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The Effects of Tramadol Use

Tramadol is a painkiller that is often prescribed for moderate to severe pain, like arthritis pain. People who have chronic pain may be prescribed an extended-release version of Tramadol, which allows them to experience pain relief on a constant basis. This drug is a narcotic, which means that some people may be at risk for addiction if they use it for a long period of time. Addiction is characterized by feeling a compulsive need to take the drug more frequently than has been prescribed, desperation to obtain more and the inability to function without the drug. If you or someone you love is suffering from Tramadol addiction, please call (800) 943-0566 for help.

Quotes on tramadol addiction

“My pain typically would occur over two or three days. I took one or two a day until it eased. But I noticed on the days I took Tramadol I felt more relaxed and coped with life better. Since the doctor had prescribed so many, at least two or three boxes, I started taking one every day.” Within six months, she was on four a day. “They had come from a doctor, so I was sure they couldn’t harm me,” she says. (source)

Short-Term Effects of Tramadol
Tramadol works by blocking pain signals traveling between the nerves and the brain. As a result, users may get high on Tramadol, even if that was not their intention when they first started taking the drug. Short term side effects of Tramadol include:

  • Elated mood. Tramadol works in a similar way to many antidepressant medications in that it increases the levels of serotonin in your brain. This leads to feelings of euphoria and well-being. Some users become addicted to Tramadol because of these feelings.
  • Anxiety reduction. Tramadol helps users feel relaxed and calm because of the way it changes brain chemistry.
  • Lack of pain. Tramadol is a painkiller; it blocks the transmission of pain signals to the brain so that you don't feel pain while you are taking it. This can be dangerous if you injure yourself because you won't feel the pain while on Tramadol.

Tramadol Effects question 1

These symptoms and signs can cause people to become addicted to Tramadol, especially if they have depression or anxiety issues.

Side effects of tramadol

  • dizziness
  • difficulty falling asleep
  • headache
  • uncontrollable shaking
  • nausea

Tramadol Effects question 2
Side Effects

There are also some possible negative side effects of Tramadol, even when taken over the short term. People who have a seizure disorder should not take Tramadol, because this medication can cause seizures. It also causes shakiness, feelings of lightheadedness and dizziness in some users.

Long-Term Effects of Tramadol
Tramadol is not usually prescribed for long-term use due to the undesirable effects that are experienced when this drug is used over a long period of time. These effects may vary, but they often include:

  • Tolerance: As Tramadol works by changing a person's brain chemistry, there is a risk of developing tolerance to this drug. As the body adapts to Tramadol's presence, users need larger doses of the drug to feel its painkilling and euphoric effects.
  • Physical dependence: Along with tolerance, many users experience physical dependence if they use Tramadol for a long period of time. Their bodies require Tramadol in order to function properly. If they stop taking Tramadol, they may become physically ill.

Tramadol Effects question 3

These side effects result in addiction. Many Tramadol addicts don't look for the drug on the street; they begin taking it as prescribed and then take a larger dose on their own when the medication stops working. People who are addicted to Tramadol may also obtain the drug illegally after their prescription runs out.

Emergency room visits due to suicide attempts involving tramadol

United States

Tramadol Effects question 4

If this has happened to you or someone you love, don't be ashamed. About 20 percent of the population has abused prescription drugs at some point in their lives, according to federal estimates. Help is available for you and your loved ones. If you want to end Tramadol addiction, please call (800) 943-0566 to discuss your treatment options.

Effects of tramadol overdose

  • decreased pupil size
  • difficulty breathing
  • slowed heartbeat
  • cold, clammy skin
  • coma

Effects of withdrawal from tramadol

  • gastrointestinal pain
  • depression
  • diarrhea
  • agitation
  • numbness

Tramadol Dependence
Tramadol dependence is the first stage of addiction. It occurs when you experience tolerance and physical addiction as described above. People who are dependent on Tramadol are not necessarily psychologically addicted. Psychological addiction occurs when you begin taking more Tramadol than is prescribed, and you start using Tramadol to get high or to avoid dealing with problems in your life.

Tramadol Effects question 5

Some people do become psychologically addicted to Tramadol and dependent on it. People who are using Tramadol to get high often crush it and snort it rather than taking it orally. If you are using Tramadol in this manner, please call (800) 943-0566 for immediate assistance. Snorting Tramadol can be fatal, but with the right assistance, you can stop engaging in this behavior. To help a Tramadol addict, call our helpline at 1-800-943-0566 for more information.

Treatment facility admissions for tramadol

United States, admissions for treatment, age 12+


All opiates

Average cost of tramadol

Tramadol, 60 tablets of 50mg: $23-55 (source)

Tramadol Withdrawal Treatment
If you decide you want help to discontinue your use of Tramadol, you should start by going to a detox center. Detoxification is when you withdraw from a drug under medical supervision. Doctors may give you other medications or treatments to help you with the physical discomfort you may experience while you withdraw from Tramadol. Many people experience flu-like symptoms such as vomiting and nausea while withdrawing from Tramadol. You may also experience tingling in your hands and feet.

Tramadol Effects question 6

After withdrawal is complete, you may want to attend an inpatient program at a rehab center. These types of programs require you to live at the center with other patients, who are also learning to live without the drugs they are addicted to. During rehab, you usually get individual and group therapy to help you learn new coping skills and ways of dealing with your emotions. Your friends and family may also receive therapy to help them process their feelings about how you behaved while in the throes of addiction. In addition, you probably will have the opportunity to attend support groups, like a 12-step program.

Most rehab programs last 30- to 90-days, although they may last longer. After rehab, you usually attend an outpatient program for about a year. Outpatient programs allow you to return to your normal daily activities while attending therapy sessions at a treatment center.

Prescriptions of tramadol by year

United States

Legal penalties involving tramadol

  • Tramadol has recently been reclassified to Schedule IV. (source)
  • Unlawful possession of a prescription drug such as tramadol can result in misdemeanor or felony charges, with potential prison time and/or fines. In some states, this can include a sentence of 5 years. (source) (source 2) (source 3) (source 4)
  • The effects of tramadol can be a factor in impaired driving, leading to DUI charges. (source)

Emergency room visits due to nonmedical use of tramadol

United States

Emergency room visits due to adverse reactions to tramadol

United States

If you are interested in treatment for Tramadol addiction, please don't hesitate to call (800) 943-0566 and receive information about your treatment options. It's completely possible to get off Tramadol and return to a happy, productive existence.

Need Help Understanding Your Addiction Treatment Options? Call 1-888-747-7155.