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Is Tramadol Addictive?

Are you wondering if Tramadol is addictive? We can help.

Tramadol, sold under the brand name Ultram, is an opioid analgesic medication prescribed to manage moderate to severe pain. Tramadol is part of a family of drugs known as opioids. These are synthetic drugs created in labs to mimic the effects of poppy plant-based opiates like morphine or heroin. They are often used in medicine for pain management, but they carry a high risk for physical dependence, drug abuse, and adverse effects, which means tramadol addiction is possible.  

Tramadol was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1995 . In 2014 it was placed on the Schedule IV list of drugs under the Controlled Substances Act. Tramadol can be prescribed in two ways:

  1. Oral consumption by tablet, extended release or standard (most common)
  2. Injection

The analgesic, or painkilling, effects of tramadol include a number of side effects like nausea, constipation, and itchiness. More dangerous side effects include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Respiratory depression
  • Overdose

Who Uses Tramadol?

Common Abused Drugs

Tramadol is a prescription medication that doctors sometimes prescribe after surgery or following a painful accident that requires recovery time. They may also use it to treat chronic pain. When used correctly, tramadol can offer pain relief and help someone be more comfortable during the healing process. When used incorrectly, tramadol and other opioid medications inhibits people’s ability to live healthy, productive lives. This kind of substance abuse carries the potential for adverse reactions, a risk of dependence, and even overdose and death if not addressed.

Tramadol Addiction: Is It Possible?

Tramadol is a synthetic opioid that carries a high risk for abuse and addiction. Tramadol may not be as strong as other opioid brand names like Oxycontin or Vicodin, but it still affects the opioid receptors in your brain at a chemical level. When you take tramadol for severe pain, it releases endorphins in the brain. After the drug wears off and the high goes away, it can lead to significant cravings, drug-seeking behavior, and abuse. Tramadol abuse has a high risk for overdose and death. This is particularly true when the drug is abused for a long time. 

What makes opioids even more dangerous is their reaction to other drugs and alcohol. When combined with antidepressants or migraine medication, tramadol can react with the central nervous system and cause a condition called serotonin syndrome. This is when too much serotonin hits the brain at once. It causes symptoms like:

  • Insomnia
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Confusion
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • High fever
  • And more

Herbal products like St. John’s wort can also cause increased serotonin reuptake in the brain. If you’re taking other drugs or supplements, it’s important to tell your doctor about them before taking tramadol.

When combined with alcohol, the risk for respiratory depression, difficulty breathing, organ damage, and even death with tramadol use grows exponentially. Frequent drinkers should talk to their doctors before taking tramadol. These dangerous drug interactions make it even more important to get help right away if you or someone you love is abusing tramadol or taking it without a prescription.

Signs and Symptoms of Tramadol Addiction

Watching someone fall victim to tramadol addiction can be devastating. Opioid abuse is dangerous in the short and long term. This is true even when it’s prescribed for pain management. Getting help right away is essential for recovery. The longer you use opioids, the more difficult it can be to detox and recover.

If you suspect a loved one is using tramadol or any other opioid, there are signs and symptoms to look for. Someone may not exhibit all the adverse effects, or they may develop the issue slowly over time.

Here are some common signs that someone is addicted to tramadol:

  • They take more than the prescribed dosage.
  • They take tramadol when not in pain.
  • They have frequent mood swings.
  • They engage in dangerous or risky behavior.
  • Their sleeping or eating habits change.
  • They have bad personal hygiene.
  • They’re constantly asking for money.
  • Their friend groups change.

Prescription opioids and substances containing tramadol carry the risk for physical dependence. If you experience the signs and symptoms of tramadol addiction above, it’s time to reach out to an addiction facility that’s experienced in combating addiction to pain medication. Prescription drug addiction from a caring team of medical professionals can go a long way in helping someone stop using tramadol.

Tramadol Withdrawal Symptoms

is tramadol addictive pic

Tramadol withdrawal symptoms can vary in severity and duration, depending on how long you’ve been taking the medication, as well as your individual body chemistry. Common tramadol withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Excessive sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Tremors
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Vivid or strange dreams

In some cases, individuals may also experience flu-like symptoms such as:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes

While these symptoms can be concerning, having a professional medical team by your side can make all the difference. That makes medical detox the best choice. Withdrawing from tramadol at Vogue Recovery Center is safe and comfortable. The clinical staff can help ease tramadol withdrawal symptoms and make the process as easy as possible for you.

Tramadol Treatment Options at Vogue Recovery Center

When tramadol addiction threatens someone’s life, it can be difficult to know where to turn for help. Vogue Recovery Center offers tramadol treatment at our licensed treatment facilities. Our opioid recovery programs use evidence-based treatment to reduce withdrawal symptoms and set you up for success. We also help manage chronic pain and end the dependence to opioid medication.

Medical detox – Medically supervised detox is usually the first step in ending a tramadol addiction. It helps manage the serious side effects that come with tramadol withdrawal. Detox at Vogue Recovery Center is part of an overall alcohol and drug recovery plan created for you by a team of board-certified therapists. Detox is necessary to prevent opioid overdose and other serious side effects of tramadol abuse. Drug detox is just one of the levels of care necessary for recovery.

Residential addiction treatment – Inpatient treatment is a comprehensive approach to opioid recovery. Clients are in treatment full-time, attending meetings and working towards a goal of sobriety. Clients do not leave the facility during residential treatment. The medical professionals on hand offer programs and therapies designed to help you cope with triggers and develop skills to avoid opioid medicine in the future.

Partial hospitalization program (PHP) – PHP is beneficial because it allows more flexibility in addiction treatment than inpatient rehab does. Clients only spend about six hours per day in therapy programs. They live at home and take part in their daily lives outside of treatment. That means going to school or work while also focusing on ending substance use disorders.

Intensive outpatient program (IOP) – An IOP is aimed at helping you transition back to your everyday life. That means learning valuable coping skills to use when triggers arise. During intensive outpatient care, you’ll only go to meetings or therapy a few times per week.

Outpatient treatment – Outpatient rehab is a transition from rehab to sober living completely on your own. Clients only attend treatment programs once or twice per week, although your treatment counselors are available around the clock in case you need support.

Tramadol inhibits your ability to live life to the fullest. Not seeing the signs of tramadol abuse or getting help for a tramadol addiction increases the risk of overdose and death. Don’t face tramadol withdrawal and recovery alone. Vogue Recovery Center is committed to providing compassionate clinical care and recovery services for those struggling with tramadol misuse or any painkiller addiction. Call today and learn more about verifying insurance and getting started with treatment programs for any substance use disorders.


Evan Gove

Evan Gove

Evan Gove is a writing and editing professional with ten years of experience. He graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges with a degree in Writing & Rhetoric. When not writing, you can find him enjoying his sunny hometown of Delray Beach, Florida.
Evan Gove

Latest posts by Evan Gove (see all)

Published by Evan Gove

Evan Gove is a writing and editing professional with ten years of experience. He graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges with a degree in Writing & Rhetoric. When not writing, you can find him enjoying his sunny hometown of Delray Beach, Florida.

Medically Reviewed by Kelsey Jones, MS, LPC