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Whether you have been prescribed tramadol as a painkiller, or you’re obtaining it through other means, you may find yourself addicted.
Once you stop taking Tramadol, you will probably experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, which can range from mild to severe.
Tramadol Withdrawal: Signs, Symptoms and Support
We can show you the safest way to come off tramadol, how to manage any withdrawal symptoms and how you can be free from addiction in days. Call 01721 722 763 for more details.
Tramadol Withdrawal in a Nutshell
Tramadol is commonly prescribed by doctors which means you may have thought it was safe and have been unaware of how addictive it can be. Although tramadol is not as strong as drugs such as heroin, it is also an opioid, which means it numbs pain and makes you feel happy, even euphoric.
You may have been prescribed tramadol to help you come off heroin, and having beaten one addiction have found yourself with another.
The severity of withdrawal symptoms depends on how long you’ve been taking tramadol, in what quantities, and whether you’ve taken it as a tablet, as per most prescriptions, snorted it, crushed up, smoked it or taken it as a liquid.
Symptoms of withdrawal can start hours after you’ve stopped taking tramadol and can make you feel as though you have flu. You can be free from addiction in 10 to 14 days, although heavy users may experience longer-term side effects.
The safest way to come off tramadol is gradually and with medical supervision.
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How Can You Expect to Feel When You Stop Taking Tramadol
Tramadol addiction may have taken you by surprise. You may have been prescribed the drug following surgery, to cope with chronic pain, or to beat another addiction and have become used to taking it every day, not realising that this might make you dependent.
Equally, you may have been taking it recreationally and assumed that it is not as strong as heroin so you won’t get addicted. Unfortunately, this is not the case and a history of abuse can make you more susceptible to tramadol addiction.
Symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe and in some cases, the psychological impact can make you a danger to yourself and others.
Physical symptoms of Tramadol Withdrawal
When you stop taking tramadol, you can expect to experience some or all of the following:
- Sweating and runny nose
- Feeling chilly and feverish
- Stomach ache/vomiting
- Diarrhoea/aching muscles
- Bone pain and restless legs
- Blurred vision/breathing fast
- Heart palpitations/difficulty sleeping
Psychological Symptoms of Tramadol Withdrawal
- Confusion/ Mood swings
- Inability to concentrate or think clearly
- Nightmares/ Panic attacks
- Cravings for more tramadol
Any and all of the above are completely normal as your brain and body respond to the drug leaving your body.
What Does it Feel Like to Suddenly Stop Taking Tramadol?
If you’ve been using tramadol for a long time or combining it with another drug or alcohol, reducing the dose of tramadol rather than going ‘cold turkey’ is the best way to kick your addiction.
In rare cases, stopping immediately can result in seizures and also feelings of psychosis which might make you hallucinate and hear voices. They might encourage you to hurt yourself, or others, which is why it is best you stop taking tramadol under medical supervision.
How Long Will Symptoms of Tramadol Withdrawal Last?
It is possible to be free from tramadol addiction in days. However, in some cases, symptoms may last longer and you will need ongoing treatment for those.
Six to 24 hours: you will start to ache and feel shivery as if you have a fever or the flu.
Two to three days: as well as physical symptoms such as nausea and stomach ache, you may feel anxious and sweaty. Cravings for tramadol will be intense.
Four two seven days: It is common to feel confused, disorientated and at a low ebb psychologically. You’re still craving tramadol.
Eight to 14 days: Physical symptoms should subside but feelings of depression, anxiety and even psychosis may persist. You must get ongoing help for these.
Where is the Best Place to Detox from Tramadol?
Even though you may have been prescribed tramadol and therefore assumed it was safe to take, if you are now dependent on it you will need to detox, just as you would any other addictive drug.
Fortunately, this can be done safely, with a medically devised treatment plan for reducing the dosage rather than going cold turkey, and medicines to cope with the withdrawal symptoms.
Detoxing from Tramadol at Home
If you have work or caring responsibilities, you may feel your only option is to come off tramadol at home. In some cases, you may be concealing your addiction from your loved ones, which makes detoxing even more difficult as you cope on your own. It is inadvisable to stop taking tramadol without any medical intervention at all.
Speak to your GP, and ask for advice on how to reduce the dosage (this is called ‘tapering’) in a safe way, which can minimise withdrawal symptoms. This is important as the side effects such as mood swings and hallucinations may make you, and those around you, vulnerable to harm. You may be prescribed medication to help with this.
Medically Supervised Detox from Tramadol
Due to the severity of the withdrawal symptoms and the intense cravings that can lead you to relapse, this is the safest way to kick your tramadol addiction. You will be monitored closely to ensure the physical and psychological side effects of detox don’t harm you in any way.
Doctors can give you a tapering schedule so you reduce the dosage in a safe way. By keeping a close eye on you, this can be tweaked and amended if necessary.
Are There Any Medicines That Can Help You Come Off Tramadol?
A number of medicines can help the withdrawal process from tramadol by easing symptoms and even eliminating them. These include moxonidine and clonidine, which are often used to treat high blood pressure.
Clonazepam and lorazepam, which are used for anxiety disorders are also useful in reducing the effects of withdrawal symptoms including nervousness and restless legs.
There are many medicines that can ease and reduce specific withdrawal symptoms. Medical experts will be able to advise you if you experience them.
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How to Get Help For Tramadol Addiction
You may struggle to come to terms with an addiction to tramadol, especially if you have no history of drug or alcohol abuse and you took it as prescribed and in good faith. Fortunately, there are many different types of treatment and support to help you kick the addiction.
