Ultram Withdrawal

  • Generic Name or Active Ingridient: Tramadol

Ultram withdrawal is a normal and predictable consequence of a sudden decrease in opioid levels in the body of a person who is physically dependent on Ultram. This person will experience unpleasant physical and psychological symptoms for five or more days as his body adjusts to lower levels of Ultram. Doctors call this process "detoxification.'


Your body reacts to the presence of some foreign substances, such as alcohol, Ultram or other drugs, by adjusting its own chemistry to maintain a safe chemical balance. Your body can even grow tolerant of these substances, which means you have to take larger doses more frequently to achieve the same pain-relieving or euphoric effect.

When you use some substances for a long time, your body may become dependent upon always having a certain level of the substance to feel "normal." If your Ultram levels drop rapidly, your body will struggle to maintain chemical balance. You feel this battle for stability through uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

Widespread prescription painkiller abuse is causing a rise in chemical dependence in the United States. Anyone who uses Ultram for a long time can become physically dependent to it, addicted to this drug or both. Without adequate treatment, physical dependence and addiction can cause disability or death.

Facts about Ultram

Ultram contains the synthetic opioid-like pain reliever, tramadol. Doctors prescribe Ultram for moderate to severe pain. The extended-release formula of Ultram is for patients who need relief from chronic pain around the clock. Recreational drug abusers take Ultram to get high. Using Ultram for a long time, using high doses or administering this drug improperly increases your risk for dependence, addiction and death due to toxic overdose.

Abuse, Dependence and Ultram Withdrawal

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, estimates that one in 20 Americans over the age of 12 years used a prescription opioid in 2010 non-medically. Using a drug non-medically means to take it to get high or to treat a medical condition for which it was not prescribed. Non-medical drug use increases the risk for physical dependence, addiction and overdose.

There are now more Americans addicted to prescription drugs like Ultram than to heroin. The National Institute on Drug Abuse, or NIDA, estimates there were 1.9 million adults in the United States addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers in 2010, compared with only 329,000 heroin addicts. Except for marijuana, prescription painkillers are the most abused drugs among young Americans.

Widespread availability has played a role in high substance abuse rates. Americans take more opioid pain relievers such as Ultram than any other nation. Even though the United States accounts for only about 5 percent of global population, Americans consume 80 percent of the world's opioid supply, according to the Institute of Addiction Medicine.

Increased prescription drug use has caused treatment rates to rise as well. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports the U.S. admission rate for opioids other than heroin rose more than 400 percent in one ten-year period. In 1997, about seven people in 100,000 sought help for a substance abuse problem. By 2007, this number rose to 36 admissions per 100,000 people.

A person who is dependent on Ultram must continually search for new ways to obtain this drug. Some present bogus prescriptions at pharmacies or tamper with prescriptions to get more Ultram in each bottle. Others participate in "doctor shopping," where the person gets Ultram prescriptions from several physicians.

Many get prescription drugs free from family members or friends. It is common for people to save prescription painkillers in case they have pain later, leaving excess narcotics in the medicine cabinet. Other dependent individuals buy Ultram from drug dealers on the street.

Symptoms of Withdrawal

Withdrawal from opioids and opioid-like pain relievers is typically associated with physical symptoms similar to the flu, but withdrawal also causes psychological symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms are painful and demoralizing, but usually not life threatening.

Physical Ultram Withdrawal Symptoms

Physical symptoms of Ultram withdrawal include:

  • Abdominal Cramps
  • Anorexia
  • Backache
  • Body Aches
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased Blood Pressure, Respiratory Rate or Heart Rate
  • Insomnia
  • Joint Pain
  • Muscle Aches
  • Nausea
  • Perspiration
  • Runny Nose
  • Vomiting
  • Watery Eyes
  • Weakness
  • Yawning

Physical symptoms last five days or longer, with the worst symptoms occurring on or about the fourth day.

Psychological Ultram Withdrawal Symptoms

Left untreated or poorly treated, the psychological symptoms associated with Ultram withdrawal can interfere with your recovery efforts. Battling Ultram withdrawal can leave you feeling unworthy or incapable of recovery.

Psychological symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Feelings of agitation
  • Anxiousness
  • Depression
  • Seeing things that are not there
  • Being irritable
  • Being unable to focus mentally
  • Feeling restless
  • Isolation from friends and family

Possible Complications

While withdrawal is not usually life threatening, complications of detoxification are hazardous to your health. Complications of Ultram withdrawal may include vomiting and then breathing the stomach contents into the lungs, a dangerous complication known as aspiration. Aspiration may result in fluid in your lungs or lung infection. Severe or prolonged vomiting or diarrhea may result in dehydration.

Relapse is the primary complication of Ultram withdrawal. Without adequate intervention, you may enter a cycle of relapse and remission.

The risk of toxic overdose increases immediately after detoxification. The detoxification process decreases your tolerance to Ultram, so it is possible for you to overdose on a smaller dose of Ultram than you used to take before you attempted detoxification.

Treatment options

There is a great need for substance abuse treatment in the United States. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that more than 23 million people in the United States over the age of 12-years needed treatment for alcohol or substance abuse in 2010. Of the people who needed treatment, only about 11 percent received treatment at a specialty facility staffed with professionals trained in recovery techniques for substance abuse. Professionals in these treatment facilities help you overcome physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms during detoxification and provide behavior modification during rehabilitation.

Recovery relies on prompt and proper treatment, which includes two phases: detoxification and rehabilitation. Detoxification is the process of Ultram withdrawal. Rehabilitation includes behavior modification that helps you avoid relapses and reduce the number of times you will need to endure Ultram withdrawal.


