How to treat Ultram addiction?

If you are addicted to Ultram, first you will need to detox and manage withdrawal. Then come behavioral treatment sessions, psychotherapy, and aftercare (if necessary). Learn the details about treating Ultram addiction, here.

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Ultram addiction is possible

Ultram (main ingredient tramadol) is a medication prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. Ultram has also been proven successful for the treatment of anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and bipolar disorder. Although it’s perceived to be not as addictive as similar medications, addiction to Ultram is possible.

So, how can you identify and treat addiction to Ultram? First, we suggest that you inform yourself about ways to recognize Ultram addiction. Then, we suggest that you seek professional help.

In this article, we’ll review the signs of Ultram addiction. We explore your treatment options and give an overview of the evidence-based treatments that rehabs use. At the end, we invite you to post your comments and questions. In fact, we will try to answer your real-life question personally and promptly.

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Unintentional addiction

Ultram lowers levels of pain and helps people who with chronic pain. Not only does Ultram relieve pain, it helps people manage pain so that they can live productive lives. However, these pain-relieving properties can get users accustomed to functioning only with the help of Ultram. In other words, the constant need for pain management can be habit forming.

Over time, Ultram users may need to take the medication more frequently or in higher doses. This is the phenomenon of “tolerance” – you need to increase dosing to achieve initial therapeutic effect. Additionally, once your body gets used to the presence of Ultram, it’s difficult to just stop. The body adapts to Ultram and becomes “dependent” on it. When this painkiller is stopped or needs to be discontinued due to dependence, users experience withdrawal symptoms.

If you feel unable to live normally without the help of Ultram, it’s possible that you may be addicted to tramadol. However, there is nothing to be ashamed of. Many unsuspecting users become addicted to Ultram unintentionally. To sum up, unintentional addiction happens when:

1. Users develop tolerance for Ultram and increase dosing amounts and/or frequency.

2. Users develop drug dependence, and continue using Ultram in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Additionally, some people purposely abuse Ultram to get high. In these cases, addiction can develop in the course of a few weeks. If you are using Ultram in any way other than prescribed,  know that your risk of addiction is significantly higher. Next, we review quick ways that you can evaluate addiction.

Are you addicted?

Addiction is a complex state that may happen unintentionally. It can also go unnoticed for a certain period of time, especially if the medicine you’re addicted to has been prescribed by a doctor for legitimate reasons.

So, what are the hallmark signals? According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, addiction is mainly characterized by:

  • an inability to quit a drug – and stay quit.
  • cravings and constant need for a drug.
  • continued use despite significant problems (life, health, work, relationships)
  • impairment in behavioral control

You can also briefly assess yourself using the 3 C’s method. Have you lost CONTROL of your use? Do you have CRAVINGS for Ultram? Do you CONTINUE to use Ultram, even if you’re experience negative side effects to health, relationships, or responsibilities? If any of these is true, it may be time to seek professional help.

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Other signs & symptoms of addiction

Here is a list of additional behavioral symptoms related to Ultram addiction:

  • asking for Ultram refills earlier.
  • continually taking Ultram regardless of the harm it causes.
  • taking Ultram beyond prescribed doses and frequency.
  • seeing multiple doctors to get Ultram (doctor shopping).
  • using Ultram for nonmedical purposes.

In short, Ultram addiction occurs as a mixture of both genetic and environmental factors. The causes of addiction can be many and varied. However, there is one main red flag: If you use Ultram in spite of physical, social, or psychological damage, it’s time to seek help.

Treating Ultram addiction

Ultram addiction treatment focuses on both the physical and mental aspects of the addictive behavior. While each treatment plan is adjusted to address an individual’s case and needs, almost every addiction program follows a similar protocol. Most rehabs include stages of treatment that consist of:

1. Assessment

The first stage of addiction treatment is to understand the nature of the condition. Each person has a different relationship with a drug-of-choice. Therefore, reputable rehabs will take 1-3 hours to evaluate the depth of physical and psychological dependence. You can expect to complete an interview, questionnaire(s), physical exam, and to submit a drug testing sample. Then, rehab staff will work together with you to develop an individualized treatment plan.

2. Detoxification

Detoxification is the process during which the body gets rid of Ultram. During this procedure, all traces of Ultram will be eliminated from your system. This is often a necessary stage of addiction treatment and may or may not include prescription medications during withdrawal. However, because tramadol withdrawal can provoke atypical opioid withdrawal symptoms, it is important to seek supervision during Ultram detox. Detox is then followed by treatment with a behavioral-based therapy and a medications.

According to the Australian Drug and Clinical Advisory Service (DACAS) the following medications may be used to reduce the severity of opioid withdrawal symptoms:

  • Buscopan for abdominal cramps
  • Diazepam (Valium) for anxiety, insomnia, or restless legs
  • Loperimide for diarrhea
  • Ibuprofen and acetaminophen for muscle pain
  • Metocloperimide, Prochlorperazine, or in more serous cases Ondansetron for nausea and vomiting
  • Clonidine for physical symptoms associated with an overactive sympathetic nervous system

3. Medications 

Ultram/Tramadol rarely develops into severe drug dependence.  However, some medications like buprenorphine or methadone may be used occasionally during the treatment of Ultram addiction.  Medication Assisted Treatment using these Rx drugs is recommended for long-term, chronic users, as they can help balance brain chemistry during and after rehab. When used at the same time as psychotherapy, medications can be extremely helpful in helping people achieve abstinence from their drug-of-choice.

4. Behavioral and mental treatments

The main treatment for any type of addiction is rooted in psychotherapy. It is important to use talk therapy to get to the heart of the emotional reasons for drug use. Talk therapy helps us identify and resolve problems without the need for drugs. Furthermore, behavioral treatments aims to reach the following goals:

  • Enhance motivation to stay in treatment
  • Develop a therapeutic relationship with an addiction counselor
  • Evaluate your treatment progress as you go
  • Create long term strategies for abstinence and recovery
  • Recognize warning signs of relapse to prevent it

Seeking help: The professionals who treat addiction

When you are considering the possibility of entering treatment, you can seek help and advice from the following experts:

  • Addiction treatment center
  • Clinical psychologist specializing in addiction treatment
  • Detox clinics
  • Licensed psychiatrist
  • Licensed clinical social workers
  • Your physician

Additionally, you can seek help through your community. Look for support such as a 12-Step group, self-help group, or other peer meeting. You can also consult with a  trusted religious or spiritual leader who can point you in the right direction.

How to treat Ultram addiction questions

Did we manage to cover all you wanted to know about Ultram addiction treatment? If not, please feel free to post questions concerning the treatment of Ultram addiction. We will make sure to respond personally and promptly to all legitimate inquiries. In case we do not know the answer we will refer you to someone who can help.

References Sources: NCBI: Mu opioid receptor: a gateway to drug addiction
NIH: Frequently Asked Questions
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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