Last updated on February 27th, 2019 at 11:55 am
Do you suspect someone you know is addicted to tramadol?
Below, we will outline some of the symptoms of addiction, as well as let you know key information about the drug itself.
Characterized as an opioid, individuals who have been prescribed tramadol may become addicted to it. This may continue after the initial pain they took the medication for subsides.
Read on for more information about this medication, as well as how to seek help for a loved one who may be dependent on this medication.
What Is Tramadol?
Due to the opioid epidemic, many people know what opioids are, but don’t exactly know why they’re prescribed in the first place. This can create some confusion about what medications are for and why doctors prescribe them. Let’s go over some of the information below.
Tramadol is classified as an opioid analgesic. It works by attaching to brain receptors to change the way a person perceives pain. It may be sold under the names ConZip, Ultram, Ultram ER, Rybix ODT, and Ryzolt.
Doctors initially prescribe tramadol to help relieve moderate to severe pain. Individuals who have recently sustained an injury or have recently had surgery may be prescribed this medication to help mitigate the pain. As the patient heals, they will be expected to cut down on their usage.
Some doctors may also prescribe tramadol as a long-term treatment option. This is typically when the patient has an illness or disease that causes them severe chronic pain. This may also occur at end-of-life care.
In this case, tramadol is sometimes prescribed in slow release tablets to help lessen the pain the person feels throughout the day.
How Is It Taken?
Tramadol is mostly taken in pill form orally. When abused, it is most commonly taken orally, though it can be snorted, injected or smoked in some cases.
If prescribed medically, adults will be prescribed 100 milligrams, usually in the morning, for extended-release tablets. They should not exceed 300 milligrams in one day unless otherwise directed by a physician.
For oral tablets, individuals will take the medication in 100 milligram implements, every four to six hours. Typically, they should not exceed a dose of 300 milligrams, unless directed by a physician.
Who Takes It?
It is used medically in adults and children aged 12 and above. However, anyone who has a history of drug abuse lives in poverty or is unemployed may be inclined to abuse the drug. People in their early 20s are also at risk for becoming addicted to recreational drugs more often than any other age group.
Still, people can be both prescribed, and become addicted, to drugs at any age.
A Brief History of Tramadol
Tramadol is completely synthetic, which sets it apart from other opiates. Although originally created in 1962, it was not available in the U.S. until 1995.
Originally, it was created as a safer alternative to morphine and Vicodin. However, due to a large number of individuals becoming addicted, it became a scheduled substance in the U.S. in 2014.
Effects of Tramadol on the Body
Tramadol has many effects on the mind and the body when taken, like any other opiate. Let’s go over them.
Effects on the Mind and Body
Tramadol works the same way as other opiates, in that it works with your brain’s chemistry to alter how your body responds to pain. For some people, this can become addictive, as they may also experience a euphoria or a numbing sensation.
Tramadol may also make some people feel sleepy, which can be habit forming for individuals who do not wish to face their problems.
In the short-term, individuals may feel “high,” experience a reduction in pain and experience a relief of anxiety.
Common side effects of the medication include:
- Loss of appetite
- Dry mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
Long-Term and Short-Term Health Effects
Long-term effects are similar to that of long-term use of other opiates. This can include becoming tolerant and needing a higher dosage to feel the effects. This is otherwise known as tolerance to the drug.
After a while, individuals will become physically dependent on the drugs, which means that they will start to go through withdrawal if they don’t continue to take them.
They may also begin to experience cognitive function issues, such as “feeling fuzzy” or “not all there.”
Some individuals may experience seizures, issues with their sex hormones (particularly androgens), hallucinations and respiratory issues. They may also experience liver and kidney damage, particularly if taking a high dose over a long period of time.
However, it should be noted that people do take tramadol long-term and do not necessarily face health risks beyond physical addiction. Tramadol should only be taken long-term under a doctor’s care.
Using Tramadol with Other Drugs
Like most other drugs, tramadol is typically mixed with certain drugs, and should not be mixed with others. We’ll go over some of these below.
What Common Drugs are Used with Tramadol?
Medications that people use with tramadol may include antidepressants that help treat pain. They may also take medication for the primary issue that causes pain in the first place.
Tramadol is commonly mixed with:
As tramadol depresses your CNS (central nervous system), taking it with alcohol can increase your chance of overdose. Likewise, you should not use it with any other drugs your doctor has not prescribed.
The drug may interact with
- Blood thinners
- Muscle relaxants
- Medication for heart conditions
Speak to your doctor about other medication you take before you accept a prescription for tramadol.
What Do I Do if My Loved One Is Addicted to Tramadol?
If you believe your loved one has a tramadol addiction, you can speak to them about it. In some cases, people will be very open about it and ready to receive help.
In other cases, it may not be so easy. You may need to perform an intervention or convince them to attend a rehab facility in order to detox from tramadol. A drug rehabilitation center will help your loved one figure out why they became dependent on tramadol in the first place and what they can do to prevent it in the future.
If you’re worried a loved one has an addiction to tramadol, contact us now. We can help you take the next steps.