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Does Tramadol get you high?

Tramadol can get you high. But this particular type of pain medicine carries relatively low risk of addiction because its euphoric effects are only mild, and sometimes imperceptible. Compared to the euphoric effects of OxyContin, for example, many less people report a feeling of well being after taking the drug.

But you can get addicted to Tramadol. We review how Tramadol works and its addictive-ness here.

7 – 14% people may get high on Tramadol

In clinical trials, 7% of people reported central nervous system stimulation symptoms such as euphoria up to 7 days after starting regular doses of Tramadol. The number jumps to 14% for people taking Tramadol from 31-90 days. This is probably because Tramadol has mu-opioid agonist activity, which triggers chemical reactions in the brain to stimulate feelings of well-being.

Tramadol is a different type of pain killer – how it works

Tramadol is considered an “atypical” pain killer because it works in a slightly different way than other opioids. In addition to being a weak opioid pain killer, Tramadol acts on the central nervous system in two ways.

1. Tramadol binds to opioid receptors int he brain to help relieve pain (analgesia).

2. Tramadol affects certain neurotransmitters in the brain to decrease the perception of pain.

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In this way, Tramadol has properties that provide pain relief while minimizing euphoria (a feeling of well-being), the medical term for feeling “high”. Instead, Tramadol has been shown to be effective and well tolerated for pain conditions and is unlikely to lead to either physical or psychological dependence.

Is Tramadol addictive?

Tramadol has a reputation for having less risk of addiction than other opioids. While this assumption is probably true, the evidence for Tramadol’s addiction riskiness is weak. In fact, post-marketing surveillance studies have reported an extremely small number of people developing physical tolerance to the drug or patterns of abuse. Still, the drug can trigger addiction even in people who don’t have a history of drug abuse or previous addiction.

Am I addicted to Tramadol?

One thing is for sure, if you’re looking to get high on Tramadol, you already exhibit one sign of addiction: using prescription drugs for non medical purposes. Get familiar with the other signs of prescription drug addiction so that you can get help.

And if you’re worried about being an addict, don’t think that people will judge you. These days, addiction is less stigmatized as we understand more and more about the brain science behind the disease. You can get help if you want it. In fact, ask your questions about Tramadol below or send us an email. We respond to each query personally and promptly.

Reference sources: Consumer guide to pain medications
Consumer reports on Opioids
Pharmacology of Tramadol

Tramadol Hydrochloride tablet info from Daily Med
PubMed Health page on Tramadol
The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists info on Tramadol

Photo credit: boltron-

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50 Responses to “Does Tramadol get you high?
bob bob
1:27 am August 1st, 2011

Yes it will make you feel slightly light headed and feel you want a good sleep – a sort of basic euphoria. It is really no substitute though for street drugs as you will never find a DR willing to give you enough. Most DR’s now are very careful with this drug due to many high profile addicts who use it as a legal form of heroine. To keep the high going due to tolerance you would need an unlimited supply. By which time you would have busted your body out like Heroine addicts do.

The high wears off in time and all the funny feelings after about a year or so on it you probably will get only pain releif then. It is a very good pain killer for those in chronic non-life threatning pain.

You do not require much for pain management you should always start low and work to the lowest acceptable level for you. This drug will become dependent and if you want off it you do not want a mountain to climb to do so by over indulging in it.

abdulla
10:26 pm January 23rd, 2012

i need help
instead of Methadone for addict treatment, can Tramadol does the same effect of Detoxing with

what would be the dosage ??? to get off the withdrawal of opiate???

3:00 pm January 24th, 2012

Hi Abdulla. Thanks for your question. We will address this in another article about Tramadol for opiate withdrawal. For now, you can check out what types of medications are used in treating opiate withdrawal symptoms here:

http://prescription-drug.addictionblog.org/medications-for-opioid-withdrawal/

Good luck! And all the best to you. Let us know how we can support you during opiate withdrawal and when you plan to start to detox.

paulwelsh
2:01 am March 20th, 2012

I just got off of a good 30 day binge of the drug. I was taking 2 pills a night at first to help me sleep..and it did, in fact, get me high. So then I continued taking them just for that feeling. I am a previous heroin/other opiate abuser/addict. I never went to rehab or anything, just kind of quit cold turkey from my daily use. I was still known to get high on opiates from time to time.. once every few weeks maybe. Having a bunch of tramadol just laying around brought back those same types of urges.

