Tramadol is a medication prescribed mostly for moderate pain. It comes in several forms to treat either acute or chronic pain. While it isn’t as powerful as some other opioid medications, it is still an opioid, so you may be wondering if it’s possible to get high from tramadol. More than that, you might also be wondering if it’s possible to become addicted to tramadol.
We will cover what tramadol is, what it’s most often prescribed for and whether it can make you feel high, as well as side effects and treatment options. Knowing more about tramadol can be beneficial if you or a loved one is taking it.
Opioid medications come in many doses and strengths. Tramadol is considered one of the weaker opiates compared to stronger medications such as morphine or fentanyl. Despite their differences in strength, they all work using the same biological principles. According to Medline, tramadol interacts with the opioid receptors in your brain. This changes the way your body interacts with pain.
Tramadol is most often prescribed for moderate pain, but it can sometimes be prescribed for moderately severe pain as well. It comes in several forms, such as an extended-release tablet that helps with chronic pain. This ensures that the tramadol releases slowly, so you can feel relief throughout the day.
Tramadol and Feeling High
Opioids have quickly become some of the most common drugs to abuse because many of them create a high feeling that comes on fast and strong. While many people know of heroin and its effects, this may make you think about other opiate medications and whether they are similar. Does tramadol get you high? The short answer is yes, but it’s a little more complicated than that.
According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, or DEA, tramadol can create a high sensation. This only occurs when taking very high doses that are far beyond what you would normally be prescribed. Even when taking a very high dose, the feelings are minimal compared to other more notorious opioids.
You might be thinking that the overdose potential is low since the high is relatively minor. The truth is that there is a very risky overdose potential if you are willing to take such a large dose to achieve a high. While the feeling might not be as strong as other opiates, the drug is still flooding your system and can affect your heart, lungs, brain and other organs. As such, tramadol may actually be more dangerous because you may overdose before experiencing a high.
Tramadol Side Effects
Every medication has the potential to cause side effects, and tramadol is no exception. These side effects are like the ones experienced with other opioid pain relievers, so you may have seen similar symptoms while looking at other opioids.
According to WebMD, the most common side effects for tramadol include:
- Sleepiness or difficulty falling asleep
- Nervousness or muscle tightness
- Mood changes
- Indigestion or heartburn
- Dry mouth
Keep in mind that these are only the common side effects. They are typically mild, but they can be more severe. If you feel any of these symptoms, then be sure to alert your doctor. They can tell you if the side effects are truly from the tramadol. They can also tell you if it would be helpful to change the dose, take a different medication or do something else depending on the actual side effect.
Tramadol Overdose Symptoms
If you are taking tramadol according to the doctor’s orders, then there is a very low chance of overdosing. It can happen if you were put on a higher dose, but the chances are fairly low. If you are taking tramadol to get high or if you are taking several opioids simultaneously, then the risk of overdose dramatically increases.
In either case, knowing the common tramadol overdose symptoms can be helpful. According to Medline, overdose symptoms typically include:
- Labored breathing
- Slow and shallow breaths
- Slow heartbeat
- Inability to wake up
- Significant drowsiness
- Muscle weakness
- Cold and clammy skin
- Reduced pupil size
If you are experiencing any of these overdose signs or see someone else experiencing them, then you need to get emergency medical attention immediately. A tramadol overdose can be fatal if not treated properly and immediately.
Withdrawal Symptoms With Tramadol
Not only do opioid medications like tramadol have a chance of becoming habit forming, but they also typically involve withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking the medication. While withdrawal is common with opioids, this can be countered through a medical detox and by tapering the dosage. This should only be done under medical supervision. Granite Recovery Centers provides medical detoxification for people who do not need immediate medical intervention, are not a danger to themselves, and are capable of self-evacuation in the event of an emergency.
Common withdrawal symptoms include:
- Difficulty going to sleep
- Sneezing or a runny nose
The withdrawal symptoms can be difficult to handle on your own, so it’s best to seek medical supervision when it’s time to discontinue tramadol. While there isn’t a guarantee that you will experience these symptoms, you should still seek medical supervision just in case.
