Signs of Tramadol Abuse

Opiates like Tramadol can stimulate the capacity of brain receptors that take in endorphins and enkephalins. Biologists think that endorphins and enkephalins work together naturally to dull pain or to ease anxiety when someone is hurt or close to death. Tramadol works by replacing these natural molecules, and in a much greater quantity than the body can supply. Pain signals surging from an injury or a cancerous tumor cannot relay their messages to the brain because tramadol has blocked the receptors that “register” the pain while rewarding the receptors that enhance pleasure. Patients may still feel the pain, but the pain will not bother them as much, and they will be able to concentrate on other aspects of life.

Tramadol can quickly induce a dreamy state of happiness, drowsiness, and relief from anxiety that can last from three to five or six hours, depending on the dose and the way it was administered. Most people taking tramadol for pain learn to live with the drowsiness and the confusion. Some patients opt to live with the pain instead so that their senses are not dulled by tramadol. Usually, patients will work closely with their doctors to monitor doses so that a balance can be achieved.

All opiates produce similar side effects in the body. Chronic Tramadol users will typically develop constipation because the drug slows muscle movement in the bowels. Breathing may be slowed as well. The drug can affect coordination, and the users must adjust the medicine dosage before driving or operating any machinery. Other side effects of tramadol include nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, loss of sexual function, and pinpoint pupils. Some people develop a mild allergic reaction in the skin that causes itching or prickling.

Even when used as directed, tramadol can cause withdrawal symptoms if a dose is missed or the medication is stopped suddenly. These symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, muscle aches, insomnia and anxiety, diarrhea, muscle twitching, sweaty and clammy skin, and goose bumps.

Dangers of Tramadol Abuse

Tramadol is designed to alter the homeostatic body functions. There is a slight decrease in body temperature, although dilation of blood vessels gives the user a feeling of warmth and the body retains fluids. There is also a reduction in the secretion of digestive fluids, and a depression of bowel activity that can cause constipation. It also causes a constriction of the pupils, which explains why the Tramadol addicts frequently wear sunglasses. At relatively high doses, the sedating effects produce a lethargic and dreamy state, in which there is a feeling of extreme contentment.

Tramadol can also stimulate the brain’s area that controls nausea and vomiting, and instead of euphoria, some first time users experience nausea and vomiting. A very dangerous side effect of Tramadol is that it depresses the respiratory function. An overdose can result in respiratory arrest and death from lack of oxygen to the brain.

After several weeks of proper medical administration, a person can experience noticeable dependence with Tramadol. Addiction from medical use is almost unheard of. Normally withdrawal symptoms are a mild version of the opiate withdrawal syndrome. Tolerance is typically described as evidence of drug abuse, but tramadol tolerance can develop in persons receiving the drug medically for pain relief. Symptoms of such tolerance include a need to take doses more often and at a higher strength in order to produce the same amount of pain relief. This is notable because tolerance to therapeutic effects of a drug tends to be unusual; perhaps the development indicates a substantial psychological component in tramadol’s pain management. Tolerance is commonly observed among addicts, but they do not continually increase their dosage. At some point, they reach a level adequate to maintain the sensations they seek.

One of the main appeals in illicit use of Tramadol is the drug’s ability to induce calmness. People who consume the drug for this purpose are not so much using the drug for recreational purposes as for relieving mental suffering. In some people, the drug can cause euphoria, a characteristic that can have appeal strictly for recreational purpsoes but also for self-medication.

When given in amounts exceeding normal human medical doses by hundreds of times, Tramadol can easily cause birth defects. Malformations involving bones and soft tissues have been observed in animals. Pregnant rats and hamsters dosed on opiates produce male offspring that exhibit feminized behavior. When an opiate was routinely given to male adolescent rats, the drug seemed to interfere with sexual maturation. As their offspring reached adulthood, they appeared normal but had hormone abnormalities. In humans, no increase in birth defects has been observed in offspring of women who used opiates during pregnancy. An opioid dose quickly passes from the woman into the fetus and reaches a blood serum level similar to the mothers. A dose lasts longer in the fetus than elsewhere in a woman’s body. The drug reduces fetal motions. A baby born to a chronic opiate user can have a dependence on the drug and exhibit withdrawal symptoms after birth.


Psychological Addiction

The psychological dependence affects the behavior of the user. The individual has a particular mental state that is characterized by an imperious wish of using the drug in order to obtain the drug’s effects. This type of dependence is very common among the Tramadol users.

The psychological addiction associated with a Tramadol dependency represents a complex neurological process. The primary symptom of any psychological addiction, the cravings, can persist long after the physical need for tramadol has passed. The addict will continue to think about the drug, and they will feel a bit odd when doing the daily activities without being under the influence of the opiate.

The psychological withdrawal from opiates, like tramadol, is considered by the doctors to be a long and painful process. The addicts will generally experience the following symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Rapid mood swings
  • Confusion
  • Paranoia


Physical Addiction

Physical Addiction occurs when Tramadol addicts develop pathological organic needs of using the substance in order to avoid the disorders that may appear as soon as the individual stops administering the drug.

Most of the opiate addicts will not notice the physical dependence until they run out of the substance. When the addict can’t get any more of it, the withdrawal state sets in. Withdrawal’s signs and symptoms send the addicts into a flu-like stage. This flu-like stage can only be “fixed” by giving the body the opiate dose he asks for. Most of the time, addicts try to overcome these uncomfortable physical side effects, and they do that by administering the drug again and again, making it impossible to escape from this vicious cycle.

Recognizing a Tramadol Addiction

If a person is abusing a substance like Tramadol, they will likely develop physical and psychological signs and symptoms of abuse. Observing these signs and symptoms can be the easiest way to recognize an opiate addiction. The most common signs and symptoms of Tramadol abuse are confusion, drowsiness, dreamy state of happiness, nausea, vomiting, diminished appetite, decreased sexual drive and shallow breathing (slowed breathing).

The presence of the withdrawal state can also be taken into consideration when talking about how to recognize this type of addiction. This state occurs when the addict tries to discontinue the consumption Tramadol. Symptoms like sweating, tearing eyes, runny nose, restlessness, muscle aches, dilated pupils, irritability, sleeping problems, elevated blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, and diarrhea can be easily observed.


Signs of Overdose

Tramadol is currently an FDA-approved medication used for the management of the chronic pain. Even though it is an approved drug, it can cause serious, life-threatening side effects when misused.


A person that reaches a Tramadol overdose state can experience signs and symptoms like:

  • Agitation or irritability
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Hallucinations
  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Dry mouth
  • Extreme sleepiness
  • Fever
  • Diminished appetite
  • Diminished coordination
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Rapid mood swings
  • Stomach pains
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Coma