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Tramadol Detox Centers

Medically Reviewed By: Benjamin Caleb Williams RN, BA, CEN

Written By: Gary Bowers

Article Updated: 01/24/2021

For anyone who is not sure what to expect from a tramadol detox center, this guide can provide the details necessary to help them take the first step. It can be helpful to understand what aspects of tramadol detox centers are available, and how they make a difference in the process of recovery. Knowing when tramadol detox is required, what types of therapy are provided, and how medical care is administered are all covered in this guide. Recovery is possible, and it often begins with detox.

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When Is A Tramadol Detox Center Recommended?

It would almost always be recommended to obtain professional medical assistance in detox when tramadol is involved. Tramadol may not necessarily be well-known as a powerful drug but as a member of the opioid drug classification, withdrawal can be a painful and uncomfortable experience.

Just like more powerful opioid drugs like morphine and heroin, tramadol works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain. The mechanism of action of tramadol of the brain isn’t associated with the intense ‘high’ other opioids produce, but any drug that binds to the opioid receptors in the brain can be abused. It can be easy to become addicted to, tolerant of, and physically dependent upon tramadol. Once this occurs, the body will go through relatively mild withdrawal symptoms if the drug is removed from the system.

It is an ironic twist that the pain of tramadol withdrawal is often what keeps people using the drug, even when they want to quit. For many, the only way to avoid the pain of using tramadol is to continue using tramadol. While there is no way to avoid the symptoms of tramadol detox, symptoms can be managed safely, with minimal complications.

It would also be recommended that anyone with pre-existing medical conditions, including mental illness, seek the assistance of tramadol detox centers. Complications that require medical intervention may arise during detox. Having access to 24/7 observation, medical care, and access to various forms of therapy can make a significant difference in the outcome of detox.

Anyone with the following conditions should seek assistance from tramadol detox centers:

Co-Occurring Health Issues

These may include both physical or mental health issues, and anyone who suffers from co-occurring health issues may want to enter a tramadol detox center. The detox process usually produces fluctuations in heart function, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. If someone had a pre-existing heart health issue or diabetes, then they may be at increased risk of negative health complications. In these cases, it is highly recommended for someone to enter a tramadol detox center.

Mental health issues can also play a role during tramadol detox, as there are often psychological symptoms during detox that may be quite intense. If someone had a history of depression or anxiety, for example, then they may be at increased risk for severe psychological symptoms. If someone has a history of mental illness, then it is highly recommended that they enter a tramadol detox center.


The Intake Process

When checking into a tramadol detox center, the staff will begin working immediately to provide care. It takes a lot of courage to get to this point in recovery, and the intake staff will work to make the intake process as seamless as possible. During this stage, the staff will begin gathering information. The information they gather will be used to create an individualized treatment plan.

Although individual processes may vary, the general approach to intake can be broken into 3 categories:

  1. Check-In: During the check-in process, the staff will begin by gathering personal information. There will be paperwork that needs to be completed before treatment can begin. Tramadol detox center staff will need insurance information and personal information (such as emergency contact info).
  2. Medical Assessment: The intake staff will begin immediately looking for signs of tramadol withdrawal. Some visible and immediately recognizable symptoms would include runny nose, watering eyes, shaking or restlessness, sweating, and sneezing. A vital sign check will look for other signs of detox including elevated blood pressure and body temperature. Blood will be drawn for toxicology assessments as well.
  3. Staff Interview: A brief interview will typically be completed during the intake process. The purpose of the interview is to determine facts about the nature of tramadol use. Knowing how much tramadol was regularly taken, how often (frequency), and for long (duration) can help doctors better anticipate symptoms. Questions may be asked about additional drug use – past and present. The more information the staff has, the better care they will be able to provide.

Medical Monitoring of Tramadol Detox Related Dangers

Tramadol detox centers will offer 24/7 medical monitoring during the detox process. This is an incredibly valuable benefit during a difficult process. Doctors and medical staff will be able to recognize and treat symptoms quickly. Regular visits with staff psychiatrists and mental health professionals will play a vital in the recovery process. Specifically, detox center staff will be monitoring the symptoms of tramadol detox:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Body Aches and Pains
  • Runny Nose
  • Watery Eyes
  • Flu-like Symptoms
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Insomnia and Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Tramadol Cravings

The most dangerous symptoms will be watched very closely to prevent serious complications from occurring. These symptoms are:

  • Elevated Blood Pressure (risk of stroke, cardiac arrest, or other heart-related problems)
  • Vomiting and Diarrhea (risk of dehydration)

While painful and troublesome, tramadol detox is not likely to result in serious complications. Allowing the medical professionals at tramadol detox centers to provide care during this time can make a difference!

