Written by: Nicki Hari
Medically Reviewed by: Dr Mateen Durrani – MBBS, DPM, MSc, BCPsych
Last Updated: January 3rd, 2023
Tramadol is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic that is widely prescribed for the relief of moderate to severe pain. However, it is also increasingly abused and misused for its euphoric and sedative effects. Tramadol addiction can develop quickly and can have serious negative consequences on every part of your life. If you are suffering from an addiction to Tramadol, it is important to know that there is help available. At Primrose Lodge, we have helped countless individuals overcome their Tramadol addiction and reclaim their life.
What is Tramadol addiction?
Tramadol addiction is when you compulsively use Tramadol despite the negative consequences it has on your life. While taking Tramadol for pain relief can be helpful, Tramadol addiction is a serious problem that can cause physical, mental and psychological problems as well as problems in your relationships, career and finances. While not everyone who takes Tramadol will develop a Tramadol addiction, those who abuse the drug or take it for non-medical reasons are at a higher risk of developing an addiction.
While Tramadol addiction usually develops after extended excessive use, it is possible to become addicted after taking Tramadol for just a couple of weeks. The important thing is to be aware of the signs of addiction and to get help as soon as possible if you think you may have developed an addiction.
How is Tramadol taken and abused?
Tramadol is generally taken orally in the form of tablets or capsules but it can also be crushed and snorted or injected. This increases the intensity and duration of the Tramadol’s effects allowing the user to get high. Tramadol addiction often starts when people begin misusing Tramadol by taking it more often or in higher doses than prescribed, or by taking it without a prescription. Tramadol abuse can also involve taking Tramadol with other drugs or alcohol to enhance its effects.
Why is Tramadol addictive?
There are two main routes to Tramadol addiction: taking the drug on prescription and by abusing it recreationally:
Tramadol addiction via prescription…
Prescription Tramadol addiction often starts when people have been prescribed the drug for pain relief after an injury or surgery. Because Tramadol is so addictive, it is not uncommon for people to start misusing it and eventually develop a tolerance where they need to take higher and higher doses to get the same pain-relieving effects. Some people don’t realise that prescription medicines can be addictive and may believe they are still experiencing the original pain or discomfort when in fact they are experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
Tramadol addiction via recreational use…
Recreational Tramadol abuse often starts when people are looking for a way to get high. Tramadol can produce feelings of euphoria, relaxation and sedation, which make it attractive to recreational drug users. Tramadol for recreational use may be obtained in a number of different ways, including buying it on the street, taking it from a friend or family member who has a prescription or ordering it online.
Whatever the initial reason you started taking Tramadol, as your tolerance grows you can end up developing a physical dependence on the drug and ultimately find yourself in the grips of Tramadol addiction.
What are the health effects of Tramadol addiction?
Tramadol addiction can have a number of serious short- and long-term health effects. In the short term, these Tramadol addiction symptoms include:
- Dry mouth
In the long term, Tramadol addiction can lead to even more serious health issues such as:
- Liver and kidney damage
- Respiratory problems
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and paranoia
Ultimately, many of these health effects can potentially lead to death, as can a Tramadol overdose. The risk of Tramadol overdose is heightened when Tramadol is abused in combination with other drugs or alcohol which heightens its effects.
How does Tramadol addiction impact your life?
Tramadol addiction can also have a number of negative consequences on other aspects of your life.
Relationship problems are common among those addicted to Tramadol as the drug takes over your life and you can start neglecting your partner and family. You may also start lying to them about your drug use or stealing from them to fund your addiction.
Tramadol addiction can also lead to financial problems as the drug is expensive and you may start spending all your money on it. Your career or education can also suffer as a result of Tramadol addiction as the drug affects your ability to concentrate and make decisions. You may start missing work or school, or you may be fired or expelled as a result of your drug use.
Being addicted to Tramadol can also lead to legal issues. In the UK, it is illegal to possess Tramadol without a prescription and you may be prosecuted if you are caught with the drug. If you buy Tramadol online, you may also be breaking the law as it is illegal to import controlled drugs into the UK. These offences could potentially lead to a prison sentence.
Tramadol addiction can have a profound and negative impact on every aspect of your life. It is important to be aware of the signs of Tramadol abuse and addiction so you can get help before the drug takes over your life.
How to identify the signs of Tramadol addiction
Spotting the signs of Tramadol addiction in yourself and others can be difficult. This is because Tramadol addiction is a cunning and deceptive disease that can make people believe they are in control of their drug use when in fact they are not.
If you are concerned that your Tramadol use has spiralled out of control here are some questions to ask yourself which may point to Tramadol addiction symptoms:
- Do I take Tramadol more often or in higher doses than prescribed?
- Do I feel the need to take Tramadol even when you’re not in pain?
- Have I tried to quit taking Tramadol or cut down but been unsuccessful?
- Do I continue to take Tramadol even though it’s causing problems in my life?
- Has my use of Tramadol led me to engage in risky behaviours such as driving while under the influence or purchasing Tramadol illegally?
If you recognise any of these Tramadol addiction symptoms, it is important to seek professional help as soon as possible. At Primrose Lodge, we can provide you with the expert help and support you need to overcome your Tramadol addiction and get your life back on track.
Lies that your Tramadol addiction will tell you
Tramadol addiction thrives when it is able to convince you and the people around you that there is no issue and that you need to keep taking the drug. Here are five of the most common lies that Tramadol addiction will tell you:
Overcoming Tramadol addiction
If you are addicted to Tramadol, you will need a professional rehab treatment programme to overcome your addiction. At Primrose Lodge, we support you through the entire journey to help you overcome your Tramadol addiction and get your life back on track.
Tramadol detox is when all traces of Tramadol are removed from your body. It is an important first step in overcoming Tramadol addiction as it will enable you to break your physical dependence on the drug.
Tramadol rehabilitation involves therapeutic treatment to address the underlying causes of your addiction. This involves both group and one-to-one therapies as well as evidence-based treatments and stress management techniques.
Aftercare support is important to help you stay on track with your recovery once you have completed treatment. At Primrose Lodge, we offer a 12-month aftercare programme that includes regular check-ins and group support to help prevent relapse. You will also be invited to join our Alumni community where everyone gives and receives advice and support during difficult moments.