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Tramadol addiction

Tramadol addiction: signs, symptoms and treatment

Around half a million deaths worldwide are attributable to drug use. Sadly, more than 70% of these deaths are related to opioids, with more than 30% of those deaths caused by overdose.


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Tramadol is a strong opioid drug, classed as a narcotic, which acts on the central nervous system to relieve muscle, joint and wound pain. It’s commonly given after surgery or serious injury and is also used to treat chronic pain, such as back problems, if weaker painkillers aren’t working. Whilst Tramadol is a highly effective and entirely legal prescription painkiller, constant use and abuse of it can cause dependence and serious health problems.

At Delamere, we have extensive experience of treating all kinds of painkiller addiction and prescription drug addiction at our purpose-built wellness retreat in Cheshire. Here, we explore how Tramadol addiction happens, the signs and symptoms of tramadol abuse and how to prevent and treat it with help from painkiller addiction specialists.

How does Tramadol addiction happen?

Tramadol works on pain receptors in the brain to change how your body feels and responds to pain. Similar to an antidepressant, Tramadol increases levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain which can cause a euphoric effect akin to that achieved when taking heroin. Tramadol also has an analgesic and sedative effect which can enhance feelings of calm and relaxation. When a person has been taking Tramadol for a while, they start to have cravings for this ‘high’ again and may decide to take more Tramadol to replicate the feeling.

When someone starts using a medication in a way that was not intended, either by altering the amount or frequency of it, a dependency can develop which can be physical, psychological or both. Our multi-disciplinary team at Delamere has years of experience treating prescription drug addiction and can help to remove the physical dependence on Tramadol as well as the psychological addiction.

Signs of Tramadol abuse and misuse

Classed as one of the least addictive opiates, Tramadol is often wrongly assumed to be a harmless prescription drug. This means people are more likely to take higher doses or to use it for longer than their doctor has prescribed.

Because Tramadol works directly on the brain, long-term abuse can affect someone’s judgement and ability to think clearly and logically. You may start to notice changes in a person’s behaviour such as mood swings or a tendency to withdraw from social situations. Someone addicted to Tramadol will try to hide their behaviour and may even lie to loved ones or their doctor to make their drug taking seem normal.
Physical warning signs of Tramadol abuse include vomiting, sweating, loss of appetite, muscle aches, sleep problems, trouble concentrating, dizziness and constant drowsiness. If a person takes too much Tramadol combined with other substances, such as alcohol or antidepressants, Tramadol can severely damage the brain and lead to potentially fatal consequences. A person who takes too much Tramadol may display these symptoms:

Constricted pupils
Extreme weakness
Changes in appetite
Dizziness
Nausea or vomiting
Drowsiness
Slurred speech
Cold, clammy skin
Headaches
Impaired coordination

Long-term painkiller addiction can lead to serious cardiovascular issues and intestinal problems. Tramadol addiction abuse or misuse can also lead to severe adverse reactions, such as seizures and Central Nervous System depression. If Tramadol is taken alongside another substance, more dangerous conditions can develop. Serotonin syndrome is another life-threatening complication of Tramadol misuse which is usually caused by the concurrent use of antidepressants. At Delamere, we are experts at treating prescription drug addiction, which means we can help you safely withdraw from Tramadol and develop coping strategies to move you away from addiction and into active recovery.

How long does Tramadol withdrawal last?

As with any prescription drug, if you need to take Tramadol for a long time your body can build up a tolerance to it. This means users need to keep upping their dose in order to achieve the same high or avoid nasty withdrawal symptoms. If you want to stop taking Tramadol, it’s important that you do so gradually. You may benefit from a clinically assisted drug detox at a residential treatment clinic, such as Delamere, where a team of trained medical staff will support you. Trying to come off a drug like Tramadol without specialist help could leave you with very unpleasant side effects including:

Anxiety
Sweating
Shaking
Tremors
Nausea
Diarrhoea
Agitation
Abdominal cramps

How long Tramadol withdrawal lasts will depend on the dose you are taking and whether you have developed a physical dependence. Withdrawal symptoms typically start between eight and twenty-four hours and can last for up to ten days, if untreated.

Never take more than the prescribed dose of Tramadol and speak to your doctor if you are thinking of stopping your medication so they can help you reduce the dose gradually. If you find the thought of quitting Tramadol alone too daunting, get specialist help from a recognised residential treatment clinic, like Delamere, to plan a medically assisted detox and ensure you withdraw safely.

How can Delamere help with Tramadol addiction?

People often come to us for help with painkiller addiction after they have recognised the need for help. We usually begin our treatment programme for Tramadol addiction with safe detoxification delivered by our expert clinical team. This usually takes place in the first week of addiction therapy at our purpose-built retreat beside Delamere forest, Cheshire.

Following safe withdrawal, our holistic therapists will work with you to identify the underlying cause of the Tramadol addiction and help you to develop coping strategies to manage your emotional, physical and psychological challenges. This involves a combination of one-to-one therapy, group sessions and evidence-based somatic experiences.
Whilst this is a difficult process, you will be supported by a caring team of professionals who are focused on your health and well-being. Everyone has a different story to tell, and we are keen to ensure your treatment and recovery plan is as individualised as possible to give you the best chance of overcoming your Tramadol addiction for good.

If you or a loved one would like to find out more about treatment for prescription drug addiction, please contact us at Delamere

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