Tramadol, also sold under brand name Ultram, is a synthetic opioid. It is prescribed for moderate to severe pain relief and is classified as an opioid analgesic, or narcotic drug.
Tramadol detoxification, or detox, is the first step in overcoming tramadol dependence or drug addiction. Tramadol is habit-forming and can be misused for its side effects.
Tramadol detox can take place in a detox facility, inpatient treatment center, or under the close supervision of an outpatient healthcare provider.
Tramadol Detox Side Effects And Symptoms
Tramadol can cause physical dependence with chronic use. Physical dependence on a drug can cause you to experience withdrawal if you stop taking it.
Withdrawal can begin within one to three days after your last tramadol use.
Tramadol withdrawal symptoms may include:
- runny nose
- panic attacks
- difficulty sleeping
- fast heart rate
- increased blood pressure
- drug cravings
Detoxing from tramadol may cause symptoms of opioid withdrawal, as well as symptoms of antidepressant withdrawal—including potential psychosis.
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Timeline For Tramadol Detox And Withdrawal
Withdrawal symptoms, including physical sickness and general discomfort, can begin within one to three days after you quit tramadol or begin tapering your dose.
Tramadol detox may last between one to two weeks. Physical symptoms generally decline after the first week, while psychological and emotional symptoms may linger.
Factors that can affect the timeline for tramadol detox include:
- severity of opioid dependence
- duration of tramadol dose
- dose taken
- use of other drugs (including alcohol)
- history of substance abuse
- your mental health
- certain medical conditions
Tapering off tramadol, versus stopping it “cold turkey,” can also affect this timeline. Tapering may slightly prolong the process, but it can also help prevent negative withdrawal symptoms.
Risks Of Tramadol Detox
The experience of tramadol detox can be mild, moderate, or severe in nature. Unlike other opioids, tramadol can cause both traditional and atypical opioid withdrawal symptoms.
Atypical withdrawal symptoms may include:
- feelings of panic
- panic attacks
- irrational thinking
- hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)
Without treatment, some of these symptoms can be very unpleasant. They can also put the person detoxing, and those around them, at risk for harm and other negative consequences.
Risk Factors For Tramadol Detox Dangers
Certain factors can place individuals at higher risk for severe withdrawal symptoms once they stop taking tramadol.
Risk factors for complications during detox include:
- older age
- drug abuse
- abuse of multiple drugs
- co-occurring disorders
- history of seizures
- poor overall health
Severe cases of withdrawal can turn life-threatening. Furthermore, severe symptoms can also increase the risk of relapse in people with a history of tramadol misuse.
How Does Tramadol Detox Work?
Opioid detox programs begin with a clinical assessment. A doctor may ask you personal questions about your physical health, drug use, and mental health history.
The detox process can be physically uncomfortable. If you’ve developed tramadol dependence, your body may begin to go through withdrawal within hours of your last dose.
Within a detox program, treatment can be provided by medical professionals. They can also offer around-the-clock observation and help to prevent complications during the detox process.
Who Needs Tramadol Detox?
Tramadol detox is recommended for anyone with drug dependence.
You may need to detox from tramadol if you:
- have been taking tramadol regularly for more than a few weeks
- misuse tramadol alone or in combination with other drugs
- have a history of tramadol abuse or addiction
- take high doses of tramadol and have for some time
Treatment Programs For Tramadol Detox
If you have been taking tramadol for therapeutic purposes for more than a few weeks, your doctor may be able to help you wean off tramadol gradually through tapering.
If you have been misusing tramadol or are struggling with tramadol addiction, inpatient care through a medical detox program may be advised.
Drug Rehab After Tramadol Detox
Addiction treatment may be recommended after detox if you are in the process of overcoming tramadol abuse or addiction. In this case, detox is just the first step.
Drug rehab programs for tramadol abuse may offer:
- behavioral therapy
- individual and group counseling
- support groups
- medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
- dual diagnosis treatment
- relapse prevention
- aftercare support
Tramadol addiction can be debilitating and life-threatening. Overcoming an addiction to this painkiller can be a challenge, but it is possible.
Tramadol Detox FAQs
Find answers to questions about tramadol detox, withdrawal, and treatment options for tramadol detox.
❓ Is Tramadol Withdrawal Different From Opioid Withdrawal?
✔️ Tramadol is different from other opioids in that it can cause both typical and atypical opioid withdrawal symptoms.
This is because it both binds to opioid receptors in the brain and inhibits the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine—two neurotransmitters.
❓ Will I Need To Taper Off Use Of Tramadol?
✔️ Tapering off tramadol is generally recommended. Stopping it all at once, or cold-turkey, may increase the risk for severe withdrawal and can be highly uncomfortable.
Tapering off tramadol, or slowly reducing the dose of tramadol you’re currently taking, may take one to three weeks.
❓ How Long Does Tramadol Take To Metabolize?
✔️ Tramadol has a half-life of about six to seven hours. It metabolizes to 23 metabolites. Metabolites of tramadol can remain detectable in the urine for up to four days.
❓ How Long Does Tramadol Detox Last?
✔️ Tramadol detox can occur in two stages: acute withdrawal and protracted withdrawal.
Acute withdrawal lasts one to two weeks. Protracted withdrawal, which can include symptoms such as anxiety and insomnia, can last weeks or months.
Find Tramadol Detox Or Addiction Treatment Today
Overcoming tramadol abuse or addiction typically begins with detox. If you or a loved one is addicted to tramadol, we can help you find detox options.
Call our helpline today to learn more about tramadol detox and to find tramadol addiction treatment options near you.
Published on August 19, 2021
Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.
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- U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) — ULTRAM (tramadol hydrochloride tablets)
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Opiate and opioid withdrawal
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Tramadol
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: NCBI — Psychosis following Tramadol Withdrawal