A Guide to Tramadol Detox and Withdrawal

Physicians may prescribe opioid medications to help relieve various levels of chronic or symptomatic pain. The drug, tramadol, is a narcotic-like prescription drug that is used to treat moderate to severe pain.

What Is Tramadol?

Prescription painkillers like tramadol can be very helpful in lessening pain, especially when prescribed to relieve discomfort after surgery. This narcotic analgesic works by changing the way your body processes the pain signals that travel between nerves and the brain.

Although opiate analgesics such as tramadol are good at decreasing the body’s ability to feel pain, these types of medications have a high potential to become physically and psychologically addictive and can cause dangerous side effects if taken with certain other medications or substances.

Tramadol is the generic name for this drug. It is also sold under the following brand names in the United States:

  • Ultram
  • ConZip
  • FusePaq Synapryn
  • Ryzolt

This substance comes in various oral dosage forms, including extended release capsules, extended release and regular tablets, and in a suspension form. Tramadol can have dangerous consequences when taken with certain other medications. Inform your physician of all other medications being taken before taking this drug.

Tramadol Addiction Potential and Symptoms

Even people who have no history of substance abuse can become physically dependent upon a medication such as tramadol, although often a substance abuse history or genetic disposition toward addiction may already exist. 1

Developing a dependence upon tramadol can occur when this medication is used for more than several weeks or for months at a time, or when it’s used in doses above those recommended by a physician.2

Continued, compulsive use of this medication when not under a physician’s supervision can lead to impaired health, relationship problems, work absenteeism, neglect of responsibilities at home and at work, financial problems, and a decrease in personal hygiene.

What Happens when Tramadol is Abused?

time, the drug becomes less effective at relieving pain. Feelings of euphoria that often accompany the drug will also dissipate with prolonged use. For one or both of these reasons, some people may increase the drug’s dosage on their own to feel better or achieve a “high” without a doctor’s supervision. This action can lead to dire consequences as addiction to the drug builds and drug-seeking activity increases.

Some of the physical symptoms of tramadol use or abuse can result in health issues and serious side effects, including the following: 3

  • Seizures
  • Rash, hives, blisters
  • Breathing or swallowing problems
  • Swelling of the extremities, including parts of the face
  • Hoarse voice
  • Heartbeat irregularities
  • Loss of consciousness


When a dependence on this drug takes hold, withdrawal symptoms may occur when use is suddenly or even gradually stopped. Withdrawal symptoms related to addiction to tramadol include:

  • Excessive sweating or the chills
  • Panic attacks
  • Tremors, uncontrolled shaking
  • Muscle spasms
  • Runny nose, sneezing
  • Diarrhea
  • Coughing
  • Insomnia
  • Physical pain
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations

Abuse of tramadol can also lead to a psychological dependency, creating intense cravings for the drug and feeling a need for its use simply to deal with the daily stresses in life.

When to Seek Medical Help To Detox From Tramadol

When making the decision to end a dependency on tramadol, it’s very important to approach withdrawal from this drug in a safe manner. Within just 12 hours of taking a last dose of this drug, withdrawal symptoms can occur. Help from a medical professional, preferably in an appropriately supervised detox setting, will lessen the uncomfortable symptoms that can accompany withdrawal from tramadol. In a supervised environment, medical detox can relieve withdrawal symptoms along with 24-hour monitoring, to rid the body of toxins. Once detox is successfully accomplished, therapy and support can begin to treat a substance use disorder.