Substance Use

Tramadol Addiction Treatment: What Are the Options?

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What Are the Options For Tramadol Addiction Treatment?

Tramadol (brand name: Ultram) is a prescription painkiller in the opioid class of prescription medications. When this analgesic is taken as a physician prescribes, it can effectively manage moderate to moderately severe acute or chronic pain. (1) If your use of tramadol doesn’t follow your physician’s instructions, this medication can lead to physical dependence, addiction, and substance use disorder. DEA places it in Schedule IV of the Controlled Substances Act. (2

According to SAMHSA, the majority of tramadol-related ER visits for misuse or abuse involved other drug use. (3) This is because when it is combined with other opioid drugs that depress the central nervous system, the sedative effects of tramadol can be enhanced.

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What Is Tramadol?

Tramadol is a prescription medication classified as an opioid analgesic, commonly used to relieve moderate to moderately severe pain. It operates by altering the way the brain perceives and responds to pain signals. (1)

Tramadol is distinct from other opioids in that it also has effects on neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine, contributing to its pain-relieving properties. (1)

While it can be effective in managing pain, there are potential risks associated with its use, including the risk of dependence and withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, individuals must take Tramadol exactly as prescribed by their healthcare provider and be aware of its potential side effects and risks.

Treatment for Tramadol Addiction

Tramadol abuse can adversely affect your health and may even lead to an addiction to tramadol. Tramadol addiction treatment options include behavioral therapy and accountability aftercare programs. Learn how to spot the signs of abuse.

If you or a loved one is taking tramadol outside of how the prescribing physician directed, treatment tailored to your unique situation is available.

Types of Treatments for Tramadol Addiction

Tramadol substance abuse treatment options can accommodate several lifestyles and levels of this opioid addiction.

Tramadol abuse care levels include: (4

Programs in each level consist of:


Starting treatment is often the toughest hurdle. Beginning your treatment program with medical detox can help tremendously due to the onset of tramadol withdrawal symptoms. When you stop taking tramadol, the effects are similar to other opioid withdrawal symptoms.

If your body becomes accustomed to a substance, a supervised detox (with or without medication assistance) can help manage your withdrawals and overall comfort level while ensuring that medical personnel are nearby to ensure your well-being.

Tramadol, while milder than opiates like hydrocodone or oxycodone, affects the brain’s opioid receptors and boosts serotonin levels. (6) When there’s no pain within your body, these effects are intensified, creating a feeling of overall euphoria that can lead to tramadol tolerance, a drug addiction, or tramadol dependence. (7) (8)   

Opioid withdrawal from lesser-classed controlled substances such as tramadol isn’t typically life-threatening but can cause side effects if you try to go it alone. Individuals with co-occurring disorders may have an even tougher experience. (7) (9)

While rare, withdrawing from opiates can cause complications like dehydration and electrolyte imbalances for individuals suffering from gastrointestinal issues. Individuals with heart disease could face worsening heart problems.


Throughout MAT detox, addiction treatment physicians often prescribe medications to ease tramadol withdrawal symptoms. Your treatment plan is unique to you and your current health conditions and may include medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

These include buprenorphine (partial opiate agonist) or methadone (full opiate agonist), both of which minimize opioid cravings and make withdrawal symptoms more manageable. (10) (11)

Behavioral Therapies

Often, addictions and substance use disorders can arise from behavioral health issues that, if left unchecked, may create a barrier to long-term recovery. Some of the most common behavioral health therapies include the following.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT helps identify behavioral patterns causing issues in a person’s life and attempts to alter these behaviors by teaching new coping mechanisms and managing exposure to known triggers. (12)

Enhanced Motivation

Another common approach, sometimes coupled with CBT, is enhanced motivation or motivational enhancement. This technique helps individuals overcome reluctance toward engaging with treatment through motivational interviews.

Family Behavioral Therapy (FBT)

This therapeutic approach is mainly applied when the person suffering from substance use issues is a teen or young adult. Therapy involves the entire family and addresses behavioral issues and substance use. The approach can also address family conflicts. (13)


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) define addiction recovery as a long process that accounts for all aspects of the recovering addict’s life, such as their home, work, and/or school lives.

Recovery also includes counseling for the person and affected members of their family and any social services or legal assistance they may need. (14

Aftercare reinforces treatment progress and offers some of the greatest benefits, including:

  • Lifelong support
  • A sense of belonging in the community
  • Reduced risk of relapse
  • Accountability
  • Employment services
  • Ongoing recovery techniques
  • Addiction treatment medications
  • Therapy or counseling

The recovering addict doesn’t have as much contact with treatment specialists during aftercare as they did in treatment. It’s a time that can help illustrate all they’ve learned and all the work they’ve put toward a substance-free lifestyle and reinforce their own self-sufficiency and determination.

