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April 13, 2021

Tramadol is a pain relieving narcotic drug that works slightly differently than traditional opioids. In addition to activating opioid receptors in the brain, it prevents neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine from being reabsorbed by the body. 

This medication is used to relieve moderate to severe pain, and it comes in tablet form. The only way to legally obtain tramadol is from a doctor’s prescription, though it can be bought through illicit means. As with all opioids, tramadol has a high addiction potential when it is not taken as directed, and patients that use it for longer periods or in higher amounts than recommended may develop a dependency or an addiction.

A tramadol user taking a tablet.

Once a dependency has formed, an abstinence crisis may occur when the user stops taking tramadol, and they will experience physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. 

This article will teach you what to expect as you detox from tramadol, including the tramadol withdrawal symptoms and the withdrawal timeline. You can also discover the treatment options that can help you through a tramadol abstinence crisis.

Possible side effects of tramadol

Those that are not dependent on or abusing tramadol may still experience short term side effects from using the drug. These can appear quickly after the first use and last for as long as the medication is in your system. Possible side effects of tramadol include but are not limited to: 

  • Unusual fatigue or weakness
  • Mood changes including irritability and depression
  • Dizziness and confusion
  • Reduced respiratory function
  • Excessive sweating
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Itching

When tramadol is taken as directed, these side effects should be mild and should fade on their own as the drug leaves your body. If tramadol is abused, these may be more severe and can cause harm to the user. 

Tramadol abuse often leads to the consumption of other psychoactive substances, which can result in polytoxicomania. This psychological and physical state arises when several substances are used together, and it is very difficult to treat. If you experience an intense or prolonged version of any of the above side effects or if you believe you are beginning to suffer from tramadol dependence, be sure to contact your health care provider as soon as possible.

Tramadol withdrawal symptoms

A woman experiencing the psychological manifestations of tramadol withdrawal.

Since tramadol blocks the body’s reabsorption of certain neurotransmitters in addition to activating opioid receptors, the withdrawal symptoms may display differently than in a traditional opioid abstinence crisis. In addition to the common symptoms of opioid withdrawal outlined below, the user may experience some atypical manifestations including paranoia, extreme anxiety, hallucinations, and depersonalization. Some more typical withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Excessive sweating
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Intestinal issues including diarrhea
  • Changes in appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Increased heart rate
  • Strong drug cravings

The intensity of these physical manifestations of withdrawal depends on several factors,  including the amount of time a user has been on tramadol, the dosages they take, their general quality of health, and more. If you are suffering from a severe addiction to tramadol, the withdrawal symptoms will be more uncomfortable and will last for longer. 

How long does tramadol withdrawal last?

Normally, tramadol has a half life of about 6 hours, meaning that withdrawal symptoms can start within a matter of hours after the last use.

Acute withdrawal will likely peak within a few days and fully subside after one to two weeks. Due to the atypical nature of tramadol withdrawal, the psychological symptoms may persist for weeks, which makes the possibility of relapse high.

Post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) are also common for those going through opioid withdrawal. PAWS includes a variety of psychological and emotional symptoms that you may experience occasionally over the course of several months as your brain chemistry returns to its pre-addiction state. These symptoms may include: depression, irritability, anxiety, sleep troubles, and general brain fog.

It is important to note that withdrawal is not as simple as it may sound. The physical symptoms can be very painful and the psychological torment that may accompany tramadol abstinence can be unbearable. This is why people that try to get off of tramadol alone are often unsuccessful. 

Get a free online consultation with a medical expert to learn how to manage these withdrawal symptoms for you or your loved one >>>

What is tramadol detox and withdrawal treatment?

It is technically possible to gradually reduce the dosage of tramadol over time to prevent the worst of the withdrawal symptoms, but this method of detoxification can take around 2-3 months, or even longer. Additionally, the user may still experience both physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms during this time, which increases the risk of relapse and reduces their quality of life for an extended period of time. 

In order to prevent relapse and make the withdrawal process as comfortable as possible, tramadol detox should take place in a medical facility specialized in addiction treatment and drug detoxification.

A medical expert speaking to an opioid detox patient.

Ultra-rapid opioid detoxification (UROD) is a quick, painless, and safe treatment option. With this detox method, tramadol can be removed from the body while the patient is under anesthesia, which allows them to avoid painful withdrawal symptoms and intense drug cravings.

The patient is given opioid blockers while they are asleep, allowing the body to cleanse itself of tramadol painlessly. The patient is unconscious for about 6 to 8 hours, and the process may be repeated several times. It is essential that this procedure is done in a qualified medical facility with the proper equipment so that the patient’s health can be constantly monitored. 

Drug detoxification using the UROD procedure is only one part of the treatment process, and post-procedure care may include pharmacotherapy, physiotherapy, and behavioral therapy. It may take weeks to go through the entire treatment process, and those that wish to maintain a drug-free life would benefit from continued sessions with a therapist and other post-treatment care.

There is no need to suffer alone. If you or a loved one are going through tramadol withdrawal, get in contact with us today to prevent relapse and get off of this narcotic drug safely.

To find out more about the tramadol detoxification process, get a free and confidential online consultation. You will discuss treatment options and the various outcomes with an expert of the clinic >>> 

Frequently asked questions

What are the symptoms of tramadol withdrawal?

 You may experience traditional opioid withdrawal symptoms, including but not limited to: watery eyes, nausea, muscle pain, sweating, and increased heart rate. You may also experience atypical symptoms that consist of psychological and emotional manifestations of abstinence such as: severe anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, and depersonalization.

What is the tramadol withdrawal timeline?

Withdrawal symptoms can start hours after your last use and will likely peak after a few days. The majority of the physical symptoms should be gone after 7 to 14 days, depending on the severity of your dependence or addiction. The psychological manifestations of withdrawal can last for weeks or months after acute withdrawal has subsided. Each person’s withdrawal timeline will be different depending on factors such as overall health and the seriousness of addiction.

How do I get off of tramadol?

Though it is technically possible to self-detox, this is a very uncomfortable process that is often unsuccessful. In order to get off of tramadol safely and to prevent relapse, the detoxification process should occur in a medical facility specialized in addiction treatment. Ultra-rapid detoxification is an effective, safe, and pain-free drug detoxification procedure that can be paired with other treatment methods to help you achieve physical recovery as well as mental stability.

What is ultra-rapid opioid detoxification (UROD)?

UROD is an anesthesia assisted procedure that rids the body of opiates through administration of naloxone and naltrexone. The patient is unconscious for the detoxification procedure so they don’t have to experience painful withdrawal symptoms. Post-detoxification recommendations might include pharmacotherapy, physiotherapy, and behavioral therapy.

Published on April 13, 2021

by Dr Vorobjev Clinic team

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