Have You Been Underestimating the Addictive Potential of Tramadol?

Are you currently on a course of tramadol and wondering whether there’s truth behind the stories and media hype, this article will resolve all. If you are questioning whether tramadol addictive you are not alone. Understanding the potential addictive nature of the substance will help people consume more responsibly and be aware of the possible areas of danger.

is tramadol addictive

Tramadol comes in a number of forms and may also be called Ultram® or Ultracet® which is known to be less addictive then other prescription painkillers. However, this doesn’t mean individuals taking tramadol, especially in the long term or at higher doses, are in the all clear.

In fact, people who experience chronic pain and require doses regularly are at a higher risk of becoming addicted. Also those with a history of substance addiction are more likely to slip down this road. The additional danger is when people use the drug outside of the doctor’s guidelines, posing a potential threat to their health.

Tramadol users and dependency

Even though there is a lower risk profile then other prescription pain relievers, tramadol does possess structural similarities to morphine. Morphine however, does have stronger addictive properties with more risk of being abused due to it containing acetaminophen.

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Concerning tramadol, many people experiencing extended pain for long-term conditions such as neuralgia will be required to take it regularly. This regular dose can cause dependency which differs from addiction. Dependence normally refers to physically depending on the substance and is linked with symptoms of tolerance and withdrawal.

Addiction however, is not too far off from tolerance and is characterized by changes in behavior due to biochemical alterations in the brain after drug abuse. The drug becomes priority of their health and the welfare of others.

All in all, when individuals who have been using tramadol for extended amounts of time come off, doctors should develop usage guideless to come off the medication safely.


Is tramadol addiction increasing?

The growing concern that tramadol is becoming the new opioid substance for abusers has been given considerable weight in the media.  Not only is tramadol up to 20x cheaper than other drugs like oxycodone but they also produce similar highs. Having a fairly addictive potential, tramadol has been found in studies to create euphoric highs similar to when heroin is taken.

In the early stages of tramadol’s release into the market, there was little evidence supporting that it was in fact addictive. As experts have delved deeper into this field however, they’ve uncovered statistics proving its potential to get people hooked due to its ability to stimulate the mu-opioid receptors like other narcotics.

Here are some statistics they uncovered:

  • Tramadol emergency visits in hospitals jumped from 10,000 in 2005 to 26,000 in 2010.
  • The National Survey on Drug Use and Health published statistics that 2 million people in the US over the age of 12 used tramadol for non-medical circumstances.

The mounting evidence of tramadol’s addictive potential caused the DEA to class tramadol as a controlled substance in 2014. This means they can be controlled by the government but still have fairly low abuse potential.

What ingredients may make tramadol addictive?

Some of the tramadol ingredients may trigger various sensitivities in people. These may be a variety of things especially various inactive products like dyes and fillers. Besides this, the substance works in the same kind of way as antidepressants as they inhibit the reabsorption of secreted chemicals.

These brain chemicals such as serotonin or norepinephrine send messages to neurons, causing their release which then triggers messages to be sent to receptor cells.

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Did you know?  Even though you won’t find codeine or opiates in tramadol, it does have a similar structure to the basic form of codeine.


Being a semi-synthetic opioid, the main active ingredients come from the opium poppy. Due to its chemical composition, it’s effective at numbing pain but can also produce feelings of euphoria. The physical side-effect is one of the potential addictive qualities in the substance.

If you are starting to notice signs of addiction such as being unable to regulate your consumption of tramadol or using it for non-medical reasons, it’s time to seek medical help.

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When tramadol was being called into question regarding its regulation, there was public pressure forcing the DEA to regulate. One of the prescription drug force professionals mentioned tramadol being used as a ‘loophole’ drug for being both addictive and abused.

It wasn’t surprising that the seemingly innocent status was in fact causing doctors and patients to overlook the potential addictive power.

The bottom line

Users of tramadol should realize and be aware of the potential to become addicted to this substance. Whether patients are taking it for an extended period of time or short-term, individuals must follow guidelines carefully.

Those who use the drug for extended pain-relief may crush tablets to release more of the potency in one go. This also makes the high much more powerful. However, using in this way can be highly dangerous and have serious side-effects.


How addictive is tramadol compared to other medications?

When comparing the substance to other prescription meds, it appears that tramadol is quite addictive. However its addictive potential increases dramatically when taken for the purposes of getting high. The abuse potential becomes similar to that of other opioid medications.

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So the addictive euphoric high and some of its chemical properties is what could keep someone coming back for more essentially. Social and environmental factors should also be considered once a person becomes a tramadol addict. Additionally, there is a much stronger potential of drug abuse for those who have a past of drug and alcohol abuse.


How to spot tramadol addiction

There are various signs you can watch out for within an individual’s behavior to spot addiction:

  • Craving more of the substance when not taking it
  • Becoming tolerant to tramadol or needing a higher dose to achieve the same effects
  • Using tramadol to get high instead of for medical reasons
  • Lack of control when using the medication
  • Taking the drug regularly without considering the harmful effects on the body
  • Carrying out drug seeking behavior and shopping around for doctors who will prescribe more doses or refusing check-ups
  • Seeing a dip in work or school performance because of the psychological or physical damages through drug use
  • Neglecting social responsibilities in order to seek highs and get more tramadol

Those who find tramadol addictive may experience one or a few of the above changes in behaviour but these aren’t exclusive to those who have a past of substance abuse. Studies reveal that past abuse or addiction simply raises the likelihood of becoming a tramadol addict.


Need help when detoxing from tramadol addiction?

If someone wishes to withdraw from tramadol, professional help is required. This is because the possible side-effects and damages to an individual’s health can become riskier during the recovery phase. Additionally, individuals commonly experience psychological changes when going through detox and may need to combine their therapy with psychological treatment.

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Several rehabilitation centers will have services and facilities to help treat tramadol overdose. Withdrawal from painkillers and experiencing symptoms associated with tramadol addiction can be tough but you don’t have to go it alone. Get support every step of the way with our dedicated counselors at BLVD.

The residential and outpatient services offered at BLVD Treatment Centers are a great option. Tailored to fit your specific needs, you can seek solace in the undivided attention of our experienced counselors.

When opting for the residential rehab option, you can take advantage of:

  • Individualized Detox Treatments
  • Chef-Prepared Gourmet Meals
  • Medically-Assisted Detox
  • A Comprehensive Aftercare Plan
  • Convenient Transport Services

You’ll get the help and support you need at one of our centers located in: Hollywood, Portland, Orange County, San Diego, West Los Angeles, Give our team a call to see how we can help on 8885376671.



Is tramadol addictive?