Tramadol withdrawal is nasty. Let’s get that out there from the very beginning. It lasts longer than normal opioid withdrawal. It has harsher symptoms. It’s just all around worse.
I’ll list individual Tramadol withdrawal symptoms below, but first let’s talk about what exactly Tramadol is. There’s a world of misunderstanding about this chemical, what it is, and more importantly what it isn’t.
Tramadol is an opioid. While many people seem to think it’s is somehow different than other opioids, this simply isn’t true. While Tramadol is weaker than, say, morphine, it belongs to the same family of drugs.
Make no mistake, Tramadol is physically addictive and habit forming. Although it was initially toted as non-habit forming, it 100% is. For proof of this simple point, search “Tramadol withdrawal symptoms” in Google. You’ll find hundreds of websites, including government resources, that all say Tramadol produces a physical dependence. You may even find this very article!
Now that we’re all on the same page about the addictive nature of Tramadol, let’s turn our attention to the actual withdrawal symptoms. What are they and why are they worse than other opioids?
Tramadol Withdrawal Symptoms
Detoxing from any opioid will produce a host on unwelcome symptoms. Tramadol withdrawal symptoms, however, are especially unpleasant. Why is this? Well, it’s because Tramadol works on the same areas of the brain as opioids and as SSRI antidepressants.
We’ll explore this in detail later. For now though, find a list of common Tramadol withdrawal symptoms below:
• Anxiety & depression
• Shocking sensations in the brain (“brain zaps”)
• Nausea & vomiting
• Muscle & bone pain
• Sweating & shivering
• Tingling & numbness of the skin
Obviously everyone reacts differently to drugs. After all, our bodies and minds are different. So, you may or may not experience the above symptoms. Make sure to consult with a doctor before stopping Tramadol usage.
Tramadol Withdrawal Dangers
Okay, none of those Tramadol withdrawal symptoms sound too pleasant. Still, none are life threatening, right? Here’s where things get complicated. While none of the above symptoms are deadly, they are indicative of something that is.
Because Tramadol acts on both opioid receptors and serotonin receptors, it can interact negatively with antidepressant such as MAOIs, SSRIs, or tricyclics.One of the side effects of mixing Tramadol with an antidepressant is something called Serotonin Syndrome.
Serotonin Syndrome is a potentially deadly medical condition where there is too much serotonin in the brain. What does this have to do with Tramadol withdrawal though? Well, detoxing from Tramadol can also produce Serotonin Syndrome. Although scientists aren’t sure exactly how this happens, it’s a very real danger when considering how to best stop taking Tramadol.
Another major danger of Tramadol detox is the length. Acute withdrawal symptoms, like those listed above, can last for as long as seven days. Compare this with the three to four days of “typical” opioid withdrawal.
Secondary Tramadol withdrawal symptoms can linger for months. These are things like dysphoria, restlessness, altered sleep cycles, etc. These lingering withdrawal symptoms are one of the many reasons that consulting with a healthcare professional is recommended when getting sober.