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Tramadol is a prescription medication used to relieve moderate to moderately severe pain. Like opioid analgesics, tramadol works in the brain by changing how it perceives, feels, and responds to pain. Unfortunately, this narcotic-like pain reliever is addictive, meaning that even well-intentioned users have an increased risk of becoming dependent on the drug. With frequent and prolonged usage of tramadol, many users begin to tolerate the drug. This, in turn, causes the user to continually take more of the drug to achieve the desired effect.

Furthermore, because withdrawal from this drug can often be intense, a person dependent on tramadol may continue to take this drug to ward off the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Tramadol addiction is further perpetuated by avoiding these unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, causing the user to become powerless to the drug’s effects on their life and well-being.

To break the chains of addiction to tramadol once and for all, one must learn how to safely and effectively detox from this prescription medication. Furthermore, by seeking the help of a trained medical professional at the onset of addiction, one has a much greater chance of stopping addiction at its tracks and living sober in the long run. 

Tramadol Abuse & Withdrawal Symptoms

Tramadol is most often abused because it has a calming and euphoric effect on users. Because tramadol works on the central nervous system by slowing down lung and heart function, people who abuse this drug most often report feeling more relaxed and happy when taking this drug. As a result, this can cause them to take more of the drug to feel more elevated states of “bliss.” However, taking more of this drug than prescribed can cause serious, even fatal, side effects such as: 

  • Unconsciousness
  • Coma
  • Seizures
  • Respiratory depression
  • Abnormally low blood pressure
  • Weak muscles
  • Slow heart rate
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Tramadol can affect each individual differently depending on many factors, including the individual’s chemical and genetic makeup, how much of the drug is taken, if the drug is taken with other substances, and how long the user has been using the drug, and the user’s mental health. As such, withdrawal symptoms from detoxing off tramadol can uniquely affect an individual depending on those factors. 

Common withdrawal symptoms from tramadol include:

  • Sweating
  • Irritability
  • Runny nose
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Hypertension
  • Panic, paranoia, or panic attacks
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Confusion or delirium
  • Psychosis
  • Increased blood pressure or heart rate
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Agitation
  • Muscle aches or pains
  • Fast breathing

Because this is not an all-inclusive list, it is imperative that if one experiences any of these symptoms or any other abnormal side effects, they contact their doctor immediately. Furthermore, one must seek help through a medical professional before detoxing off tramadol so that these and any other withdrawal symptoms can be mitigated or avoided.

Tramadol Withdrawal Timeline

As withdrawal symptoms can vary, each individual’s withdrawal timeline may also vary. However, tramadol withdrawal symptoms are typically experienced within 12 hours of the last dose. Therefore, it is likely that tramadol withdrawal peaks within a few days and then tapers off, although withdrawal’s psychological impact may continue significantly longer.

A common withdrawal timeline might look like this:

  • Days 1-3: Onset of withdrawal that includes feelings of “being on edge,” nervousness, nausea, anxiety, palpitations, insomnia, sweating, and drug cravings 
  • Days 4-7: A continuation of drug cravings and insomnia, along with disorientation and confusion
  • Days 8-14: A lessening of withdrawal symptoms, although psychological symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and irrational thoughts may persist
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If a medical professional properly tapers tramadol, withdrawal symptoms typically last only 5-7 days. However, if improper tapering is used, the symptoms may be more intense and last longer. Any symptoms that occur longer than a week are considered post-acute withdrawal symptoms and may include: anxiety, depression, mood swings, insomnia, irritability, and more.

Depending on the severity of the addiction, these symptoms can last between 18-24 months or more, with the severity decreasing over time. If withdrawal symptoms are intense, a doctor may prescribe an over-the-counter medication to alleviate the symptoms. As such, seeking help through a trained medical professional is one’s best bet to safely and effectively detox while mitigating any potential uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

How to Safely Detox and Withdrawal from Tramadol

Because of its addictive nature, seeking help through a medical professional or an intensive outpatient/inpatient drug rehab center will provide the individual suffering from addiction to tramadol the safest and most conducive environment for recovery and healing. Drug rehab facilities, in general, are the most beneficial to one seeking long-term recovery because they have procedures in place that target every angle of addiction to ensure optimal recovery and long-term sobriety.

Furthermore, attending an inpatient rehab facility allows an individual to recover without the distractions and temptations of the outside world. This is one of the best ways that a solid foundation of recovery is built before entering back into the challenges of everyday life. With that being said, both intensive outpatient/inpatient drug rehabs employ therapists and counselors that specialize in addiction so that the root of abusing tramadol in the first place is addressed. By getting to the core of the problem and learning new, healthier ways of dealing with stress or overwhelming emotions, one has a much greater chance of maintaining sobriety in the long run. 

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Breaking free from the bondage of addiction can set you up for a lifetime of happiness and fulfillment. As such, seeking help for a tramadol addiction will guarantee you walk on a path of sobriety sooner rather than later, as being in the grips of addiction can waste precious moments of your life that could be used for living out the life you’ve always dreamed of instead. 

You deserve this freedom from addiction. As a premier drug rehab in Dallas, Infinite Recovery is equipped to help you break the chains of addiction and regain control of your life. Reach out today and get started on your recovery journey.

Sources:

Infinite Recovery has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations for our references. We avoid using tertiary references as our sources. You can learn more about how we source our references by reading our editorial guidelines and medical review policy.

1. WebMD. Tramadol Oral: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Pictures, Warnings & Dosing – WebMD. Accessed June 25, 2022. https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-4398-5239/tramadol-oral/tramadol-oral/details

2. Osborn CO. How Long Does Withdrawal From Tramadol Last? Verywell Mind. Published October 2, 2021. Accessed June 25, 2022. https://www.verywellmind.com/tramadol-withdrawal-4177612

Amanda Stevens, BS

Medical Content Writer

Amanda Stevens, BS

Amanda is a prolific medical content writer specializing in eating disorders and addiction treatment. She graduated Magnum Cum Laude from Purdue University with a B.S. in Social Work. As a person in recovery from disordered eating, she is passionate about seeing people heal and transform. She writes for popular treatment centers such as Ocean Recovery, Ascendant NY, The Heights Treatment, Epiphany Wellness, New Waters Recovery and adolescent mental health treatment center BasePoint Academy. In her spare time she loves learning about health, nutrition, meditation, spiritual practices, and enjoys being the a mother of a beautiful daughter.

Last medically reviewed June 25, 2022

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