When it comes to treating moderately severe pain, tramadol is often prescribed by your doctor as a relatively safe and effective option. However, if you’re regularly taking more than you’re prescribed or you’re using other people’s pills, you’re headed down the road to tramadol addiction.
If you’re wondering, “is tramadol addictive,” the answer is “yes.” In the following, we’ll take an in-depth look at tramadol, including how and why you might become addicted and why you should enter a tramadol drug recovery program, like what we can offer you here at 12 Keys Rehab.
What Is Tramadol?
Approved in the U.S. for use as a painkiller in 1995, the prescription-only drug tramadol is used to alleviate moderate to moderately severe pain. It belongs to the class of medicines known as opioid analgesics. When you take it, it acts within your central nervous system (CNS) to relieve pain.
U.S. brand names for the drug include:
- FusePaq Synapryn
- Rybix ODT
- Ultram ER
Some common street names for the drug include:
- Chill pills
- OxyContin lite
What Is Tramadol Prescribed For?
According to the DEA, in 2013 there were 43.8 million prescriptions for tramadol dispensed in the U.S. Used for moderate to moderately severe pain, tramadol is often employed in post-surgery pain management. It’s also commonly prescribed to treat the following conditions:
- Back pain
- Restless leg syndrome
- Cancer pain
Tramadol is also sometimes used to treat psychological disorders, including:
- Bipolar disorder
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
The drug is available in the following forms:
- Tablet, disintegrating
- Tablet, extended release
- Capsule, extended release
- Oral drops
Tramadol should only ever be taken as directed by your doctor. You should never take more than prescribed, more often than prescribed or for a longer period than your doctor has indicated. Even if you believe the drug isn’t working as well as it should be, don’t ever up your dose by yourself. Instead, you should contact your doctor for his advice, especially if you’re wondering how to get off tramadol. Addiction is a slippery slope that can easily spiral out of control.
If you’re taking the disintegrating tablet, you should only ever handle it with dry hands. Tablets should never be chewed, crushed or otherwise broken up, as this will lead to too much tramadol getting into your system at the one time.
In terms of dosage, different patients require different amounts. The amount you’ll take depends on the medicine’s strength, as well as factors like:
- Number of doses taken per day
- Length of time allowed between doses
- Length of time the medicine is to be used
- Medical problem you’re taking the medicine for
Are There Common Drugs (or Alcohol) Paired With Tramadol
If you’re taking tramadol, you should never use any other central nervous system depressants alongside it. It’s particularly dangerous to drink alcohol when you’re taking these painkillers. Alcohol is a drug that’s often misused alongside tramadol, but together, they can cause some very worrying symptoms. For example:
- Irregular breathing
- Memory loss
- Loss of coordination
- Abdominal problems
- Severely low blood pressure
- Dangerous and risky behaviors
When you take alcohol and tramadol together, your risk of sedative effects and overdose is increased. You could even stop breathing, resulting in death. If you feel you have a problem with tramadol and/or alcohol abuse, it’s crucial that you seek help immediately. Contact our friendly team at 12 Keys Rehab today to take the first step towards regaining your health.
Key Statistics About Abuse and Addiction to Tramadol
If you’re asking why tramadol is so addictive, these figures illustrate the extent of the problem in the U.S. today. Two 2015 reports by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration showed sharp rises in the number of ER visits involving tramadol between 2005 and 2011. The estimated number of tramadol-related ER visits actually increased by 145 percent. In 2005, there were 10,901 visits, whereas in 2009 the number had risen to 25,884. The number of visits then stabilized from 2010 (25,887 visits) to 2011 (27,421 visits).
The same reports stated that ER department visits relating to tramadol misuse rose 250 percent between 2005 and 2011. Those that involved males rose 303 percent. The greatest overall age group increase was in patients of 55 and older.
Tramadol addiction can affect anyone of any age and any walk of life. If you feel you’re affected, it’s time to seek help. Call us here at 12 Keys Rehab today at 866-480-4328. Our lines are open 24/7. As many of our team have battled addiction in the past themselves, we understand what you’re going through. Speak to us in confidence today.
Is There a Connection Between Tramadol and the Rise in Heroin Abuse?
Tramadol produces a heroin-like high by stimulating the opioid receptors in your brain. Although the drug isn’t as strong as heroin, the two substances share many similar effects and both are highly addictive.
