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Is Tramadol Addictive? Absolutely

Is Tramadol Addictive

Is Tramadol addictive?

This is the million dollar question.

Anyone who’s used narcotics recreationally will tell you flat out, “Yes, Tramadol is addictive.” 

However, the medical profession and people who’ve never abused drugs have varying opinions on the subject.

And that’s just it—they have opinions, not experience.

Tramadol may be seen as having a lesser potential for dependence than oxycodone simply because it’s a schedule IV drug instead of a schedule II like most opiate painkillers.

However, don’t let this classification fool you. Tramadol is just as addicting as any other opiate, and gets you higher than a kite when taken in larger amounts than prescribed.

Don’t believe me? Well let me tell you a tale (and this ain’t no Texas tall-tale) about my experience with Tramadol and also share with you some popular opinions on the subject.

And away we go…

Is Tramadol Addictive

My Personal Experience with Tramadol Addiction

Let’s take a time machine back to about 2013–2014. I was teaching courses on jazz piano and jazz improvisation at the prestigious University of North Texas College of Music.

I had just gotten sober for the second time in my life, and things were going pretty well. I was talking about a subject I loved all day and making decent money doing it.

A story for another post is that I am extremely attracted to women who have issues with drugs and sex.

Well, my obsession for one such woman who would ultimately choose another person over me left me in some pain, and I didn’t want to work a program around this situation at all.

Wouldn’t you know it? My back started to hurt pretty bad. At this point, I was doing less teaching and more music production at a studio in Dallas, TX.

I was hunched over keyboards and synthesizers and behind a computer a lot, and yes my back legitimately hurt.

However, my emotions were what were bothering me more.

I remember I had a grand plan (yes, us addicts and our plans of how we’re going to do it right this time!) I was going to go to the doctor, tell him I was an addict, get him to prescribe me Tramadol, tell everyone I knew in the program that I was taking pain medication legitimately, and somehow all of this wouldn’t lead me down the highway to hell.

It’s easy to get a doctor to prescribe you Tramadol. I remember taking that first Tramadol and immediately whipping up a conversation with a stranger (ah yes, the proof that this opiate was definitely working).

So what did this lead to? I then went to another doctor to get some X-rays done. I told him I was an addict, but he prescribed me four 10s of hydrocodone a day.


Funny how I thought by telling him I was an addict, that would somehow prevent me from being in active addiction.

Well, you can guess how the story goes; a little time with the painkillers and eventually back to heroin for me.

The most recent time I took Tramadol was after a venture to the dentist. I got 15 of them, took them all at once, and was mad fucked up for the next 36 hours or so.

So what’s my conclusion based on experience? Tramadol is addictive, Tramadol gets you high, tramadol is easier to get than other painkillers, and taking Tramadol will lead back to stronger opiates if you ever abused heroin or oxy.

So What’s What Do the Addiction Experts Say About Tramadol? 

Well first of all Tramadol is a synthetic opioid. It doesn’t carry the name oxycodone, hydrocodone, or fentanyl; however, it’s just as addicting.

Just like my experience, experts say that Tramadol is prescribed more readily than other opiate painkillers. The fact is, many doctors just don’t think it’s addicting.

That GABA area of the brain is heavily affected by Tramadol abuse and can cause a decrease in the production of dopamine. This lays the groundwork for the need to continue taking Tramadol in order to experience feelings of euphoria.

The symptoms of a Tramadol high include:

  • Nausea
  • An upset stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Tiny pupils

You have to be very careful when overtaking Tramadol as it slows down your breathing and your heart rate. So much that, yes, it can kill you.

When in withdrawal from Tramadol, users may experience the following:

  • Insomnia
  • Tremors
  • Depression
  • High anxiety
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Sweating

If you are abusing Tramadol and are trying to quit, it’s best to get professional help at a detox center of some sort.

Don’t try to do this on your own if at all possible.

Contrary to some beliefs, Tramadol induces a horrible withdrawal experience, and some of the symptoms mentioned before can be just as bad or worse than someone who is withdrawing from heroin.

Tramadol Is Addictive, Without Question

The bottom line is this — if you’ve ever abused painkillers, or any narcotic, then it’s extremely likely that you can’t use Tramadol safely at all.

It will be easy for you to convince yourself that, by taking Tramadol, you’re not messing with a  highly addictive substance.

Don’t be fooled!

If you are taking more than prescribed, that’s because it’s getting you high, and you’re going down a treacherous trail.

I know for me personally that if I start taking Tramadol I can expect to see a syringe full of heroin in the not too distant future.

This isn’t my opinion

This is my experience.

Do you have experience taking Tramadol, or maybe know a loved one who is in denial about their Tramadol abuse?

Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear from you.

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Claude Fair
Claude Fair
4 months ago

I was addicted to Vicodin for 10 years and thought I had finally found my perfect drug in Tramadol. It was “non addictive “ so I could get on these for a while and quit anytime. Fast forward 20 years and I’m found out Tramadol IS addictive as hell and I was taking 15, 100 mg. pills everyday! I tried to quit on my own but that as a joke. I have never withdrawn from heroin but I bet withdraws from Tramadol is much worse. You don’t believe me? I stopped taking Tramadol May 23, 2020. Exactly 1 year ago. I went to a treatment center and couldn’t sleep for 5 days straight, restless legs so bad I wore my knees raw from the bed sheets. Found myself in a zombie state standing in the corner of my room at rehab. Many other aches, pains, flu like symptoms etc. After 5 days I told them if they didn’t do something, I was going to leave the center and kill myself. I was put in Suboxone. It at least let me get 3-4 hours of sleep every night. I eventually got off the Suboxone. The next 9 months were horrible. Little sleep and feeling like I was dope sick. The last 3 months have been slightly better but my body still aches and I have to take a medicine cabinet of drugs every night just to sleep. I am getting better but I am not near normal. I’m hoping by December I feel a little better, we will see. Bottom line, don’t mess with Tramadol, it’s a mean drug that will take you to HELL. Take it from me.
If you have a problem, or any questions and would like to talk to me, 936 537-5702

Adam Fout
4 months ago
Reply to  Claude Fair

Thanks for reading Claude! I know your story intimately. I hope that it gets better soon for you my brother.


Michael Palma

Michael Palma is a drug addict in recovery who is passionate about recovery and recently has taken to writing about his own experience, strength, and hope and hopes to share this with as many people in recovery as he can. He has been a professional jazz pianist for over 20 years. He has performed with Wynton Marsalis, Jimmy Cobb (drummer for Miles Davis), Daniel Platzman (drummer for Imagine Dragons), Robert “Sput” Seawright (drummer for Snoop Dogg and Snarky Puppy), Greg Osby, and Terri Lynn Carrington to name a few.