Treatment for Tramadol Abuse

In 2013, the prescription drug tramadol was all over the news. Articles like this one in Chemistry World suggested that tramadol wasn’t a man-made substance, as experts had believed for quite some time. Instead, these articles suggested, tramadol was produced naturally, inside the roots of a very common plant. The research world got very excited at this news, as it seemed to indicate that this common painkiller could be manufactured quite inexpensively, and that could help many people living with pain.

That groundbreaking work has since been debunked, as an article in the journal Angewandte Chemie explained that animals had been given tramadol, and that the urine from these treated animals was contaminating trees and skewing research results.

And that could be good news. While no one wants people who are living in pain to continue to suffer, many addiction experts don’t want to see a cheap source of tramadol hit the marketplace. That’s because this medication has been associated with abuse in some people.

Those who abuse tramadol can certainly get better. And in fact, many of them do so. But, experts would still like to ensure that the drug remains somewhat novel, so fewer cases of addiction arise in the first place.

Tramadol Basics

Tramadol is a narcotic medication that’s designed to help people move through an episode of moderate pain. An overview published by Medscape suggests that most people take their medications every four to six hours, but some have extended-release tablets that deliver pain relief for up to 24 hours. These people might take only one pill per day.

You might be asked to take tramadol if you’ve been through something intensely painful, such as a:

  • Dental procedure
  • Car accident
  • Physical altercation
  • Nasty fall
  • Workplace mishap

Ongoing pain from an incident like this can make concentration difficult, and if you have an underlying mental health condition, pain like this could make your mental health situation a little more precarious. Proper pain control could allow you to participate in your therapy sessions and support group meetings, so you can stay on track with your mental health.

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Researchers suggest that taking tramadol on a daily basis in order to control a pain condition isn’t typically associated with abuse and/or addiction. In fact, a study in the journal Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety suggests that few people abuse tramadol. That remained true, researchers say, even when generic formulations of the drug hit the market, and there were more pills for addicted people to grab.

This low level of addiction may be due to the fact that tramadol isn’t a part of the opioid class of drugs. It doesn’t seem to trigger the same kind of euphoria seen in people who abuse drugs like Vicodin and OxyContin, so it just doesn’t seem as tempting to abuse this medication, even when it’s available. That’s why a doctor might choose this medication for pain control above all others, as the risk of danger seems low.

But tramadol isn’t completely benign. For example, in a study in the journal Psychopharmacology, researchers found that tramadol does seem to work on at least some of the same receptors hit by opioid drugs like Vicodin. That means tramadol might be used to help people recover from an addiction to this kind of opioid drug, but it also seems to suggest that tramadol could be responsible, at least in part, for some of the cases of addiction seen in the United States among people who take painkillers.

Tramadol Abuse Therapy

Real recovery begins when you have the opportunity to wean away from tramadol in a safe, supervised, supportive environment. A rehab program can give you that.

In a dual diagnosis rehab program, you’ll have the opportunity to work with medical professionals in a detox program, so you can get sober without feeling ill. Then, you’ll work on your coping skills in therapy. You might delve into the attributes that draw you to drugs, even when you know you should stay sober. You might learn how to handle stress without leaning on narcotics. And you might get added pain control help, so you don’t need painkillers at all.

We can help you find a dual diagnosis program just like this, so you can leave tramadol behind for good. Call our toll-free number listed at the top of this page, and our admissions coordinators can tell you more.

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