If you are wondering whether you might be struggling with tramadol addiction, then you must have taken tramadol for a considerable amount of time. If you are not struggling with the addiction, understanding it can equip you with the information needed to help a loved one so let’s dive right into it.
Tramadol Uses and Effects
Tramadol is classified as a schedule IV drug by the FDA. It has a very propensity for addiction and misuse. While it’s not as strong as other opioids such as valium, Xanax, and Soma, tramadol has a high propensity for addiction.
To understand the effect of tramadol, we need to comprehend how it works. This medication eases pain by acting on two components in the brain that are responsible for pain. These compounds are norepinephrine and serotonin. The drug reduces the amount of the two components and by doing so, the sensation of pain is also reduced or eliminated.
Some individuals get a euphoric high while under the influence of tramadol; especially if it’s administered in high doses. This ‘high’ is one of the reasons why one might find themselves struggling with addiction to tramadol.
How to Recognize Tramadol Addiction
Just like any other addiction, there are telltale signs that can help you recognize if you or a loved one are struggling with addiction to tramadol.
1. The need to take more pills than prescribed.
When doctors prescribe tramadol, they start with a low dosage for the shortest time possible. If need be, they can prescribe a stronger dose. If you find yourself needing to take more than the prescribed amount to deal with pain, or get relief, this could be an early sign that you’re at risk of developing dependence on the drug.
Because tramadol has many side effects, should you find that you’re able to tolerate the effects while consuming more and more of it, then this is another reason to take a pause and evaluate if you are heading down the slippery slope of addiction.
Because opioids like tramadol act on the brain, many people who develop a dependency on it might find that they are easily irritable when not under the influence of the drug. You might get jittery, sweaty, and short with those around you more often than not. This is also another indication that you could be suffering from tramadol addiction.
3. Change in behavior
We are all creatures of habit or so they say. The truth is, we have patterns in our behavior that are almost constant. For instance, if you’re employed, you wake up at a certain time, get ready for work in a certain way, and get to work at a certain time. Individuals struggling with addiction tend to change their behavior and patterns. If someone has always been particular about their appearance, they might start to let go of themselves. Addiction makes one preoccupied with getting the next fix and as a result, other areas of their lives suffer.
4. Physical changes
Some physical effects stand out while one is on opioid painkillers. These include:
- Dilated or large pupils
- Inability to focus
- Slowed heart rate and breathing
- Anxiety and depression
- Nausea and sometimes vomiting
You must seek help for yourself or your loved one if you recognize any of the changes above. Individuals who suffer from addiction don’t realize how bad the situation is until things have gone completely out of hand such as an overdose, coma, and in the worst case, death.
How to Overcome Tramadol Addiction
The first and most significant step towards recovering from tramadol addiction is accepting that you have a problem. Many individuals do not recognize or admit to struggling with addiction. Intervention by close family and friends can help them make this realization and accept help.
It is always advisable that one involves a qualified physician during their recovery journey. A physician can carry out medical tests that can help assess the situation and determine the best cause of treatment. Depending on the situation, a doctor might recommend inpatient or outpatient care.
Relapse is a common and genuine concern for individuals recovering from tramadol addiction. Surrounding yourself with a good support system is key because they not only offer support but can help keep you accountable and prevent a relapse. Beyond family and close friends, joining a support group and having a sponsor who walks the journey of recovery with you is also imperative.
During recovery, one may encounter withdrawal symptoms from discontinuing tramadol use. These symptoms can be very unpleasant. They include hallucinations, tremors, anxiety, shivering, tingling, aggression, flu symptoms, and insomnia. If you’re in an outpatient recovery program, having a medical professional with you during the withdrawal phase is important.
Life After Detox
Going through detox is one of the most difficult phases of recovery. Staying clean after is even harder for individuals who struggle with dependence on tramadol. It is important that you continue attending meetings and engaging a sponsor if you have one.
Engage in hobbies or activities that keep you preoccupied. This helps to keep your mind off tramadol even on those days when the craving is intense. Most importantly, should you slip and relapse, do not beat yourself up or get tempted to stay down. You can fight the addiction and succeed.
More often than not, people struggling with addiction tend to replace one addiction with another. One can quit tramadol but become a sex addict, a chain smoker, an alcoholic, or other addiction. Being aware of this is important because there are no healthy addictions. Be deliberate during your recovery journey and you will reap the benefits ultimately.
If you are wondering if you are struggling with tramadol addiction, contact a healthcare professional today. There is no shame and seeking help before the situation gets out of hand. You can also seek help from a recovery center near you. Some of them offer support online and offline round the clock.