alcohol with an opioid drug like tramadol, it can lead to significant suppression of these neurons and a significant and potentially dangerous decrease in the above functions. In these cases, is highly recommended to look for a tramadol detox program.
Tramadol Detox Withdrawal
As tramadol depresses the central nervous system, it causes many physiological functions to slow down. For example, breathing, heart rate, and reaction times tend to become slower for a regular tramadol user. However, when a person stops using the drug, these functions will respond by speeding up again to restore a normal baseline.
When a person quits tramadol, various withdrawal symptoms could happen as the brain and body heal themselves and restore normality. These can include:
Early Tramadol Withdrawal:
- Runny nose
- Tearing up
- Muscle and body aches
- Trouble sleeping and/or insomnia
- Racing heart rate
- Fast breathing
Late Tramadol withdrawal:
- Chills and goosebumps
- Stomach pain and cramping
- Loss of appetite
- Pupil dilation
- Difficulties concentrating or thinking clearly
- Drug cravings
Tramadol Withdrawal Timeline
The medical-assisted Tramadol Detox process is the best way to deal with symptoms that could appear. Withdrawal symptoms can vary from person to person. However, tramadol withdrawal symptoms are typically experienced within 12 hours of the last dose. It peaks within a few days and then tapers off. A common withdrawal timeline looks something like this:
The onset of withdrawal includes the following:
- feelings of “being on edge”
- drug cravings
A continuation of drug cravings and insomnia. Also, it includes confusion and disorientation.
A lessening of withdrawal symptoms, although psychological symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and irrational thoughts may continue.
Quitting Cold Turkey
Tramadol withdrawal symptoms pose a great risk. Therefore, quitting tramadol cold turkey can be challenging for any individual. If you’re experiencing intense withdrawal symptoms and do not have the support of professionals who know how to reduce the discomfort of tramadol detox, you may end up using tramadol again.
While it is certainly possible to try to discontinue tramadol on your own, it may not be in your best interest. With help from medical professionals and clinicians in a Tramadol detox program, a person can get medications to relieve symptoms. Also, individuals will be given a safe and supportive environment to overcome addiction.
Tramadol Detox Treatment
Tramadol detox is not going to be a walk-in-the-park solution towards recovery. A person needs to keep track of their lifestyle and values to ensure they’re doing it right.
Many inpatient rehab centers in the US offer detox services, and most tramadol detox programs are conducted regularly. Therefore, a person can live their life as they work to normalize themselves.
Outpatient Facility or Inpatient Facility?
Depending on the doctor’s advice, the client will likely get a combination of medical care, psychological assistance, access to community referrals, and support groups to sobriety.
To give you an idea, outpatient facilities work best for:
- Shorter-term cases of tramadol dependency
- Low health complications
- Take low doses of tramadol
In this type of program (Tramadol Detox), the client can still maintain their independence. This is ideal for clients who are confident in their ability to recover without much help.
However, Tramadol Detox inpatient facilities are recommended for those who:
- Abused tramadol for more than a year
- Have physical or mental health issues
- Take multiple drugs aside from tramadol
- Use tramadol at high doses
Medically Assisted Tramadol Detox
During tramadol withdrawal, you may feel very sick, possibly in a similar way to how you would feel if you had a bout of the flu. Thankfully, some medications can help to make you feel better. For example, in a detox facility, staff can administer medications that provide relief for some of the symptoms being experienced.
So if a person is suffering from vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea, for example, a doctor may prescribe medication that will help ease the discomfort. Likewise, if a person experiences symptoms of depression or anxiety, the doctor will likely prescribe medications that will help lift the person’s mood.
Holistic therapies may also work during tramadol withdrawal. Some clinics use these treatments to help lessen stress levels, improve overall well-being, and control cravings. In addition, meditation and mindfulness techniques can help the person relax and focus on the here and now rather than spending time thinking about other things.
We Level FL Mental Health Center: Primary Mental Health Treatment with Secondary Co-Occurring Treatment
We Level Up FL primary mental health center stands ready to help. Offering secondary treatment therapy for underlying problems like Tramadol Addiction often fuels negative behaviors. Taking that first step to get the help you deserve can be life-changing.
We understand how behavioral disorders and secondary co-occurring addiction diagnoses directly impact each other. We Level Up Florida can instill a support system through our mental health treatments that can make you feel valuable. Call us now for a free mental health assessment! Inpatient medical detox and residential primary addiction treatment may be available at our affiliated facility at Level Up Treatment West Palm Beach.
 US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) – https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2017/021692s015lbl.pdf