Serotonin syndrome is a condition where your body is flooded with too much serotonin. Normally, serotonin makes you feel good, but having too much of it can actually lead to serotonin toxicity along with many different symptoms. According to WebMD, there is a rare chance that tramadol can cause this syndrome. The chances increase if you are taking tramadol to get high because you’ll be taking a significantly higher dose than what a doctor would prescribe.
While serotonin is typically positive to have in the body because it makes you feel good, serotonin syndrome is a dangerous and potentially fatal health condition. This causes some of the symptoms seen in the overdose and withdrawal sections above. It is common to experience hallucinations, fast heartbeat, lack of coordination, dizziness, muscle twitching and severe nausea with this condition.
You should contact your doctor or get emergency medical attention if you experience these symptoms. While serotonin syndrome is rare from tramadol, the chances increase if you are taking very high doses or are combining opiates or other medications that increase your serotonin.
If you are using tramadol or any other opiate substance to get high, then you may want to consider a medical detox. As discussed above, opiates like tramadol can lead to withdrawal symptoms that might be uncomfortable. Many people go back to using the medication because they want to stop the withdrawal symptoms.
A medical detox may not entirely prevent the withdrawal symptoms, but it will lessen them at the very least. This process involves one of our doctors tapering the medication off so that your body gets used to properly functioning without tramadol. The process typically takes two weeks, but it may take longer depending on how your body reacts. Our doctors will be able to adjust the taper schedule as needed based on your reactions.
While this process allows you to discontinue tramadol and remove the opiates from your body, it isn’t always enough to help you stop using tramadol. This only addresses the biological part of use. If you find that you are still experiencing cravings, then we highly recommend our therapy services.
If your cravings are mild to moderate and your environment is supportive of recovery, then we will likely recommend either outpatient or intensive outpatient therapy. These two treatment programs work well in conjunction, so you can enjoy the benefits of both group and individual therapy.
Outpatient therapy involves seeing your designated therapist on a weekly basis for individual sessions. The sessions last an hour and are typically once or twice a week. Once is most common, but you may need additional support. Individual sessions allow you to explore deeper themes without worrying about what others are thinking. This also helps you figure out your cravings while discovering coping skills to use when you are stressed.
Intensive outpatient, more commonly known as IOP, is the next step up. This is a type of group therapy where you meet with a counselor and several other members who are also seeking to recover from their substance use. IOP sessions meet three times a week, and each session is normally three hours. That may sound long, but this ensures that everyone has enough time to talk about their recovery. Group therapy helps ensure that you can all learn from each other.
If your environment isn’t supportive of recovery, your cravings are more severe, or you’re finding that you cannot stop using despite being involved in IOP or outpatient treatment, then you may want to consider inpatient treatment. This level of care allows you to get away from everyday stressors so that you can focus entirely on your recovery. Some people find that work and family are too stressful when they are attempting to stop using. Others find that their environment isn’t supportive of recovery. For example, others might use around you, which increases your own cravings.
No matter the case, inpatient care is always available if you need it. We allow you to live at our facility as you receive both individual and group therapy. You will also perform other activities and chores to keep your mind and hands busy, which has been shown to help with recovery.
Be sure to let us know your preference when you contact us. We will build a treatment plan around your specific needs.
Another option we offer is medication-assisted treatment, or MAT. This is commonly used with stronger opioids like heroin and fentanyl, but it can also be applied to tramadol dependency if needed.
The difficulty with discontinuing opioids is that these substances flood your opioid receptors and create a physical dependency. MAT uses medications such as methadone, suboxone or vivitrol that keep these receptors engaged but do not produce the same high as with other opioid substances. This makes it easier to stop using the substance as the physical cravings should go away.
If you are interested in participating in MAT, then be sure to tell us while we are creating a treatment plan. We will listen to your preferences while making a plan that fulfills your needs for recovery.
Granite Recovery Centers has been helping clients like yourself in the New Hampshire and New England area for over 10 years. We provide many levels of care from medical detox and MAT to group therapy and inpatient care. We encourage our clients to talk to us about their recovery and what they need in order to get better. It can be a long journey, and we want to help every step of the way.
If you find that you’re having cravings for tramadol or other substances, then contact us to help you get back in control of your life.