Tramadol Addiction, Abuse, and the Dangers of This Widely Prescribed Drug

Tramadol addiction is becoming a more serious problem than ever in our country. Most people are familiar with this medication. It’s often used as a go-to drug to treat mild to moderate pain. It’s considered to be much less addictive than other opioid drugs, such as Oxycodone. It’s also quite effective at pain relief.

The problem is that this drug can be addictive, and abusing it is very common. In fact, sometimes people will abuse Tramadol without realizing they’re doing it. Perhaps this has been the case for you.

If you currently use or abuse this drug, and you’ve been doing so a long time, you could be addicted. It’s important to get the facts about this opioid drug. If you are an addict, getting help should be your first priority.

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What is Tramadol?

Tramadol is a medication that is frequently given to help with pain. For people with new injuries and mild to moderate pain, it may be the first one prescribed. This medication is sold under a few different brand names, including Ultram, Ryzolt, Rybix ODT and ConZip. Ultram ER is the extended release form of this drug. In many cases, it is combined with acetaminophen to increase its pain-relieving ability. 

When used correctly, this medicine works very well for pain relief. It is never intended to be used long-term. People who use it generally experience relief within an hour. It works by binding to an opioid receptor in the body. This blocks the sensation of pain.

Tramadol Addiction and Abuse

Because this drug is an opioid drug, it is considered to be a narcotic. However, it is one of the more mild narcotics on the market. This is typically why doctors feel more at ease prescribing it than Vicodin or Oxycodone. Even so, people can and do abuse it all the time.

When Tramadol is metabolized, it turns into desmetramadol. This a much more potent opioid drug. It is about ten times less potent than morphine.

As with any drug, this one does have some side effects, even with correct usage. People who take it may experience:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Bouts of constipation
  • Mild to moderate headaches 

After taking Tramadol a few times, these and any other side effects may subside as the body adjusts. If the side effects become more severe, a doctor should be informed. It may be necessary to treat them, or prescribe a different medication.

Can ConZip be Abused?

Like any other opioid drug, ConZip can be abused. Sometimes abuse occurs because people take their medication for too long. They may not realize that they’re abusing it. They may even increase how much of the drug they’re taking at a time. This is one of the first signs of ConZip dependence.

However, not everyone abuses Tramadol accidentally. Sometimes people will do it purposefully for recreational reasons. They do it because they enjoy the feeling of being high on this drug. They may or may not have a prescription for it.

Eventually, abusing ConZip may lead to the abuse of other prescribed opioid drugs. As time goes on, research has shown that it can even lead to the abuse of heroin.

It is possible to get high on as little as 50mg of Tramadol. However, the abuse dosage for most people is quite a bit higher. Online Ultram addiction forums are filled with stories of people who use this drug to get high.

Veterans to drug abuse often refer to this drug as “the poor man’s opiate.” With increased doses, the high is extremely intense. It causes sensations of euphoria and mental stimulation that are a bit different from other opiate drugs. The high can also last anywhere from 1 to 12 hours, depending on the individual.

According to one Tramadol user’s story on Erowid, the high can be quite different each time. He reported feeling stimulated, drowsy, paranoid, euphoric or carefree. At times, the high resulted in physical pain that was difficult to manage. In other cases, the high was intense, and unlike any other opioid drug he’d ever tried.

There are many different ways to abuse this medication. Sometimes people will abuse it by just taking it orally in tablet form. Tolerance does tend to build quickly with this drug, and after some time, that isn’t good enough. In order to feel more of the euphoric effects, people will chew the pills instead of just swallowing them. Snorting Tramadol is also very effective and this is usually the next step. It’s also possible to grind the pills down into a powder form. Afterwards, it can be smoked, or it can be mixed with a liquid and injected into a vein.

Any type of abuse is dangerous. However, injecting this drug is by far the most hazardous. People have died because of injecting it because they unintentionally overdosed. It can be difficult to know just how much of the drug you’re getting with this method.

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Tramadol Abuse Statistics in the United States

According to SAMHSA, the abuse of Tramadol has increased steadily over the last several years. Their statistics tell us that:

8,000,000

In 2008, there were 3 million prescriptions written for this drug. By 2013, that number had jumped to 8 million.