Some people try to overcome Ultram dependence without medicine to ease withdrawal symptoms or professionals to monitor for complications. This is known as self-detoxification, or "going cold turkey." Cold turkey refers to the way the way your skin will look during self-detoxification: pale, cold and clammy with goose bumps, much like a plucked turkey's skin.

Self-detoxification offers no protection from the intense physical and psychological symptoms associated with Ultram withdrawal. Without medicine to ease your Ultram withdrawal symptoms or professional guidance to help with psychological trauma, you stand a grave risk for relapse to drug abuse.

Some individuals create treatment plans that address individual Ultram withdrawal symptoms during self-detoxification. One such concoction is The Thomas Recipe, which includes valium or some other benzodiazepine to ease anxiety and induce sleep. Imodium stops diarrhea while mineral supplements and hot baths relieve achy muscles and other body pains. The Thomas Recipe includes L-Tyrosine with B6 for a boost of energy that helps you overcome overwhelming malaise.

The Thomas Recipe will relieve your Ultram withdrawal symptoms somewhat but this home therapy offers no protection against complications such as aspiration, dehydration and relapse. Without professional counseling, psychological Ultram withdrawal symptoms increase your risk for relapse and potential overdose from lowered tolerance levels.


Taking large doses of Ultram or taking Ultram after experiencing withdrawal symptoms increases your risk for toxic overdose. Overdose is a serious, sometimes fatal medical emergency. If you think you or someone you know is suffering from a toxic level of Ultram, seek emergency assistance immediately by going to the emergency room or calling an ambulance. If you need immediate help, contact your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

Symptoms of Ultram overdose include:

  • Blue Lips
  • Breathing That Stops
  • Cold, Clammy Skin
  • Confusion
  • Extreme Drowsiness
  • Fainting
  • Pinpoint or Dilated Pupils
  • Shallow Breathing
  • Slow or Uneven Heart Rate
  • Weak Pulse

Ultram overdose may be fatal - overdoses from prescription pain relievers like Ultram killed nearly 15,000 people in the United States in 2008, according to the CDC. Nearly half a million people visit emergency room every year due to prescription painkillers.

Emergency room doctors administer naloxone and other medications to lower your Ultram to safe levels. Nurses will monitor your vital signs, watch for complications and establish an airway to help you breathe. You may have your stomach pumped or the nurses may administer charcoal to absorb the excess Ultram in your digestive tract. Emergency personnel may perform CPR or other measures to save your life.

Drug Replacement Therapy

Someone not in immediate danger of overdose may try Drug Replacement Therapy, or DRT, which enables him to participate in rehabilitation before going through the detoxification stage. DRT replaces Ultram with medications that mimic its effects to prevent withdrawal symptoms. DRT medications include methadone, Suboxone and buprenorphine. These replacement drugs do not produce the same level of euphoria as Ultram and other opioids.

After some rehabilitation, the individual weans himself from the replacement drug by taking smaller doses increasingly further apart. Many people have trouble quitting the replacement drug or end up relapsing to opioid use. Harvard Medical School estimates a quarter of methadone patients eventually quit using drugs altogether, another 25 percent continues to take the replacement drug and 50 percent go on and off methadone.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Drug replacement therapy is just one kind of Medication-Assisted Treatment, or MAT. Medications reduce symptoms during the detoxification phase and help you tolerate the procedure longer than if you tried self-detoxification, without the help of therapeutic medicines and trained professionals.

Rehabilitation professionals recognize MAT as an important and effective treatment approach because it:

  • Improves Survival Rates
  • Increase Retention in Treatment
  • Decreases Illicit Opioid Use
  • Decreases the Risk for Hepatitis and HIV
  • Decreases Criminal Activities
  • Increases Employment
  • Improves Birth Outcomes for Pregnant Women Battling Addiction

Standard Detoxification

The standard treatment for detoxification requires a hospital lasting several days. During your stay, doctors administer naloxone and other medications to lower the level of Ultram in your system. In addition, physicians give you drugs that ease your Ultram withdrawal symptoms.

While this standard inpatient detoxification process reduces the severity and duration of Ultram withdrawal symptoms somewhat, you must still endure a long, uncomfortable and demoralizing procedure of detoxification. There is a social stigma attached to "being in detox" as well as a financial burden of an inpatient hospital stay.

Rapid Detox

Rapid detox is the most humane detoxification procedure currently available. Rapid detox propels you through the detoxification process, improving your physical and psychological readiness for rehabilitation.

During rapid detox, board certified anesthesiologists give you the standard detoxification and anti-withdrawal drugs along with sedatives and anesthesia. You rest in a pleasant "twilight sleep," unaware of the uncomfortable detoxification process. Instead of a few days, you are ready for meaningful rehabilitation in a few hours.


Ultram addiction is a complex, treatable disease that affects neurological function in a way that changes a person's behavior. Prompt and effective behavior modification reduces the risk for relapse.

Everyone experiences Ultram addiction differently, so no single treatment is right for everyone. You can choose from several treatment options, from outpatient counseling centers to long-term, residential programs. Most treatments include individual, family and group counseling and other behavioral therapies. Medications are an important aspect of treatment for many people, especially when combined with counseling and behavior modification.

No matter what form of therapy you participate in, treatment must be convenient and readily available so that you can remain in treatment long enough for it to be effective. You must remain in treatment long enough to restore neurological function affected by Ultram addiction. Your counselor will continually assess and update your treatment plan so it continually fits your changing needs. Your counselor will also monitor for drug use, as relapses are common.

Your counselor may assess you for HIV/ AIDS, hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases associated with chronic substance abuse. Treatment may include targeted risk-reduction counseling to identify and change behaviors that increase the risk of contracting or spreading infectious diseases.

Effective treatment must attend to your multiple needs. Ultram addiction is a complex disease requiring an equally complex treatment plan. Ultram addiction frequently accompanies other mental disorders, such as depression.