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Can You Get Addicted to Tramadol?

If you or a loved one take tramadol, you may have heard about tramadol addiction. While very effective for pain, tramadol is a medication with addictive properties, so this is a real concern. Read on to learn more about this drug, how it becomes addictive, and what are the treatment options for tramadol addiction.

tramadol addiction

What Is Tramadol?


Tramadol is a synthetic opiate similar to morphine in structure and action, with a potency similar to codeine. Rather than being made from natural ingredients, it was created in a laboratory. Tramadol is prescribed for severe pain when other pain medications are inadequate or not well tolerated. It’s usually given for long-term use.

Many people use tramadol for chronic pain after accidents or for the pain associated with conditions like arthritis or fibromyalgia. It is not formally indicated for fibromyalgia. When a drug is given outside its approved (studied) indications, this is known as “off-label” use. Tramadol is a Schedule IV Controlled Substance in the United States, meaning it has greater restrictions than other medications.

Tags: Addiction

Read more: Can You Get Addicted to Tramadol?

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Thoughts from John Perry, Owner, Clean & Sober Recovery Services

When your loved one returns to the family after treatment, things will be different on a lot of fronts. For one, their authentic “personality” (for lack of a better word) may be visible for the first time in a long time. Even though I’m personally in long-term recovery, it’s still part of my nature to be restless, irritable and discontent. And, generally, that tends to be the personality of the substance abuser who uses drugs or alcohol to stimulate, relax or distract. That’s a big part of the reason why drugs or alcohol can so easily sink their teeth into us: They make us feel normal. So when we get sober, our dis-ease is laid bare. That’s why we must take steps to manage those uncomfortable parts of ourselves. That’s where AA and NA meetings, support from a sponsor, counseling, sober living or other recovery resources come into play.

Read more: Treatment is over, my loved one seems so unfamiliar....Why?

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As dangerous as improper drug use is, the danger increases exponentially when drugs are mixed together. One particularly deadly combination is Xanax and alcohol. When taking prescribed drugs at the prescribed dose, we are always warned that interactions between certain drugs can be harmful or even fatal. It should come as no surprise, then, that combining drugs when they are being abused is extremely dangerous.

Unfortunately, many individuals that abuse drugs regularly do just that – combine two or multiple drugs at a time. They may start using this way, consciously add the second substance to their original drug of choice, or attempt to replace their prescription addiction with alcohol, which they deem 'less dangerous,' inevitably becoming addicted to both.

Read more: Why You Shouldn't Mix Xanax and Alcohol

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How to Prevent Relapsing

It is perhaps the greatest accomplishment someone suffering from addiction can achieve – beginning and maintaining his or her recovery journey. However, the reality of the disease of addiction means anyone in recovery should have a well-laid out plan and techniques for relapse prevention.

Many in recovery or considering entering recovery see it as a ‘one time shot.’ They believe that success will be measured in their ability to get sober and stay sober on the first try. Unfortunately, this is an unrealistic standard to hold one's self to. While maintaining complete sobriety for life after entering recovery is not unheard of, 40-60% of individuals treated for substance abuse disorders experience some manner of relapse.

Read more: How to Prevent Relapsing

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Thoughts from John Perry, Co-owner, Clean & Sober Recovery Services

Two to three weeks into treatment, we often spot a resident’s overconfidence rearing its ugly head. It shows up as the faulty thinking that “I’m all better now, and I’m ready to return to my real life.” That’s a really bad plan for so many reasons.

Two or three weeks into treatment, residents may sincerely believe they are better. They aren’t trying to sneak out of treatment, but they simply believe they don’t need it anymore. Yes - they look better, they feel better, and they sincerely and truly believe they are now equipped to navigate life without drugs and alcohol. Their intentions are as “pure” as they can be, given that their brains and logic are altered by substance use disorder. Their cognition and judgement are severely compromised, so the newly-sober resident should certainly not be calling the shots about treatment duration.

Read more: This is PRECISELY why three weeks of treatment won't get the job done

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