I didn’t take any for the past 3 days and am experiencing no withdrawal effects at all like I did with opiates…aside from a small craving. But that’s mainly due to boredom really. I will make no further attempt to obtain the drug. If I happen to have another surgery and get some prescribed, then several happy days will ensue.

11:24 am March 20th, 2012

Hi Paul. Thanks for sharing. Do you have a plan for avoiding Tramadol in the future? Do you know how to manage cravings and urges to use?

Chuck
6:39 am May 3rd, 2012

Hello,

I had a major automobile accident in october and am still dealing with residual pain from a severe ankle injury. I have been prescribed everything from percocet and daladid to ibuprofen and norce over the last 6 months. Opiates have had the most success in pain control, however, I refuse to become dependent upon a strong narcotic and have transitioned to high dosage ibuprofen over the last month. The pain relief from ibuprofen was proven to be minimal in my case, so I have been transitioned to 50mg ultram. Is this a drug I will be forced to take on a daily basis to avoid withdrawals, and how high is the addiction rate. I have unintentionally withdrawn cold turkey from opiates in the past (not realizing I was physically addicted, as I have have no background in drug physiology) and would rather be stuck with limited mobility than endure that again.

12:29 pm May 9th, 2012

Hi Chuck. I am truly sorry to hear about your lasting pain from the automobile accident. Will physiotherapy, acupuncture, or other methods help?

To answer your question: Yes. If you take Ultram daily, over time you will need to continue to take it to avoid withdrawal.

In terms of dependence on tramadol, your body will necessarily develop the characteristics of tolerance (needing more tramadol to achieve similar pain relief over time) and withdrawal (symptoms when you cut back on dosage or eliminate tramadol totally) when you use tramadol. However, this is not addiction. Addiction is characterized by compulsive need and use of a drug despite negative life consequences. And we addicts use drugs to numb emotional or psychological difficulties or trauma in life.
As long as you are taking UItram as prescribed, you should not experience this type of addiction. Instead, physical dependence will be a characteristic feature of the medication in the long term.

Chuck
3:37 am May 10th, 2012

I am currently undergoing physical therapy. It seems to be helping with ankle function, however, does nothing for the pain. Tramadol is a very strange drug. I have been taking it for just over a week now, and can compare it to nothing else. It has minimal effect on pain control, yet is very helpful with my sleeping? I dont feel the same euphoria as an opiate, but there is definetly something there when I take this medication. I am discontinuing this drug and am going to attempt to control my pain in some other manner, as this drug has not been very helpful. Any suggestions are welcome.

Thanks

1:04 pm May 10th, 2012

Hi Chuck. I know that my father has experienced relief from an ankle injury using Percocet. His pain is also chronic, and he has been using Percocet for 35+ years. Are you looking for an opiate alternative completely, or are you still open to taking opiates or opioids?

Leon
10:18 pm July 30th, 2012

Thanks for sharing everyone i was addicted to percoct for 3 years and been clean for over 2 years through rehab and NA, in case you wondering i stopped after being arrested for forging scripts and the judge ordered Treatment court. But back on track i tried tramodol about ten at a tine when i was using and to me at lease they only masked my withdraw from opiates they dont work as suboxone or methadone and after about 30 min. it was like i never took them, withdraw came right back. In closing, pain pills they are life destroyers unless used responsibley ill never get those years back again!!!!!!!

JB
5:33 pm November 10th, 2012

One of the most important things we leave off these discussion about addiction and in particular amphetamines and opiates is that nearly no one simply takes them to get “high”. Some experiment, and they do seek danger, but the majority of people who become addicted to opiates do so especially because they are treating anxiety or depression – or their impression of such.