Firstly, speak to your GP and ask for their advice. They will be able to signpost you to helpful organisations, especially if you have been taking tramadol with alcohol or other drugs. Often addiction is a sign of other problems, such as mental health issues, and tackling the root cause of your reliance on drugs is as important as dealing with the addiction itself.
Tramadol addiction may be having a detrimental effect on your work or relationships so it is important you seek help as soon as you realise you have a problem.
The support you receive needs to be ongoing, after detox is complete, to stop you from relapsing.
Support Groups For Tramadol Addiction
Support groups where you meet other people with an addiction to tramadol are a great way of making you realise you are not alone. You may feel embarrassed to find yourself addicted to tramadol as it is a prescribed drug and you started taking it under a doctor’s orders.
There are also support groups for family and friends, who may also need support when it comes to overcoming your addiction.
It can be useful for you to seek out and join a support group before you start your detox as talking to others in the same situation can help you manage withdrawal symptoms and prevent you from relapsing.
Counselling and Therapy For Tramadol Addiction
Just as drugs and addiction don’t affect everyone in exactly the same way, not everyone responds to the same treatment plan. Therapies for tramadol addiction come in many shapes and sizes and include talking therapies, family therapies, solution therapies, and even equine therapies, in which people take part in activities with horses.
In most cases, therapy for tramadol addiction involves treating the reasons why you became addicted in the first place.
Counselling and therapy for tramadol addiction can start before you embark on the detox process and continue long after it has been completed so you are less likely to relapse.
Outpatient Rehab For Tramadol Addiction
Attending rehab as an outpatient will suit you if you have work or caring responsibilities and feel you need to remain in the family home or can’t take time off work. However, if you are attending rehab as an outpatient you will need to be disciplined to ensure you attend when required and follow the treatment plan at home as directed.
Although you will have access to doctors, psychiatrists, therapists and medical experts, who will monitor your symptoms and treatment, you will need considerable willpower to continue the treatment plan at home and avoid relapsing.
Inpatient Treatment For Tramadol Addiction
Moving into a rehab centre as a resident, where you live in comfort, with medical and emotional support on hand 24/7 can result in you experiencing few or no cravings.
Without the distractions of work, family life or fellow drug users, you can concentrate solely on your recovery. Not only will you follow a bespoke treatment plan but psychiatrists and therapists are on hand to discover why you became addicted in the first place and give you strategies to cope with any future triggers.
Castle Craig provides treatment for substance abuse including tramadol addiction. Our programme consists of a medically supervised detox followed by evidence-based therapies designed to address the underlying causes of addiction.
Because addiction recovery is a lifelong process, your relationship with Castle Craig doesn’t end when you complete residential treatment. Before you leave, you’ll receive a customised, 24-week continuing care plan so you can successfully continue into a meaningful and inspired life in sobriety.
If you think you may be addicted to tramadol, recovery is within your reach. A fulfilling and rewarding life is possible no matter how hard you may be struggling with Tramadol right now – contact us today to learn how we can help.
Frequently Asked Questions About Detoxing from Tramadol
Why do I feel sick when I stop taking tramadol?
Tramadol is an addictive drug, even if it is prescribed by a doctor.
I need to get off tramadol. Is it best to just stop taking it?
No. You’ll feel ill that way. It’s best to reduce the amount you take gradually.
Does tramadol need to be stopped gradually?
Yes. This is called ‘tapering off’ and will reduce your withdrawal symptoms.
Will everyone know I’m addicted to tramadol?
No. With the right treatment, it’s possible to come off it without anyone knowing.
I thought tramadol was safe. How can I be addicted to it?
It is possible to become addicted to many drugs, even if they’ve been prescribed to you.
I’m so ashamed to be addicted to tramadol. How can I get help?
Don’t be ashamed. Tramadol addiction is common. In the first instance, speak to your GP.
How can I help someone who is addicted to tramadol?
Talk to them but don’t get angry. Explain that help is out there and offer to support them in finding it.
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- Pollice, R, Casacchia, M, Bianchini, V, et al, (2008), Severe Tramadol Addiction in a 61-Year-Old Woman Without a History of Substance Abuse, International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology: 21(2): 475-6
- Tjaderborn, M, Jonsson, A K, Ahlner, J, et al, (2009), Tramadol Dependence: A Survey of Spontaneously Reported Cases in Sweden, Pharmacoepidemiology & Drug Safety: 18(12): 1192-1198
- Radcliff, J A, Vellanki, S C, Moore P S, et al, (2019), Retrospective Chart Review of Outcomes Resulting from a Three-Day Tramadol Taper for Acute Opioid Withdrawal, Journal of Addictive Diseases: 37:3-4, 252-258
- Sidana, A, Domun, I, Arora, P, (2019), Tramadol Withdrawal Psychosis, Indian Journal of Psychiatry: 61(6): 655-656
- Talih, F, Ghossoub, E, (2015), Moxonodine for Tramadol Withdrawal Symptoms During Detoxification, BMJ Case Reports: bcr2015210444
- Park, Y-M, Park, H K, Kim, L, et al, (2014), Acute-Withdrawal Restless Legs Syndrome Following Abrupt Cessation of Short-Term Tramadol, Psychiatry Investigation: 11 (2): 204-26
- Tatarsky, A, Washton, A, (1992), Intensive Outpatient Treatment: A Psychological Perspective in Wallace B C (ed), (2011), The Chemically Dependent: Phases of Treatment and Recovery, Routledge: Chapter 3
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