Tramadol Addiction and Rehabilitation

Tramadol Addiction Rehab Header
Last Edited: March 17, 2020
Patricia Howard, LMFT, CADC
Clinically Reviewed
Jim Brown, CDCA
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and certified by an addiction professional.

Dangers of Tramadol Abuse

When it comes to the prescription Opiate Analgesics such as Tramadol, there are myriad dangers that accompany abuse. Many people are prescribed Tramadol for a legitimate physical pain and are unaware of the dangerous complications of taking the drug. The longer a person takes Tramadol the more probable developing a tolerance to it is.

Tolerance means you have adapted to the dose and it no longer has the same effect, therefore a higher dose is needed. This is a clear sign of the development of an addiction as the person will need an ever-increasing amount of the drug to experience the effect. With fluctuating dosages, people tend to try to self-medicate, which is another symptom of addiction. Some people are at risk for using the drug to mask emotional pain as opposed to physical pain.

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This escape from reality is a clear sign of an underlying issue that needs to be addressed for the person to be healthy. As a Narcotic prescription, Tramadol can still result in addiction and physical dependence, like that of Opium, Heroin and its street born counterparts.

Street Names for Tramadol

For those who develop a tolerance and dependence to Tramadol, abuse of the drug is a high risk. Abuse of often leads to illicitly purchasing the drug. For individuals who illicitly use Tramadol, street names are often made up to cover up the illegal activity and keep behavior secretive.  There are a few different street names used in reference to Tramadol distribution and abuse. Some of the street names for Tramadol include:

  • Ultras
  • Chill Pills
  • OxyContin lite
  • Trammies

Tramadol Effects

The effects produced by Tramadol are twofold. First, it binds to the Opiate receptors in the brain. Secondly, the drug blocks the reuptake of the neurotransmitters known as Serotonin and Norepinephrine. Tramadol is estimated to be equivalent in potency to prescription Codeine. The drug is also approximated at about one tenth of the potency of Morphine. Tramadol works for a matter of hours, typically prescribed to take every 6 to 8 hours. Overall, the effects of Tramadol are likely to vary from person to person. The most common effects caused by Tramadol use are:  sleepiness, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, headache, nervousness, uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body, muscle tightness, changes in mood, heartburn or indigestion, constipation and dry mouth.

Warning signs of Tramadol abuse in a loved one

When Tramadol abuse is taking place in your home or a loved one is afflicted with the disease of addiction, some warning signs will often be present. If your loved one is physically dependent on Tramadol, he or she will experience symptoms of withdrawal shortly after the last dose taken. Psychological dependence is quite common among individuals who use Tramadol. When addicted to Tramadol or other substances, an individual will display signs of secrecy or even become defensive over the substance.

If your loved one has been prescribed Tramadol by a doctor and he or she has been drinking Alcohol while under the influence of the medication, this is a huge warning sign. He or she may be using the drug recreationally and have developed an addiction to Tramadol.

Has your loved one began to neglect daily tasks and been unable to fulfill responsibilities or social obligations? These signs, presented in a loved one’s life who has recent been prescribed Tramadol, may indicate that he or she is struggling with addiction.

Has your loved one started to engage in strange behaviors, including secretiveness or defensiveness about his or her prescription medication? Has he or she begun to crush prescription pills before swallowing them? These are signs of substance abuse disorder.

Factual Dangers: Tramadol

Tramadol has the potential to be abused and poses a high risk of addiction. Addiction to Tramadol can happen to anyone. For the individuals that Tramadol addiction impacts, every aspect of living changes. Tramadol abuse and addiction steals a person’s ability to make choices and vanishes his or her free-will. Understanding the whole impact that Tramadol can have on a person’s life is important, especially if you are concerned for a loved one.

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Tramadol Rehab Treatment

Many people start using pain medication such as Tramadol without realizing how addictive it can be. Far too quickly these people cannot function without the drug and need an ever increasing supply just to get through the day. It is common for people to start taking Tramadol for legitimate pain, then continue using to numb emotional and psychological pain. Eventually, the use of the drug takes over their life.

To get treatment for addiction to Tramadol, the first step is to go through the detoxification stage. This stage allows the body time to get rid of the substance. In a rehab treatment, medical staff will assist a person through detox safely and reducing the risk of relapse. Once this stage is over, an individual will partake in counseling as well as therapy that is ongoing and supportive.