Tramadol and heroin can both cause the following:
- Feelings of warmth and well-being, sleepiness and relaxation
- Appetite loss
As Tramadol is a prescription only medication, if they can no longer get tramadol from their doctor, some might end up turning to another opiate like methadone, codeine or heroin for their fix.
Why Do So Many People Turn to Tramadol?
When you’re suffering from a painful condition, your doctor may have prescribed you tramadol to make you feel more comfortable. If you’ve misused your medication or have been on it for a protracted time period, you may have developed an addiction.
If this is the case, you may need treatment to help you kick the drug habit. If you or someone you love is suffering from a tramadol addiction, you should contact our supportive and compassionate team at 12 Keys. Together we will develop a program that addresses your individual needs and provides you with 24/7 support and compassionate care.
Who Is Typically Abusing Tramadol?
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, tramadol is most commonly abused by health professionals, chronic pain patients and narcotic abusers. This drug doesn’t discriminate in terms of age although, as covered earlier, the greatest age group increase in terms of ER visits is among people over 55.
How Is Tramadol Typically Used?
Tramadol comes in a variety of forms. The regular tablet form should usually be taken, with or without food, every four to six hours. The extended-release capsule and extended-release tablet should be taken once daily at around the same time of day. The extended-release capsule can be taken either with or without food. However, the extended-release tablet should either always be taken alongside food or always taken without food.
When you take the drug, you’ll feel pain relief and a warm, pleasant feeling. Some users have reported feelings of nausea and dizziness.
You should never use your medication in ways that haven’t been prescribed by your doctor. Additionally, you should never crush, chew or split any extended-release medication.
Never suddenly stop taking tramadol without your doctor’s say so. It is usual practice for a physician to gradually decrease your dose. Suddenly ceasing to take the medication can bring on tramadol addiction withdrawal symptoms like:
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Runny nose
- Hair standing on end
- Uncontrollable shaking
If you’re trying to wean yourself off tramadol and are finding the journey difficult, contact 12 Keys Rehab today for support. Speak to us now about how we can help you move forward.
What Does Tramadol Do to the Brain?
When you take tramadol, the drug acts in two different ways in your body. It has antidepressant qualities, prolonging the actions of serotonin and norepinephrine in your brain. Additionally, it acts as an opioid analgesic — it attaches to receptors within your brain, changing the pain you perceive.
Tramadol can make your reactions slower than usual and can make you sleepy. It’s advisable to never operate machinery or drive until you know how you’re affected.
Do People Become Addicted to Tramadol?
Even at prescribed doses, tramadol can be habit-forming. This is one of the reasons you should always take it as directed by your doctor. You must also never share your tablets with anyone else, even if they have symptoms like yours. Misuse of narcotic painkillers can result in addiction, overdose and death.
You should also be very wary of taking the drug if you’re pregnant, as it can cause potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in newborns.
There are certain factors that increase your tramadol addiction risk. These are:
- Family and home. The influence of the home environment you grew up in is considered an important factor. If you witness family members abusing drugs or alcohol when you’re young, this could increase your risk of developing drug problems of your own.
- School and peer. As an impressionable adolescent, if your friends and acquaintances are using drugs, it may make you more likely to see this as acceptable behavior. Also, if you had poor social skills or didn’t do well academically, you can then be placed at greater risk of developing an addiction to drugs.
Statistics from the National Institute of Drug Abuse indicate that genetic factors account for somewhere between 40 and 60 percent of your likelihood of becoming addicted. Any medical conditions you may suffer from, and your developmental stage, are also factors. If you’re an adolescent or you suffer from a mental disorder, you’re at greater risk than the general population of abusing drugs and becoming addicted.
What Are the Signs of a Tramadol Drug Addiction?
As with any addiction, one to tramadol may be slow to occur. Some common tramadol addiction signs include:
- Concern over withdrawal symptoms
- Anxiety over stopping your medication
- Physical discomfort when not taking tramadol
- Noticeable and pronounced mood swings
- Doctor-shopping to stay on the medication for longer than necessary
- Taking a higher dose than prescribed
- Preoccupation with obtaining the drug
- Financial instability due to paying for the drug
- Inability to work due to decreased productivity
- Unstable relationships with friends and family
- Inability to decrease the dose or to stop taking the drug altogether
- Ongoing use despite the concern of friends and family
What Are the Symptoms of a Tramadol Drug Addiction?
Tramadol addiction is both psychological and physical. Therefore, it’s imperative to seek professional help if you’re affected. Here at 12 Keys Rehab, through our drug and alcohol detox program, we can help you taper off the drug while supporting you physically, spiritually and mentally.
