If you think tramadol is a benign drug, think again.

This past spring we met Frank, a middle-aged man from the southwest who was using large amounts of tramadol daily, originally for back pain. His doctor prescribed a certain amount, the rest he purchased online.

He educated himself enough to recognize he had developed quite a tolerance to the tramadol, and although he was able to wean himself down to a slightly lower dose, the side effects of withdrawal prompted him to seek help.

What is Tramadol?

Tramadol is used to treat pain in adults that is severe enough to require an opioid analgesic and for which other treatments do not work. It is sold under brand names including Ultram, Conzip, and Rybix. In addition to acting as the opioid pain receptor, tramadol also inhibits the uptake of two neurotransmitters, norepinephrine and serotonin, which may add to its pain-relief effects. What others tend to not realize is that Tramadol, similar to opiates such as morphine, fentanyl, or oxycodone, has many of the same effects as an opioid and can result in just the same dangerous dependencies.

Patients are often shocked to learn that tramadol can create.a physical dependence. Indeed, tramadol was originally approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a non-controlled analgesic. However, changes to the controlled substance status of tramadol were made when reports of drug abuse, misuse, and criminal diversion were noted. In fact, at the Coleman Institute for Addiction Medicine, we detox several people a year off of this medication.

In addition, the continued use of Tramadol has become relatively common, although the drug has been shown to cause a craving response similar to that for oxycodone. In the end, individuals become so addicted to the medicate seeing induced drug-seeking behaviors and leading to dependence and further addiction to drugs.


Tramadol Withdrawal Symptoms

For many, Tramadol withdrawal can cause not only the typical opioid withdrawal symptoms but also contribute to anxiety, depression, mood swings, insomnia, tremors, and more. What Tramadol does is that it affects the brain system and neurochemical pathways that when heightened decrease the normal brain activity and substitute by producing a level of dopamine and other neurotransmissions. This system is often what contributes to overall drug abuse and addiction, considered to be one of the most dangerous aspects when using the drug.

Tramadol Physical and Mental Side Effects

In addition to withdrawal symptoms like anxiousness and insomnia, many patients can also experience additional effects related to the drug such as:

  • Heart Palpitations
  • Depression
  • Nausea
  • Lack of Focus and Cognitive Ability
  • Increased risk-taking behaviors

  • Treatment for Tramadol Addiction

    Like many other harmful drugs that lead to addiction, there are treatment options available for Tramadol. It takes the right research and finding a skilled professional team - to ensure a smooth and safe recovery. At The Coleman Institute we offer a variety of addiction and dependency treatments with a detox process that is customized, prevents relapse, and ensures the best possible recovery.

    To provide actual patient insights, our friend Frank did well during his detox process. We scheduled a five-day minimum for a tramadol detox, but because Frank was taking over 500mg a day, we extended him out for seven days. Each day we reviewed precisely what dosage and when to give Frank his comfort medications. By receiving a daily micro-dose of Naltrexone, by day 7 most of the Tramadol was of of his detox went very smoothly.

    Frank, his wife, and son were in a comfortable room, and we always provide a nice lunch for any support teams. In the end, Frank was so grateful to find a place that could help him. He was ready to be present for his wife and happy be a more involved father to his son.

    If you have any questions about tramadol or how to safely stop using it, or are struggling to stop using medications such as Oxycontin®, Percocet®, Roxicet®, Vicoprofen®, fentanyl, heroin, Suboxone®, or methadone, please don’t hesitate to call us at 877-773-3869.


    Joan R. Shepherd, FNP