The support team of professionals in treatment helps individuals to effectively handle cravings, as well as manage symptoms of pain without the use of Tramadol.  Treatment also helps to identify any underlying problems that may have led an individual to start abusing the drug in the first place. Addiction treatment is necessary for the person who has lost everything as well as the person who has just started to be consumed by addiction. You do not have to wait for the worst-case scenario to get your life back. If you or someone you love is addicted, get the help you need today. – Learn More

Tramadol Detox Treatment

When a person goes through detox to completely get rid of any Tramadol in the body, withdrawals will occur. The body needs to readjust so that it can function properly again without Tramadol. Withdrawal symptoms can be physically debilitating, often lead to relapse due to the intensity of discomfort experienced during the process. There are a variety of methods used to eliminate the drugs from the body and help ensure a full and successful recovery.

Inpatient programs have been developed to help people successfully manage the withdrawal symptoms. Medical professionals may taper or prescribe medication to ease discomfort and allow you to have the most pleasant experience possible. If you have an addiction to Tramadol, it is highly recommend going to a detox center or inpatient facility to detox. Inpatient facilities are highly recommended as their rate of success in facilitating recovery from addiction is the highest.

The symptoms of Opiate withdrawal can be severe and include: digestion problems like nausea, constipation, vomiting and diarrhea, intense cravings, body tremors, mood changes with manic agitation, irritability and aggressiveness, blurred vision, confusion, insomnia and restlessness, body temperature fluctuation involving periods of chills or cold sweats, fatigue and muscle aches, as well as severe depression with suicidal thoughts. – Learn More

Addiction to Tramadol

Addiction to Tramadol is a common occurrence. This Painkiller is particularly addictive when taken in doses that are higher and for a longer period than what the drug is prescribed for. Tramadol is most commonly utilized to treat moderate pain problems, for anything from aftercare of surgical procedures to health conditions such as Fibromyalgia.

Compared to other prescription Opioids, Tramadol is milder in potency. Regardless, in the United States, Tramadol is classified under the Controlled Substance Act as a Schedule IV drug. Consumption, without prescription, and abuse of Schedule IV substances is considered highly dangerous as well as criminal activity. Often, individuals begin to abuse Tramadol due to the euphoric experience of ultimate relaxation it can produce. Individuals who live with serious pain problems are known to take beyond the prescribed amount in attempt to relieve the pain. Taking Tramadol outside of the prescription guidelines creates a possibility of developing an addiction.

Addiction generally follows immediately after becoming physical dependent. However, an individual does not have to be physically dependent to become addicted to Tramadol or other drugs. Developing an addiction, or a chemical requiring process in the brain, can happen to anyone. Addiction does not discriminate and can impact lives among all social classes and communities. – Learn More

Tramadol Dependency

When a person begins taking Tramadol for pain, a physical dependence begins. Tolerance happens when the person needs an increasing amount of the drug to achieve the same effect as it initially caused. These occurrences happen all too often and are disregarded because the drug is obtained by a doctor’s prescription. Even when the drug is used medicinally, developing a tolerance is commonly accompanied by addiction.

Addiction is a problem that can devastate and over take a person’s life. Once tolerant to Tramadol, a person no longer functions properly without it as he or she did prior to their dependence. When a dose of Tramadol is missed, the individual will experience the unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal. The progression from taking a drug as prescribed for pain relief to addiction to and abuse of Tramadol can happen before you realize it.

Tramadol dependency may be psychological, physical or both. Physical dependence is when an individual’s body develops a tolerance and does not regulate or properly work without it. Psychological dependence can also be referred to as addiction. Being psychologically dependent on Tramadol often results in an individual craving and obsessing over the drug, always having a strong desire and need for more. If you or a loved one is dependent on Tramadol or other any other substance, get help before symptoms progress any further. – Learn More

Seeking help for a loved one.

  • What Do I Say in A Tramadol Intervention?
    You will speak directly to your loved one, only speaking in love and concern while leaving out judgment or anger. Let him or her know the negative impact their Tramadol addiction causes you.
  • What If My Loved One Does Not Go To Tramadol Rehab?
    If your loved one does not accept Tramadol treatment, he or she will know there is help when he or she is ready. Keep showing them support without enabling your loved ones’ behavior.

