Tramadol - never again... Well... first of I would like to thank people in here for sharing their experiences with Tramadol - you have all been of great help so far and I've learned a lot by reading through the various posts the last few days. So here is my story and please feel free to comment on anything.
At the moment I am struggling with Tramadol withdrawals. At least that is what I think. A little background on me. 35 year old male - in 2000 I suffered from panic attacks and my doctor diagnosed me with depression which in turn caused the panic attacks and anxiety. I was prescribed Paxil with good effect. I tried to go of two separate times and after some months the panic attacks would reappear. During 2000-2005 I developed an addiction to sleeping pills, zolpidem (Ambien)... and in 2005 everything culminated when my abuse was discovered - at this point I was to see a new psychiatrist and she concurred with the diagnosis of chronic depression and I will be on antidepressants the rest of my life. I was switched to Venlafaxine (Efexor XR) after a few months and I responded very well to this. Unfortunately I didn't fully acknowledge my own addictive tendencies - I believed I could control it so abuse of sleeping pills continued. In 2009 after great weight loss I experienced gall stone issues and was prescribed oxycodone (oxynorm) and a 3 month addiction went out of control - including sleeping pills... In the end I was taking between 8-12 pills a day (10 mg) and over a period of 2 months I had consumed around 400 pills all in all excluding the sleeping pills.
This time everything came crashing down... all hell broke loose... sweating, itching, panic, anxiety and basically all other symptoms classic of opiate WD. I was lucky and was able to enlist the support of my girlfriend and cousin. The physical WD took me about 1½ week to conquer - the psychological WD's took me almost a month to handle and the worse one was the anxiety... the crippling anxiety and overwhelming feeling that nothing would ever be the same - nothing would be good again. It came in waves, some lasting a few minutes and some lasting a lot longer - they all had the same thing in common and that was the very irrational thought that nothing ever would be good... I had no control over this and all I could do was to be stubborn and think this will be better eventually. - 1½ month after quitting I was "normal" and well aware that I am prone to addiction...
2011 I fall and hit my ribs - doctor prescribes me Tramadol. In 2012 it escalated and during the course of 2012-2013 I visited 8 different ER's about 50 times and got additional Tramadol from my cousin. Usually I would get prescription Friday afternoon and then proceed with taking 10 pills Friday, 10 pills Saturday and a couple on Sunday unless I received a bigger prescription.
16 days ago I took my last 8 tramadols - I decided it should stop and I would return to "normal". At that time I hadn't read up on the effects of Venlafaxine and Tramadol so in my infinite wisdom I decided to double my 150 mg dose to 300 mg for a period of 4 days in order to soften the landing.. Monday was fairly ok... Monday Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday nights all had some night sweats, vivid dreaming and a general feeling of low mood... Friday everything exploded... my girlfriend and my cousin had a huge argument that ended with no more friendship and my girlfriend leaving me - I tried a lot of damage control but to no avail. Saturday I felt anxious and went to talk to my girlfriend to end things the right way - very odd since I had nothing to do with the breakup as such... feeling very emotional Saturday evening... Sunday morning - I break down crying with an irrational uncontrollable feeling that no one will ever love me and my only life line is my ex. My cousin who is usually my life line suddenly seems like the reason for all things going to **** which is very irrational. I do feel I should not be alone so finally I go to my cousin and we talk and talk - I also talk with my ex and try to help her sort through her ordeal... I still have feelings for her and she has for me. Now follows 5 days of work with no control over rational thinking when irrational anxiety hits - I sleep 5 hours a night so that's ok but this anxiety is nasty. Yesterday was bad the first half of the day but ok the second half - today was ok first - the middle ***** and now I'm focusing on writing this. When I'm "normal" and the brain feels like it is working I can handle a breakup with my (ex) and I can think well there is one for me... when the irrational periods sets in she is the only life line that exists and she is my only salvation. This goes for any other thoughts as well... hence irrational/rational. I have also experienced headaches after which I have a period of rational thinking... at the moment I have a small buzzing sensation sometimes going through my body - tinkling in my arms and then small sweats.
Yesterday I talked with my cousin and confided in her - she is the one always there for me and she is there for me now... I will never take Tramadol again - these fluxuations are so bad that sometimes it’s almost too much to bear...
I have learned a lot about Venlafaxine after all this and once I'm back to stabile on my Efexor then that is it - I will never take another Tramadol...
