Tramadol is a pain medication known as an opioid analgesic, which affects the response to pain in the nervous system and brain. Tramadol is a drug used to treat pain—it is used for consistent, lingering, moderate to severe pain. The abuse of Tramadol can lead to dependence, and eventually addiction.

What Is Tramadol?

Tramadol is a prescription medication used in the treatment of pain, also known as Conzip, Rybix, Ryzolt, and Ultram. 

Tramadol comes as a long-acting tablet or capsule, which is taken by mouth every four to six hours as needed, with or without food. The medication should be taken exactly as directed. Due to reports of abuse of Tramadol shortly after its arrival on the market in 1995, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) then made revisions in product labeling to warn against abuse and addiction.


Opioids must be prescribed with caution. Doctors will typically prescribe opioids in small doses, to prevent against dependence. This can be risky for those with chronic pain, as the doctor may prescribe the drug for daily use. At the same time, the dosage will be restricted, in order to prevent overuse. Side effects of short-term opioids abuse can include sedation, nausea, constipation, and dry mouth.

Tramadol is known as one of the least potent opioids. At the same time, even while taking opioids under the supervision of a medical professional, abuse can still occur.

Signs And Symptoms of Tramadol Abuse

If a person suffers from Tramadol abuse and addiction, they may behave irrationally, neglect friends and family, and abandon activities they once enjoyed, as well as neglect personal hygiene and other general responsibilities.

The individual may feel anxiety or stress when they are unable to access the drug. They may care about using Tramadol above everything else. This is a symptom known as compulsive behavior, or using when one has the impulse (when it comes to abuse, often). The individual may also use despite physical harm to themselves or harm done to other people.

When Tramadol is used the most common side effects are dizziness, headache, constipation, and stomach pain. If an individual experiences any of these side effects in greater severity, they should seek medical attention immediately. Since Tramadol is a prescription opioid, when used outside of a doctor’s prescription, there is a greater risk for abuse, as well as dangerous side effects.

When abused, excessive use of Tramadol can also enhance usual side effects.

Common side effects of Tramadol abuse include:


  • Changes in appetite
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Sedation
  • Seizures
  • Depression
  • Impairment of coordination
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Fever
  • Trouble with concentration
  • Muscle aches
  • Sweating

The Dangers of Tramadol Addiction

Tramadol is dangerous to mix with other substances, such as alcohol. Tramadol can produce the effect of lessened anxiety and euphoria. As both Tramadol and alcohol both affect the central nervous system, when used together, the effect of both drugs are heightened.

When mixed with alcohol, Tramadol can produce the following symptoms:


  • Memory loss
  • Seizures
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of coordination
  • Irregular breathing

Suicidal thoughts are also a risk that comes with Tramadol abuse. For those that suffer from emotional disturbances, mood problems, depression or suicidal thoughts, prescribing Tramadol is not recommended. The use of Tramadol can also heighten the effects of other opioids, which can also increase the risk for overdose.

Another danger in abuse of Tramadol is overdose, which includes the following symptoms:


  • Shallow breathing
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting
  • Bluish discoloration

If overdose occurs, seek medical attention immediately. Specific medications and procedures can be carried out to prevent against overdose. An overdose of Tramadol can lead to coma and even death.

Once a person decides to cease the use of Tramadol entirely, the process can be very challenging. The period of time known as withdrawal can include many dangerous symptoms, and a detoxification process typically follows.

Tramadol Withdrawal and Detox

Dependence is known as the complete reliance of the body upon a drug, such as Tramadol. When dependence occurs, it can be very difficult to cease the use of Tramadol. Symptoms of dependence include continued use of the drug even with repeated attempts to stop, or even while adverse effects seriously impede daily living. When this occurs, this is known as addiction. When an individual attempts to cease use of Tramadol and end the abuse, the symptoms that follow are known as withdrawal, an extremely uncomfortable process that should be completed with the aid of a medical professional.

Symptoms of Tramadol withdrawal include:

  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Vomiting
  • Restlessness
  • Diarrhea
  • Bone pain
  • Body aches, cramps

During the period of withdrawal, the individual will go through difficult, painful symptoms. When symptoms of withdrawal are too challenging for the individual to go through on their own, a detoxification process with the supervision of a medical professional is recommended.

The detoxification process in an inpatient treatment center or a medical facility provides a comfortable process for the monitoring of patient symptoms, providing medications if necessary, and generally creating a comfortable atmosphere for healing while the body removes itself of the harmful toxins of Tramadol.

While the detoxification process removes the substance from the body, this is not a complete cure for Tramadol abuse or addiction. By following up the detox process with a stay in an inpatient treatment center, this assures the best possible chance for recovery.

Treatment for Tramadol Addiction

 To effectively treat a substance abuse disorder (SUD), medication and behavioral therapy is the most effective method of assuring a complete recovery.

Often treatment begins with a tapering process or the medical method in which the drug is slowly taken in lesser amounts, decreasing the dosage until it is stopped entirely. Since the withdrawal process is so difficult, many who attempt to go through it by stopping the drug all at once find themselves turning to abuse again. In order to prevent relapse, a technique known as behavioral therapy is also used.

Behavioral therapy is a practice used for improving mental health. This therapeutic practice focuses on the developing of positive coping strategies, in order to change beliefs, thoughts, and attitudes. It is believed that the process of adopting positive coping strategies will assist in symptoms of substance abuse by changing thought-patterns and improving responses to prevent adverse responses, such as the abuse of a substance.


Since the withdrawal and detoxification process should be followed by inpatient treatment, inpatient treatment centers typically offer both. For someone struggling with Tramadol abuse and addiction, this is crucial to recovery.

In addition to withdrawal, detoxification, and therapy, a treatment center is likely to also offer other therapeutic support in the form of group therapy, assistance in 24-hour medical support, and a generally stable environment to promote health and healing.

Get in touch today and we can discuss your options for recovery.



Medline Plus—Tramadol