If you’re dependent on/addicted to tramadol, a complete halt or rapid reduction of your intake will trigger symptoms of withdrawal. Tramadol withdrawal differs from other forms of opioid withdrawal in one important respect. Unlike other commonly misused opioids, the medication alters levels of a natural, mood-controlling chemical in your body called serotonin. Among other things, this means that people withdrawing from tramadol tend to experience certain symptoms not found in people withdrawing from other opioids.1
Symptoms that tramadol withdrawal shares with other forms of opioid withdrawal include:
Additional possible symptoms not always found in other opioid users include abnormal nerve sensations (e.g. tingling or itching) and bouts of panic. Specific serotonin-related symptoms that can appear during the course of tramadol withdrawal include:
While you might feel tempted to quit tramadol “cold turkey” and go through withdrawal on your own, this course of action poses a danger for several reasons. First, the array of symptoms you experience while withdrawing from the medication can make you feel bad enough to break off your attempt at quitting and return to an active pattern of misuse. If you manage to cope with your symptoms and establish sobriety, a lack of professional oversight will increase your chances of relapsing. And unfortunately, people who relapse back into opioid use after reaching a state of abstinence have increased chances of overwhelming their systems and overdosing.
To withdraw safely from tramadol or any other type of opioid, public health officials urge all affected people to seek help from a supervised medical detox (detoxification) program2. The doctors and support personnel in a certified detox facility will know how to safeguard your health throughout the withdrawal process. They’ll also help you establish the physical and mental strength needed to succeed in an active substance treatment program.
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