Intervention for Tramadol abuse

If a loved one is presently abusing prescription Opioids or you suspect abuse of Tramadol, you may want to consider an intervention. Addiction is a progressive and deadly disease that centers in an individual’s mind. Many people who struggle with Tramadol abuse also experience strong denial about their dangerous behavior. Without help from friends and family members, the person struggling with addiction may never get better.

An intervention is the best way to step in and help pull the person out of the hellish existence he or she is living in. An intervention is a gathering of loved ones to have a meeting and conversation about an individual’s drug abuse and addictive behavior. In an intervention, a person’s addiction is confronted, as well as his or her using patterns and subsequent behavior. There are many different methods to staging an intervention. A professional interventionist can help you prepare for the event and learn what to expect. The professional interventionist may sit in and help keep the conversation focused and calm, diffusing any emotional outbursts that may occur.

If a professional interventionist is not an option, you can still conduct a great intervention by simply keeping the conversation non-judgmental and encouraging. While you should suggest that he or she enters treatment immediately, remember that if your loved one neglects to enter a treatment center on the spot, the intervention was not a failure. Any nudge in the right direction is a huge success and potentially life-saving. – Learn More

Recovery from Tramadol Abuse

A key element of recovery from addiction is therapy, which is why all treatment centers incorporate therapy in their programs. Group therapy is one of the best tools to combat the disease of addiction. Many people experience isolation while using, which was caused by and helped perpetuate the substance abuse. Group therapy helps to counteract this isolation, allowing people to interact and learn from each other’s experiences. Members operate in an atmosphere of mutual respect, compassion and brotherly love, which often turns into strong life-long friendships.

These connections allow each member to overcome problems which might have seemed insurmountable alone. Group sessions also educate all members about addiction. Everyone learns that addiction is a disease, and though they are not responsible for their disease, each individual is responsible for his or her own recovery. In addition to group therapy, independent or one-on-one therapy sessions are available and recommended within treatment centers and recovery communities. Many professionals suggest traveling for treatment as the best way to jump start recovery.

Recovery isn’t just going to rehab, though, it is something that must be maintained long-term to sustain sobriety. Keeping up the relationships you make within the recovery community in treatment and elsewhere is key to a sustainable recovery. There are many ways to stay engaged with your recovery beyond treatment, like continued counseling, programs like the 12-step, meetings and more.

  • How Do I Recover from Tramadol Addiction?
    Inpatient treatment is possibly the best way to recover from an Tramadol addiction, followed up with support groups like the 12-step program.
  • Will I Be Bored in Tramadol Recovery?
    If you attend Tramadol support groups, you will connect with many people, attend various events and participate in numerous activities.

Dangers of Tramadol Overdose

If you are wondering if it is possible to overdose on Tramadol, the answer is yes. As with all Narcotic pain medicine, it is possible to overdose and even die. Everyone has different tolerance levels, so the amount that would cause one person to overdose may not cause an overdose in another. Tramadol is considered a lower risk Opioid medicine, but it can and will still cause a fatal overdose.

Too much of any prescription Painkiller can cause serious injury or death. It is easier than many people think to take enough to overdose. Because Tramadol is a sedative, some people may experience confusion, forget that they took a dose and keep taking a dose forgetting the previous one. Other people intentionally take more than prescribed or recommended, in attempt to achieve a euphoric sensation, which can also easily trigger an overdose.

Immediate medical attention is required if someone has overdosed, and so it is important to know and be able to recognize the symptoms of a Tramadol overdose. Some of these are slowed breathing, depressed heart rate, severe drowsiness, cold or clammy skin, bluish skin, dizziness, fainting, extreme weakness, coma and death. Overdose can have serious health repercussions, such as permanent brain damage and severe harm to major organs. Consult a medical professional before taking an unknown quantity of Tramadol. If you suspect someone near to you or a loved one has overdosed on Tramadol or any other substance, please call 911 to contact emergency medical services immediately. – Learn More

Tramadol Use, Abuse and Dependency

Tramadol, brand name Ultram, is a synthetic Opioid pain reliever that is commonly prescribed by a doctor for mild to severe pain management. Tramadol is legally available through prescription only and is most often prescribed for short-term and long-term pain relief.  In 1995, Tramadol was first approved for the market in the United states. According to the DEA, the drug was marketed as a noncontrolled analgesic by the name Ultram.  Almost immediately after Tramadol hit the market, there were reports on abuse and diversion of the drug. Tramadol is considered an Opioid Analgesic. The addictive nature of the opioid activity in the drug is known to override the therapeutic aspects of the drug’s pharmacological effects. Like many other Opioid analgesics, Tramadol often results in adverse effects and abuse.

