If you are in an immediate emergency, call 911. If you are looking for more information on substance abuse treatment and it is not a medical emergency, call our 24/7 Tramadol Helpline at 844-897-9118.
Tramadol is a weak opioid typically prescribed to treat moderate to moderately severe pain. It comes as a tablet that is taken every four to six hours, or as an extended-release capsule that lasts for 24 hours. Brand names for tramadol include Conzip, Rybix, Ryzolt and Ultram. Doctors typically recommend that tramadol should only be used as a short-term pain treatment. For most people, it’s not helpful to use tramadol for longer than three months.
Some people will become dependent on tramadol, causing withdrawal symptoms to occur when they stop taking the drug. Often, doctors will gradually decrease a person’s tramadol dose over time in order to help prevent or reduce withdrawal. People who wish to quit taking tramadol should talk to a doctor beforehand to determine the best way to stop using this drug.
When a person becomes dependent on a drug, their body grows accustomed to the drug’s presence and needs it to function normally. A person with dependence will experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using the drug.
While tramadol is not as strong as many other opioids, it can still cause dependence and addiction. People who use the drug frequently are more likely to become dependent and experience tramadol withdrawal once they try to stop using it. A person who experiences withdrawal symptoms when they miss a dose will need to go through a period of detox — a process where the body clears a drug from its system. If someone quits tramadol cold turkey, they may have more severe symptoms. On the other hand, people who wean themselves off tramadol may have milder side effects.
Tramadol Withdrawal Symptoms
Most opioid medications work by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and changing the way that people perceive and respond to pain. Some studies have shown that tramadol withdrawal symptoms mimic the withdrawal symptoms of other opioid drugs. People may have symptoms like:
- Restlessness, agitation or anxiety
- Runny nose or sneezing
- Sweating or chills
- Muscle pain
- Muscle twitching or movement that can’t be controlled
- Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
These symptoms can vary slightly from one person to another. Additionally, if a person first started taking tramadol for pain relief, their pain may return once they stop using the drug. They may be able to work with their doctor to find non-addictive alternatives for pain management.
Dangerous Tramadol Withdrawal Side Effects
Some people may experience more unusual withdrawal symptoms when quitting tramadol. These may include mental health symptoms like panic attacks, severe anxiety and hallucinations. People who are having very painful or uncomfortable symptoms should talk to a doctor for further help with withdrawal. Those who are experiencing powerful cravings may also need medical help in order to avoid relapse.
One of the biggest dangers that someone may face during or after withdrawal is an overdose. When someone goes through detox, their drug tolerance will rapidly decrease. This means that they will need much less of a drug in order to feel the same effects, so relapses are very risky. The majority of opioid overdose deaths happen to people who have recently gone through withdrawal.
While going through an addiction treatment program can help someone avoid returning to drug use, relapses can still happen. If someone does go back to using tramadol after they have detoxed, they should take a much smaller dose than they had previously been taking. This decreases the chances that they’ll have a dangerous overdose.
How Long Does Tramadol Withdrawal Last?
Withdrawal begins when a drug starts leaving a person’s body. Regular tramadol tablets last between four and six hours, so a person may start having withdrawal symptoms several hours after they take their last tablet. Extended-release pills, which may include the letters “ER” in the name, last for 24 hours. People taking these tablets may have withdrawal symptoms that appear later.
Withdrawal from short-acting opioids usually continues for four to 10 days in people who stop using the drug abruptly. Tramadol withdrawal may be longer or more severe for people who have abused substances in the past. Additionally, people with mental health disorders like depression are more likely to abuse tramadol and have problems with dependence or addiction. A person’s age, physical health, mental health and genetics can also play a role in how drug use or withdrawal affects the body.
Tramadol Withdrawal Timeline
It can be helpful to know what to expect when you are withdrawing from tramadol. The timeline for tramadol withdrawal depends on which formulation of the drug you take:
- Short-acting tramadol: Withdrawal can start within 12 hours of the last dose and may peak within 24 to 48 hours. Symptoms then improve over the next three to five days.
- Long-acting tramadol: Withdrawal can start within 30 hours of the last dose and may last up to 10 days.
