When tramadol was released to the public in the mid-1990s, experts felt certain they had a new prescription that could relieve pain without the same addiction risk as other opioids. Because it was seen as a safer alternative, doctors wrote millions of prescriptions—nearly 40 million in 2012 alone—before realizing this medication still has a very high abuse and addiction risk.1
If you or a loved one abuses tramadol, you aren’t alone. You may be one of these individuals with a tramadol prescription from your doctor. You may borrow or buy the drug from friends, family members or dealers. There are a lot of ways and reasons to misuse a drug like tramadol. There are also a lot of ways to end abuse and treat or prevent addiction.
What Is Tramadol Abuse?
Tramadol is an opiate agonist like morphine. It can help mask pain symptoms. When abused, it also provides a euphoric high. People who start using tramadol may find it hard to stop. The drug changes how you think and feel, and it creates strong cravings. Repeated use or abuse leads to mental and physical dependence. So, what exactly is tramadol abuse?
It’s surprisingly easy to abuse a drug. You don’t have to fit any sort of stereotype or be a certain “type” of person. Abuse happens any time you take a drug other than as prescribed. You may have a prescription for a valid medical concern, but you take pills a little more often or in bigger doses than recommended. You may not have a prescription but instead borrow tramadol from a friend or family member. You may take the drug to get high but have no intentions of ever becoming addicted. It doesn’t matter why you’re using tramadol—if you’re abusing it, you’re putting yourself at risk. Tramadol begins to take over your life, and you begin to feel like you have no choice but to keep using it. This is true on one level—ending addiction on your own is unsafe and impossible for many people—but it is false on so many others. Real treatment options exist. With the right help, anyone and everyone can find freedom from tramadol abuse and addiction.
Ending Tramadol Abuse
When you abuse tramadol, you often want to stop but find you can’t. You experience withdrawal symptoms if you miss a dose. These include anxiety, muscle cramps, flu-like symptoms and more. You don’t even have to have been taking tramadol for long to feel these! Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety explains that you can experience dependence and withdrawal symptoms within just weeks of starting use.2 And because addiction is more than just physical, even if you get as far as taking a day, a week or even a month off, you eventually come back to the drug. But while addiction does make stopping difficult, the right professional help makes it more than possible.
Personalized care makes all the difference when it comes to ending tramadol abuse. Treatment programs can incorporate pain management techniques into your treatment if your tramadol abuse began after an accident or illness. Therapy can focus on mental health and issues like depression, anxiety and PTSD that can contribute to abuse and addiction. No one therapy is right for everyone, but there is one (or more!) right therapies for you! At Michael’s House, we focus on customization. We get to know you, your unique circumstances and your individual strengths and goals. We’ll help you find real answers to addiction and options to support a future free from tramadol abuse. Call our helpline to learn more about what we offer and how we can help you or your loved one today.
1 “Tramadol.” Drug Enforcement Administration. Jul. 2014. Accessed 10 Apr. 2018.
2 Tjaderborn, M, et al. “Tramadol Dependence.” Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety. Dec. 2009. Accessed 10 Apr. 2018.