Tramadol is used to alleviate moderate or at times even severe pain, where weaker painkillers rail to work. It belongs to a class of medications called opiate analgesics (narcotic). The US-FDA has classified it as a controlled substance and can be acquired over the counter or even online only using a valid doctor’s prescription. Marketed under a variety of trade names – with Ultracet and Ultram being the most widely recognized and prescribed. You may find tramadol in various forms, such as tablets, capsules, and liquid drops that you may swallow. For quick efficiency, you may also use intravenous mode i.e., injection, which should be taken only under proper medical supervision.
Understanding Tramadol and how it works
Contrary to the name of its function, ‘painkiller,’ it doesn’t actually kill or stop the pain. Tramadol acts on pain receptors in the central nervous system to block pain signals to the rest of the body.
Tramadol works in a way to decrease the amount of pain your brain might assume you’re feeling. You might need to take it alongside other medications as it may be used as a part of combination therapy.
Inform your doctor about all of your health conditions and problems promptly as the doctor might be prescribing you this medication because he or she has judged that its benefits to you are greater than the risks of side effects. Most people using this medication usually do not have serious side effects when consumed as directed.
Some of the common side effects are:
Dizziness, drowsiness, headache, nausea and vomiting, constipation, lack of energy, sweating, dry mouth, etc.
However, some of the more serious side effects can include:
- Physical dependence and withdrawal after suddenly stopping the use of the drug.
Symptoms include: anxiety, irritability, trouble sleeping, rapid breathing rate and heart rate, increased blood pressure, dilated pupils, runny nose, watery eyes, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, a loss of appetite, severe perspiration, chills, stomach cramps, muscle aches, backache, or joint pain
- Extremely slowed breathing
- Adrenal or androgen insufficiency may lead to continued fatigue, pain in your abdomen, muscle weakness, trouble sleeping.
Tramadol addiction potential
As it is one of the least potent opioid painkillers, many people believe tramadol to not be addictive. Without even realizing it, this false sense of security can lead some people to develop an addiction.
Consumption of Tramadol without a prescription or taking it in higher doses, more often or for a longer time than prescribed, are all considered abuse of this drug and can lead to dependence and addiction. Combining tramadol with any other substance to increase its effects and creates a euphoric high is also abuse. Addiction and misuse of this drug can result in overdose and, consequently, death. To help avoid such mishaps, consume this drug exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
Researchers found a major common link among those that abuse tramadol. In about 95% of cases, people that abuse this medication are those that already have a prior history of other substance abuse.
Treatment for tramadol abuse and addiction:
Addiction has some common signs, and it has proved to be easier to treat addiction by recognizing the symptoms in the early stages itself.
Symptoms for addiction can be physical, mental, and even behavioral:
- An overpowering urge to use the substance or using it on a very regular basis
- Personality changes, including extreme mood swings and anxiety.
- Behavioral changes, including paranoia, secrecy, or aggressive and violent behavior
- Changes in appearance, including unexplained weight gain or loss or poor hygiene, and pinpoint pupils
- Various ongoing health issues, such as continued exhaustion, insomnia, or poor nutrition.
- Social withdrawal, resulting in constrained relationships with friends and family or forming new toxic relationships with other substance users.
- Poor conduct and performance at work or school, often due to absence or disinterest.
- Spending money required for bills or other necessities on the substance, resulting in money or legal issues, including suspicious or frequent requests to borrow money.
If you begin to notice any of these signs in your loved ones, offer to help them with patience, understanding, and kindness. Numerous options can help get rid of addiction, such as therapy, rehabilitation centers, and recovery meetings.
Behjat Sheikholeslami, Bardia Jamali, Mohammadreza Rouini,
Chapter 39 – Tramadol, Usage, Misuse, and Addiction Processes,
Editor(s): Victor R. Preedy,
Neuropathology of Drug Addictions and Substance Misuse,
(https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128006344000391) Accessed on 09/06/2021