Can Overdosing Lead to Tramadol High?

Tramadol High: Tramadol is one of those non-narcotic drugs which are seen as a relatively safer alternative. However, it has been seen that even Tramadol tends to have a number of negative consequences very similar to the other controlled substances. So, if you have been planning on using Tramadol, you should definitely make it a point to learn all the important details related to the drug, its potential side effects, and tendency for abuse.

Can Overdosing Lead to Tramadol High

Opiate painkillers are commonly prescribed by doctors for pain management. However, some of these tend to have serious negative consequences. This is also the reason why there are so many federal laws to regulate the distribution and use of opiates. In cases where strong opiate painkillers may not be required, doctors try to stick to safer alternatives with less potential to cause a high or dependence.

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What is Tramadol?

In 1995, Tramadol was approved as safe by the Food and Drug Association for the treatment of severe to moderate pain. It is sold under the popular brand name Ultram. It is not a narcotic, but rather classified as a “narcotic-like” drug. However, it is still an opiate as it works by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain. The drug causes little or no respiratory depression and is commonly used for pain management.

Tramadol can modify the perception of pain by changing the level of several neurotransmitters and hormones such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and endorphins. Furthermore, the drug also has psychoactive properties, owing to which it tends to work as a mild antidepressant. It is compared to morphine and codeine in terms of potency.

Why is Tramadol Prescribed?

Tramadol has a different working mechanism as compared to most other over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin. It works directly on the brain to modify pain signals. Although the source of pain remains unaffected, you will no longer be able to feel it. Due to its rather uncommon working mechanism, Tramadol is also tagged as an “atypical” painkiller. The drug works by

  1. Binding to the opioid receptors in the brain, which causes it to act as an analgesic, and
  2. Modifying the level of several neurotransmitters within the brain so as to reduce the sensation of pain

Overall, Tramadol is capable of relieving pain effectively without causing any euphoria or high. It is also well-tolerated by the body as compared to other painkillers. With this, the risk of abuse and complications are reduced by a significant degree. So, if the patient is only in need of mild to moderate pain management and could do well without narcotic drugs, it is very likely that the physicians will give a prescription for Tramadol.

Normal Dosage of Tramadol

Tramadol is available in the form of tablets that are to be administered orally. It comes in two different forms – immediate release and extended release. Without a doctor’s prescription, it can be rather difficult to determine the effective dosage without going beyond the maximum limit for daily intake. The doses could also vary from one person to the other depending on factors such as

  • The type of pain treatment required – for example, renal issues, liver conditions, and so on
  • The demographic category that the patient falls into – for example, geriatric, children, pregnant women and so on
  • The severity of the pain
  • The pre-existing conditions within the body

It is always safer to take the drug under medical supervision. This will ensure that you do not experience any unnatural side effects during the course of administration. However, in order to prevent complications, it is very important that you stick to the recommended dosage while also following the regulations.

The common regulations and dosages for the administration of Tramadol have been mentioned below:

  • You can choose to take it in the tablets with a strength of 50 mg, 100 mg, 150 mg, 200 mg and 250 mg
  • The dosage for each patient should be determined individually after taking into consideration the above-mentioned factors
  • For pain management, the common dosage is 50 mg with a gap of atleast 6 hours
  • Tablets with 100 mg and 200 mg follow an extended release mechanism. In this case, the subsequent doses should be placed at least 12 hours apart
  • The drug should only be used by people above the age of 14 years
  • The daily dosage of the drug should not go beyond 400 mg
  • In certain special cases such as those of oncological patients, higher doses may be required. However, it should only be taken under the strict supervision of a physician
  • It is best to take the medicine after meals as this reduces the unpleasant side effects and stomach upset.

Recreational use of Tramadol

When used in very high doses, Tramadol tends to act on both the mu and kappa receptors within the brain. This causes a euphoric sensation. For the Tramadol high to come into effect, you would have to take as many as 15 pills at a single go. So yes, Tramadol does come with a risk for abuse.

