How to Help an Ultram Addict

This quick guide will explain what happens when someone quits Ultram for good…and how you can help! More on interventions, detox, treatment, and helping friends and family here.

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ARTICLE OVERVIEW: Ultram is the brand name for tramadol, an opioid drug that is addictive. This article outlines the steps to take when dealing with addiction, including basics on education, intervention, and referral for help.


Table of Contents:

What Addiction Really Is

Because of stigma, there’s often the misconception that addiction is a choice. The thinking goes: a person choses to take a drug, therefore, they chose their path to addiction. However, this is anything but true.

People don’t choose to be addicted. Rather, their body and brain adapt to the chemical structure of drugs in a way that’s usually unexpected. When it comes to Ultram, the drug alters opioid receptors in the brain. In turn, this creates create pain relief sensations and pleasurable feelings. And because it can cause euphoria, people develop a habit with Ultram to replicate the good high it brings.

Eventually, people need Ultram in order to feel normal.

This is how we properly define addiction. Still, an addiction is quite different from a drug dependence.

Dependence or Addiction?

To begin, there are many out there who don’t become addicted to Ultram. This is because it has therapeutic use. However, because a doctor must prescribe tramadol and, depending on the doctor him/herself, there’s no telling how much of a prescription someone will get. Some people can develop an addiction while others simply develop a dependence.

So, what’s the difference?

  • Drug dependence is when the brain and body have adapted to Ultram’s chemical structure and may continue to develop a tolerance. This means that you may need more of the drug in order to feel the initial therapeutic effect. Dependence manifests as withdrawal when the drug is taken away. People who are dependent, however, do not crave tramadol.
  • An addiction is when Ultram use has become compulsive. The user craves the drug, and uses it as a way of coping with life. Often, addiction is pushed to the point of bringing harmful consequences. People struggling with an Ultram addiction have the inability to stop despite it resulting in negative effective on their responsibility.

The main danger in an Ultram dependence is that it’ll carry over into an Ultram addiction or an addiction for other drugs. This is a major concern when it comes to America’s Opioid Epidemic. Since the 1990’s, pharmaceutical companies have been prescribing opioid substances, such as Ultram at greater rates. In turn, this has gotten people addicted to the point of them finding their fix through other means. Some shop for multiple doctors while others hit the streets and the illicit market.

How to Identify a Problem

As a loved one, you need to be concerned about an Ultram dependence as it can lead to much greater consequences. Still, you might wonder, “Is my loved one already addicted to Ultram?” There are a few questions to ask him/her in order to find out:

  • Have you ever tried to quit Ultram without having success?
  • Do you find yourself craving to use Ultram?
  • Are your responsibilities (i.e. school, work, family) at risk due to your Ultram use?
  • Have you continued to use Ultram despite it causing problems in your relationship (i.e. significant other, family, friends)?
  • Do you find yourself in risky behavior due to the fact that you use Ultram?
  • Do you spend a large amount of time thinking about, obtaining, and/or using Ultram?

If your loved one answers yes to one or more of the above questions, there’s a good chance they’re facing an Ultram addiction rather than a dependence.

Still, you may come into the trouble of your loved one not admitting to their drug use. Not only is it difficult to get the truth out of a person struggling with addiction, but it’s also hard to tell the signs and symptoms of addiction for yourself.

Helping Address Denial

Denial is an obstacle which can be tricky to work around. Many people aren’t aware of how to handle it. We suggest that you call in the experts. The first step you should take is to seek professional guidance FOR YOURSELF. Preferably, with a licensed clinical psychologist or counselor who has experience with addiction and can address denial sucessfully.

Call us to learn how treatment can help break the cycle of “pretending”. By receiving help, you’ll learn how you can:
  • Building boundaries.
  • Comprehend addiction as a brain disorder.
  • Discuss addiction recovery at the right time.
  • Remain safe around a person struggling with addiction.
  • Understand addiction as a family issue.

In the process of developing your knowledge for addiction, you’ll also gain a perspective as to why someone doesn’t want to quit a drug – even when it’s caused so many negative consequences. But the idea is that a professional ALREADY KNOWS the barriers to treatment. Each objection will be met with a counter-objection.

Call us to learn how to work with a professional interventionist.

You are not alone!

Intervention Basics

Many times, the most efficient way of breaking denial is through an intervention. Much of the time, people are ashamed of their addiction. Therefore, they won’t approach you about it unless circumstance forces them to. For example, a close-to-fatal car accident caused by addiction could leave your loved one in enough despair to desperately seek help. Understandably, it’s in your best interest to avoid this.

