- Signs and Symptoms of Tramadol Abuse
- How is Tramadol Abuse Diagnosed?
- What Are the Effects of Tramadol Abuse?
- Combining Tramadol and Other Substances
- Who is at Risk for Tramadol Addiction?
- When to Seek Help for Tramadol Abuse
- Help for Addicted Friends and Family
- Rehab and Treatment Options
- Teen Tramadol Abuse and Addiction
What is Tramadol Abuse?Tramadol abuse can destroy lives, but it's not a choice. It typically doesn't happen overnight, so many addicts many not recognize their use has turned problematic.
Just as with any drug, tramadol addiction warrants treatment and compassion, not derision and contempt.
Tramadol, which is marketed under numerous trade and generic names throughout the world, is an opioid-like drug, making it a chemical relative of heroin.
Though millions of people can use tramadol without a problem, for those who use the drug on a recreational or long-term basis, the specter of
addiction looms large.
For recreational drug users, the addiction usually occurs more quickly.
Even prescription users can become addicts and some may not realize their use has become a problem until they try to quit the drug.
Signs and Symptoms of Tramadol Abuse
Some of the most common symptoms of tramadol abuse include:
- Using progressively larger doses of the drug.
- Ignoring the use recommendations your doctor provides.
- Changes in behavior, relationships, mood or personality.
- Spending more time alone or among addicts.
- Difficulty fulfilling career or familial obligations.
How is Tramadol Abuse Diagnosed?
No test can tell you you're a tramadol addict, but tramadol addiction is a disease just like diabetes or cancer.
It's up to you to assess when your tramadol use has become problematic, but addiction often comes with a healthy serving of denial.
The two most significant signs of addiction are:
- Chemical dependency--Dependency means you experience withdrawal symptoms such as involuntary muscle movements, depression or anxiety in between doses or if you attempt to quit using.
- Adverse outcomes--Using tramadol in spite of negative effects associated with the drug almost always indicates an addiction. The only exception is when your doctor has prescribed the drug and the side effects are tolerable and mild.
What Are the Effects of Tramadol Abuse?
The effects you experience as a result of tramadol abuse are highly individual. Some people use for years without serious side effects; others overdose in a matter of months.
Lifestyle factors, age, and your overall health determine how tramadol affects your body.
With continued use, though, serious consequences are almost inevitable. Those include:
- Emotional turmoil in the form of anxiety and depression.
- New or worsening mental illness.
- Chronic pain.
- Changes in eating or sleeping habits.
- Relationship difficulties.
- Arrest and incarceration.
- Sudden death.
- Organ damage.
- Seizures and comas.
- Cardiovascular health problems.
- Gastrointestinal problems such as frequent vomiting, diarrhea or nausea.
Combining Tramadol and Other Substances
Tramadol is especially dangerous when combined with other central nervous system depressants such as alcohol or other painkillers. The two drugs together can stop your breathing and slow your heart rate.
Any mind-altering substance, though, can negatively interact with tramadol, so tell your doctor about your tramadol habit before taking any drugs--including prescription and over-the-counter medications.
Who is at Risk for Tramadol Addiction?
Anyone who takes tramadol can develop an addiction, even with a valid medical prescription.
Some prescription users become accidentally addicted as their bodies develop a tolerance that leads to a chemical dependency. Because tramadol is available for animal use, veterinarians
and others who work with animals can readily gain access to the drug. This increases their risk of abuse.
Other risk factors include a history of trauma or abuse, mental illness, chronic pain, or a family history of drug and alcohol addiction.
When to Seek Help for Tramadol Abuse
Prompt treatment for tramadol abuse can reverse the course of your addiction.If you're worried that your tramadol use is interfering with your happiness and well-being, the time to seek help is now.
Addiction is a progressive illness that almost inevitably worsens over time. Prompt treatment, though, can help reverse the course of your addiction and teach you the skills you need to maintain a sober and healthy life.
Some signs that it's time to seek treatment include:
- Obsessing over tramadol by constantly thinking about your next use, how you'll get it, or how you'll feel when you use it.
- Requests from loved ones to seek treatment.
- Doing things you regret because of tramadol.
- Difficulty concentrating or feeling like yourself without tramadol.
- Feeling like you'll never be able to kick your habit.
- Endangering your loved ones or yourself to get tramadol or while under its influence.
Help for Addicted Friends and Family
If someone you love has an addiction, the pain and anxiety of always worrying about them can be overwhelming.
Tramadol can cause addicts to disconnect from their loved ones, and to lie, cheat and steal. Your loved one may even insist that they "need" tramadol to be healthy.
You can't force another person to get better, and attempting to do so will only make you feel worse. Instead, gently encourage them to seek treatment, and remember that addiction is a disease, not something your loved one has chosen.
If your loved one refuses to seek treatment, you'll need to set clear boundaries to protect your well-being.
Rehab and Treatment Options
Tramadol addiction does not have to destroy everything you hold dear. Treatment really does work, but you have to be willing to stick with a treatment regimen even when the going gets rough.
Teen Tramadol Abuse and Addiction
If you catch your child using tramadol, you need to act quickly.
Tramadol is often more accessible to teens than street drugs and it is every bit as dangerous. Some teens mistakenly believe it's safer to abuse prescription drugs; others relish the chance to get high using what's in mom or dad's medicine cabinet.
Talking to your teen--on a regular basis, not just once--about the dangers of addiction can help encourage him/her not to turn to tramadol to cope with stress or get a pleasurable high.
If you catch your child using tramadol, you need to act quickly. Tramadol use can cause teens, unlike adults, to suffer:
- Stunted brain growth.
- Serious academic problems.
- Developmental delays.
You can't punish your child into sobriety, but you can offer the treatment and support they need to get clean.
Offer them help and love, but make it clear that you will not sit idly by as they allow tramadol to wreck their life.