Before treatment ends, you might:

  • Review practicing learned relapse prevention tactics
  • As necessary, make arrangements for sober living homes or another type of controlled lifestyle approach
  • Receive contact information to keep in touch with treatment specialists
  • Prepare for telehealth appointments and check-ins via texting and even download apps to track progress.

Is Tramadol Addictive?

Yes, tramadol can be addictive, and it belongs to the class of medications known as opioids. Opioids, including tramadol, bind to specific receptors in the brain and spinal cord, altering the way the body perceives and responds to pain. (15)

Along with providing pain relief, opioids can also produce a sense of euphoria, leading to their potential for misuse and addiction.

Individuals who use tramadol for an extended period or in higher-than-prescribed doses may develop a tolerance, meaning that over time, they need more of the medication to achieve the same pain-relieving effects. (15)  This increased tolerance can contribute to physical dependence, where the body adapts to the presence of the drug and experiences withdrawal symptoms when it’s not taken.

It’s important for individuals using tramadol to follow their healthcare provider’s instructions carefully and to communicate openly about any concerns or changes in their response to the medication. 

Abruptly stopping tramadol or misusing it can lead to withdrawal symptoms and an increased risk of addiction. Seeking professional medical advice and assistance is essential for managing pain effectively while minimizing the potential risks associated with tramadol use.

What Are the Side Effects of Tramadol?

Tramadol, like any medication, may cause various side effects, and it’s important for individuals using it to be aware of potential reactions.

Common side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue (16)

It’s essential to notify a healthcare provider if these side effects persist or worsen. In rare cases, tramadol may lead to more serious side effects, such as seizures, serotonin syndrome (characterized by symptoms like hallucinations, rapid heartbeat, and fever), or allergic reactions.

If any unusual or severe reactions occur, immediate medical attention is necessary. Furthermore, as tramadol is an opioid, there’s a risk of dependence and addiction with prolonged use, emphasizing the importance of using the medication as prescribed and under close medical supervision. 

Patients should openly communicate with their healthcare providers about any concerns or side effects, enabling a collaborative approach to manage pain effectively while minimizing potential risks.

When To Seek Treatment

Certain substance abuse and use disorders aren’t always that easy to spot, which is why diagnosing substance use disorder, or SUD, is better left to a healthcare provider who specializes in substance treatments.

But it’s commonly accepted that if at least two of the following scenarios are present for you or a loved one, it could signify tramadol abuse or a tramadol substance use disorder: (17

  • Taking more than what your doctor prescribed
  • Using tramadol even when it exacerbates an emotional issue or worsens a physical problem
  • Spending a lot of time trying to find, use, or recover from tramadol use
  • Having increasing conflicts with family or friends because of your tramadol use
  • Not meeting responsibilities at home or work, or not meeting expectations in school directly related to tramadol use
  • Giving up activities you once loved so you can use tramadol
  • Paying no attention to the situations in which you’re using tramadol, such as when you know you’ll have to drive somewhere, and going through with it anyway
  • Trying to stop or at least cut back on your use unsuccessfully
  • Craving tramadol
  • Building up a tolerance so you have to take more tramadol to feel the effect
  • Experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms when you don’t take tramadol

Note: If there’s a history of substance use, mental health issues, or both in a family, it’s more likely for a person to abuse tramadol.

How to Find a Treatment Center

Recovery from substance abuse and addiction is a lifelong practice that requires continual attention — but it’s a much easier process when you have compassionate medical professionals and a network of family members and support groups to assist your sobriety.

Zinnia Health offers tramadol addiction treatment centers across the country. Explore our locations to find one that is best for you.

At Zinnia Health, we’ll be your biggest cheerleaders. Reach out today to learn more about our tramadol treatment options, to ask a question, or just to chat. Contact our recovery specialists at Zinnia Health at (855) 430-9439. We’re available 24/7 for your recovery needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does Insurance Cover Tramadol Addiction Treatment?

According to the Affordable Care Act, addiction treatment must be covered by any insurance company participating in the marketplace. Zinnia Health accepts most carriers, but check with your insurance provider to be sure.

Don’t let fear of treatment costs stop you from reaching your recovery potential. You can also call Zinnia Health at (855) 430-9439 for a free insurance verification. 

2. Are Medications Used in Tramadol Treatment?

Yes. Buprenorphine and methadone are two prescription medications approved for the treatment of tramadol substance abuse.

3. Are Drug Treatment Programs Effective for Tramadol Addiction?

Any recovery program, as any recovering addict will tell you, is as successful as the work you put into your recovery journey. Recovering from substance abuse of any kind is a personal journey that relies on many working parts, and each individual is different. But typically, tramadol treatment programs are effective for tramadol addiction. 

Contact us today at (855) 430-9439 to learn more about our programs and how we can help get you started on your recovery journey.


Call us
Ready to get help?
(855) 430-9439
Why call us? Why call us