Tramadol Withdrawal Timeline

Medications Used By Tramadol Detox Centers

Medical treatment is very important during tramadol detox. Medications improve the safety of the detox experience. Medical management by tramadol detox centers can also improve the quality of recovery and reduce relapse by effectively treating the painful symptoms of detox. The medications prescribed will be individualized for each patient, but this list represents medications that are frequently encountered during detox treatment:

  • Blood Pressure Medications: Beta-blockers may be prescribed to help manage elevated blood pressure, which can be a deadly consequence of tramadol detox. Clonidine is another commonly prescribed blood pressure medication at tramadol detox centers. Blood pressure medications are typically safe when used as directed, and will likely only be needed until the symptoms have abated.
  • Sleep Aids: Quality sleep can make a substantial impact on the effectiveness of detox. During tramadol detox sleep patterns will be disrupted, making an uncomfortable situation even worse. Sleep aids would likely only be prescribed for a limited time to encourage natural sleep. Ambien and Lunesta may be prescribed for more severe sleep problems. Antihistamines may be prescribed for this purpose as well.
  • Anti-Anxiety Medications and Antidepressants: Depression and anxiety are frequently associated with tramadol detox. It’s thought that this could be psychological and physical. Tramadol use can result in the downregulation of bodily systems and alter brain chemistry. Antidepressants can help address this biological factor. The most frequently prescribed antidepressants are SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). SSRIs like Zoloft, Prozac, and Paxil can also help address Generalized Anxiety Disorder. These medications work better over time and would be prescribed as part of a long-term treatment plan.

Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD): In severe cases of tramadol abuse, doctors may create a treatment plan that incorporates FDA-approved medications for treating OUD. The most common OUD treatment plans incorporate the use of either Suboxone or methadone. Let’s look at each:

  • Suboxone/Subutex/Sublocade: While Subutex and Sublocade contain buprenorphine, Suboxone is a combination of the medications buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is an opioid agonist that has a “ceiling effect” that plays a role in its effectiveness. This means that the drug can satisfy the body’s demand for opioid drugs, but taking more doesn’t increase its effect; this reduces the risk of misuse. The ingredient naloxone takes abuse prevention a step further. If someone attempts to take Suboxone other than as directed (ie injecting), the naloxone will take effect, triggering violent and painful withdrawal symptoms known as precipitated withdrawal. Because of the safeguards applied in the production of Suboxone, this medication can be prescribed by a doctor as part of a long-term treatment plan.
  • Methadone: Methadone has been used to effectively treat OUD for many years. Methadone is an opioid agonist that binds very well to the opioid receptors in the brain but does not produce the intense “high” that people seek from opioids. Methadone can be abused if not taken as prescribed, so methadone is administered at designated clinics as part of a long-term treatment plan.
  • Lofexidine: The first non-opioid medication that was FDA-approved for treating opioid use disorder, this medication can treat many of the symptoms of tramadol withdrawal.

Therapy During Tramadol Detox

When coupled with medical care, the therapy options offered by tramadol detox can enable someone to make great strides in the path to recovery. Therapy comes in many shapes and forms, but nearly all of them will offer the opportunity to grow, change, and adapt to a life free from tramadol use. Therapy is essential for long-term recovery. Some of the forms of therapy offered by tramadol detox centers include:

Aftercare Planning

Detox is a major step in the recovery journey, but there will still be work to be completed. Following detox treatment, which lasts maybe 5-10 days for tramadol use, new actions will need to be taken to live a life free from addiction. For some, it took years to seek help for their tramadol abuse, and it could take years to fully recover. Here’s where after-care planning services offered by tramadol detox centers can be so valuable. Working with a specialist, the days, weeks, and months following detox can be planned-out. In this way, interventions and support can be established BEFORE they are needed, increasing the chances of successful outcomes in recovery.

Support Groups

Support groups are a helpful tool in working through the complexities of tramadol use. In situations where tramadol use was hidden or withheld from loved ones – whether as a result of shame, fear, or other factors – support groups can offer a sense of belonging and unity. Support groups may or may not follow a formal structure, based on the needs of the group. By breaking down the barriers and removing the stigma associated with a history of tramadol use, group therapy can play a pivotal role in the process of recovery.

Holistic Detox Therapy

There are many people in the world today in search of different approaches to ongoing treatment. Holistic detox therapy has filled the need sought by many who were looking for an alternative to more traditional methods of treating tramadol use disorder. Forms of treatment offered as a part of holistic detox therapy include yoga, acupuncture, mindfulness meditation, and therapeutic exercise. Holistic detox therapy would still incorporate traditional medical therapies but set themselves apart by treating all aspects of a person’s mind, body, and soul.

Continuing Tramadol Addiction Treatment

Treatment at a tramadol detox center is an early step in the recovery journey. Continuing treatment at a residential tramadol treatment facility will offer an opportunity to build upon the work that has already begun. Stays at residential tramadol treatment centers would typically last 30-90 days. During this time, which is spent isolated from the outside world, treatment is offered daily. 24/7 care and observations are significant benefits of ongoing treatment in a residential facility. The time to take the step towards recovery begins today, and tramadol detox centers are here to help!

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