9

In 2011, on the list of narcotic pain relievers seized by law enforcement, this one was number 9.

250%

In 2005, there were only 6,255 ER visits pertaining to the misuse of this medication. By 2011, that number had increased 250% to 21,649.

20%

20% of these visits involved the use of this medication in combination with alcohol or another drug.

26%

26% of them involved the use of this medication in combination with three or more other substances.

34%

34% of these ER visits involved patients who were age 34 or younger. 31% of these patients were 55 or older.

These statistics tell us a number of things. We can see that the abuse of Tramadol is becoming more common because of more prescriptions. We can also see that it is a drug that people of all ages are misusing.

Anyone is at risk of abusing this medication. It is a highly dangerous drug that can lead to addiction when it is misused.

The Side Effects of Abusing Ultram

Someone who abuses Ultram is at a great risk for suffering from several side effects. In addition to the ones mentioned above, the individual may have problems sleeping at night. It is also possible to develop seizures or convulsions.

The biggest side effect of abusing this medication is the risk of addiction or dependence. It is possible to become both psychologically and physically dependent on this drug.

Physical dependence means that the person may feel strange unless they’re using it. They may start to experience physical withdrawal symptoms, such as:

  • Headaches
  • Body aches and pains
  • A runny nose
  • Physical cravings for Ultram
  • Shakiness in the hands

A psychological dependence on Ultram means that the person will go through mental withdrawal without it. These symptoms can become quite severe, and they can include:

  • Becoming extremely anxious
  • Having hallucinations
  • Experiencing delusions
  • Becoming depressed
  • Feelings of paranoia

Is Tramadol Addictive?

Yes, it is very addictive, and it’s not difficult to form an addiction to this medication. Once you have a Tramadol addiction, you feel as though you need to have it all the time. If you miss a dose for some reason, you may feel strange or start experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

Again, this medication is often chosen because the risk for addiction is lower. However, there are many drugs that can be addictive without being labeled as such. Any time you take a medication in excess, there is a risk of becoming addicted to it. This is certainly something to keep in mind.

Maybe you’ve been using Tramadol for quite some time, but you don’t think you’re addicted. You’re not really sure, but you need to find out. It’s important for you to know what your relationship with this drug is before you can move forward. You can do this in a few different ways.

Sometimes people can identify their addictions by taking quizzes. This prescription medication quiz may help you learn more. By answering a few simple questions, you can determine if you’re an addict. If you are, you’ll be able to find out how and where you can get help to quit using it.

You could also talk with a professional over the phone about your use of the Tramadol drug. Many drug rehab facilities offer free phone assessments for this purpose. This is helpful because it allows you to explain your drug use to an expert in the field. They will be able to tell you if you need to be treated for an addiction.

You can also begin by looking for some more common signs of addiction to Tramadol in your own life. Keep in mind that it’s not always easy to identify addiction symptoms in yourself. If you’re truly concerned, you may want to ask someone their point of view. A close friend or relative may be able to help you.

Some common signs of Tramadol addiction include:

  • Going through withdrawal when you miss a dose of your medication
  • Feeling as though you have to use this drug despite the harmful consequences
  • Using this drug frequently in order to get high
  • Consistently using it in a way that is contrary to the prescription
  • Having cravings for this medication
  • Visiting more than one doctor to get a prescription (doctor shopping)
  • Making your drug use a priority over everything else in your life

Have you done any of the above? If you have, you could be addicted. The worst thing you could do right now is panic. Sometimes people become addicted to prescribed pain medications on accident. If that has been the case for you, there are ways that you can stop taking it safely. We’ll talk about them in just a moment.

It’s difficult to say how long it might take to get addicted to Tramadol. For someone who is taking this drug as prescribed for a long time, it could take weeks, or months. For someone who is taking it in higher doses to get high, the timeline could be much shorter.

That means that at any point, you could form an addiction to it. Drug abusers frequently think that they’re immune to addiction. They believe that they can control whether or not they become addicted to anything. We want you to know that this is a myth. When you’re abusing Tramadol, an addiction can happen with your very next use. You won’t get a warning. Once you’re addicted, stopping it is very difficult, and it usually requires professional help.