We can also evaluate whether you have any other mental illnesses that can be treated alongside your addiction. We also offer a tailored range of therapies to make your journey easier and to ensure your comfort and help you achieve lasting sobriety.
Symptoms of addiction to tramadol include:
- Aggressiveness, agitation, anxiety and depression that includes periods of crying
- Uncontrollable tremors and shaking
- Moderate restlessness
- Painful muscle contractions
- Difficulty falling and staying asleep
- Vivid dreams
- Headaches, nasal stuffiness, coughing and sneezing
- Vision problems, including watering eyes and double vision
- Palpitations and general changes in normal cardiac rhythm
What Is a Tramadol Drug Addiction Like?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the definition of “addiction” is that it’s a chronic, relapsing brain disease. It’s characterized by compulsive drug use and drug-seeking behaviors, no matter the consequences. Drug addiction changes the structure of your brain and how it works. These changes are potentially long-lasting. They can also have harmful consequences if left untreated.
Perhaps one of the scariest aspects of being addicted is the fear of running out of your supply — the consequences of which you may believe to be catastrophic. Without tramadol, you may find you just can’t function. You might shy away from interaction with family and friends, hiding in your home until you’re sure you can secure more tramadol. Your work life also suffers and you may find you need to call in sick for as many days as it takes you to find a new supply.
Eventually, you could lose your job and have no money to buy tramadol. This could make you turn to other ways of funding your habit.
Now that you’ve run out of your medication, you’ll begin to suffer withdrawal symptoms. These cut you off from your loved ones even more and make you feel entirely alone. This is when reality kicks in hard. You know you have a problem. It’s taken control of everything you are and everything you have. You can no longer make independent decisions about your relationships, your finances and your future. Tramadol makes all the decisions for you. You’re aware by now of just how destructive addiction to this medication is. You’re seeing your world fall apart around you.
Then there’s the fear of those closest to you finding out what’s wrong. You may have already lost the trust of your friends and family. If only you could ask them for their help and support again.
When you’re addicted to tramadol, every day seems to pass by in a haze. You’re losing out on making wonderful memories with those around you and it feels like they’re leaving you behind. If you recognize yourself as having an addiction issue, seek help immediately. You can then begin to rebuild your life, relearning how to function without tramadol in your system.
Does a Tramadol Drug Addiction Cause Any Permanent Damage?
As already discussed, the misuse of tramadol can result in CNS depression and even death. If you or someone close has overdosed on the drug, the following symptoms can present:
- Decreased pupil size
- Extreme drowsiness
- Slowed heartbeat
- Cold, clammy skin
- Muscle weakness
If your loved one isn’t breathing or has collapsed, call 911 without delay.
Liver and Other Organ Damage From Tramadol
When you take tramadol, you have a 0.1-1 percent chance of getting pancreatitis or appendicitis. In rare cases, you may also suffer seizures. The drug can also affect your cardiovascular system, resulting in problems like myocardial infarction and bradycardia. You’re also running a small risk, 0.1-1 percent, of having abnormal liver function tests.
If you’re worried about the effect tramadol is having on your body, contact 12 Keys Rehab. With our vast and specialist knowledge, we can support your mind, body and soul throughout your journey towards a new and drug-free reality.
How Long Does It Take to Withdraw From Tramadol?
Tramadol is so widely used, it’s easy to think that using the drug doesn’t come with any consequences. It’s a legal pain-relieving medication. Remember: it’s an opiate, and like morphine, it has a very powerful effect on your body. Because of this strong reaction, when you don’t have the drug in your system anymore, withdrawal has the potential to last for several weeks. This is why tramadol abusers find quitting so difficult.
What Are the Stages of Tramadol Withdrawal?
Tramadol withdrawal can be unpleasant and painful and should always be undertaken with the assistance of a professional team. This way, you can be assured of the best care and therapies to assist you in quitting.
There are several factors that affect the severity of your symptoms, including:
- Dosage of tramadol. If you’ve been taking a high dose or one that’s higher than the maximum recommended dose, your withdrawal symptoms will be stronger.
- Frequency and duration of use. The longer and more often you’ve been taking the drug, the more pronounced your symptoms will be when it comes to quitting.
- When you’ve been using a drug over a long time period, you can become tolerant to its effects. This results in you upping your dosage to achieve the same effects. If you’re dependent on tramadol, your withdrawal symptoms will be stronger.
