Tramadol is a lesser of evil in opioid-based prescription medication. Not as popular as OxyContin or HydroCodone, Tramadol does not receive as much attention in regards to addiction. Abuse of Tramadol is possible, as with any opiate, and can eventually lead to addiction.
Like narcotic opiates in its class, Tramadol is prescribed to treat severe pain. While other opioids are quite strong, Tramadol is seen to be a relatively moderate drug. Extended release forms of Tramadol are available for chronic pain patients who are in need of pain relief twenty four hours a day.
Becoming Addicted to Tramadol
Addiction to Tramadol starts by intentionally or unintentionally abusing the drug. Abusive use of a drug is usually defined by taking more per dose than is prescribed. Medical professionals note that Tramadol is in fact habit-forming. Usually when the medical field lists habit-forming, it means dependency building. Building a dependency on a drug indicates that at some point in time a tolerance has developed for the dosage. A tolerance can form overtime just by taking a regular dosage as prescribed or quickly by abusing the drug in larger quantities. Reaching a level of tolerance means that the drug no longer has the same pain-relieving effects it did before. Out of pain and desperation, many people innocently begin to take more than one pill at each dosing time.
Potential Harm from Tramadol
Opioid addiction carries the same threats from one medication to the next. Analgesic medications like narcotic opiate painkillers work by rewiring the brain’s opioid receptors. Working in the nervous system, analgesics create feelings of relaxation by slowing down heart rate. Taken in large doses, opioids can shallow breathing and heart rate to a fatally slow rate. In an overdose situation, a person may be caught up in the euphoric, dizzy sensations caused by opiates, unaware of how their breathing is ceasing.
What to Look for with Tramadol Addiction
If you suspect someone in your life may be abusing Tramadol, look for these key signs:
- Constricted pupils (like small black pinholes)
- Frequent episodes of being high or seeming to be high, indicated by incoherence, falling asleep, cognitive difficulties
- A subtle or strong obsession with obtaining, using, and being high on the drug
- Weight loss
- Change in digestive patterns
- Irritability or symptoms of withdrawal when the high wears off
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