Most discover by accident that the opiates – whether it be vicodin (hydrocodone) oxycontin (oxycodone) or whatever – helps their mood. Most don’t feel high, but they feel back to their baseline – which most of us assume is the happy, content, productive me. It may be a false euphoria – meaning we are a little high, but most feel “stable” not high

I HAVE to say here that …I am a physician assistant and I have worked in psych AND I have taken opiates and had my own battle and I feel so strongly that SSRI’s have been shown time and time again not to work in studies – AND anytime a drug company starts selling it to docs and patients by saying you “have to take it for a couple of months for it to take effect” is a lie – this is their gimmick to 1. recoup their money on a product that does not work (2 months of sales is pretty good for a pricey med), and 2. get you taking it for 60 days which has been found to be just about right to create a dependency and reliance (a “habit”) on it. So it’s just a lie)

So the problem is people are treating depression and the like, not pain, though we all know we can all “feel” pain when our body is hungry for opiates – and we also know every addict and seeker will always say pain, even if they take it for the daily anti-depressant effects.

It works wonders for depression and anxiety – tramadol has been studied as an anti-depressant – for a short while – then the baggage comes with opiates and it’s downhill. The tolerance makes us need more and more and the psych effects of ANY anti-depressant/euphoric that helps us starts leading us to believe we should NEVER hav a negative emotion. Take a pill if were sad, take oone if mom died, take one if we have to face a crowd, take one before the big game, take one if were nervous about speaking in public, take one if we have to see the judge….and so on. Somehow this younger generation was given the message were always meant to be skipping and seeing rainbows and sunshine. But we have a gamut of natural emotions, So the opiates start being taken LONG before a real emotion, but in ANTICIPATION of the emotion and off we go. But pain is not the reason – it is psych/emotional factors they take it. The addiction comes after that.

Lily
7:34 am January 10th, 2013

Please no not do this ! All the reviews make it seem like its a weak drug but I did this and it fucked me up more then OxyContton, shrooms, exctasy , and cocaine. Well the come down at least. I’ve never been scared to go to bed till I did this. I’m 5’6 and 120 pounds and I took 3 of them this Christmas Eve and I started to feel the high at around 8 at night , conveniently as I was opening presents at my grandmas, then I go home and I start feeling really funny, like no other high, it’s like you’re functionable but you get like punches in your Bain of your whole body shutting down I’m literally calling my friends and telling them I love them , that’s how I sure I was I wasn’t going to wake up. So I try and go to sleep I lay down around 12 at night and its like my body is so tired but I couldn’t sleep I finally pass out at 2 and then at 4 in the morning i wake up in a panic and my heart is beating so fast like I just went running and I finally fall back asleep and then wake up again at 9 and decide to stay up, and I kid you not I was still just as fucked up as I was when the high started, and I could not be like that around my dad so I take a hour long shower and get out and I feel a little more sober but this time I feel really sick but I shake it off , then I go into my living room to open presence and as I’m opening them I throw up and for the rest of the day I feel like I have the worlds worst hang over on fucking Christmas of course. And till this day I’m having random swings of weird come down effects. I feel like a chunk if my brain is missing. Tone honest I’m all ways the one to encourage any drug but please ignore everyone else and please don’t do it !!

Julie
6:15 pm February 20th, 2013

If some one takes one a day of Tramadol , can you get addited to it ? Thank you .

2:33 pm February 21st, 2013

Hi Julie. Physical dependence on tramadol can occur after daily dosing over a period of a few weeks. But dependence IS NOT the same as addiction. To be addicted to tramadol, signs of psychological dependence also need to be present.

Simon Groves
9:08 am February 22nd, 2013

I’ve been taking 8 Tramadol and 2 Amitriptyline tablets every day for just over a year now. I’ve suffered with Chronic back pain in by lumber spine for about 2 years, which I’ve been told by the Doctor’s is caused by excessive wear and tear, which in turn is causing inflammation of the Facet joints. About 10 days ago I had Denervation done, and hopefully this will help..! At the moment my pain has increased, which I’ve been told is normal.
But my concern is when or IF the pain starts to decrease, How do I get off the painkillers as soon as possible, but safely as possible? Also is it possible that taking all these tables for so long could cause me any other long term problems? as I have suffered with a lot of side effects with these tablets and still do.

bas
3:41 pm March 6th, 2013

I only use Tramadol when I have severe pain and the only thing I notice is that I get more emotional and my feeling of time dissapears, however this can also be the fever and the extreme tiredness I have prior to usage

Samantha P
3:52 am March 18th, 2013

Hello,
I take one 50 mg tramadol a day, and my doctor said she is no longer going to refill my prescription, am I going to go through withdrawls?

