Tramadol Withdrawal Symptoms – What Are They and How Are They Treated?
The abuse of opioid pain relievers such as Tramadol is at the heart of the opioid crisis in America. The American Society of Addiction Medicine collected data in a study that revealed just how bad the problem is: in 2015, 2 million people were abusing an opioid pain reliever such as tramadol. One of the aspects of quitting that makes it so difficult is the tramadol withdrawal symptoms.
In this article, we will take a closer look at what the various tramadol withdrawal symptoms are and how to best treat them.
Why Do You Get Withdrawal Symptoms?
Tramadol withdrawal symptoms originate from the repeated abuse of the medication. While it is often marketed as an opioid with a low risk of abuse, it is still possible to become physically dependent on it.
Given enough time, any person can become dependent on tramadol. It occurs when a person’s body starts to adjust to the presence of tramadol. As more of the drug is abused, the body starts to change its chemistry by lowering chemical production of dopamine and serotonin. Without these chemicals working normally, it is near impossible for a person to feel any sense of joy. The body lowers its chemical production to try and counteract the overwhelming presence of tramadol. When use eventually stops, the body is left in this adjusted state, causing withdrawals symptoms as it slowly returns to normal.
Tramadol Withdrawal Symptoms
The exact withdrawal symptoms a person who is addicted to the drug may have various. With over 50 reported symptoms, each person usually has their own set of symptoms. This also stresses the importance of having professional care during this period as it is impossible to predict exactly what symptoms will manifest. In 90 percent of cases, a person is expected to experience common symptoms, but in 10 percent of cases, a person may have extreme paranoia and confusion, hallucinations, a numbing and tingling in their arms and legs and panic attacks.
The most common symptoms that most people experience are as follows:
- Pain in the muscles
- Panic attacks
- Vomiting and nausea
- Profuse sweating
- Severe stomach cramps
Tramadol Withdrawal Length
The tramadol withdrawal length can also vary from person to person based on how severe the addiction became and what types of medications are used to assist with the process.
The first symptoms begin after about 12 hours from the last dose the person took. Tramadol effects peak at around 4-6 hours, and mostly leave the body after 12 hours. Most people experience a peak in their symptoms at around day three. After about seven days, most people see a significant reduction in their symptoms, although some people are still affected by symptoms such as depression for weeks after detox.
Tramadol Withdrawal Medication
Research into a medically assisted approach to opioid withdrawal has yielded tramadol withdrawal medication than can assist in several ways. Among the most common medications used are as follows:
- Clonidine – Used to treat symptoms such as cramping, sweating, muscle pain and anxiety.
- Buprenorphine – This drug can help to reduce the withdrawal length and can also be used as a long-term opioid replacement solution, helping to prevent relapse.
- Methadone – Another drug that is used as an opioid replacement, methadone, can help to reduce symptoms during withdrawal. Some people may stay on the medication for years as a preventative measure.
- Naltrexone – The main purpose of this medication is to prevent relapse. It can be given as a once-a-month injection. It blocks the effects of opioids and is often used in conjunction with other medications.