Tramadol is an analgesic that acts both as an Opioid agonist and monoamine reuptake inhibiter. Tramadol acts on the system through hindering the reuptake of monoamines in the nerve stations of both Serotonin and Norepinephrine. Aside from the analgesic effects produced, Tramadol has various symptoms such as somnolence, dizziness, constipation and nausea, much like other Opioids do. Moreover, serotonin syndrome is common when Tramadol in taken in high doses and combined with monoamine oxidase inhibitors otherwise known as MAOs or selective serotine reuptake inhibitors, also known as SSRIs. Serotonin syndrome often results in symptoms such as hyperthermia, pain, convulsions and muscle rigidity. Other dangers of prescription Tramadol are still being discovered. Over the past several years, the labeling for Tramadol approved by the FDA has undergone multiple modifications. The newest warning prescription label includes that Tramadol can cause physical and or psychological dependence. Tramadol abuse and dependence may incite drug-seeking behavior, such as taking illegal action in attempt to obtain the prescription drug. Tramadol Hydrochloride, which is meant to be an extended release version of the drug, has higher possibility for abuse and even more of an association with tolerance and development of cravings.

Tramadol is often abused by individuals addicted to Narcotics, also known as Opiates, health professionals and chronic pain management patients. Many people are prescribed Narcotic pain medication to manage symptoms for extended periods of time without knowing that these are highly addictive drugs. Anyone who takes pain medication, such as Tramadol, for extended lengths of time are at great risk for developing an addiction. Chronic pain sufferers who take pain medication will naturally become physically dependent. However, to be considered addicted, there must also be other attributing factors, such as psychological addiction. Life without Narcotics can seem daunting, even frightening, for many people who deal with chronic pain. Additionally, people who are consistently and chronically in pain are at high risk for emotional problems such as depression, anxiety and PTSD. It is all too easy to start relying on the Narcotic pain medicine to numb not only the physical aspects of chronic pain, but the emotional and psychological aspects as well. Anyone who takes Tramadol is at risk of developing not only a dependence to the drug but an addiction as well. In short, Tramadol is an Opiate utilized for pain relief as well as pain management and it is highly addictive.

If you or a loved one has been taking Tramadol for any considerable period, undergoing symptoms of withdrawal is expected. This is due to Tramadol working on both the pain receptors in a person brain, as well as the effects it has on other neurotransmitters. Tramadol withdrawal symptoms are a combination of symptoms from an antidepressant withdrawal and Opiate withdrawal. The potential of developing a tolerance and dependence to Tramadol is much higher among individuals who abuse it. Moreover, the risk is increased for individuals who have a history of substance abuse and addiction.

There are many drugs commonly known to be abused with or taken with Tramadol. Use of other substances with Tramadol is usually done to dampen or increase the drugs overall effects. When combining Tramadol with other drugs, the drug becomes much more dangerous. The most common types of drugs combined with Tramadol include Alcohol, Sedatives, Hypnotics, Opioid Painkillers and cold medications. Drinking Alcohol and taking Tramadol do not mix. Alcohol is a drug and a depressant, like the Tramadol, so that the two substances perpetuate each other’s effects when combined. The results of this combination can be deadly. Too much of either substance or in combination causes low heart rate, respiration and blood pressure which can lead to unconsciousness.  When Hypnotics or Sedatives are combined with Tramadol, the effects are much like that produced by Alcohol, as these substances are also depressants and lead to negative life-threatening effects when combined. Tramadol is often ingested with other Opioid Painkillers in attempt to increase the effect for pain relief, however it also increases the chances of overdose significantly.

  • Why Should I Go to Group Therapy for Tramadol Treatment?
    Group therapy will show you that you are not alone in fighting Tramadol addiction.
  • Is Group Therapy for Tramadol Addiction Helpful?
    Group therapy with will not only help you learn how to express your feelings on Tramadol addiction, but it will also help you form lasting and healthy friendships.

Short & Long-term Effects

When it comes to Tramadol abuse, there are several short and long-term effects that an individual should be made aware of. If a person becomes physically dependent on a prescription drug like Tramadol, it is common for addiction to develop. Once the addiction sets in, the person’s personality begins to change and the focus of his or her life becomes obtaining more of the drug and achieving a higher high.

