Tramadol Detox and Withdrawal

Tramadol is an over-the-counter drug that operates on opioid receptors, monoamine reuptake systems, as well as the central nervous system. This drug is used to suppress aching sensations and induce a person to calm and relax. Continued use of Tramadol can change the brain’s chemical messengers and cause physical adjustments in many of the pathways and components of the brain.

In this feature, we look at how one can recover from a Tramadol addiction, the different elements of withdrawal and detox, and how a medical team can help.

What is a Tramadol Detox?

Tramadol abuse can cause tolerance, making the drug no longer effective when taken at the usual dosage. People who have become dependent on Tramadol experience withdrawal symptoms when they refrain from taking the drug.

Tramadol detoxification varies from mild to moderate to severe depending on how much is used, what other drugs or medications are taken, and for how long it has been taken. Detox can be uncomfortable. Hence, it is recommended to be realised only under the supervision of a medical professional.

Tapering the Tramadol dosage is a standard procedure that aids in managing the withdrawal process. At first, a doctor will schedule a reduction in the dosage amount and observe outcomes related to the withdrawal symptoms over a certain period, usually a few weeks.

Tramadol withdrawal symptoms tend to last only for a week when a sufficient tapering method is applied. Any symptoms that are evident for more than a week are post-acute withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms include anxiety, depression, mood swings, insomnia, decreased appetite, irritability, and a lack of concentration.

Tramadol Withdrawal Symptoms

Tramadol functions similarly to an opioid but is formally an opioid analgesic. This means that many of its withdrawal symptoms are similar to those of other opioid withdrawal syndromes. Other than traditional opioids, Tramadol has a massive impact on many of the brain’s other neurotransmitters.

Those suffering from an addiction to the medication tend to experience additional withdrawal symptoms, especially the ones usually linked to antidepressant withdrawal.

Each person’s withdrawal experience differs. It is not possible to know when these symptoms will begin, their longevity or their severity before the necessary testing has been realised.

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How to Detox from Tramadol Safely

It’s important to know what to expect when there is a reduction in the dosage of Tramadol. When considering reducing Tramadol dosage, a consultation with a prescribing doctor is advised. This is to prevent quitting Tramadol in a rushed way, also known as “going cold turkey”. Tramadol withdrawal can be highly uncomfortable without a scheduled and supervised dosage regulation and, if necessary, medication.

When consulting a medical professional, be it your GP or an addiction treatment provider, be honest about all the details regarding your relationship with the drug. Otherwise, you risk misdirecting
your treatment and receiving one which is not relevant to your situation.

Detoxing from Tramadol at a Detox Facility

Online searches for a treatment centre near your residence can be done via online tools, the NHS website or even by using your usual search engine.

Residential addiction treatment facilities implement a high level of care and supervision. They also permit Tramadol users to subject themselves to treatment without any temptations or distractions.

a woman going through an alcohol detox assessment

The inpatient detoxification programs last between two and four weeks. However, should it be required for a person to stay in treatment for longer, many facilities will extend the period of the programme. Most inpatient addiction detox and withdrawal centres function under strict regulations and need their residents to abide by a schedule.

Medical detox is offered to overcome physical reliance on the drug.

The most important aspect to consider when searching for a treatment facility is that it provides an environment in which a recovering person can feel safe and comfortable.

Quitting Tramadol 'Cold Turkey'

Doctors do not advise that a recovering person should stop taking Tramadol alone or lessen the dosage without physician supervision. Tramadol doses should be reduced after a careful medical examination. This approach eases withdrawal symptoms and falls in accordance with the healthcare worker’s recommendations.

When providing care to someone who suffers from Tramadol addiction and is going through detox:

  • Keep them hydrated and provide plenty of fluids.
  • Arrange regular visits to their primary care physician or medical professional.
  • They should be able to give medications that will aid in combating unpleasant symptoms such as nausea, anxiety or insomnia.
  • Provide the recovering person with moral support.

Treating the Underlying Causes of Tramadol Dependency

two women supporting each other

Steady administrating of Tramadol coupled with doses of Lorazepam and Clonidine has been found to be quite effective in treating the restlessness and anxiety that comes with withdrawal during detox.

Various therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Dialectical Behavioural Therapy can be used during the rehab phase of treatment to help heal the underlying psychological causes of addiction.

During the withdrawal process, however, considering that Tramadol is usually prescribed for medical reasons, the supervising team will offer alternatives to manage any physical symptoms which may appear once the drug is eliminated from the body.

Pain Management

During Tramadol detoxification, pain may occur as a symptom. As some people experience an elevated sense of pain as a withdrawal symptom, supervising staff members may prescribe and administer alternative pain medications.

Some individuals’ pain will act when remedied with non-opioid medicines; these are associated with fewer risk factors and harmful side effects. Always consult a doctor or pharmacist before altering the dosage or sort of medication you take.

If a person suffers from chronic pain, a doctor may put forth lifestyle changes to assist in managing the discomfort. The most effective of these recommendations include physical fitness, social activities, relaxation techniques and general health management.

Residential Rehab

Once successfully detoxed from Tramadol and no withdrawal symptoms are present, those who are in treatment will be offered rehabilitation.

A successful Tramadol rehab relies on individual requirements: psychological issues, personal circumstances, resources, as well as addiction management needs.

A residential setting is the most preferred approach for tramadol addiction treatment. A residential rehab will continue to monitor the person’s access to medications and how their body and mind manage without Tramadol. Therapy and recreational activity, accompanied by staff and peer support, assist in leading a Tramadol-free lifestyle.

Outpatient Services and Support Groups for Tramadol Addiction

In case you or anyone you know needs support for Tramadol addiction, remember that you are not alone.

Many Tramadol users develop their addictions as a result of ongoing battles with chronic pain. When seeking family therapy, think about working with a somatic therapist who has a deeper understanding of the mind-body connection. These therapists are experienced in dealing with chronic pain-related problems.

Outpatient services are often available through the NHS, but private centres will also be able to offer options. These may include one-to-one sessions, group therapy meetings, as well as individual art, music or even acupuncture therapy hours. Depending on where you choose to attend therapy, as well as how much you can pay for it, your options will expand.

Narcotics Anonymous, AlAnon and AdFam can help you and your loved ones stay on track with your outpatient recovery. However, most private addiction detox and rehabilitation clinics also offer aftercare sessions which may include group therapy and meetings. Make sure you discuss aftercare with your therapists.