What Does Tramadol Do To You?
Tramadol is a pain medication, similar to opioid analgesics, used to treat moderate to severe pain. It is a narcotic and is a Schedule IV controlled substance. This means it does have medicinal benefits, but can also be addictive.
How Does Tramadol Work?
The pain receptors in the brain are altered by tramadol. This drug affects the central nervous system and blocks pain signals throughout the body. This drug can also treat depression.
Tramadol prevents the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. This improves mood and energy levels. Unfortunately, due to its relaxing and pleasurable effects, tramadol is highly likely to be abused, especially by a person who is already struggling with addiction or depression.
How Does Tramadol Affect You?
Tramadol relieves pain and has a relaxing effect. And as previously stated, it also elevates mood and reduces anxiety and depression. The National Institute of Health Case Reports in Psychiatry “Tramadol-Induced Mood Elevation in a Patient with No Previous Psychiatric History” states:
Tramadol is a powerful analgesic medication with antidepressant effects like venlafaxine. Hypomanic features were reported in patients with a psychiatric history of mood disturbance when tramadol was prescribed for them. However, it is extremely rare to notice such mood-elevating effects in patients who have no previous psychiatric history. We report on the observation of a distressing mood-elevating effect for tramadol in a patient with no previous psychiatric history. We present the case of a 26-year-old female patient who developed accelerated flow of speech, overactivity, and difficulty in sleeping following intake of tramadol 50 mg dose. These symptoms resolved four hours later and recurred as she retook tramadol. The patient has no history of mood disorders or any other psychiatric comorbidity. Clinicians should exercise caution when prescribing tramadol. (NIH)
When tramadol came out in 1995, it was said to be a good alternative pain medication with a low potential for abuse. However, tramadol was responsible for more than 20,000 emergency room visits in 2011. This was a 250 percent increase from 2005. So in 2014, the DEA switched the drug from “a drug of concern” to a Schedule IV controlled substance.
More About Consequences of Tramadol Abuse
Those that abuse tramadol often alters the drug to intensify its effects, especially the extended-release formula of the medication. Tramadol is crushed so it can be snorted, injected, or smoked. When the entire dosage is abused, all of the medication enters the bloodstream at once instead of over time. This causes a pleasurable euphoric feeling, but when the medication is abused like this, it can cause an increased risk for an overdose.
Tramadol is more likely to be abused by those that struggle with opioid addictions or chronic pain. It can help ease withdrawal symptoms and cravings for people going through opioid detox; however, it is also habit-forming and can lead to dependence and addiction. Tramadol by no means is a safe alternative to opioid pain medications.
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