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Tramadol is the generic form of the brand-named medication known as Ultram. It comes in standard and extended-release formulations.

It is a prescription narcotic-like medication that was approved in 1995 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat chronic moderate to moderately severe pain. It belongs to the group of medications called opioid analgesics. As an opioid analgesic, tramadol binds to the opioid receptors in one’s body interfering with the communication of certain neurotransmitters as it inhibits the reuptake of norepinephrine and serotonin. It also stimulates the dopamine receptors and interferes with the release of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the central nervous system. Tramadol essentially works by blocking pain signals from one’s central nervous system and brain to the rest of the body. American Addiction Centers explains that “the effects of tramadol may be intensified when its extended-release formations are altered (e.g., crushed to be snorted, injected, or smoked; or chewed and swallowed), and the entire dosage is sent into the bloodstream at once instead of slowly.” The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies tramadol as a Schedule IV Substance, which is defined as “drugs with a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence.” When used exactly as directed, tramadol can be a highly effective medication, however, when abused can lead to severe adverse consequences.

Side Effects

There are several known side effects of tramadol that can occur when taken as prescribed. If an individual snorts tramadol the list of side effects increases and includes more severe effects. Common side effects of tramadol abuse could include, but are not limited to, any combination of the following examples, provided by the Mayo Clinic:

  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sweating 
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Irritability
  • Joint pain
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat

Long-term side effects that could occur from tramadol abuse could include seizures, adrenal insufficiency, respiratory problems, hallucinations, serotonin syndrome, liver and kidney damage, and more. Every person is different and will respond somewhat uniquely to tramadol. It is important to note that an individual that habitually snorts tramadol is at increased risk of overdose.

Further Information and Support

Navigating the challenges that arise from living with mental illness, struggling with substance abuse, and/ or addiction can not only be all-consuming but are often impossible to effectively handle without proper support. If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding mental illness, substance abuse, and/ or addiction we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. Bear in mind that you do not have to be on this journey alone. At Upwell Advisors, we offer unique, customized concierge therapeutic services to provide our clients with unparalleled support throughout every step of the recovery process. 

Feel free to reach to contact us anytime via email at sean@upwelladvisors.com. We look forward to supporting you on your journey.

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