Max
7:46 am July 12th, 2014

Hello,
According to me overdose or excess of anything is harmful in the same way Tramadol is harmful when it is taken in excess. Otherwise, it is the best pain killer as it relieves moderate to severe pain easily and is very affordable also.

tim
8:08 pm December 25th, 2014

Im a weekend user of heroin. can i use this pill to stop using heroin.what can i do to stop?

1:22 pm December 29th, 2014

Hi Tim. If you are able to get through the week without heroin, maybe you can not use it during the weekends either. I understand this is not as simple, that’s why I suggest going to counseling therapy. It will help you gather strength and skills to avoid binging.

DAPH
9:41 pm February 26th, 2015

Does anyone else getting this feeling like your in your own little bubble when taking these?

armida
6:36 pm April 16th, 2015

I’ve been taking pain pills for 2years but for the last year I’ve been taking tramadol I can take up to 13 a day yes u can say I’m addicted to them 120 can last me maybe 2weeks. When I’ve tried to stop I can’t sleep at night my nerves are out of control my legs fill weak and limp n I just can’t function .I wish to stop taking tramadol cause I know I’m way beyond abusing them .how can I stop ?

12:33 pm April 17th, 2015

Hello Armida. After using Tramadol regularly for a long time, you cannot just stop. Going off Tramadol cold turkey is actually one of the most effective ways of quitting the medication, simply because it produces withdrawal symptoms that are harsh and unbearable. You should, instead, taper your doses gradually over a period of time. Doctors generally recommend a 10% reduction every week (or every other week) and then a 20% reduction every 3 to 5 days. But, it’s best to talk to your doctor, who can help you construct a tapering schedule that will fit your needs best and won’t cause severe withdrawal effects. Your doctor can also help you treat withdrawal symptoms as they occur, thus increasing your chances of a successful detox.

mark
6:13 am May 18th, 2015

recently I ran out of vyvanse. for 3 days I was ok, then began terrible anxiety and fear. I also reduced tramadol at the same time from 12 to 6 per day. which caused the fear and anxiety?

Janis
7:26 am June 28th, 2015

My husband had been on pain medications for back injury was prescribed 120 oxycotin generic plus tramadol at the same time for pain for about five years became addicted wound up he overdosed on tramadol eight years ago terrible that drs would keep prescribing these addictive drugs for so long terrible

cher
4:08 am July 2nd, 2015

If u crush the pill n snort it will it make u more high ? N chance of u getting addicted more. a friend of mine is in need of help.

cher
4:11 am July 2nd, 2015

If crushed is the high more intense? N easier to get addiced to? Friend in need of help.

Juanita
2:13 am July 9th, 2015

I was prescribed tramadol ultram 50 mg for pain I just want to know does it work

Hery
7:17 am July 27th, 2015

I want to get off of Tramadol. I have been on them for almost two years after i used them to replace Norco which was very addictive and had nasty withdrawls when i tried to stop taking them. I was in a accident and take them for back pain but Ive built a tolerance that has me taking up to 10 pills a day and I want wean myself off of this nasty dependance. Can you help?

Sunshine
6:40 am August 16th, 2015

My father has scoliosis in his back and 4 disks in his neck. He is 58 and has a back of a 78 year old. He has broken his back in a train accident and falling off a machine when working on lights than slipped in oil at another job. That’s when it got really bad! He used to take hyros for his pain than ambien to go to sleep. He is also on depression pills because of not being able to work he has had a lot of depression. He changed doctors and his new doctor has prescribed him this pill tramadol. Since he has been taking this he has not been the same. He acts weird. He is always moody or angry! At night he takes the ambien and tge tramadol as he used to with hydros. But at night time is when he gets ugly! He starts talking crap and is very loud and upset about everything. My dad has always been very loving and kind so this is ver abnormal of him to be acting this way. Has anyone else experienced this from taking this pill? Also, he has been forgetting a lot of things! Thanks in advance!

