What is Withdrawal from Tramadol Like?

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Withdrawal from Tramadol can be excruciating, and most people who try to detox from this drug without help will go back to using if only to end withdrawal.

Tramadol is a prescription opiate painkiller that’s used to treat moderate to severe pain. Like all prescription opiates, Tramadol is highly addictive, and misusing it puts you in serious danger of overdose. Withdrawal from Tramadol should be undertaken at a detox clinic, and BAC can help you find a high quality, reputable detox program that suits your needs.

Why is Tramadol So Addictive?

Tramadol produces an intense feeling of euphoria and a keen sense of wellbeing. This incredibly pleasant high leads users to want to experience it again and again. At some point, Tramadol use may become compulsive, which is the addiction, and you may begin to experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop, which is the dependence.

To understand the nature of Tramadol addiction and dependence, it’s important to differentiate between these.

Tramadol addiction is characterized by being unable to stop using Tramadol even though it’s causing problems in your life, such as financial or legal troubles or relationship or health problems.

Addiction occurs due to changes in the brain resulting from the substance abuse. As your brain learns that using drugs gives you pleasure, it begins to make iron-clad connections between using and the pleasant feelings it causes. At some point, it stops wanting the drug and begins needing it. The resulting cravings are powerful enough to lead you to use the drug no matter how dangerous it is and no matter how much damage it does to your life.

Tramadol dependence is characterized by Tramadol withdrawal symptoms that set in when the drug is withheld from the body.

Dependence occurs due to the way the brain changes its chemical function in order to compensate for the presence of the drug. As a result, a tolerance develops, which means that you need increasingly larger doses to get the same effects. Eventually, brain function may reach a tipping point wherein it operates more comfortably with Tramadol than without. Then, when you try to stop taking it, normal brain function rebounds and causes Tramadol withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal from Tramadol can take up to seven to ten days, but the cravings can last far longer.

Symptoms Associated With Tramadol Withdrawal

Withdrawal from Tramadol is different for everyone. For some, it will produce mild symptoms, and for others, Tramadol withdrawal will be excruciating. Not everyone will experience all of the possible withdrawal symptoms, which are flulike and include:

  • Extreme cravings.
  • Body aches.
  • Cold and hot sweats.
  • Runny nose.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Abdominal cramps and diarrhea.

Easing or preventing these symptoms is the goal of medical detox or medication-assisted treatment.

Medical Detox and Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medical detox is supervised by medical and mental health professionals. Medications will be given as needed to reduce the intensity of your withdrawal symptoms. Ideally, you will detox in a warm, comforting environment where you’ll have a lot of support from staff and from others going through the same thing. A high-quality detox program will include complementary therapies like yoga, acupuncture, or massage therapy to help you detox more comfortably and give you a stronger sense of well-being. Unfortunately, once withdrawal from Tramadol is complete, you will still have cravings, which may last for some time, although some medications may be able to help reduce these.

Medication-assisted detox involves administering regular doses of a synthetic opiate drug that doesn’t produce the same psychoactive effects as opiate painkillers. These medications include methadone and buprenorphine, and they prevent withdrawal altogether, including keeping cravings at bay. This enables people to focus on their recovery, including learning essential skills for combating cravings and other triggers, finding employment, and finding purpose and meaning in life. Some people are on medication-assisted treatment for a few months, while others take it for the long-term. Many people will take medication for the rest of their lives.

Which type of Tramadol withdrawal program is best for you depends on many factors. If you want to stop using Tramadol or another prescription opiate but find that the Tramadol withdrawal symptoms are too intense to weather alone, BAC can help you find the right detox center and treatment program for you.