Tramadol Addiction and Treatment
In 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services declared the opioid crisis in the United States a public health emergency due to the number of opioid-related deaths that year, which was greater than 47,000.1 At its peak, doctors wrote 255 million opioid prescriptions per year, 81.3 per 100 people. But 2020 saw the lowest national prescription rate in 15 years, with doctors writing 142 million prescriptions, or 43.3 per 100 people.2
Despite the national decrease, some counties in the U.S. still have incredibly high opioid prescription rates. Nevada has had a particularly high number of opioid prescriptions, exceeding the national prescription rate. In 2012, the opioid prescription rate reached 98.9 per 100 people.3 In 2020, that rate was 47.4 prescriptions per 100 people, though Carson City still had a rate of 95.9 per 100 people.4,12
What Is Tramadol?
Tramadol is a prescription opioid used to treat moderate to severe pain.5 The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies it as a Schedule IV controlled substance, meaning that it is a legal medical treatment but does have a low risk of abuse.6
When tramadol was first introduced in 1995, it was not a controlled substance. Many people thought of it as the “safer” opioid. But because of growing concerns about misuse and addiction, the DEA classified it as a controlled substance in 2014.6
Tramadol Side Effects
Even though tramadol has a lower risk of addiction than other opioids, such as morphine or oxycodone, it’s not without risks associated with opioid misuse.7 Like all opioids, tramadol can have certain side effects. The most common ones include:5
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Feeling dizzy.
More rare but serious side effects include:7
- Suicidal thoughts and behaviors, especially for patients with a history of depression or who are taking antidepressant drugs.
- Respiratory depression (dangerously slow or stopped breathing).
Regular tramadol use can lead to tolerance, dependence, and addiction.7 Tolerance is when you have to take a higher dose of a drug to get the same desired effects.7 Dependence is when your brain and body are so used to a drug that you may have withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking it or suddenly reduce your dose.7 Addiction is a chronic disease marked by compulsive drug seeking and drug use, no matter the harms this causes in your life.7
- Respiratory depression.
- Extreme drowsiness or loss of consciousness.
- Pinpoint (constricted) pupils.
- Limp body.
- Cold and clammy skin.
- Low blood pressure.
- Irregular heartbeat.
Opioid overdose is a medical emergency, as it can lead to brain damage, coma, or death.7 If you think you or someone else is overdosing, call 911 right away.
Tramadol Withdrawal Symptoms
As stated, withdrawal symptoms may appear if you are dependent on tramadol or other opioids and suddenly reduce your dose or stop taking it altogether. Common tramadol withdrawal symptoms include:6,7
- Trouble falling or staying asleep (insomnia).
- Increased sensitivity to pain.
- Shakes (tremor).
- Goosebumps and chills.
- Stomach cramps, nausea, and diarrhea.
- Drug cravings.
Because tramadol is a little different than other opioids, roughly 1 in 10 people may instead have these other rare symptoms of tramadol withdrawal:6
- Hallucinations (seeing, feeling, or hearing things that aren’t there).
- Paranoia (extreme distrust of others).
- Severe anxiety or panic attacks.
- Tingling or numb feeling in arms and legs.
How to Get Help for Tramadol Addiction
If you’re worried about your tramadol use, talk to your doctor. They can help you choose the best treatment for your recovery needs. Many people begin their tramadol addiction recovery with detox. Professional medical detox can help keep you safe while managing distressing withdrawal symptoms.10
After detox, many people enter formal treatment to address the underlying thoughts and behaviors that led to addiction in the first place. Common treatment settings include:8,12
- Inpatient rehab, where you live at a treatment center for the length of treatment. Inpatient programs offer 24/7 care and support and can last anywhere from a few days or weeks to a year, depending on your recovery needs.
- Outpatient rehab, where you go to individual or group appointments while living at home. As with inpatient treatment, outpatient addiction treatment can vary in length and intensity. The least intense programs may only meet a few hours per week, while more intense programs meet every day.
No matter which treatment setting you choose, your treatment will likely include one or more of the following:8–11
- Behavioral therapies, which help you learn about and change your harmful thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to drug use. Behavioral therapies also teach how to cope with your triggers (the people, places, and things that make you want to use drugs).
- Addiction treatment medicines. Prescription medicines such as buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone are FDA-approved to treat opioid use disorders. These medicines help reduce drug cravings, lower the risk of overdose, and prevent relapse (return to drug use after a period of not using).
- Peer-support groups. 12-step programs such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and SMART Recovery can help you strengthen the skills you need to maintain your recovery.
Finding Tramadol Addiction Treatment in Las Vegas, NV
It takes a lot of courage to ask for help. Know that you are not alone, and you do have options. American Addiction Centers is a leading provider of tramadol detox and addiction treatment in Nevada and across the nation. If you’re ready to begin your recovery, call our 24/7 free and confidential hotline at . Our skilled and compassionate admissions navigators will listen to your story without judgment and help you find the right treatment for your needs.
Does your insurance cover treatment at Desert Hope in Las Vegas?
Check your insurance coverage or text us your questions to learn more about treatment by American Addiction Centers (AAC).