- Method of stopping. If you try to stop tramadol immediately by going “cold turkey,” the withdrawal can be very difficult, as your system has been used to having the drug within it for a long time. Therefore, tapering off the drug under proper supervision is recommended.
- Individual factors. You’re unique. You have your own metabolism and physiology. Your general state of health also adds to your ability to face withdrawal symptoms. You have your own tolerance to pain, and so on.
So, what can you generally expect when you’re withdrawing from tramadol?
Days 1 to 3
It takes around three days from tramadol to work through your body. During this time, your withdrawal symptoms are pronounced. They may include:
- Pins and needles feeling
- Insomnia lasting for days
Days 4 to 7
During this time, you may experience:
- Drug cravings
- Blurred vision
- Dilated pupils
Days 8 to 14
Even though it’s difficult, you’ve done so well to come this far. Throughout days 8 to 14, you can expect:
- Irrational thinking
It’s also around this time that some people withdrawing from tramadol experience serotonin syndrome. The symptoms include:
- Loss of coordination
- Muscle twitches
- Muscle rigidity
If you experience the above symptoms as well as the following, you need to seek medical help immediately:
- Irregular heartbeat
- High fever
- Loss of consciousness
Days 15 to 28
You need to be aware that your tramadol cravings may persist for several months. You also could suffer from depression as your brain chemistry gets back to normal. This generally fades after a month or so.
If it doesn’t, it’s crucial to seek help from your doctor. This is another reason why withdrawing with the help of professionals is the best choice to make. Here at 12 Keys Rehab, we have years of experience helping people in situations like yours. When you don’t know what to do, we will help you get back on track.
How Can I Help My Loved One Recover From a Tramadol Drug Addiction?
You may have been worried about your loved one for some time. When you find out for sure that they’re suffering from an addiction, it can be overwhelming and very frightening, too. The first thing you need to know about addiction is that with help and specialized tramadol addiction treatment, a full recovery is achievable.
But where do you start? What you need to do is to stay calm. Next, you need to set out a plan that supports your strategies of helping your loved one out of addiction. Of course, this won’t be easy. However, you need to take comfort in the fact that you love and care for your family member enough to have recognized they need help.
If you’re feeling lost, there are several options you can concentrate on to enable you to help:
Research treatment options. Whether an addiction is mild or severe, professional treatment helps. At 12 Keys, we place our focus on real and holistic recovery, treating your loved one with a combination of science, body, spirit and family. Call us for an informal chat any time of the day or night at 866-480-4328.
Take action in a medical emergency. If you believe your loved one is having unmanageable symptoms or that they’ve overdosed, you need to seek medical attention ASAP. Addiction is life-threatening. Your loved one also runs the risk of having suicidal thoughts as a result. If you’re at all worried, be on the safe side and call 911.
Talk with your loved one. Perhaps the most difficult conversation you will ever have together is the one that addresses their addiction. However, it’s imperative that you’re firm, understanding, loving and strong. You want to discuss treatment with them and how it’s needed sooner rather than later.
Addiction is chronic and progressive. It’s not going to suddenly go away by itself. It will only worsen as time goes by, enabling your loved one to hurt others as well as themselves as they become more and more deeply mired within their disease.
You need to be prepared for your loved one to deny they have a problem. They might get angry and react violently. If you’re worried about the potential for this, ask other family members or friends for backup.
Be supportive. Your loved one may feel backed into a corner when you approach them about their addiction. Let them know they have your complete support and love. You’re with them throughout every step of their journey. They need to know this. You could offer to drive them to their appointments, attend family support groups with them and more.
It can be so incredibly difficult, impossible even, to understand how someone you know and love has become addicted to tramadol. It’s a fallacy to assume that people suffering from addictions somehow have a lack of morals.
Addiction is a chronic disease of the brain. You wouldn’t vilify someone who has diabetes or another chronic disease, so there’s no reason to think negatively of your loved one. Tramadol stimulates the reward centers within your loved one’s brain. This, in turn, makes them seek out the same experience over and over to feel that high, until they have no control over their addiction.
What Types of Co-Occurring Disorders Exist With Tramadol?
A co-occurring disorder — also known as a dual diagnosis — is often seen in people with addictions. A dual diagnosis is the term used for someone who has a mental illness as well as a substance abuse issue. As both mental illness and addiction stem from your brain, if you’re mentally ill, you’re therefore more likely to succumb to addiction and vice versa.
Often, drugs are used as a way of self-medicating when you have mental health problems. Unfortunately, these only worsen your mental health. In other cases, drug use can also bring on the first signs of a mental illness.
