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Tramadol Addiction: How Long Does It Take to Become Addicted?

tramadol addiction

Tramadol addiction is a condition that can be dangerous and potentially even deadly.

Tramadol is classified as an opiate drug prescribed to alleviate moderate to moderately severe pain. People who suffer from chronic pain or have recently undergone surgery find it helps provide pain relief. Tramadol works in the brain by altering how the body experiences and responds to pain. 

Tramadol differentiates from other similar medications in that it is a fully synthetic drug. Drugs like codeine and morphine are opiates derived from the opium poppy. Tramadol is completely designed by humans and not found in nature. 

If you are reading this, you are likely wondering how long does it take to become addicted to Tramadol. This article will provide answers, along with information to help you understand this potentially addictive drug.

The History of Tramadol

Introduced to the U.S. prescription drug market in 1995, initial reports about Tramadol include a potentially major advantage. It was touted as being less addictive than some of the other synthetic opiates, such as Percocet and oxycodone. This news led to many believing that Tramadol provided a risk-free way to enjoy pain relief. 

Tramadol was originally not labeled as an opiate drug, a classification that includes morphine and oxycodone. Despite this, many cases of abuse and addiction began to surface. In 2014, the Food and Drug Administration classified Tramadol as a controlled substance. This action tightened up the regulations related to the drug. It limits the number of refills a doctor can prescribe, as well as requires a new prescription every six months. 

The Centers for Disease Control reported that from 1999-2019, almost 500,000 people died from opioid-related overdoses. Overdose deaths involving prescription opioids were five times higher in 2017 than in 1999. The World Health Organization reported that in 2018, approximately 58 million people worldwide used some type of opioid drug. A total of about 35 million were classified as suffering from a substance abuse disorder. 

These alarming statistics highlight the seriousness of the abuse of prescription drugs like Tramadol. Whether a person began using it responsibly for pain medication or developed a recreational reliance on it, Tramadol addiction is a global problem. 

The Benefits of Tramadol Usage

People who use Tramadol find the pain relief it provides to be quite beneficial. The drug also provides other benefits. Some users experience anxiety relief when taking it. For those suffering from anxiety disorders or high levels of stress, this proves advantageous. 

Typically, opiates do not provide anti-depressant effects, but Tramadol does that for some people. Some users report experiencing higher energy levels, feeling more alert, and even the sensation of euphoria. These resulting feelings contribute to many people taking Tramadol recreationally. Used as a party drug without having a prescription does not keep a person safe from developing an addiction.

How Long Does It Take to Develop a Tramadol Addiction?

The short answer is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all response to the question of how long does it take to become addicted to Tramadol. Similar to other potentially addictive drugs, several things factor in. 

How much the person consumes, how often, and their particular body chemistry and responses factor in. A person’s current level of physical health and family history of drug abuse can also factor in. Some people have been shown to be more prone to addictive behaviors and responses, which can affect their odds of abusing Tramadol.

Regular consumption of Tramadol alters the chemistry in the brain. The brain becomes accustomed to the drug, which in turn builds up a tolerance for it. As this happens, a person likely requires a higher dosage in order to achieve the same pain-relieving effects. As this cycle repeats, a person risks developing an addiction to Tramadol. They may increase the dosage or amount of times they take it without consulting with or informing their prescribing physician. 

If you or a loved one find yourself concerned about whether or not an addiction to Tramadol has developed, here are some questions to consider:

  • Do I take more than the amount prescribed?
  • Do I take dosages more frequently than prescribed?
  • Do I feel uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when I don’t take Tramadol?
  • Do I attempt to acquire refill prescriptions early?
  • Do I procure Tramadol from sources other than my doctor?
  • Do I spend excessive amounts of money securing Tramadol?
  • Have my work life or relationships suffered due to Tramadol usage?
  • Have I lost interest in hobbies due to usage of Tramadol?
  • Do I neglect my hygiene?
  • Am I experiencing negative health consequences that may be related to addiction?

Side Effects of Tramadol

As with all prescription medications, a risk of side effects accompanies taking them. Side effects for use and abuse of Tramadol include:

  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Insomnia
  • Dry mouth
  • Shaking
  • Hallucinations
  • Cognitive Dysfunction

Going Off Tramadol Requires Professional Supervision and Treatment

When stopping the use of Tramadol, withdrawal symptoms may occur. Medical professionals recommend patients only wean themselves off Tramadol under medical supervision. They will likely need guidance related to the amounts to take and how often. Doctors can monitor any side effects experienced by their patients. 

Withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Flulike symptoms
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Hallucinations
  • Tremors
  • Aggressive behavior

If a person has reached the stage of developing a substance use disorder, they will need to discuss a detoxification program. Trying to detox alone and without supervision is not recommended. Typically, a formal program that takes place residentially or in a medical setting provides the safest way to detox. 

After detoxification is completed, a residential treatment program gives people a leg up on staying in recovery. These treatment facilities offer help with the physical cravings for Tramadol, as well as therapeutic support for the emotional aspect of withdrawal. 

Many people who suffer from a substance abuse disorder also have co-occurring mental health issues. These can include conditions like depression, anxiety, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, and others. Many treatment programs offer treatment for both the addiction and the co-occurring illnesses.

Tramadol Addiction Treatment in Dallas, TX

If you or someone you love needs help dealing with Tramadol addiction, we can help. Casa Colina is a world-class residential addiction treatment program. We offer residential treatment, multiple treatment modalities, and 24/7 medical supervision. Casa Colina is located in a beautiful area near Dallas, TX. Contact us now by clicking here to find out how to get started with your recovery.

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