Tramadol is an opioid analgesic that treats acute or chronic pain. Tramadol interacts with the brain’s reward center, and long-term use can result in cravings and dependence. People who become dependent on tramadol may suffer from withdrawal, addiction, and overdose.
This prescription narcotic may be sold under the brand names Ultram, Ryzolt, or Conzip. This drug is considered to have a low dependence potential, compared to other opioids. While tramadol is not as potent as other drugs in its class, people can still become physically dependent.
Being physically dependent on tramadol can lead a person to abuse their prescription and become addicted. People who are dependent on the drug will also require large amounts of the substance in order for their body to function properly. This can lead people to abuse the drug, and take tramadol other than how it’s directed.
People who abuse tramadol may also show symptoms of addiction, including changing the method of use or visiting multiple doctors. If you or someone you love is struggling with tramadol, an addiction treatment center may be able to help you overcome the addiction.
Side Effects Of Tramadol (Ultram) Abuse
Like most other medications, people can have various reactions to tramadol. Some people may take their prescription as directed and have no adverse effects. Others may take the drug in a similar manner and suffer from side effects such as insomnia.
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If a person abuses the medication, tramadol’s potential side effects may be intensified. These side effects may range from mild to severe, depending on how much tramadol a person ingests. If a person abuses tramadol with any other substances (called “polydrug use”), the risk of side effects is increased.
Abusing tramadol can lead to additional side effects, including:
- uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
- tight or sore muscles
- dry mouth
- stomach pain
- change in appetite
Tramadol is also known to cause a drug tolerance. When a person takes an opioid for any length of time, their body may become tolerant to its usual dose. This means that as time goes on, their body requires larger or more frequent doses of the drug in order to get the same effects.
If a person continually increases their dose, they may resort to abusing the drug, or take it other than how it’s directed. Prescription drug abuse can cause a person to display certain symptoms of tramadol addiction.
Symptoms Of Tramadol (Ultram) Addiction
The signs of opioid addiction are not always obvious. Because people often begin their use with a valid prescription, they may not fully consider the risk of addiction. Unfortunately, taking tramadol for any length of time can lead to physical dependence, tolerance, and overdose — often before a person realizes they are addicted.
Opioid overdoses kill 130 people every day in the U.S. If you are concerned that someone you love is struggling with tramadol addiction, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of tramadol abuse.
A person struggling with tramadol addiction may show symptoms such as:
- mental preoccupation with the drug
- nonmedical use of the drug (snorting, smoking, or injecting the substance for stronger effects)
- doctor shopping (visiting multiple providers in order to obtain extra prescriptions)
- missing money or valuables
- intense cravings for tramadol
- inability to cut back or stop using the drug
- changes in mood or personality
- falling in and out of consciousness (“nodding out”)
- withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety and depression
Dangers Of Tramadol (Ultram) Addiction
In addition to an increased risk of side effects, tramadol addiction can lead to other physical and mental health hazards.
Additional risks of tramadol addiction include:
Detox And Withdrawal
If a person has been taking high doses of the drug, they are likely already dependent on the substance. This means they will need continuous doses of tramadol in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
People who suddenly stop taking tramadol may experience withdrawal symptoms, including panic, sneezing, nausea, and chills. These withdrawal symptoms are the body’s way of detoxing itself from the substance, and can begin as soon as several hours after a person’s last dose.
Opioid withdrawal typically takes about a week to complete. While tramadol withdrawal is not usually life-threatening, it can be physically and psychologically agonizing. Many people who are addicted to opioids return to the drug (called a “relapse”) simply to avoid withdrawal symptoms. The safest way to get off drugs like tramadol is in a medically supervised detox program.
Taking too much tramadol can result in overdose. Any type of opioid overdose can be fatal. Synthetic opioids like tramadol are involved in more overdoses per year than any other opioid.
If a person uses alcohol or other prescription drugs with tramadol, they are at a severe risk for overdose. Opioids slow down the central nervous system, including a person’s breathing. When a person takes too much tramadol, their heart rate and breathing pattern can decrease. Slowed or stopped breathing is the number one cause of fatal overdose.
Other signs of tramadol overdose include a bluish tint to the lips and skin, muscle weakness, and unconsciousness. If you see a person displaying these symptoms, call 911 immediately — and try to keep them awake until help arrives.
Finding Treatment For Tramadol (Ultram) Addiction
It can be overwhelming to realize that you or someone you love is battling tramadol addiction. Because opioids are often prescribed by physicians, it’s easy to lose sight of proper usage. Unfortunately, this leads many people to abuse the drug and end up in the cycle of addiction.
The best way to get help with tramadol addiction is through a formal treatment program. At Vertava Health, we provide comprehensive treatment that includes medication-assisted treatment, personalized therapies, family counseling, and aftercare support.
Some people who recognize their dependence may attempt to quit tramadol “cold turkey.” This can result in a painful withdrawal period that can be difficult to manage. Vertava Health provide medical detox as part of our inpatient treatment programs. Here, patients are provided with the support they need to successfully detox from opioids and begin their recovery journey.
For more information about the side effects and symptoms of tramadol addiction, reach out to one of our treatment specialists today.