Tramadol Side Effects
Tramadol is a commonly prescribed opioid that is taken to alleviate physical pain, but its side effects can be serious and are important to understand. The purpose of this page is to help people understand the side effects of Tramadol and how to get help for Tramadol abuse, addiction, and dependence.
Why is Tramadol Prescribed
While Tramadol has a low potential for abuse or addiction, it is possible to become physically dependent or even addicted to the drug. Tramadol is classified by the Food and Drug Administration as a Schedule IV drug, meaning that it has an accepted medical use and a low potential for abuse or addiction.1 Tramadol is an opioid analgesic that acts on the central nervous system to relieve moderate to moderately severe acute and chronic pain from medical issues like osteoarthritis and post-surgical pain.1,2,3
According to a report by the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention, Tramadol is frequently prescribed. In 2019, the rate of Tramadol prescriptions was 49.4 prescriptions per 100 people in Nevada. Nationally, the 2019 prescription rate was 46.4 per 100 people with 153 million total prescriptions that year.4,5
Side Effects of Tramadol
When taking Tramadol, you may experience unwanted effects of the medication.3 The most common physical side effects occur when someone has just begun taking Tramadol, and include nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.2 You may also experience mental side effects, such as feeling sad, discouraged, irritable, unusually excited, experiencing unusual sleepiness, or trouble with concentration.3
Severe mental health outcomes, including increased risk of suicidal ideation and suicide death, have been linked to opiate abuse. Opioid abuse increased the risk of suicidal ideation by 40% to 60%, even when medication was being taken to control other physical and mental health conditions. Opioid abuse was correlated with double the rates of suicide death among men and 8 times the rates of suicide death in women. The likelihood of making a suicide plan was 75% higher among those who were abusing opioids.6
If taken over a longer period of time, Tramadol can become addictive.7 Tramadol abuse has been prevalent throughout the history and development of the drug, and people with a history of other substance abuse are most susceptible to Tramadol abuse.2 Intoxication may occur if you abuse Tramadol or take more than prescribed. Tramadol intoxication symptoms include severe physiological responses, such as depression, respiratory depression or arrest, cardiovascular collapse, tachycardia, and seizures.
Addiction happens when a substance like Tramadol is used for a long time, causing chemical changes in the brain that lead to behavioral changes.
Symptoms of addiction include: 7
- Acting irrationally if Tramadol is not in your system.
- Being distracted by a desire to take Tramadol regardless of the harm it causes you.
- Using Tramadol compulsively.
- Disregarding health issues.
- Experiencing relationship problems.
- Disregarding work or other responsibilities.
- Disregarding personal hygiene.
- Taking Tramadol to experience euphoric effects or to deal with stress.
- Taking Tramadol without a prescription or in any other way than it was prescribed to you.
Taking too much Tramadol can lead to death. Tramadol fatalities are associated with overdose of Tramadol, or taking Tramadol with other substances such as alcohol.2 Nearly 70% of all overdose deaths nationwide in 2018 were from opioids, and the rate of death from synthetic opioids such as Tramadol continues to rise, reaching 9.9 per 100,000 in 2018. In Nevada, the prescription opioid overdose death rate reached 7.2 per 100,000 in 2018. 8
Long-Term Side Effects of Tramadol
When someone has a history of substance abuse, or takes more Tramadol than prescribed, dependence on the drug can occur more quickly. Tramadol dependence can also develop in people taking Tramadol as prescribed.3
Another long-term side effect of Tramadol that stems from dependence is withdrawal, which can be identified through negative physical and mental symptoms. Tramadol withdrawal occurs after extended use of Tramadol has caused dependence7 Withdrawal symptoms occur if you suddenly stop taking Tramadol.3
Signs of physical withdrawal include: 2,9
- Flu-like symptoms.
- Tramadol cravings.
- Gastrointestinal issues.
Mental health symptoms include:2,10
- Agitation or anxiety.
- Panic attacks.
- Confusion or disorientation.
- Intense paranoia.
The amount and frequency of taking Tramadol impacts withdrawal symptoms.2
Tramadol withdrawal symptoms and severity are affected by the length of time you have used Tramadol and the amount taken. The first signs of withdrawal occur within a few hours after the last use, and more severe symptoms become apparent within the first few days. After about a week, symptoms of withdrawal usually begin to subside.10
Taking other medications or using other substances in conjunction with Tramadol may exacerbate side effects. Taking other medications, using alcohol, or using street drugs while using Tramadol increases the risk that you will experience serious and potentially life-threatening side effects.11 The use of medication for depression, anxiety, ADHD, seizures, sleep, allergies, colds, or use of other prescription pain medications, barbiturates, or narcotics may also exacerbate the side effects of Tramadol.3
Physical and mental symptoms of Tramadol withdrawal can lead to severe medical conditions or mental health concerns. For this reason, Tramadol detox should always be medically supervised.
Social Side Effects of Tramadol Addiction
Addiction can have negative impacts beyond the person struggling with substance abuse.
Families may experience economic burden because of job loss due to substance abuse, having to use public assistance, or money spent to acquire substances. Families may experience other types of instability. Families may break apart from separation or divorce, or the removal of children from the home by child services agencies. 12
Family relationships may be distressed as a result of the problems that substance abuse causes within the family. Family members often experience emotional stress, and experience fear, worry, anger, frustration, anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, or embarrassment. Mothers with substance abuse problems may be less emotionally available to their children. Parents who have children with substance abuse problems may experience helplessness, guilt, frustration, anger, and depression. 12
Developing children also experience unique risks. Babies born to mothers who are addicted to opioids like Tramadol have a higher risk of neonatal abstinence syndrome, which can lead to cognitive and developmental delays. Additionally, children that grow up in homes with addicted parents are at greater risk of behavioral or impulse control problems, poor emotional regulation, poor academic performance, behavioral disorders, and psychiatric problems.12
On a larger scale, substance abuse disorders are contributing factors to physical and mental health issues, disabilities, criminal behavior, and incarceration. Substance abuse disorders also contribute to deaths from accidents, suicide, and diseases caused or exacerbated by substance use, such as HIV from high-risk sexual behavior or needle use. The cost of social problems like addiction treatment, medical disorders, psychiatric disorders, unemployment and welfare dependence, involvement with social services, or involvement with criminal justice systems is burdensome
Finding a Tramadol Rehab Center
If you are looking for an addiction treatment team in Nevada, or in another location in the United States, American Addiction Centers is here for you. We are a leading provider in addiction rehabilitation and treatment, offering a 90-day inpatient treatment program in addition to other services encompassing all levels of addiction treatment to facilitate sustained recovery. Our compassionate staff is focused on holistic health in recovery, addressing physical and mental illness, social issues, detox, and rehabilitation for addiction.
Regardless of your stage in the process, American Addiction Centers is here to help you and your loved one on your journey to recovery. Call our confidential helpline @ for more information.