Tramadol high is very much comparable to morphine high. It can immediately create a sensation of happiness and pleasure. However, the recreational use of the drug is not without consequences. With high doses comes the risk of seizures as well as addiction.

As long as it is taken in the recommended dosage, the drug is completely safe. However, some patients sense greater effectiveness at higher doses. Due to this, some patients go on to develop an addiction to the drug. The drug has already been classified as a controlled substance in some states. It is only a matter of time before this comes into effect nationwide.

Is Tramadol classified as an opioid?

Tramadol is an opiate drug. It can be grouped together with morphine, codeine, methadone, and heroin. It acts on the opioid receptors present in the brain so as to provide pain relief. At the same time, it also boosts serotonin levels giving rise to a sensation of pleasure. It is categorized as a schedule 4 substance and can be moderately addictive. Overdosing on the drug can come with harmful consequences. It should, therefore, be used only under strict medical supervision. Although Tramadol is classified as an opiate, its effects are not as intense as that of heroin and morphine.  Unlike other natural opioid drugs that are extracted from opium poppy, Tramadol is synthesized artificially. Owing to this, it is seen as a much safer alternative.

Can Tramadol Cause a High?

The effects of Tramadol can vary significantly from one person to the other. While some people readily experience a euphoric Tramadol high even with moderate doses, others experience no signs of it until the dosage is sufficiently increased. After the administration, Tramadol is first required to go through the liver. Only then it is released into the body. The time taken to reach the peak level can vary depending on whether it is an immediate release or an extended release drug. This will also determine the time taken to experience the high.

For mild pain, a dosage of 50 mg is sufficient. However, in severe cases, patients are given around 100 to 200 mg. Although intended for strict medicinal purposes, at this dosage, one can also experience an effective Tramadol high and more at even higher doses. People who use the drug for recreational purposes generally start out with small amounts, such as 50 or 100 mg. The doses are then determined by evaluating the effects. If there seems to be no effect, the dosage is increased by another 50 or 100 mg.

Higher doses tend to give a stronger Tramadol high. However, it should be noted that it should not go beyond 400 mg. In fact, some people start experiencing the unwanted side effects even at doses as low as 200 mg. People using the drug for recreational purpose alone prefer to snort as it gives a much faster result. This way, the molecules directly enter the bloodstream through the nasal passage and reach the brain.

Is Tramadol Addictive?

Tramadol can lead to dependence as well as addiction. It should be noted that there is a slight difference between the two. People who are using Tramadol strictly for medicinal purposes are more likely to develop dependence. In this case, the drug stops being effective at smaller doses. So the patient is required to gradually increase the dosage by small amounts to experience the same level of effectiveness. Lowering the doses can render the drug ineffective while also giving rise to withdrawal symptoms.

Addiction, on the other hand, is entirely different. It comes into effect only when the drug is used at very high doses. People using the drug for recreational purposes are very likely to develop an addiction to the same. In this case, the person will experience strong cravings and feel a compulsion to use it regardless of the side effects. In case of addiction, the person will develop both physical as well as psychological dependence on the drug.

Patients who are using the drug as per the doctor’s supervision are very unlikely to develop an addiction. However, if you start experiencing any unnatural sensations after taking the drug, it could be an indication that you are using a higher dose than required. If this happens, you should consult your doctor as soon as possible. Negligence can lead to addiction, especially if you have a history of drug or alcohol addiction.

The chances for Tramadol addiction is increased in the following cases:

  • When you use the drug in crushed form by snorting.
  • Dissolving it in water for intravenous injection.
  • Taking the medicine at doses higher than recommended.
  • Taking the medicine at frequent intervals.

Symptoms of Tramadol Addiction (High)

In case of Tramadol addiction, the person experiences a physical dependence as well as a craving. People with a stressed lifestyle also have a higher risk of getting addicted to the drug. The symptoms of addiction can be broken down into the following three points:

  • You feel a compulsion to use the drug despite the negative side effects that have started to show up.
  • You experience a very strong craving for the drug.
  • You are frequently using the drug in order to experience the Tramadol high.

