Patients reported that although they knew the dangers of tramadol misuse they were not willing to stop using it for non-medical purposes. This may be because they were curious about the other functions that the drug performs as portrayed in the media.
Do not take tramadol if you have a blockage or narrowing of your stomach or intestines, or a condition called paralytic ileus (a condition in which digested food does not move through your digestive system). This could cause serious, life-threatening problems.
1. Pain Relief
The pain-relieving properties of Tramadol are well documented. The drug works to inhibit the reuptake of norepinephrine and serotonin, two neurotransmitters in the brain that block painful stimuli. Additionally, it is also a powerful antidepressant, helping to boost mood and create a sense of euphoria.
Studies show that the medication is effective in alleviating both chronic and acute pain, especially in women following cesarean sections. It has also been shown to alleviate the symptoms of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, a condition characterized by a burning-like pain or itching sensations. It is also effective in treating restless legs syndrome (RLS), which causes a constant urge to move one’s legs and can cause a feeling of pins and needles or creepy crawly sensations.
Patients with RLS have reported that tramadol reduces these symptoms, helping them to relax and sleep better. In addition, it helps to decrease gastrointestinal issues associated with RLS, such as diarrhea and constipation. It is important to note that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take Tramadol, as the drug may pose a risk to the fetus.
2. Energy Booster
Research has found that people who misuse tramadol for psychological motivations report that it helps them feel hopeful of a better future. They also say it makes them work harder to earn the income they need for daily living. Some participants also described tramadol as an effective energy booster that alleviates tiredness or fatigue.
The chemical structure of Tramadol is similar to a popular dual-action antidepressant called Venlafaxine (brand name Effexor XR). It prompts the brain to improve serotonin levels, which can boost mood. This may be why some people who misuse Tramadol experience a rush of energy when taking it. Many recovering opiate addicts state that at the beginning of their addiction, they used opiates to give them energy and stamina to get chores or projects done.
3. Mood Enhancer
Besides pain relieving, tramadol is also an effective mood enhancer. This is because it alters the way brain signals are transmitted, and it helps reduce anxiety by increasing the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine. Moreover, it is an excellent off-label antidepressant for those with depression and anxiety problems.
Most participants in the study revealed that their reasons for using tramadol for non-medical purposes included psychological and social factors. Psychologically, they reported that the drug gave them a sense of euphoria and alertness that enabled them to focus on daily tasks. They also reported that the drug made them hopeful about their future and a sense of belonging when they were facing difficult situations.
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In addition, many of the participants said that they used tramadol to relieve their feelings of tiredness or lethargy. In fact, most of them used it together with other substances like amphetamines to potentiate the effects of the opioid analgesic. This is because amphetamines stimulate the brain to counteract sleepiness and tiredness caused by tramadol. The use of such medications without a prescription from a health professional can lead to addiction and even death.
4. Mood Stabilizer
Many patients also report that Tramadol elevates their mood. This is probably a result of the way it acts on the brain’s serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake, similar to antidepressants like venlafaxine (Effexor).
For some, this elevates their mood and gives them feelings of euphoria and well-being. This, in combination with their anxiety reduction, helps to keep them hooked on the drug.
Despite this, many physicians are reluctant to prescribe Tramadol for depression, as it’s closer to an opioid than an antidepressant and can cause dependence when used for longer periods of time. Instead, they may opt for a research-backed therapy that’s combined with medication.
The study’s participants noted that their physician’s hesitancy to recognize that tramadol was effective at relieving their depression likely stemmed from fear that the medication would be withdrawn. In a properly supervised clinical setting, however, long-term reliance on therapeutic low doses of an antidepressant should not be considered in the same light as addictive recreational use of supratherapeutic dosages of the drug. In such cases, a patient could face withdrawal symptoms that include shivering, diarrhea, restlessness, sweating and hallucinations.
5. Quit Smoking
Though tramadol has a lower abuse potential than other opioid painkillers, it can still be misused for its pleasurable and intoxicating effects. However, smoking tramadol is rare since prescription tramadol medications are created with tamper resistant properties that prevent the medication from being smoked.
Regardless, it’s important to talk with your doctor and develop an appropriate tapering schedule for your Tramadol use. Stopping it “cold turkey” can produce very severe withdrawal symptoms, so it’s best to slowly decrease your usage over time.
You may also benefit from counseling and therapy to explore the underlying causes of your drug addiction. Often, substance misuse is used as a way to cope with intense emotions and stressful situations. Through these types of therapies, you can learn new ways to manage your life’s challenges. Alternatively, you can consider inpatient rehab to help you begin your journey to recovery. Depending on the program you choose, you may receive group and individual therapy, as well as psychoeducational programs. These will teach you about the effects of nicotine and how to overcome cravings and urges.