I have a few questions I hope anybody can help with:
1. I have a theory going that I have elevated my levels of serotonin and norepinephrine by taking tramadol and that this will need to stabilize again before I am normal - ?
2. Since I haven't experienced WD's like this before on tramadol I am wondering if this feels more like the times I started up on antidepressant medicine especially since I have windows of "clarity”...is this even plausible?
3. Timeline. The last 2 times I went cold turkey it took 4 weeks for me to be back to rational normal me - furthermore it took me the same time for the antidepressants every time to work. Am I way too optimistic in thinking that in another 2 weeks things will be better?
4. My relationship is without a doubt taking a toll on me - I am very easy to push - she says something good and I feel the positive effect... she says something negative and I take a small spiral down. I have a theory that under normal circumstances i.e. no tramadols my serotonin system would take a hit but it would be ok because I am well treated with Efexor XR... since my system is out of whack - not enough receptors - not enough transmitters.. This struggle feels much worse...
Any opinions? Am I being too biological/chemical in my approach
I apologize in advance for the long text - I needed to share it all and I have tried to break it up so it is more readable.
I don't know much about tramadol but many people here do and will be along shortly to answer your questions. I am sorry about all the heartache you are going through but I encourage you to HANG IN THERE and KNOW that you are doing a great thing. Addiction is like prison and its time for us all to be free!
Good for you for taking your life back! Since you've been through this before have you thought about any type of aftercare as of yet? Definitely something to look into! I was addicted to pain pills and never really cared for tramadol so I'm not too experienced with it. However there are a ton who are that will offer some great advice. Just remember that your body/mind will heal slowly and to not get too frustrated or have too high of expectations of yourself. Try to keep as stress-free as you can and to focus on you and getting yourself better. Once you do that everything else will begin falling into place. I'm so glad you posted and look forward to watching your recovery! Be sure to keep us all updated! We're cheering for you!
I have 85 days clean from Tramadol today. I can tell you that the first 3 weeks were very hard, and I was also put on an antidepressant by my doc as part of the treatment for my withdrawal symptoms, since I have struggled with bouts of depression for about 20 years. (it runs in my family: my sister is bipolar, cousins/mom/aunts with bouts of depression as well.)
Tram is not just a pain medication, it also works as an antidepressant, so when you come off of it, its double-whammy. I think you can expect to feel better around 4 weeks; I did. I am still having bouts of anxiety here and there, and low motivation, but nothing like the first month. I had terrible Restless Legs, but that also got better after the first 3-4 weeks.
Hang in there! If I can do it, anyone can. I was on Tramadol for almost 5 years. I took 8 a day, weaned to 3, then just stopped cold turkey. Even at that low dose, I had miserable withdrawal, but I can say that I feel really good now, most of the time anyway!
Trams ARE bad; you are right about that! It is the most evil med that I know of; and I've been prescribed about every single opiate out there at one time or another (for chronic back issues), over the last decade or so. It builds tolerance really fast and just does not like to let go. And the anti-depressant properties in tramadol make it a "double-whammy", as Lisa describes above. You are essentially detoxing from 2 meds at once, the (synthetic) opiate and the AD. It is a tough withdrawal, but it is absolutely doable. I took tramadol for a long, long time at very high doses and am coming up on 9 months free of it. I honestly never thought it would be possible. But it is and you can do it too. You need to hang in and stay strong. It will try to get in your head just when your guard is down, or you think you have it kicked. Never underestimate this medication! Keep posting here for support - you are not alone and you CAN do this :))
TY everybody for the support - I am doing everything I can to reclaim my life... Eating correctly (healthy), getting all my vitamins - had a gastric bypass years ago so supplements is nothing new to me. Cycling to work and back every day now and have taken up dancefitness 2-3 times a week...
The panicky feeling of anxiety is still not as debilitating but I can't wait for me to be stabil again. In the evening I have a farily normal window and when I go to sleep at 11 pm I susally sleep within an hour.. still I wake up at 3-4 am but now I am able to lie in bed without feeling panicky about it or too restless...
Have Doctors appointment in 2 weeks and then we are to evaluate if my dose of Efexor XR is correct or if it needs to be upped a bit. At the moment though I am hopefull I can stay at 150 mg and that it will be sufficient...
Have asked question in expert panel but am not sure how long it usually takes for an answer..
Wow what a great update! Sounds like you're doing everything right and you should start to feel good again in no time! I need to get my butt into gear and start doing some exercise so maybe I'll use your post to motivate me! Keep posting...I'm loving this update!
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