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Can You Get Addicted to Tramadol?

Tramadol is an opioid painkiller most commonly prescribed for the short-term treatment of moderate or severe pain. Because it has a high potential for misuse and dependence, tramadol is typically prescribed to be taken for no more than 2 weeks at a time. If you or someone you love has been struggling with a tramadol addiction, Brentwood Springs is available to help. 

Our Nashville, Tennessee drug detox provides clients with a safe, pain-free tramadol withdrawal. While tramadol detox is only the first step on the road to recovery, it is a necessary first step. At Brentwood Springs we focus on thorough and personalized aftercare planning, preparing each of our clients for continued success on the road ahead. To learn more about our Nashville tramadol detox program, contact us today. 

What Is Tramadol?

Tramadol is the generic name for a prescription medication that treats moderate to severe pain. Tramadol is marketed under several brand names, including Ultram, Ryzolt, and Conzip. This potent prescription painkiller is classified as a synthetic opioid analgesic. It is chemically similar to highly addictive opioid narcotics like morphine, oxycodone, and fentanyl. 

An article from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) titled “Emergency Department Visits for Drug Misuse or Abuse Involving the Pain Medication Tramadol” reads, “Although tramadol offers important medical benefits when used appropriately, it can have serious health consequences when taken without medical supervision, in larger amounts than prescribed, or in combination with illicit drugs, alcohol, or other prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Tramadol can produce a modest level of physical dependence. Tramadol prescriptions increased 88 percent from 23.3 million in 2008 to 43.8 million in 2013.”

Fortunately, there is help readily available to individuals who have been struggling with tramadol misuse or dependence. At Brentwood Springs, we offer effective treatment options for tramadol addiction. Contact us directly to learn more. 

How Long Can You Take Tramadol Before Getting Addicted?

How long can a person safely take tramadol before getting addicted or developing a physical dependence? The answer varies on a person-to-person basis. However, because tramadol is such a potent narcotic painkiller, physical dependence could begin developing in as little as two weeks. 

For most, physical opioid dependence develops over several months of consistent use. However, the process can be sped along if a person is using a high dose of tramadol or combining tramadol with other chemical substances, like alcohol, benzodiazepines, or other types of opioids. 

If a person experiences withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to cut back on the dose being taken, medical detox might be necessary. At Brentwood Springs, we offer effective treatment options for drug addiction in Nashville, Tennessee. 

Tramadol Addiction Signs & Symptoms 

Tramadol interacts with receptors in the central nervous system (CNS) to alleviate pain. Additional side effects include improved mood, enhanced relaxation, and mild euphoria. The pleasurable effects of tramadol use may prompt a person to take the substance in greater amounts or more frequently than directed, leading to physical dependence. 

This misuse of tramadol leads to the development of physical tolerance, meaning a person must take the drug in larger doses for the desired effect to be achieved. Withdrawal symptoms develop when a person who is addicted to tramadol stops taking the drug abruptly.

The signs and symptoms associated with tramadol addiction vary on a person-to-person basis. The severity of symptoms depends on several factors, including:

  • The length of time a person has been using tramadol
  • The dose of tramadol the person is taking daily
  • Whether or not tramadol is combined with other substances
  • The presence of any co-occurring mental health concerns 
  • The presence of any pre-existing medical/physical conditions
  • Whether or not addiction treatment has been sought in the past

Diagnostic Criteria for Tramadol Addiction

In most cases, tramadol addiction results in two or more of the following symptoms:

  • Attempting to get multiple prescriptions for tramadol by visiting several prescribing physicians (a behavior known as “doctor shopping”)
  • Buying or stealing tramadol from another person
  • Continuing to use tramadol for longer than directed by the prescribing physician
  • An increase in risk-taking behaviors surrounding tramadol use (combining tramadol with other substances or driving while under the influence, for example)
  • Continuing to use tramadol after experiencing negative repercussions/consequences
  • Lying to friends and family members about the amount or frequency of tramadol use
  • Developing a physical tolerance and experiencing withdrawal symptoms
  • Repeatedly trying to stop using tramadol with limited or short-term success

Short & Long-Term Effects of Tramadol Misuse 

Short-term use of tramadol results in a range of physical and psychological effects, from sedation to nausea and dizziness. 

Common short-term effects of tramadol use include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Low energy levels 
  • Profuse sweating 
  • Sleepiness/excessive drowsiness 

Long-term effects of Tramadol misuse include:

  • Persistent constipation and other gastrointestinal issues
  • Sexual dysfunction/low libido or sex drive
  • Legal problems that result from the illicit acquisition of tramadol or actions taken while under the influence of this drug
  • Medical problems due to slips, falls, impaired driving, or other dangerous behaviors performed while under the influence of tramadol
  • Frequent absences from school or work, which can lead to expulsion, job loss, and unemployment
  • Strained relationships with family members, romantic partners, and friends
  • The onset or worsening of co-occurring mental health concerns including anxiety, depressed mood, and suicidal ideation
  • Increased risk of overdose and overdose-related death

Tramadol Addiction Treatment Options 

Brentwood Springs Detox offers the following treatment options, helping clients begin their journeys toward long-term addiction recovery. 

  • Medical Detox — During medically monitored detox, a person undergoes a safe and comfortable tramadol withdrawal under the close supervision of a team of licensed medical professionals. 
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) — MAT is beneficial for those struggling with moderate or severe opioid dependence. Certain medications help alleviate the more severe symptoms of withdrawal while reducing drug cravings. 
  • Therapeutic Intervention — In addition to professional medical care and the use of certain comfort medications, therapeutic intervention plays an important role in long-term tramadol addiction recovery. 
  • Comprehensive Aftercare Planning — Medical detox is an important initial step on the road to recovery from addiction. However, to be truly effective, it must be followed up by a supplemental level of clinical care. Depending on the unique needs of each client, this could be inpatient or outpatient treatment. 

Tramadol Addiction Treatment in Nashville, TN

If you or someone you love has developed a physical and psychological dependence on tramadol, effective treatment is available. Brentwood Springs Detox in Nashville, Tennessee, can help you find your way out of the devastation of untreated tramadol addiction.

Contact us today and your journey towards the happier, healthier future you deserve.

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