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Telltale Tramadol Addiction Signs

Tramadol, also marketed under the brand name Ultram, offers an effective treatment for conditions involving mild to moderate pain symptoms. Tramadol belongs to a class of drugs known as opiates, which tend to carry a high potential for abuse and addiction.

According to the U. S. Department of Justice, in 2010, an estimated 16,251 emergency room visits resulted from tramadol abuse practices. In effect, exceeding prescribed dosage levels or using the drug for recreational purposes can predispose a person to tramadol’s addiction potential.

Anyone addicted to tramadol will exhibit certain traits that point to the drug’s hold over their lives.

Tramadol addiction signs develop gradually as the drug takes over normal brain functions.

Increasing tolerance levels and physical dependence mark the starting point where tramadol addiction signs take root. Without needed treatment intervention help, users remain at the mercy of the drug’s effects as tramadol addiction signs become more severe with ongoing use.

Tramadol’s Effects

tramadol abuse

Taking more tramadol than prescribed and having multiple prescriptions for it are signs of addiction.

Tramadol’s pain-relieving effects work by interfering with normal brain chemical processes. Since the brain makes use of its own pain and stress relieving chemicals, tramadol’s ability to alter these chemical processes works well for addressing pain-related symptoms.

Tramadol also produces certain aftereffects, such as total calm and euphoria, which play a big role in the drug’s addictive potential. Tramadol addiction signs develop out of these underlying chemical processes in the brain.

Tramadol’s effects can vary depending on the person. Along with its pain-relieving properties, tramadol can cause –

  • Shallow breathing
  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • Sedation
  • Dizziness

With continued use, these initial effects eventually turn into tramadol addiction signs that become more severe in intensity.

Tramadol addiction signs result from widespread chemical imbalances in the brain caused by the drug’s effects on brain cell functions. Certain key groups of brain cells secrete the neurotransmitter chemicals that regulate brain and body functions. Tramadol’s ongoing effects on cell secretion rates greatly disrupt the brain’s overall chemical balance. When this happens, tramadol addiction signs soon follow.

Tramadol Addiction Traits

Someone who abuses tramadol on a regular basis will likely start to exhibit traits commonly associated with addiction. More than anything else, a person’s change in attitude and behavior most characterize an addiction at work.

According to the U. S. Food & Drug Administration, tramadol addiction traits may take the form of –

  • “Doctor shopping”
  • Emergency doctor or hospital visits
  • Refusing to disclose medical records to treating physicians
  • Claiming to lose prescription medications on a frequent basis
  • Not wanting to undergo medical examination by doctors

Each of these traits feeds into the drug-seeking lifestyle a tramadol addiction breeds. Over time, drug-seeking behaviors will become more important than most everything else in a person’s life. Eventually, negative consequences will start to pile up in his or her life –

  • Loss of employment
  • Relationships losses
  • Broken families
  • Criminal activity leading to problems with the law
  • Money problems

In essence, these traits mirror the damaging effects tramadol has on overall brain function. As chemical imbalances in the brain continue to worsen, tramadol addiction signs become more pronounced.

Tolerance & Physical Dependence

Increasing tolerance levels and a growing physical dependence on tramadol become the driving forces behind addiction. Like most other opiates, tramadol’s chemical structure closely resembles the brain’s own neurotransmitter chemicals. In effect, these similarities facilitate the development of tramadol addiction signs.

Tramadol interacts directly with brain cell receptor sites, causing the release of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine chemicals, all of which are vital neurotransmitter materials. These chemicals regulate most every process in the body and exist at specified levels or amounts within the brain.

Continued tramadol use offsets the brain’s delicate chemical balance as brain cells weaken from having to constantly secrete chemicals whenever tramadol is present. Over time, chemical imbalances worsen to the point where the brain loses its ability to manage bodily functions.

As two of the most damaging tramadol addiction signs, increasing tolerance levels and physical dependence only grow worse with time the longer a person keeps using the drug.

In effect, tramadol addiction signs reinforce one another in such a way that the addiction cycle becomes a self-perpetuating process.

Withdrawal Tramadol Addiction Signs

The most telltale of all the tramadol addiction signs takes the form of withdrawal effects. Withdrawal effects result from the body’s growing physical dependency on the drug. Once brain cell functions reach a certain state of decline, bodily systems start to break down as the brain loses its ability to regulate normal functions.

According to the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration, withdrawal signs typically take the form of –

  • Feelings of depression
  • Anxiety symptoms
  • Changes in appetite
  • Problems getting to sleep and staying asleep
  • Body temperature changes that fluctuate between hot flashes and chills
  • Excess sweating
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Tremors

Withdrawal tramadol addiction signs drive ongoing drug using behavior as addicts continue using in an effort to relieve uncomfortable withdrawal effects. The brain’s increasing tolerance for Tramadol also feeds into continued drug use, as larger doses of Tramadol are needed to maintain brain cell secretion functions.

For most addicts, the symptoms brought on by withdrawal effects become the main obstacle to stopping drug use. Over time, rampant chemical imbalances actually change the brain’s overall structure leaving addicts in a perpetual state of withdrawal. At this point, no amount of the drug will provide relief for withdrawal effects.

Behavioral Signs

Once a full-blown addiction has taken root, tramadol addiction signs become most apparent within a person’s behaviors and overall psychological make-up. When brain chemical imbalances persist for long periods of time, a person’s brain functions differently than it did before.

Most notably, these changes alter what’s known as the brain reward system. This system regulates learning and motivation functions, so anything that’s perceived as a positive reinforcement becomes imprinted within this area of the brain.

At this point, a person places a tremendous value on the effects of tramadol to the point where everything else in his or her life loses importance. This tramadol addiction signs lies at the heart of addiction as addicts have reached a point where they believe they need the drug to cope with everyday life.