Misuse of Tramadol: Signs and Symptoms

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

Marketed under the brand names of Ultram, ConZip, and Ryzolt, Tramadol is an opioid based prescription drug that is typically used to treat moderate to severe pain. Tramadol functions in two main ways: 1) binding to the opioid receptors in the brain, and 2) preventing the reuptake of norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain. Tramadol is available in several forms, including effervescent tablets, liquids, drops, syrups, capsules, suppositories, as well as tablets with extended release formulations.

Understanding the Use of Prescription Tramadol

Middle aged Women sitting on a swingFor medicinal and pharmaceutical purposes, Tramadol is prescribed to help manage mild to severe ranging pain, which may vary from acute to chronic. Compared to other painkillers, tramadol is similar in potency to pethidine and codeine. Some of the common conditions that Tramadol is used to treat include fibromyalgia, arthritis, and for the management of pain after minor and major surgeries.

Possible side effects related to use of this medication include gastrointestinal distress, headaches, weight fluctuations, confusion and altered mental status, worsening of or new onset depression, fainting and more. A person who uses tramadol is also more likely to develop a tolerance to the drug, requiring a higher dosage to continue experiencing the same effect of the prescription medication.

Risk of Overdose and Misuse

Drug and Alcohol Nurse working at a treatment centerBecause tramadol is an opioid based prescription medication, it can be highly addiction and more prone to misuse by the individuals consuming it. Because tramadol may be easier to obtain than other types of opioid-based prescription medications, the misuse of the drug is increasing in recent years.

If you or someone you care for has been taking the prescription drug tramadol and are misusing the drug for purposes of becoming high or as a means of “escape”, this may indicate that an addiction problem has developed. Serious side effects can result if an addicted to tramadol is left untreated, and it is important to contact an addiction specialist immediately to address these concerning behaviors.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What do you think are some of the risks and benefits of taking tramadol?

Crystal Karges photo

About the Author: Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Special Projects Coordinator for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on April 21, 2016
Published on AddictionHope.com

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