Effects of Tramadol High

The effects of Tramadol can vary from one person to the other. The effects can be compared to that of heroin and morphine, only it appears in a much weaker form. It is quite common to feel general relaxation, sleepiness and a feeling of well being soon after taking the drug. These can be termed as the pleasant aspects of Tramadol. However, after these pleasant sensations fade away, you will start experiencing other unpleasant effects such as

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Fainting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Muscle weakness
  • Sensory disturbance

If you are using Tramadol strictly for medical purposes, but still experience the unwanted effects, you should make it a point to consult your doctor. A lowering of the dosage may be required. If other safer alternatives are available, it may be still better to switch drugs. It is very important for the patients using Tramadol to be well informed of all the risks that are associated with irresponsible use of the drug.

Also Read: Tramadol and Alcohol Interaction Effects

Tramadol Tolerance and Addiction

Many people avoid using Tramadol due to the number of unwanted side effects that are associated with the drug. Basically, it shows effect by altering the brain chemistry. So, there is always a chance of developing tolerance. Over the time, the body starts adapting to the drug. Smaller doses will no longer be effective. So you will be forced to increase the dosage. In addition to developing a tolerance, one can also develop a physical dependence on the drug. This means that over the time the body adapts itself in such a way that Tramadol becomes essential for the normal functioning of the body. Stopping the intake can result in withdrawal symptoms.

Like other opioid drugs, Tramadol can also impair cognitive functions. Reaction time is reduced by a significant degree, and you will experience greater difficulty in executing complex tasks.  Taking into consideration both the tolerance as well as dependence, patients who have been using the drug for sufficiently long periods of time are likely to develop an addiction even if they are using the drug only for medicinal purposes. In fact, Tramadol addiction is not uncommon. Many people turn to illicit market and even forge prescriptions to ensure a steady supply of the drug.

The time taken to develop tolerance can vary from one person to the other. Generally, it comes into effect a few weeks after you start taking the drug. Due to this reason, doctors often recommend their patients to increase the dosage after every five days. The common dosage is 100 mg per day. However, this can be adjusted by evaluating the effects. The optimum dosage is that which produces an effective result without giving rise to any unwanted side effects.

If you seem to have developed a tolerance even for the highest allowed dosage, it is better to switch to a different drug. This way, you will be preventing the risk of addiction. Or you can also stop the drug for a certain period and allow your body to rewire before resuming. By doing so, you may experience withdrawal symptoms that are very similar to that of the flu. However, in some cases, the body may not be able to adjust itself back to the smaller dosage.

Treatment of Tramadol Addiction

Initially, Tramadol was seen as a safe alternative to stronger opioid painkillers. However, it is becoming more and more apparent that it has a number of negative side effects of its own. Due to its potential to induce a Tramadol high, the drug is also increasingly used for recreational purposes. With this, the risk of tolerance and addiction is at an all-time high. However, there are ways to overcome the addiction.

The treatment usually starts with a detoxification process. This allows the body to restore balance and health. During the detoxification process, the person is monitored continuously so as to ensure minimum discomfort and maximum safety. When the detoxification process is over, the patient is put to psychotherapy and counseling as well as other supplementary treatments. With proper aftercare and determination, it is quite possible for the addicted patients to go back to their normal life.


Although Tramadol was once seen as a very promising drug, it has turned out that the drug is not entirely free of negative side effects. So, if you have been given a prescription of Tramadol, it would be advisable that you consider your entire medical history and have a thorough consultation with the doctor before starting with the administration. Also, keep a sharp eye on the effects that come with the drug. At any cost, make sure that you are not exceeding the 400 mg limit. By keeping a proper track of the drug usage, it is possible to reap the benefits without any risk of complications or addiction.

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