What is Tramadol?

Tramadol is in the category of some of the strongest prescription pain-killers on the market. As it’s a potent opioid, it has significant influence on the brain and nervous system once ingested and can often produce unpleasant tramadol side effects.

tramadol side effects

Depending on the level of pain someone feels, there are different strengths available so the substance can target the pain as quick as possible. Other forms of the drug release tramadol slower over an extended period of time to provide more consistent pain relief.

So where is the danger in this seemingly innocent pain-relief medicine? The danger comes in taking them for longer than prescribed or alternatively, taking them when the pain is no longer present. When individuals become dependent on it, the withdrawal symptoms and side-effects can pose significant discomfort to the person.

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Coming in various forms, tramadol is available in the following forms: capsule, oral drops, tablet or as a dissolvable tablet. Generally, it’s rare for someone to become addicted. However the possibility is certainly there, especially when individuals have a past of alcohol or drug abuse.

As seemingly innocent as tramadol may seem there is plenty of evidence proving just how many people are struggling with addiction. In fact in 2014, the substance became a federally controlled drug by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration).

How does Tramadol work?

When taken in pill form, the liver breaks down the pain-killer and releases many chemicals such as O-desmethyltramadol. This chemical has a powerful effect on the body, even more so than tramadol and when taken at high doses create a sense of euphoria similar to other opiate medications.


Despite the drug being weaker than methadone and heroin, it still can promote similar feel-good effects due to the increased activity of serotonin. As serotonin is has an impact on mood amongst several other things, it creates warm feelings of well-being plus makes the user relaxed and drowsy.

Additionally, as the substance plays with the chemistry of the brain the imbalance of serotonin caused is one of the common tramadol side effects which can have several negative effects on the body.

The common side effects experienced with Tramadol

Unfortunately, tramadol has been known to be appealing to those with a tendency for addiction and can be habit-forming. Even though several people can tolerate the drug well when in pain, when there’s an absence of pain things can get tricky.

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It’s good to chat to a doctor or seek medical help if experiencing any side-effects from pro-longed tramadol abuse. Knowing some of the symptoms of withdrawal are also wise in order to protect the body from long-term damage.

Did you know? Some individuals may experience seizures or convulsions when on tramadol.

The Tramadol side effects:

Being similar to the unpleasant effects of other opiates, tramadol may produce the following:

  • Sickness and nausea
  • Constipation
  • Faint or dizzy spells
  • Drowsy
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite

If you are simply taking a course of tramadol and experience these side effects, there are some things you can do to help.

  • If you feel tired or dizzy: stay away from alcoholic drinks and don’t drive or operate any machinery
  • Feeling sickness: avoid spicy foods and go for bland meals
  • Constipation: you’ll want to drink plenty of water and stick to eating a balanced diet.

Around 1 in 10 people experience tramadol side-effects when on a steady prescription but if any of these become more severe, it’s wise to consult a doctor or pop into your local pharmacy.

This list gives a more extended view of the potential side-effects someone may experience on tramadol.

Rare side-effects

  • Blurry vision
  • Passing blood in urine
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Bloating
  • Skin blisters
  • Chest pain
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty urinating or urge to urinate
  • Heart palpitations
  • Hallucinations
  • Pale-blue hands/feet
  • Trembling or shaking

Many of these symptoms are extremely rare but if you experience any of the below, it’s a sign you may have overdosed and should seek medical help straight away:

Severe tramadol side-effects:

  • Losing consciousness
  • Decreased muscle definition
  • Struggling to breathe/ short breath
  • Low responsiveness
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Severe drowsiness
  • Heart palpitations


Less serious side-effects

There are various tramadol side effects which don’t require you to seek further medical help. It may just be the case of your body adjusting to the medicine and once this phase is over, the symptoms should disappear. You might want to double check with your GP if things don’t subside however.

Most common symptoms:

  • Anxiety/agitation
  • Coughing
  • Diarrhea
  • Feeling discouraged and more irritable
  • Generally feeling unwell with feverish/cold symptoms
  • Itchy skin/rashes
  • Headache
  • Heartburn
  • Joint pain
  • Drowsiness
  • Difficult focusing
  • Feeling weak


Withdrawal side-effects from long-term tramadol abuse

When people use tramadol in the long-term for purposes which aren’t medical, these symptoms may signal withdrawal and abuse. This is because tramadol affects the opioid receptors in the brain moreover impacting how neurons transmit instructions to the rest of the body. This is especially the case when mixing tramadol with antidepressants or other drugs which slow down the metabolisation of tramadol.
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The risk of seizures also increases when users seek the ‘high’ euphoric feeling that comes from taking the drug in large quantities.  Producing effects similar to opioid abuse, the production of certain hormones in the brain are increased to elevate someone’s mood. Some of the longer term side-effects which people may not consider are:

  • Psychological dependence

If someone was to take tramadol over a longer space of time, they would form a psychological dependence for it. This means they would take the drug in order to cope to the day-to-day issues of life. There will also be general cravings for more and if it’s not there, users will often feel anxious and search for the drug through other sources.

  • Physical dependence

Physically speaking, the substance can cause several of the side-effects mentioned above. The dangerous part is it’s easy for individuals to build up a tolerance to tramadol meaning they need to take stronger doses to experience the ‘highs’. This is when there is a risk of accidental overdose and causing serious damage to one’s health.

Need help with your detox?

No one usually starts out taking tramadol thinking ‘I wanna get addicted to this stuff’. Addiction takes time and can often happen without the individual being aware. Becoming addicted to tramadol presents many of the same problems as abusing other opioid substances. This also means that several rehabilitation centers will have services and facilities to help treat tramadol addiction.

Withdrawal from painkillers and experiencing tramadol side-effects 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.