What Are the Effects of Using Tramadol?
Tramadol is a prescription Opioid that helps reduce mild to moderate pain. It is taken by mouth and available in capsule, tablet, suspended release, or extended release form. It can also be taken in intravenous, intramuscular, and infusion forms in hospital settings. Tramadol is classified as an Opioid analgesic and most commonly sold under the brand name Ultram®. This category of drugs functions by binding to specific receptors (opioid receptors) in cells from the brain, spinal cord, and gastrointestinal system.
Similar to other Opioid analgesics, taking Tramadol puts patients at a high chance of developing an addiction. It should be taken with caution, using only the recommended dosage.
Side Effects of Tramadol Use
The effects of using Tramadol are similar, albeit weaker, to other prescription and illicit Opioids (such as Morphine or Heroin) because all Opioids work on the same structures in the brain. The medication is intended to be taken orally – whole, not crushed – with effects kicking in within 45 minutes, typically. People who crush and snort or inject Tramadol will feel its side effects sooner and more intensely because these methods bypass the pill’s controlled-release coating and reach the brain faster through the bloodstream.
In addition to pain relief, people commonly experience feelings of euphoria when larger amounts of Tramadol are abused.
Also, people may experience some the following effects when using Tramadol:
- Difficulty urinating
- Anxiety or agitation
- Abnormal heartbeat
- Rash or itchy skin
- Twitching muscles
- Calmness or relaxation
- Decreased anxiety
- False sense of confidence
Because long-term Tramadol use can desensitize Opioid receptors to the drug’s effects, individuals can grow tolerant to its pain-relieving effects in normal doses. Once a tolerance develops, many people become physically dependent on the drug to ease pain and restrain symptoms of withdrawal. Once a physical dependence has developed, there is high risk of developing an Opioid addiction involving uncontrollable urges and drug-seeking behavior.
Long-term Tramadol abuse can result in a number of negative consequences, including:
- Poor concentration
- Visual hallucinations
- Cognitive dysfunction
- Adrenal/Androgen insufficiency
- Respiratory problems
- Serotonin Syndrome
- Liver and kidney damage
- Behavioral abnormalities
- Psychological effects
Additionally, people are more likely to risk experiencing symptoms of withdrawal when they quit using it or reduce their dose. Withdrawal is when the body gets used to a certain substance, requiring increasing amounts of the drug to get the same effects. Harsh side effects (such as bodily pain and intense, flu-like symptoms) are commonly felt when the individual stops taking it.
People greatly increase their risk of negative side-effects when they combine Tramadol with other substances (such as alcohol, Cocaine, or Benzodiazepines). Known as poly-drug use, this greatly increases the risk of a fatal overdose due to respiratory system depression. By reducing activity in the central nervous system, a Tramadol overdose can result in decreased heart and breathing rate, loss of consciousness, coma, and death.
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Effect of Tramadol Use on Expectant Mothers and Newborns
Expectant mothers who take Tramadol for a prolonged period of time risk developing neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome. Especially for newborns, withdrawal can be life-threatening and should be treated immediately. Neonatal abstinence syndrome may also lead to long-tern health problems. Subsequently, extended Tramadol use is not recommended for pregnant women. Furthermore, patients risk respiratory depression by taking too much of the prescription, leading to overdose.
Neonatal abstinence syndrome affects newborns with potentially severe symptoms of Opiate withdrawal. Newborn symptoms of Opioid withdrawal include:
- High-pitched screaming
- Tremors or seizures
- Fever and runny nose
- Low weight or slow weight gain
- Sleep problems
The severity of the condition generally depends on the Tramadol dosage and the length of time the substance was taken. Typically, symptoms occur within the first 24 to 48 hours after birth and last between 5 and 10 days. Possible birth defects may require longer treatment.
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Symptoms of Tramadol Withdrawal
Another problem associated with extended or high doses of Tramadol use is the likelihood of experiencing withdrawal. When someone with a dependency stops taking Tramadol, their body struggles to function normally. Consequently, effects the drug helped heal (such as body pain) are felt with renewed intensity. Psychological effects of Tramadol withdrawal include depression, panic attacks, anxiety, agitation, delusions, and paranoia. Physical side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, flu-like symptoms, body pain, and tingling in the extremities.
Commonly, people feel intense drug cravings that may require detox and rehab therapy to treat. Tramadol detox allows the body to return to a heathy state free of withdrawal symptoms. In rehab, people receive the tools to cope with chemical cravings and triggers to use drugs.
Currently, the FDA has approved several addiction treatment medications to assist in reducing painful withdrawal symptoms and reducing drug cravings (such as Suboxone, Methadone, and Buprenorphine). When rehab is done under the care of a medical professional in a safe environment, people are more likely to successfully complete addiction therapy.
Fighting a Tramadol addiction can be a difficult task, and currently, more than 130 Americans die each day as part of the Opioid Epidemic. Find guidance, medical attention, therapy, and treatment before symptoms or chemical dependencies worsen. Contact an attentive and compassionate treatment specialist to discover your pathway to sobriety.
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