Is tramadol addictive? Because this painkiller is less potent than other prescription opioids, many people believe that tramadol is safe. Unfortunately, this misconception leads some to develop a false sense of security about the drug.
You can develop an addiction to tramadol without even realizing it. Misusing it increases your risk of developing an addiction, even when you have a prescription. If you think you or a loved one has an addiction to tramadol or other opioids, Gateway Foundation wants to help. Our tramadol drug addiction rehabilitation centers in Illinois save lives every day.
WHAT IS TRAMADOL?
As an opiate drug, tramadol treats pain by interacting with the body’s opioid system. Its status as an opioid can also make it very addictive during use.
Regularly taking tramadol can interfere with the brain’s natural chemical messengers and cause physical changes to some of the brain’s structures and pathways. This process can lead the user to develop a growing dependence on tramadol to feel normal. Also, some users become tolerant to tramadol, needing a larger dosage to feel its effects. This growing drug tolerance can also lead to misuse and addiction.
Tramadol has the following brand names:
Compared with other opiates, tramadol is considered safer. In fact, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration classifies tramadol as a Schedule IV substance — meaning most experts consider it useful for medical care with a low potential for abuse. Contrast this classification with heroin, which is a Schedule I drug, and fentanyl, which is a Schedule II drug, and you may believe that tramadol is completely safe. However, this belief opens the door to taking the medication not as prescribed, which can put you at a high risk of addiction.
HISTORY OF TRAMADOL
When tramadol was first approved in 1995, the drug was not considered an opiate like oxycodone or morphine even though it acted on the body in similar ways. Soon, the use of tramadol became associated with cases of misuse and addiction among patients.
This association led the FDA to designate tramadol as a controlled substance in 2014. This designation means that tramadol has accepted medical use, but patients must be monitored because of its potential for misuse and addiction. Regulations include lower prescription refills and new prescriptions needed every six months.
HOW TRAMADOL WAS INTENDED TO BE USED
Doctors most often prescribe tramadol to treat moderate to severe pain in adult patients. The drug comes in an extended-release form, which can be used for around-the-clock pain management. However, patients should not use this form of tramadol on an as-needed basis. Physicians commonly recommend tramadol for osteoarthritis patients or those with other chronically painful conditions.
HOW TRAMADOL IS USED ILLICITLY
Even when tramadol is used as prescribed under a doctor’s supervision, users can experience adverse reactions. However, the danger of tramadol lies in its addictive nature and potential for misuse, which can put users at risk for severe side effects or even overdose. Misuse could include:
- Taking more tramadol than prescribed
- Taking the drug without a prescription
- Polydrug use, or combining tramadol with alcohol or other substances to enhance its effects
Unfortunately, tramadol misuse seems to be on the rise. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported that the number of tramadol related emergency room visits increased by 250% in just over five years. Regardless of whether an opioid is considered safe, users must be cautious to ensure they don’t develop an addiction to the drug.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS OF TRAMADOL ADDICTION
If you’re contemplating how to stop taking your prescription tramadol, you may already be struggling with a dependence or even an addiction to this drug. Opioid addiction does not always seem obvious to someone who has one. These signs may show that you or someone you know has an addiction to tramadol or another opioid:
- Keeping a “stock” of tramadol even when not experiencing pain
- Acting out of character and making riskier decisions
- Having difficulty at work or school because of opioid use
- Feeling unable to stop using tramadol and other opiates
- Dedicating substantial amounts of money and time to tramadol
A professional opioid addiction screening can also help you determine if you have an addiction. During one of these appointments, an expert will learn about your symptoms and behaviors to provide a diagnosis. As a disease, opioid addiction can receive treatment that reduces its effects.
SIDE EFFECTS AND RISKS OF TRAMADOL MISUSE
When you get help for your tramadol addiction, you can find relief from its side effects and withdrawal symptoms. The side effects of tramadol include:
- Uncontrollable shaking
- Mood changes
- Dry mouth
- Muscle tightness
During tramadol use, anyone can develop a dependence over time. A tramadol dependence causes the body to rely on opioids for basic functions, resulting in withdrawal symptoms without the drug. You could have a tramadol dependence if you have these symptoms when you stop taking it:
- Tramadol cravings
- Muscle aches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Confusion and paranoia
Tramadol overdoses can result in stopped breathing that may cause death or brain damage. Getting tramadol addiction treatment can help you lower your risk of overdose and help you stop taking opioids.
HOW A TRAMADOL DRUG REHABILITATION CENTER CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE
Opiate addiction clinics like Gateway help patients like you transform their lives. With the support of your care team, you can:
- Rebuild relationships with your family, friends and loved ones
- Get back to a stable life at work, school or home
- Plan a future without the influence of opioids
- Manage the emotional and physical effects of addiction
- Create coping strategies for situations that give you the urge to use tramadol
Treatment programs for tramadol addiction give you the tools and resources you need to set recovery goals and achieve them.
SERVICES OFFERED AT TRAMADOL DRUG REHAB TREATMENT CENTERS
Modern opiate addiction treatment combines medication with therapy and social services. The typical elements of a tramadol addiction treatment plan include:
- Medical care: Medications and other treatments can help you manage the physical effects of opioid addiction.
- Behavioral services: Therapy and group meetings allow you to learn recovery strategies in an accepting environment.
- Social support: An opiate addiction clinic can refer you to community services that help with food, housing and other necessities.
By addressing the ways that addiction affects your life, tramadol rehab treatment can greatly improve your chance of a successful recovery. Your care team will help you figure out if you will benefit more from an inpatient or outpatient program.
GATEWAY’S TRAMADOL DRUG ADDICTION REHAB CENTERS IN ILLINOIS
At Gateway, we provide personalized, evidence-based treatment. We create a patient-centered experience with the following approaches:
- Addressing underlying conditions such as chronic pain and depression that contribute to addiction
- Nurturing a community of patients through support groups and alumni connections
- Using multiple therapy models, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, trauma therapy and 12-step programs
These methods and more set us apart from other tramadol addiction treatment centers.
The experts at Gateway have more than 50 years of positive outcomes in supporting patients in recovery. Our team provides the resources needed to have a successful recovery during and after treatment. To learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment, contact our staff online.