Tramadol (Ultram) is a narcotic-like pain reliever used to treat moderate to severe pain. Tramadol does act on the opioid receptors, central nervous system, and monoamine reuptake systems to suppress pain and enhance feelings of relaxation and calm. Tramadol is a Schedule IV controlled substance by the DEA which means it has a low potential for abuse and dependence. In an analysis by the National Survey of Drug Use and Health, it has been reported that:
Starting in 2015, NSDHU collected data on reported past-year misuse among individuals reporting past-year use of oral tramadol, morphine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. An estimated 1.6 to 1.8 million Americans reported any (alone or in combination) past-year misuse of oral tramadol, versus 0.5 to 0.7 million for morphine, 3.8 to 4.3 million for oxycodone, 6.2 to 7.1 million for hydrocodone during the 3 years. (NIH)
Tramadol does have a low abuse and dependence potential according to the DEA, however, it is still very widely abused.
What to Expect from Tramadol Withdrawal Symptoms
Tramadol activates opioid receptors in the brain and also blocks neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and serotonin from being reabsorbed back into the system, so withdrawal can occur in two different forms: regular opioid withdrawal syndrome and also atypical opioid withdrawal syndrome. Traditional opioid withdrawal occurs in two phases. Early opioid withdrawal symptoms occur when the drug leaves the bloodstream and late withdrawal comes a little later. Opioid withdrawal symptoms usually start within 12 hours of the last dose taken, but with Tramadol that can occur much sooner due to the drug’s short half-life. Tramadol has a fairly short half-life with the drug peaking in 1-4 hours for the immediate release and 4-6 hours for the extended release. Other side effects have stated that this particular drug addiction tends to give people energy while using Tramadol.
The Severity of Tramadol Detox Explained
The severity of withdrawal from Tramadol will largely depend on how much of the drug the person was taking and for how long. Everyone will have different withdrawals. The physical withdrawal usually peaks within a few days and then slowly tapers off. The psychological withdrawal symptoms can linger for a lot longer. Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) can occur from Tramadol and this can last for an indefinite amount of time while the brain re-calibrates after active addiction. Some of the early withdrawal symptoms of Tramadol can include the following:
- Runny nose
- Tearing up
- Muscle and body aches
- Racing heart rate
Some of the late withdrawal symptoms of Tramadol can include:
- Loss of appetite
- Chills and goosebumps
- Stomach pain and cramping
- Difficulty concentrating
- Extreme drug cravings
According to an article on Addiction & Health published by the National Institutes of Health:
Some of tramadol withdrawal symptoms are not related to opioid, for example when the effectiveness is not only on opioid receptors but on catecholamine and serotonin receptors. So, together with typical symptoms of withdrawal, atypical symptoms had been reported. Psychosis is one of tramadol atypical withdrawal symptoms which subsided a few days after the suppression of withdrawal symptoms. (NIH)
When Tramadol was first released in the United States in 1995, many people believed it was a safer alternative for pain relief than your typical opioids, however, that’s not the case. This medication may be relatively safe for someone that doesn’t have substance abuse issues, but for someone that does, the likelihood of abuse and addiction is great. The safest way to detox from Tramadol is in a medically supervised treatment environment. The withdrawal symptoms that come with a Tramadol addiction are very uncomfortable and can be dangerous. In a detox facility, you can be monitored and given approved medications to help manage the symptoms.
Treatment for Tramadol Addiction
If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction, our addiction specialists are available around the clock to assist you. Evoke Wellness Miramar offers cutting-edge addiction treatment in South Florida. We will help you get through the detox process with minimal pain and discomfort. We offer a safe environment and treat our clients with respect. Our mission is to help you build the foundation for long-term recovery. Your or a loved one’s new life can start now free from Tramadol dependency, contact us around the clock for professional help.