A few of the short-term effects of Tramadol include, however are not limited to: euphoria, dizziness, shallow breathing, constipation, nausea, vomiting, false sense of well-being, drowsiness and sedation. Additionally, any amount of Tramadol whether prescribed or not, for any length of time can lead to an addicted brain.

Long term use of Tramadol, or any other Narcotic pain medication, has negative effects. Some of the long-term effects of Tramadol use and abuse include an overall decrease in breathing rate, constipation, intense headaches, vomiting, dizziness when standing and clogged blood vessels. Long term use also increases a person’s chance of developing an addiction to the drug. Once addicted to Tramadol, getting off the drug can seem like a daunting and even impossible task. Fortunately, getting off Tramadol and starting a life free from prescription drug abuse is possible. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to Tramadol, seek professional assistance. The sooner you stop the progress of addiction, the better off you or your loved one will be. Recovery is possible, get help today.

Teenage Tramadol Abuse

Tramadol abuse among teenagers has become a prevalent issue in the United States. Occurrences of such abuse have been documented and reported among high schoolers. These high school teens are known to refer to the prescription drug as ultras, which is otherwise known as a slang or street term.

A survey from Monitoring the Future indicates that nearly 10 percent of senior high schoolers have taken Narcotic drugs other than Heroin. Tramadol is widely available through the Internet and by friends who are prescribed the drug for legitimate reasons. It is suggested that parents should be educated, educate their teenagers and remain vigilant to any unusual changes their teens’ behavior.

Addiction impacts everyone, so families also suffer when one member becomes addicted to drugs or Alcohol. When one member is using, others also experience the devastation and fear caused by the addiction. Nights kept up waiting for the person, or worried about his or her safety take their toll. Family therapy works to heal the emotional wounds of all family members. Everyone can address trauma and problems from the past and overcome them. Each member is taught coping strategies and communication techniques to help prevent the same situation from happening again. Family addiction education groups allow family members to learn about the disease of addiction. Everyone is shown the neurobiological roots of the disease, how it impacts behavior and that the person’s actions where the consequence of a disease and not a moral failing.

  • Why Should I Attend Family Therapy?
    You will build a stronger bond with your family and repair any damage caused from Tramadol addiction.
  • What Will Family Therapy Help?
    When you abuse Tramadol, you may have caused your family great harm. Going to therapy can help your family see you are changing and they will give you their full support.

True Stories of Addiction: TJ’s Near Death Experience

Traveling Might Be the Answer

  • Will Inpatient Treatment Help my Tramadol Addiction?
    Inpatient treatment is one of the most effective ways to recover from Tramadol addiction.
  • How Long is Tramadol Inpatient Treatment?
    The length of your stay in an inpatient program depends on your Tramadol addiction and the program you choose to go to.

Outpatient Tramadol Rehab

Outpatient programs can be utilized by people who have already gone through the detoxification stages and have reached a point where they are stabilized enough to receive further treatment services. Outpatient offers a similar program to inpatient, however on a part-time, non-residential basis. These treatment programs are far less intensive and allow for a much greater amount of freedom and responsibility, which works well for some but tends to be less effective for many who are new to recovery.

Outpatient also typically offers individual and group therapy, which helps the individual learn to identify the underlying causes of their addiction. Because the outpatient program is part-time, participants stay at home and travel several times a week to the treatment facility for groups. Groups vary in length but may be last several hours, several days a week. Some programs may meet every day, others less often. Participants in the program can continue with work or school with outpatient treatment.

Additional recovery support groups are usually required in outpatient treatment programs. Many outpatient regimes have a requirement of individuals to attend a certain number of 12-step meetings per week. Moreover, outpatient programs often perform randomized drug testing that takes place a few times each week. The 12-step program meetings are in local communities around the world. These meetings have a fellowship of people and a community of individuals that are in recovery, living free from their addiction. – Learn More

  • Will Outpatient Help my Tramadol Addiction?
    Yes. Outpatient will help your Tramadol addiction, but works best if you attend inpatient rehab first.
  • When Should I go to Outpatient Rehab?
    When you are ready to recover from your Tramadol addiction, you should go to inpatient treatment and follow it up with outpatient rehab.