There are some common mental health conditions that often present in tandem with addiction to tramadol. These include:
- Bipolar disorder
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Eating disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
If only the physical tramadol addiction side effects are addressed, this still leaves the underlying mental health disorder untreated. It’s therefore no wonder that recovering addicts who aren’t aware they have a co-occurring disorder, or who haven’t sought treatment for it, have an increased risk of relapse. Signs and symptoms of mental health disorders and drug misuse are often connected and surprisingly similar. For example, the following are seen in both addiction and depression:
- Loss if interest in once-enjoyable activities
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Reckless behavior
Due to these overlapping symptoms, treating co-occurring disorders is complex. For this reason, you should always seek tramadol addiction help from a treatment center that understands how to treat both issues at once. This is completely necessary for a successful and lifelong addiction recovery.
At 12 Keys Rehab, we have treated hundreds of dual diagnosis clients and we know how to treat tramadol addiction. Our team is comprised of many recovered addicts who have firsthand knowledge of what you’re going through. In addition, they’re extensively qualified and know how to give you the help and support you need when you need it.
Dangers of Quitting Tramadol Without Assistance
Your odds of quitting tramadol for good are far better if you do so with assistance. With a full team of professionals taking care of and supporting you, you can be guided toward a more positive life. Our team at 12 Keys Rehab genuinely understands what you’re going through. This in itself can make a huge difference to your recovery.
If you try to quit tramadol on your own, you won’t benefit from having a full support system behind you. At 12 Keys Rehab, we help both you and your loved ones come to terms with your illness. We can also identify and treat any other existing behavioral or mental health illnesses. As a team, along with your loved ones, we offer you the utmost support, helping your family members stop enabling you to continue with your addiction.
If there are any other problems you’re going through, we offer extensive therapy to you and your loved ones. Helping you heal your fractured relationships to aid in preventing you from relapsing.
How Do You Safely Detox From Tramadol?
The only safe way to detox from any substance is with professional help. Withdrawal and detox can be painful and cravings are often too strong to ignore. If you’re trying to quit, contact us at 12 Keys Rehab today.
How Is a Tramadol Drug Addiction Treated?
When you come to us at 12 Keys, we offer a multi-disciplinary and multi-track way of treating your tramadol addiction, trauma, social problems, mental and behavioral health. Our holistic and caring approach has allowed many people suffering from addiction to go on to lead full lives again.
Working with you as an individual, we formulate a treatment plan that works. This involves gathering information from various sources. For example: family, friends, self-disclosure and observations by the support staff and treatment team.
We also encourage you to help yourself by:
- Staying hydrated. With a multitude of toxins leaving your body, you can help the process along by flushing them out with lots of fresh, clean water.
- Eating healthy food. We offer a range of nutritious and healthy food options to enhance your overall health.
- Exercising. There’s plenty of time for exercise here at 12 Keys, Being in good shape makes it easier for your body to cope with any pain and withdrawal symptoms. It also stimulates your metabolism, helping you to clean out your system as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Together we can make your recovery as holistic and comprehensive as possible. Call us today for information on 866-480-4328.
Why You Should Enter a Tramadol Drug Recovery Treatment Center
To benefit from the best treatment possible when you’re quitting tramadol, everything points to entering a tramadol drug recovery treatment center. By doing so, you can be assured of the best and most up-to-date treatment options available. Also, your risk of any potential medical complications and relapse is minimized, as you have a team of professionals around you to help.
A drug recovery treatment center is a healthy place that puts emphasis on the positives within your life. It also addresses any negatives that brought you to your lowest point, to get you back on the road to good health.
What generally happens when you first arrive at the center is that you’re assessed. This is followed by detoxification which removes all traces of the drug from your body. You’ll also attend therapy and counselling sessions. These will teach you coping mechanisms, as well as all the other skills you’ll need to live a positive and drug-free life well into the future.
Remember: here at 12 Keys Rehab, you’ll always have the support you need to avoid relapse. An important aspect of the 12 Keys model is making new friends. You know only too well how lonely suffering from an addiction can be. Even when you’re surrounded by people, you can often feel completely alone. This is why we positively encourage you to make new connections during your time with us. You can also count on our friendly team as well as others in your support group for consistent encouragement and help.
Knowledge is power. Through learning about your own recovery and addiction to tramadol, you can gain a far better understanding of your illness. You’ll also gain the skills to support yourself throughout your continued recovery. Contact us today.