Tramadol is a synthetic opioid medication that is used to help alleviate mild, moderate, and severe pain from short-term and chronic conditions. It is often prescribed in place of oxycodone and other natural opioid-type medications because doctors often believe it is less addictive. However, even though this is a synthetic pain reliever, you can become addicted to Tramadol from ongoing use.
What is Tramadol?
Tramadol is available in immediate-release and extended-release capsules and tablets. Its chemical composition is similar to the effects experienced when taking codeine. However, it is synthesized and not made from natural opioids.
Doctors will prescribe Tramadol when other pain relievers do not alleviate pain and discomfort. Some of the more common reasons for prescribing this medication include:
Chronic pain conditions, like arthritis, fibromyalgia, and Crohn’s disease
Chronic headaches and migraines
How Can You Become Addicted to Tramadol?
Even though Tramadol is a synthetic opioid, it still interacts with nerve receptors in the brain to block pain signals. As it does, it also triggers the release of dopamine and serotonin, which are natural chemicals that make us feel good. As a result, people taking Tramadol can experience euphoria and an increase in perceived pleasure. They may also feel like they are “high,” relaxed, and very mellow. However, Tramadol prevents serotonin from being absorbed by the nerve receptors, which can change how the brain responds.
Because of the euphoric effects of Tramadol, some people may enjoy how it makes them feel while alleviating their pain. Unfortunately, this can lead to abuse and dependence. Ongoing use of Tramadol will cause the body to develop a tolerance for the medication, like other drugs.
Once a person has a tolerance to Tramadol, the drug’s effects are not as strong as they were when first starting the medication. To experience these same feelings, a larger dose of Tramadol has to be taken. Furthermore, as the effects of the drug start to wear off, the medication is taken more frequently than prescribed.
If you start abusing Tramadol, eventually you will be dependent on the medication. Once dependence develops, unless you seek help for Tramadol abuse, you will be on the path to addiction.
How Does Dependence on Tramadol Turn into Addiction?
At the dependence stage, individuals may believe that they need to take Tramadol in order to function. They could also start abusing it by taking larger doses or more frequent doses to avoid withdrawal symptoms or to intensify its effects. Additionally, as tolerance to Tramadol continues to grow, some people will start experimenting in abusing the drug using different methods, such as:
- Crushing the Tramadol and snorting it.
- Grinding the Tramadol into a powder, mixing it with water, and injecting it.
- Mixing Tramadol powder into tobacco or marijuana and smoking it.
- Drinking alcohol when taking Tramadol.
Each of these methods will intensify the effects of Tramadol. For example, when it is snorted or injected, the entire dose is released into the body almost immediately, rather than having to wait for it to pass through the digestive system.
Eventually, you will get to the point where Tramadol is all that matters in your life, which indicates you have developed an addiction to the medication.
Is it Possible to Quit Tramadol Cold Turkey?
If you have a dependence on or addiction to Tramadol, quitting cold turkey can be very dangerous to your personal health and well-being. Quitting any type of opioid, whether natural or synthetic, requires gradual weaning off of the medication. If you attempt to quit cold turkey, or without detox, the withdrawal process can be very intense and painful — and potentially life-threatening. Some people have even fallen into a coma or died from the severity of the withdrawal symptoms when they attempted to quit cold turkey.
Therefore, if you want to quit Tramadol, you need to be weaned off the medication. The process should be clinically or medically supervised to monitor your withdrawal symptoms and make adjustments as needed. For extreme addictions, MAT (Medication-Assisted Treatment) can be beneficial. The medications used with this treatment method can help stabilize withdrawal symptoms as Tramadol is gradually detoxed from the body.
Getting Help for Tramadol Addiction in Pennsylvania
If you have noticed you have developed a dependence on Tramadol or have become addicted and want help to stop, DreamLife Recovery offers Tramadol addiction treatment programs in Pennsylvania. Our opioid rehab treatments are tailored to your specific needs and objectives. We can explore what options will work best for you, such as MAT, and supervise your detox from Tramadol. For further information or to start rehab treatment, please feel free to call us at (844) 402-3592 or contact us today!