SummerShanty
11:09 pm August 24th, 2015

Hey Sunshine,
I have just taken one of these pills(377 white) and I DID NOT like the effects. I was in a car accident. The airbags sorta punched me in the chest. HURTS!!! So, I took one of these pills (a friend gave me one). I was ok at first, thinking that the pill was weak. Then I felt little spurts of dizziness while laying down. After that, my whole demeanor changed. I scared my boyfriend because I was basically void of emotion. I wrapped a belt around my neck and tightened it. I could still breathe, but it was labored. I can’t even explain why I did it. I just felt like putting a belt on my neck. I was overly mean to the bf as well. VERY irritable. I completely hate the way tramadol makes you feel. I’ll just take the watson 3202s was prescribed until I’m healed.

Melvin
4:34 am September 5th, 2015

I’m looking for help for my addiction now.

10:49 am September 7th, 2015

Hi Melvin. Call the helpline number displayed on our site to get in touch with our trusted treatment providers to help you find the best and most suitable treatment approach for you. Also, check out SAMHSA’s treatment locator to seek treatment in a facility near you. You can start your search, here: https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/TreatmentLocator/faces/quickSearch.jspx

friend
11:53 am September 9th, 2015

how can one get quick relief from the effect of tramadol

denea
11:27 pm October 10th, 2015

I need help can u guide me in the right direction I am on methadone for pain and it is not working I don’t know what to do or were to start I’ve been to some many different doctors

mari
8:00 pm November 13th, 2015

Does this medicine shows on a drug test

eve.
10:16 pm November 13th, 2015

Tramadol makes me like a fool nd I don’t like it!! So wat sud I do now?

kurt
1:38 pm January 15th, 2016

I have been through treatment for severe alcoholism a few times in my life. I also have used cocaine recreationally When I was in treatment I had a horrendous toothache and the doctor offered me Vicodin. I told him was being urine tested on a weekly basis at the center and it was not allowed, so he suggested Tramadol which does not show up as an opiate. It truly works on pain for me. My feeling is that it’s just slightly weaker than a 5 mg Vicodin.So being the personality that I am, I like to take 2 .LOL. There is a slight “high” feeling with them but mostly I have found they give me energy and pep to accomplish the tasks ahead of me. I have recently turned 50 and am a remodeling contractor so each morning seems to be filled with more aches and pains. I find Tramadol to be a miracle drug for me as long as I take one at a time every 4-6 hours. It allows me to function in my work which is very demanding on the lower back and knees. I’ve been alcohol free for several years thanks to God and the 12 steps.

ahmed
1:00 pm March 6th, 2016

What is the best way to deal with tramadol withdrawals ? How can I get some sleep at night and overcome the insomnia that comes with it..?? I dont have access to THC or benzos or anything like that to help me relax, any home remedies thay could be done?

Autumn
11:35 pm March 8th, 2016

I have been taking tramadol for a year now.. I.take 2 as soon as I get up and one in the middle of the day..I buy them so when I have none around I.go threw really bad with draw symptoms I have rls at night really bad I sweat. I cry and get really angry at the littlest things with out it! Please don’t continue to take these and think you won’t become addicted! Both me and my sister are addicted to these!.I spend so much money on these cause I can’t bare to think about going a day with out them!

David
2:08 am March 18th, 2016

Unfortunately, I am well-acquainted with Both Horrible pain (back etc) and all manner of pain meds. I was always the kind of person who had NO interest in opioids or taking pills to get High or whatever. But after having my back and other areas injured in an accident that was the fault of someone else, i held out as long as possible before needing help was no longer an option. The Crackpot doctors who plague the medical industry tend to cause way more problems than they ever solve!! I was still really young when I saw a “specialist lol” who told me there was Nothing anyone could do to help me and that I would Have to take narcotic pain meds to get Any relief and have Any quality of life at all. I didnt want to believe that so instead of a 2nd opinion I got like 4-5 opinions from doctors and specialists over the years. NONE of them help or actually even try to if it is not profitable enough…..REMEMEBER on top of anything else, hospitals clinics and all doctors offices are One thing: a for-profit Business!!! The incentive is not necessarily to help you but to do whatever action is Most Profitable to the practice or doctore!!!

