Tramadol Addiction and Abuse
Usually taken in tablet form, it has become a popular drug with both doctors and patients, not just for its pain-relieving qualities but also for its convenience. This means it is often prescribed following operations and injury and, although taken on medical direction, is usually taken outside medical settings. However, despite the relative lack of potency is still carries a risk of abuse and addiction.
What is Tramadol abuse and addiction?
As a prescription drug, any use of Tramadol outside the prescription guidelines is considered abuse. And, as an opioid, even though one of the weaker ones, there is a real risk of addiction.
The risk of abuse is higher because, given its position as one of the less potent opiate pain relievers it is more common prescribed and, therefore, more readily available. This means there is more opportunity for people to access the drug, either by getting a prescription for more than they medically need, or by gaining access to someone else’s drugs. Tramadol has, therefore, become a widely abused drug.
The drug is usually taken as a tablet, although is sometimes available as a liquid. However, when abused it can also be crushed into a powder and snorted. Either way, for many the drug produces positive feelings, sometimes even a sense of euphoria, that is common to any opioid.
The drug works by promoting the generation of endorphins to help relieve pain. Along with this it will result in the generation of dopamine which starts a process of creating new neural pathways, forming a strong, and eventually compulsive, association between positive feelings and the drug.
Because of the relative ease of getting the drug, abuse, and addiction can frequently occur in people who start by obtaining the drug legitimately, but then progress to exaggerating or making up their symptoms with doctors, ‘losing’ their prescription or simply changing doctors to obtain new prescriptions.
What are the risks of Tramadol abuse and addiction?
Because it is less potent than other opioid drugs the risks associated with Tramadol abuse may be less to begin. However, because addiction frequently increases tolerance to a drug, it is possible to have severe side effects from abuse and addiction if higher doses of Tramadol are taken.
The effects, in these cases, are similar to those experienced with the abuse or overdose of any other opioid drug. These can include confusion and disorientation, depressed heart rate and respiratory distress and seizures. Indeed, because prescriptions will usually have a supply that is sufficient to last a long period, overdose is a real possibility for some people who might have developed a tolerance and recently filled a prescription.
Addiction is, however, treatable. This is especially true if the addiction is spotted early, when, because of the relatively low potency of Tramadol, it’s possible to withdraw, possibly using a substitute therapy to manage the withdrawal, and undertake rehab.