Tramadol for Opiate Withdrawal
Sometimes, certain opioids are used to treat withdrawal symptoms and prevent relapse. This standard practice is known as medication-assisted treatment (MAT). For example, a person struggling with a fentanyl addiction may be prescribed MAT with methadone or buprenorphine.
Tramadol is not viewed as a recommended form of MAT because other medications are much more effective. MAT drugs like methadone and buprenorphine are able to both replace other opioids in your brain, which relieves withdrawal symptoms. They also blunt the effect of other opioids, making it difficult to get high if you relapse. Since tramadol is a comparatively weak opioid, it is much less useful in achieving these goals.
Detox is a process where the body eliminates a drug from its system. Tramadol detox can sometimes be managed at home, but anyone who has severe symptoms or cravings may need to go through withdrawal at a medical facility where they can be monitored. This is also the case for people who have been combining tramadol with other drugs or alcohol. If someone wants to detox from multiple substances at once, they may need more medical supervision to ensure that nothing goes wrong.
During the detox process, people may be able to receive treatment for withdrawal symptoms and be prescribed medications to help with pain or insomnia. People undergoing detox should drink lots of fluids because going through opioid withdrawal often causes dehydration. People detoxing from opioids can also choose to go through medical detox, where specific medications are prescribed to help treat withdrawal and cravings. Tramadol withdrawal symptoms are sometimes treated with buprenorphine-naloxone.
Doctors often advise that people slowly wean off tramadol, as quitting cold turkey generally leads to more side effects. It also leads to more severe cravings, so people who are trying to stop using tramadol may have a higher chance of success if they gradually decrease their dose over time. Those who want to stop using tramadol should talk to a medical provider in order to determine a dose reduction schedule.
Detox is only the first step in the recovery process, and many people return to drug use after going through opioid withdrawal. In order to create lasting change, a person needs to examine their behaviors, thought patterns, coping mechanisms and habits while working to develop healthier life skills. This can be accomplished through rehab, therapy, 12-step programs and peer support groups. If a person wants to stop using tramadol but believes they may struggle with relapse, they should put a plan in place before they start detoxing. People can talk to their health care provider or an addiction treatment center to learn more about solutions that can help them stay sober.
Tramadol Addiction Treatment
Treating a tramadol addiction is a lifelong process that starts by cleansing your system of the drug and then undergoing the hard work of therapy to make sure you stay off tramadol in the future. The Orlando Recovery Center offers a full set of addiction support services to help you every step of the way, starting with detox and continuing through aftercare. Our programs include:
- Medical detox: During the detox stage of addiction treatment, your body removes tramadol from its system. In medical detox programs, you are admitted to a treatment center with around-the-clock care. A team of doctors and nurses monitors you and treats any tramadol withdrawal symptoms you experience.
- Inpatient rehab: Detox is only the first step in the lifelong process of overcoming a tramadol addiction. For this reason, experts recommend detox be followed by at least 90 days of rehab. In inpatient rehab, you live onsite at the treatment facility and can focus completely on your recovery without distractions. Rehab helps you examine why you began to rely on tramadol in the first place and learn how to avoid tramadol in the future.
- Partial hospitalization program (PHP): A PHP is a transition step between inpatient and outpatient rehab. It involves regular inpatient stays to continue treating your tramadol addiction.
- Intensive outpatient rehab: In this program, you live in a sober living environment and return to the rehab facility for a set number of hours each week.
- Outpatient rehab: In this program, you live in a supportive environment and routinely visit the rehab facility. Outpatient rehab is less intensive than other options and involves fewer hours of treatment, allowing you to continue work, attend school and other tasks in your day-to-day life. Teletherapy options may be available.
- Aftercare: Following rehab completion, aftercare options like alumni groups and support groups keep you focused on your recovery and help prevent relapse.
At the Orlando Recovery Center, we offer around-the-clock medical detox programs that can help you safely withdraw from tramadol. With our full continuum of care, you can easily transition into rehab treatment that helps make lifelong recovery possible. We also offer a variety of relaxing amenities that can enrich your healing journey, including:
- Swimming pool
- Fully equipped gym
- Basketball courts
- Sand volleyball court
- Yoga, art and life-skills therapy
- Lakefront views
- Off-site field trips
If you or someone you love is struggling with tramadol abuse and addiction, the Orlando Recovery Center can help. Contact us today to learn more about treatment programs that can work well for your needs.
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The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.