Can you get addicted to tramadol? Read on to find out.
Tramadol is an opiate pain reliever used to treat moderate to severe pain. Like other narcotic painkillers, tramadol has a high potential for abuse. If you’ve been prescribed tramadol for pain or have been taking someone else’s to get high, you may be wondering, can you get addicted to tramadol? The answer is yes, and in fact, it’s actually very easy to develop an addiction to tramadol.
How Can You Get Addicted to Tramadol?
Tramadol addiction is characterized by the inability to stop taking it even though using it is causing major problems in your life. Addiction develops over time as the result of changes in the structures and functions of the brain caused by heavy tramadol abuse. These changes occur in brain regions associated with memories, pleasure, and learning.
So, how can you get addicted to tramadol? When you take tramadol, it produces a rush of the feel-good brain chemical dopamine, which is responsible for the euphoric effects of tramadol. These euphoric feelings register in the pleasure center of the brain, and the memory center records a memory of the pleasure. The learning center begins to equate using tramadol with the pleasure it produces, and it makes deep, strong connections between the pleasure and using the drug. These brain changes affect your thought and behavior patterns and may cause you to be in denial about your use or do things you normally wouldn’t do in order to get tramadol, such as cheat, lie, or steal.
Over time, you may begin to experience intense cravings for tramadol, and your abuse may become compulsive. Even though you want to stop using tramadol or you try to stop using it, you’ll find you can’t. These are some tramadol addiction side effects that indicate you’ve developed an addiction.
Why is Tramadol so Addictive?
Why is tramadol so addictive? And when can you get addicted to tramadol? It doesn’t take long to develop an addiction to tramadol. That’s because of its intense euphoric effects that make you want to keep using it. But the more you use it, the stronger the brain’s connections between using and pleasure become. As a result, you may begin having cravings for tramadol more quickly than other substances, which don’t produce as large a dopamine rush.
Part of the answer to the question, why is tramadol so addictive? is that tramadol also produces dependence very quickly.
Addiction and dependence aren’t the same thing. While addiction is characterized by compulsive tramadol use despite negative consequences, dependence is characterized by withdrawal symptoms that set in when you stop using it.
Dependence, like addiction, occurs as the result of brain changes caused by heavy tramadol use. When you use tramadol, the huge dopamine rush is unnatural, so your brain changes the way it functions chemically in order to compensate for it. This produces tolerance very quickly, which means that it takes bigger and bigger doses to get the desired effects. But as you increase the dosage, your brain continues to change its function to compensate for it. At some point, brain function may shift so that it now operates more comfortably when tramadol is present than when it’s not. Then, when you quit using it, your normal brain function will rebound, and this is what causes withdrawal symptoms.
Tramadol Addiction Side Effects
Tramadol addiction is dangerous. It dramatically increases your risk of overdose, which is often deadly. It also causes damage to your organs, and it can cause long-term cognitive and emotional problems, among other serious physical and mental health issues. Getting professional help for a tramadol addiction is almost always necessary to end the addiction once and for all.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.