Tramadol is just one of the many prescription painkillers that fall under the synthetic opioid umbrella. It’s only about a tenth as powerful as morphine and is similar to codeine. Even though the strength may seem low, it is similarly dangerous as other opioids when it comes to addiction or dependence. This is because it depresses the central nervous system and binds with the brain’s opioid receptors. Like other opioids, Tramadol can cause respiratory depression and death.

If you feel that Tramadol is controlling your life, we can help you regain your sobriety at Transformations Treatment Center. Just reach out to us and we will create a custom-tailored plan for you to lead a healthier lifestyle free from opioids.

What Is Tramadol?

According to Harvard Health Publishing:

When first approved in 1995, Tramadol was not considered an opiate (like morphine or oxycodone) even though it acted in similar ways. However, because there were cases of abuse and addiction with its use, the thinking and warnings changed. In 2014, the FDA designated Tramadol as a controlled substance. This means that although it may have accepted use in medical care, it also has potential for abuse or addiction and therefore is more tightly regulated. For example, a doctor can only prescribe a maximum of five refills, and a new prescription is required every 6 months.

With new research coming to light, studies show that those who are prescribed other anti-inflammatory medications have a less chance of death. The rates with drugs like Naproxen, Diclofenac, and Etorixoxib all average about a one to two percent lower risk than with those who are taking Tramadol. Yet, those who use codeine have a similar risk of death by the prescription drug.

Why Is It Prescribed?

This is a drug often prescribed for those with neuropathic pain caused by damaged or malfunctioning nerves. This includes those with fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and back pain. Yet, it is also prescribed for those with spinal stenosis or diabetes because of both cause neuropathic pain. Post-surgical pain is another area where Tramadol is recommended. The reason is it is similar to other opioids by blocking pain signals and binding to the brain’s opioid receptors.

Keep in mind that sometimes a person will acquire a dependence on Tramadol without meaning to. In some cases, a person simply takes more because their body becomes tolerant to the effects and they want to ease the pain. And while it is not as dangerous as some opioids, it is still addictive and the drug can suppress a person’s natural breathing reflex.

Symptoms and Signs of Tramadol Abuse

There are a few distinct signs of Tramadol abuse that mimic signs of other opioid abuse. These include:

  • Impaired coordination
  • Dilated or pinpoint pupils
  • Headaches
  • Changes in appetite
  • Slurred speech
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Fatigue or drowsiness

As with any addiction, there are also behavioral signs that include:

  • Using Tramadol at parties or with friends
  • Taking more than the prescription allows
  • Taking Tramadol on days you feel bad mentally
  • Crave the drug when not taking it
  • Experience withdrawal symptoms when not taking it
  • Feel “off” when not using Tramadol
  • Needing more of the drug to maintain the same high or relief
  • Endangering themselves to get the drug or using it in dangerous ways (Taking too much, combining with other drugs, etc) It is important to note that taking large doses of Tramadol or combining it with alcohol increases the risk of an overdose
  • Allowing their personal relationships, work, and health to deteriorate
  • Putting Tramadol first in their lives
  • Having financial issues due to Tramadol

Tramadol By the Numbers

There aren’t as many statistics on Tramadol as there are opioids in general but an estimated 20,000 emergency department visits in 2011 were related to Tramadol use.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

Misuse of prescription opioids, CNS depressants, and stimulants is a serious public health problem in the United States. Although most people take prescription medications responsibly, in 2017, an estimated 18 million people (more than 6 percent of those aged 12 and older) have misused such medications at least once in the past year. According to results from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 2 million Americans misused prescription pain relievers for the first time within the past year, which averages to approximately 5,480 initiates per day. Additionally, more than one million misused prescription stimulants, 1.5 million misused tranquilizers, and 271,000 misused sedatives for the first time.

Treatment for Tramadol Addiction

The first step in sobriety from Tramadol abuse is to remove the drug from your system through detox. This may sound frightening and you may worry about withdrawal symptoms but with a medically supervised program, the symptoms are minimized – unlike doing it on your own. Tramadol has to be tapered off rather than stopping it all at once and medically assisted treatment is helpful. At a facility like Transformations Treatment Center, you are supervised while this is happening and receive support from trained medical personnel as well as medications to lessen any issues with withdrawal from Tramadol.

Tramadol Addiction Recovery Options

The great thing to keep in mind is that there is help in recovery from Tramadol addiction as well as other prescription medications and opioids. At Transformations Treatment Center, there are many types of treatments available for people affected by Tramadol. Our custom-tailored plan puts you on the right track into a healthier lifestyle without depending on prescription drugs. In addition to various therapy options, we specialize in programs and therapies based on your individual needs. And our variety of treatment settings such as counseling, partial hospitalization, inpatient care, outpatient care, and post-recovery support — help ensure that you receive everything you need to set yourself up for lasting sobriety.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Response and Updates for Clients, Families, and Referents Read More