Interventions are a great way to get the person struggling to realize they aren’t alone. That they do have a support system to quit and they don’t need to be ashamed for having a disease. In order to receive the best intervention advice, it’s suggested you seek out a professional interventionist.

As you prepare for your intervention, heavily consider the following:

  • Carefully choose who will attend.
  • Get some advice before you begin.
  • Plan communication in advance.
  • Prepare for anything.
  • Prepare to suggest consequences.
  • Provide your loved one with a solution.
  • Follow through after the intervention.

Help During Detox

Ultram detox is when the brain returns to its natural, original state – homeostasis. Though this isn’t a dangerous process, it can be extremely uncomfortable. Furthermore, there are some withdrawal symptoms which can be dangerous (such as a loss of appetite, seizure,  or diarrhea/vomiting) if not properly taken care of.
In order to give your loved one the best detox possible,  make sure they go through withdrawal under medical supervision. This will ensure their health remains in good standing. There may even be options to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms.

Because drug dependence is highly individual, so is detox. There’s no telling exactly which ones your loved one will feel. Here’s a list of common tramadol withdrawal symptoms:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion
  • Cravings
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mood swings
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea
  • Nightmares
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting

Any of the above symptoms can last between 1-2 weeks. Generally, they start around 6-12 hours after the last dose of Ultram. Symptoms peak during the following 72 hours, when they’ll experience their most uncomfortable state. 4 days to a week later, the physical symptoms die down while the psychological symptoms just get started.

Craving, compulsion, and urge are addressed via psychotherapies. In fact, intensive talk therapy can last anywhere from 1-6 months, depending on your loved one’s level of addiction. Most people continue therapy for at least a year after initial treatment.

Help During Treatment

Psychotherapy is designed to help Ultram users adjust back into their day-to-day functioning without drugs. This is done through teaching how to handle emotions and behaviors and how to reduce cravings.

Psychotherapy play a major role in the addiction treatment process. It’s the basis for how your loved one with face the real world once they’re out of treatment. There’s really no way to change behavior except through practice. So, most therapies include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Family therapies
  • Group therapies
  • Individual counseling

Your role during this stage of treatment is vital. It’s when your loved needs support the most. They need to be aware that they aren’t alone in their battle. They need to have someone to depend on when things get too complicated. Things you can do to ensure your loved one gets the best out of treatment is:

  • Be present at family therapies.
  • Promote healthy and natural remedies for drug addiction.
  • Always be there when things get difficult.

How Many People Struggle?

Ultram and other tramadol drugs are considerably a small percentage of the overall prescription crisis. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, tramadol medications had a downfall misuse rate amongst high school students in 2011. To this day, the decline remains steady. About 10% of total pain relievers abused on the market include tramadol , affecting 3.2 million people in 2014.

The World Health Organization also lists these facts:

  • When tramadol was first made available (between the years of 1995 to 1998), it was only abused 1 out of every 3 cases per 100,000.
  • This number dropped in 1999 and 2000 to 1 out of every 100,00 cases.
  • In 2004, tramadol misuse kept low and has consistently since then.

The bottom line is Ultram isn’t one of the most abused prescription medications out there. Still, that’s not to say you shouldn’t warn those who receive a medication about the risk of addiction. Nor should you overlook potential misuse in someone you love.

Referrals to Help (Where to Find Help)

There ares everal ways to seek help for a drug addiction. Depending on your location, you’ll want to look into treatment facilities and professionals in drug addiction. In order to narrow your searches, here are some great resources:

How to Support a Friend

Friends of people addicted to Ultram have an important role in the recovery process. The sense of support from a friend differs from that of a family member.Your goal, once your friend is out of treatment, is to prevent all possibility of relapse. This can include:
  • Socializing in drug/alcohol free atmospheres
  • Going to Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings or other therapies with your friend
  • Offering new hobbies as a means of distraction

You may also want to concern yourself with any mental health issues that could arise due to your friend’s prior addiction. Though this doesn’t happen to everyone, some people end up in states of depression or anxiety due to the lack of Ultram in their system. Your best interest is to help them cope with these emotions and offering a source of support when they need it. This can have a great impact on them and make a huge difference.

Your Questions

If you have any further questions pertaining to how to help an Ultram addict, we invite you to ask them in the comments below. If you have any advice to give for people currently trying to help an Ultram addict, we’d also love to hear from you. We try to provide a personal response to each comment and get back to you promptly.
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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