Understanding the Short and Long-Term Effects of Ultram

People who abuse Tramadol do so because of its short-term effects. You’ll find that they’re not negative at all. This is a drug that produces a pleasurable high that keeps people coming back for more. However, with long-term use of this drug, the dangers of using it increase tremendously.

The short-term effects of Tramadol include:

  • No longer having any pain
  • Sensations of euphoria
  • A pleasant and happier mood
  • A reduction in anxiety levels
  • Feelings of being relaxed and calm

In the long-term, Tramadol is quite dangerous. The long-term effects of this drug include:

  • Feeling fatigued and lethargic
  • Problems paying attention and focusing
  • Memory problems
  • Respiratory problems
  • Loss of libido
  • Weight gain
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Feeling physically weak

Depending on the type of medication you’re taking, you could also be at risk for other health issues. You could develop heart problems, kidney issues or liver problems.

A Warning Against Stopping This Drug Cold Turkey

People will often misjudge the safety of a drug like Tramadol. They feel that they started taking it without a problem, so they should be able to stop the same way. They also believe that their doctor wouldn’t have given them something unsafe. Please know that this is a dangerous drug; especially when it has been misused.

If you stop taking it on your own, withdrawal is likely to be very difficult. In fact, it might be so difficult to manage that you go back to using again. If you do, you are at risk of an overdose.

Tramadol overdoses can occur when someone uses too much of this medication at a time. However, they are more likely to happen when someone relapses after trying to quit taking it. This is because of how quickly the body’s tolerance levels change.

As you have been taking this drug, you most likely increased your dosage slowly. This is because you needed more of it to feel the effects. When you quit, your tolerance levels drop pretty rapidly. If you relapse, you may not be aware that you don’t need as much any longer. You take your normal dose, and the result is an overdose.

The signs of a Tramadol overdose may include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Shallow breathing
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Extreme physical weakness
  • A slower heart rate
  • Cold and clammy skin

Signs That Someone You Love is Abusing Tramadol

It’s very difficult when you believe that someone you love is abusing their medication. You want to help so desperately, but you don’t know what to do or say. First of all, you need to be able to identify the problem.

You can look for the following signs to tell if someone you love is abusing Tramadol:

  • Secretive behavior, or even lying about their behaviors and whereabouts
  • Becoming very defensive when you talk about drug use
  • Becoming isolated from friends and family
  • Significant changes in their appearance and physical health
  • Serious financial difficulties
  • Problems at work, at home, or with relationships

You should talk with your loved one if you suspect they’re addicted to Tramadol. If that doesn’t work, you may want to consider having an intervention.

How to Stop a ConZip Addiction

If you know you’re addicted to ConZip, you need to know how to get off of it. Please be assured that there are ways for you to recover from this addiction successfully. However, you shouldn’t try to quit using it on your own.

Most people find that they need a combination of different types of treatment. This gives you the best possible chance of being successful.

Your first step should be to focus on detoxing from Tramadol appropriately. This is best accomplished in a controlled and monitored setting. You may have your dosage tapered down slowly. This will reduce the amount of stress placed on your body. Your withdrawal symptoms will also be greatly minimized.

You may be given other medications to help with the detoxification process. Opiate detox often requires this due to the severity of withdrawal. The medications will help to control your symptoms, making you much more comfortable.

You could also be a candidate for holistic detox. This means that no additional medications will be introduced. You’ll rely on a healthy diet and exercise to process toxins out of your body. This method carries fewer risks long-term.

After you have gone through the detoxification process, rehab is the next step. This is when you’ll focus on understanding the reasons behind your drug use. You’ll participate in many different types of therapy, including group counseling and individual therapy.

It’s important not to skip this step. It’s not enough to deal with the physical component of your addiction only. You need to know why you started using this drug. Once you discover the root cause, that is when healing takes place.

Finding the Best Tramadol Treatment Near You

If you have the desire to recover from your addiction to Tramadol, you can be successful. Here at Northpoint Recovery, we want to help you heal from your dependence on this medication.

It’s not easy to come to terms with the fact that you have an addiction. Once you do, although it may be challenging, the rewards of recovery are plentiful. We would love to help you start your recovery journey.

Are you interested in learning more about Tramadol addiction and abuse? Please contact us today.

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