Is Tramadol addictive?

What is Tramadol?

Tramadol is a man-made opioid which is typically used as a painkiller. It works similarly to the way other opiate or opioid drugs do. Due to this, Tramadol has various of the same effects as other opiate medications. However, since Tramadol also contains other ingredients, it is safer to use. It has a low level of opioid content, too.

Regardless of the level of opioid content in Tramadol, research suggests that prescription painkillers based on opiates prove to be highly addictive and often result in abuse and addiction – particularly in those who take drugs like Tramadol for a euphoric effect instead of medical applications. 

Is Tramadol addictive?

Yes. Tramadol is intended for short-term use as it is highly addictive. In fact, the drug is often tapered as even medical use can lead to emotional and physical dependence.

Note that while some experts consider the addiction potential of Tramadol to be relatively low, people who have a history of opioid addiction can easily become dependent on Tramadol. In addition to this, they may even experience the same symptoms of addiction that develop when stronger opioid medications are used.

Tramadol Abuse

Tramadol abuse is relatively common these days. Even though the drug's original purpose was to be a less addictive type of opioid, Tramadol abuse is rampant. According to various reports, Tramadol can give birth to a craving response that is quite similar to that of oxycodone.

Due to this, people who are addicted to stronger opioid medications may become heavily addicted to Tramadol, as well. In addition, Tramadol can lead to behaviour involving drug-seeking and has great potential for people to develop tolerance, dependence, and subsequent addiction.

Physical Dependence on Tramadol

Tramadol directly affects the GABA system in the brain, which is a neurochemical pathway that, during stimulation, ends up decreasing neuron activity by reducing the natural production of dopamine as well as other neurotransmitters in the brain. This process in the system often hints at substance abuse and addiction. Also, it is commonly considered a potential addiction and drug abuse mechanism. 

Physical dependence is a common factor of Tramadol abuse. It indicates that most people tend to develop a physical dependence which leads their bodies to crave the drug. This, in return, leads to mental dependence. However, it is essential to note that prior history of substance abuse often contributes to Tramadol addiction.

Physical and Mental Effects of Tramadol

The physical and mental effects of Tramadol dependence may occur like the effects of other prescription painkillers. They can be confused with the side effects, too. The most common effects are:

  • Nausea, vomiting, and an upset stomach
  • Slow breathing 
  • Slow heart rate
  • Confusion, perplexity 
  • Inability to concentrate or focus
  • Sudden bursts of depression and anxiety
  • An increased risk-taking behaviour
  • Lowered inhibitions

These effects can become extremely harmful. They can even lead to an overdose of the drug. If the individual overdoses on the drug, they will experience extremely slow breathing that can result in the person fainting, becoming unresponsive, and slipping into a coma. It can prove to be fatal, too.