David
2:30 am March 18th, 2016

Tramadol is the ONLY non-narcotic painkiller that Actually helps my pain without turning me into a Junkee!! I thought it was Great when i found it but Now my state just out of the blue decided it was a narcotic and so illegal all of a sudden!! What?!? This is ridiculous to suddenly classify a non-narcotic painkiller as an illegal Narcotic when it is scientifically and chemically NOT a narcotic. This got me to wonder why and to dig deep into why and how the legal system “functions.” Turns out that The Cops literally WANT as many of you and your family members as possible hooked on HEROIN and other hard drugs rather than safer and LEGAL painkillers!! This is how they get their millions of dollars in grants and toys and thru a trickle down effect this bounty makes its way into the pockets of individual officers!! They keep the jails full of people who dont need to be there while actual dangerous criminals walk the streets freely or get arrested and almost instantly released. They know EXACTLY what they are doing and it is both Sick and Evil…………

Anyway, doctors got me systematically “hooked” on opioid painkillers!! This is Way too common and once it happens there are two things that typically happen: the doctor keeps the patient “strung out” for many many years OR if the DEA has gotten involved in local state law, the doctors will have to “cut off” tons of addicted patients. They get you hooked on purpose bc it is VERY profitable for doctors and pharma corps to do so. The DEA and cops dont like patients getting a steady supply of pain meds from a doctor bc it is Legal and since no crime is committed nobody goes to jail. Cops Hate this!! They want addicts out on their own bc they have to break the law to aqcuire their meds and have no one looking out for them!! So doctors have began PUSHING anti-depressant meds on patients who Do Not need them bc it is the next most profitable (not most costly, most Profitable) medicine to have a patient hooked on. Also, the cops now have countless otherwise regular law-abiding citizens out trying to help themselves get meds since docs and no one else will help. The cops keep their jails stuffed full of mostly decent people, they get millions and millions and millions of dollars in Federal and State grant money to fight the “drug problem” that they themselves have purposely helped to create. So Big Pharma and Big Law both make Millions and Millions of dollars by victimizing people with medical problems just trying to help themselves bc No one else will help them!!

albion
8:11 pm March 23rd, 2016

how can i stop my addiction from tramadol . me and my friends abuze in 3 mouth

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
3:05 pm March 25th, 2016

Hi Albion. If you are looking for an addiction treatment, then call the helpline you see on the site to get in touch with a trusted treatment consultant.

Joanne
8:03 pm March 25th, 2016

I’ve been on tramdol and paxil for over a year. And the other day I had a seizure for the first time. Can tramdol cause seizure?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
11:33 am March 29th, 2016

Hi Joanne. Tramadol may cause seizures, and if this happens, call you doctor ASAP. You can find more information here:
https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a695011.html

Dean k
7:53 am April 17th, 2016

I take tramedol for my back pain I like it better then the oxys hidroco etc I take 3 tramedol at 9:00 am I’m good till 5 or 6 pm and I don’t get that high junky feeling it gives me energy

Nicole
8:09 pm April 27th, 2016

I have taken tramadol for three or four years now.. Going very few days without any. The days I have none I seem to be moody or just down. I started taking these for knee and back pain I am only 25 years old and feel like I’m 50, I’m worried my body has become dependent and I’m scared to seek help because of how I will feel the first few days of not taking any.. I would much rather take aleve than the tramadol but it alters my mood and makes for better days. Help!

Jake
9:21 pm April 27th, 2016

Taking 6 tramadol with a couple of tylenol will give you a buzz and take away some of the pain. Taking 1 or 2 is not going to help.

Chad
2:33 am April 28th, 2016

I was prescribed this after surgery. I’m kinda afraid to take it after reading the views. I’m on pain but do not want to be addicted to these things. Please reply. Thanks

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