Tramadol is a frequently prescribed painkiller for patients suffering from moderate to severe pain. It is primarily sold under the brand names Ultracet, Ryzolt, Ultram, and Conzip. It is an artificially synthesized narcotic that mimics the mechanism of opioids by binding with certain receptors in the brain which are associated with the transmission of pain.
Tramadol can also be quite addictive. Incorrect use of the drug for reasons other than what it is prescribed for is the first sign of addiction.
Also, taking a bigger dose than you were originally prescribed or stealing pills from others are other signs of addiction. At the same time, even if you’re taking tramadol as prescribed, you can still become dependent on it.
Effectively treating tramadol addiction usually entails withdrawal treatment, including tramadol detox, together with long term recovery care. Integrating behavioral and pharmacological approaches is considered as the most effective methods of treating addiction.
Tramadol affects the serotonin levels in the brain and sudden stoppage might provoke withdrawal symptoms, such as:
In more severe cases:
The longer you are using tramadol and the higher the dosage, the stronger withdrawal symptoms are.
The pace at which you get through the withdrawal process varies from person to person. This will largely be determined by how severe the tramadol addiction is. Those that are heavy users of tramadol may experience more severe symptoms for a longer period of time. Other factors that can influence the intensity and withdrawal timeline are:
The general tramadol withdrawal timeline is as follows:
You may start to feel some minor withdrawal symptoms about 6-12 hours after the last dose of tramadol. Early symptoms resemble the flu such as sweating, runny nose, watery eyes, and body aches.
The first few days will probably be the toughest when it comes to withdrawal symptoms, as some of them will peak during this time. Common symptoms include continued flu-like symptoms, stomach cramping, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, cravings for the drug, and depression.
Symptoms should start to decrease during this time frame. You may still feel cravings, fatigue, and intestinal issues. You may also find that psychological symptoms linger, such as anxiety, depression, and continued cravings.
For the next couple of weeks, you may still contend with sleep issues and mood swings. If you’ve relapsed in the past, it’s important to have professional support during these weeks to help prevent relapse. Oftentimes, people will go straight from detox into a longer-term treatment facility like a residential or outpatient drug rehab.
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Detox withdrawal symptoms can be quite frustrating, but it is necessary to detox from the drug in order to get free from tramadol addiction. Detox clinics offer a medically supervised procedure in a safe environment to help you through the first 24 to 72 hours of the withdrawal procedure. Medication to minimize withdrawal symptoms is also often offered.
Detoxification alleviates the physical part of tramadol dependency. Once the detox phase is complete, longer-term treatment is recommended to address the root cause of the addiction.
Completing the detox process at home “cold turkey” is dangerous and can have harmful consequences. Professional medical staff at a medical detox facility are adept at prescribing the optimal dosage of medication needed and can design a unique, efficient plan fitted for your unique path towards recovery.
Once you’re done detoxing physically from tramadol, the next treatment step is to commit to continued treatment in a residential, outpatient, or intensive outpatient program (IOP). These programs normally last anywhere from several weeks to a few months depending on your unique wants and needs.
Choosing to continue treatment is beneficial, as you get to connect with substance abuse professionals in a safe environment. There, you can begin to explore the fundamental reasons underlying the addiction and given the tools and resources to enable you to maintain a drug-free life.
Residential treatment is recommended for those that have a moderate to severe addiction to tramadol, as you are able to live at the facility for the duration of your treatment. You’ll have access to addiction specialists around-the-clock, which can be helpful when you are undergoing withdrawal symptoms. You will also be able to have individual and group counseling, which can help you learn more about addiction recovery and the life skills to help you once you return home to remain drug-free.
If you’re unable to reside at the facility, outpatient treatment is an option to continue treatment. You will attend a certain number of sessions throughout the week, meeting with an individual counselor as well. You may also attend classes that help you learn more about addiction recovery and life skills that will better your life.
IOP is similar to outpatient treatment, but it requires more time throughout the week–usually 12 or more hours. This is a great option for those that complete residential treatment, but aren’t necessarily ready to go into outpatient treatment yet. They may still feel as if they need more time in a safe atmosphere with substance abuse professionals to prepare for life without drugs.
Regardless of how you’ve become addicted to tramadol, know that there is freedom from this addiction. Substance abuse professionals are ready and willing to help you take whatever steps you need in order to taper off the drug and learn valuable skills to prevent relapse.
Some fear the process of withdrawal because of the uncomfortable symptoms. Be assured that you can get through the detox process with minimal symptoms when you undergo a medical detox with addiction specialists. You certainly don’t have to go through tramadol detox alone.
Know that there is a wonderful life waiting for you on the other side of addiction. You can experience peace and joy fully when you are free from the harmful effects of drugs. Many have found freedom from drug addiction via detox and rehab centers. If you or a loved one is struggling, please give us a call today so we can discuss the best treatment options for you.
Web MD. Tramadol. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-4398-5239/tramadol-oral/tramadol-oral/details
American Society of Addiction Medicine. (2019, September 15). Definition of Addiction. Retrieved from https://www.asam.org/Quality-Science/definition-of-addiction
Mayo Clinic. (2020, August 1) Tramadol. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/tramadol-oral-route/description/drg-20068050
MD Edge. What Is The Addiction Risk Associated With Tramadol? Retrieved from https://www.mdedge.com/familymedicine/article/65552/addiction-medicine/what-addiction-risk-associated-tramadol
Very Well Health. (2018, December 19). 10 Things You Need to Know About Tramadol. Eustice, C. Retrieved from https://www.verywellhealth.com/tramadol-10-things-you-should-know-190537