Tramadol is a narcotic painkiller that doctors prescribe to tens of thousands of people who have significant, chronic pain in the U.S. each year, including in Colorado. It is often used for those who have arthritis or chronic back pain, but it can become addictive with prolonged use over months or years for persistent pain.
Tramadol is an opioid painkiller that is often used as an alternative to oxycontin. When you take tramadol, your brain cannot register your pain as well, and serotonin floods your brain and makes you feel good instead of bad. As your brain becomes accustomed to not feeling pain and feeling good instead, its chemical pathways change. When you stop taking the painkiller, your brain often suffers even more than it did before, which makes your body crave tramadol intensely.
Becoming Addicted to Tramadol
The process of becoming addicted to tramadol varies for each person. Some become addicted very quickly, while others may take months or years to develop tramadol addiction. The DEA has classified tramadol as a Schedule IV Controlled Substance, which has a lower risk for dependency than other opioid drugs but still has addiction risks. Other drugs classified this way include Xanax, Ambien, Valium, and Ativan among others.
It is possible to overdose on tramadol if you take too large a dose, or if you take tramadol with other drugs like Xanax or with alcohol. Naloxone may prevent death from a tramadol overdose but can cause seizures when used to counteract tramadol.
Many forms of tramadol also contain acetaminophen, which can cause stomach and intestinal bleeding in large doses. It is important to be monitored by a doctor while taking tramadol because of these risks.
Signs of dependency or addiction to tramadol include the following:
- Using tramadol other than how it is prescribed
- Using more tramadol than prescribed
- Lying about losing medication to get more
- Asking for refills sooner than should be needed
- Using multiple doctors and pharmacies to fill prescriptions
- Asking others who take tramadol for some of their pills (or stealing them)
- Constantly thinking about when the next dose of tramadol can be taken
- Suffering withdrawal symptoms when tramadol runs out or is cut back significantly
Stopping the use of tramadol may require help from a doctor. You will probably be weaned off tramadol slowly to avoid any withdrawal symptoms, and if you do have symptoms, there are medications that can help ease the symptoms.
After detox, the body will need time to readjust to not having the medication. It may take several weeks or months to feel like you did before you started taking tramadol, minus the pain, of course. Treatment can help you understand any psychological or emotional components to the addiction, which will make it easier to resist going back to using the drug again.
Recovery Village at Palmer Lake offers treatment options for addiction to tramadol and other opioid painkillers. Contact us for more information about all our programs if you need Colorado drug rehab.