Ultram and its generic cousin tramadol, are synthetic narcotics used to treat moderate to severe pain. It is only available by prescription, although it is not a controlled substance. The latter is a fact that is somewhat controversial, as the effects of Ultram are virtually identical to those of other narcotic painkillers. When used for a prolonged period of time, the drug is extremely habit-forming and Ultram addiction statistics indicate that one can become physically and psychologically dependent on the medication in as little as 10 days.
The euphoria experienced when one takes tramadol is similar to that of morphine. For this reason, as previously mentioned, a substantial amount of controversy is associated with its classification as a noncontrolled substance. According to the National Institutes of Health, tramadol is one of the most abused prescription medications in the United States. Certain individuals in the medical profession claim that this is adequate proof to reclassify the drug as is schedule II narcotic. The reason it was not categorized as a controlled substance is due to its effects on the patient's neuroreceptors. The latter are targeted by the drug in a random manner, rather than in a set pattern, as is the case with other opioid analgesics. However, experts argue that Ultram creates an essentially identical euphoria to that of narcotics, and therefore should be scheduled as an addictive substance.
Another aspect that sets Ultram apart from other painkillers is the fact that it contains a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor-SSRI. The latter is a type of medication used to treat those with clinical depression and other mood disorders. However, many health care practitioners state that this extra ingredient can have an adverse effect on many individuals. They argue that it is unwise to assume that just because someone may be experiencing chronic pain that they are also depressed and therefore need an antidepressant. Regardless of this fact, according to Ultram addiction statistics, the SSRI component in the drug makes withdrawal even more difficult for many patients who choose to discontinue the drug.
As with all narcotic painkillers, whether synthetic or natural, there is potential for abuse. Some signs are obvious, while others are subtle, but the following are the most common symptoms of tramadol addiction:
Missing work or school, or ignoring social obligations in lieu of taking high doses of tramadol that would make the former activities impossible is an obvious sign that one has become addicted to the drug. Similarly, avoiding interaction with other individuals for fear they may notice the signs of abuse is a clear indication that one is dealing with an addiction.
Becoming even mildly incapacitated, whether physically or mentally, is a serious sign of addiction. For instance, those who easily lose their balance or exhibit slow reflexes when driving or participating in other activities that require mental alertness are very likely overusing their medication.
Virtually all individuals who develop an addiction to Ultram begin by increasing their prescribed dose. This leads to the need for additional pills, above and beyond those that can be legitimately obtained at the patient's pharmacy. Therefore, attempting to acquire multiple prescriptions by making appointments at several different doctors' offices is the action of an addict.
Obviously, there is no question that purchasing Ultram on the street is an obvious sign that a serious addiction has taken hold. Those who exhibit any of the aforementioned behaviors should face that they have developed a problem and subsequently seek appropriate help before it is too late.
Fortunately, help is available for addicted individuals, regardless of why they began abusing Ultram. Although some people can stop using tramadol on their own and eventually recover, most individuals need professional help when they have become addicted to this drug. Comprehensive treatment programs focus on both physical and psychological aspects of addiction and also include follow-up care. According to Ultram addiction statistics, over 26 million prescriptions for this medication are written each year, and a certain percentage of these individuals end up with a serious addiction, even though they initially took the drug for legitimate reasons. Anyone who suspects that he or she has become dependent or addicted to Ultram should speak to a medical doctor about enrolling in a suitable drug rehabilitation program.