I am new to this but my story is the same as most with Tramadol. I began taking it for pain. After two years and PT, Chiro, Massage etc I am pain free (mostly). So I went to my doctor and said that I wanted to be done with it. He began the titration process and put on 3/day for 2 months. At the beginning of my newest RX I got a terrible toothache and took Tramadol over my normal amount 4/day for the pain. It wasn't working at all. I went to my doctor and got Vicodin. I didn't want to take it so I continued with Tramadol thinking it was less "addictive and safer" than the big bad opiates. My doctor also wrote me an RX for Diclofenac and after 1 pill my tooth pain was gone. i resumed my regular 3/day tramadol and then decided I was over titrating. I was ready to be done with these stupid pills and didn't need them. INterestingly the Diclofenac helped my back and neck pain as well. In any event, I am now going on day 5 off tramadol. I figured I would try taking the Vicodin for a day or two to offset the opiate w/drawal and it worked! It however did NOT help with the other devil pill symptoms. I stopped the Vicodin after day 2 and then relied on clonidine and diclofenac only and so far so good. I still have little to no appeitite and my sleep is all haywire, but everyday is better. Tramadol is a terrible drug. I have never had any issues stopping any drugs in my life. I am no saint I've done my share of experimenting with drugs but I have never had such an ordeal trying to discontinue anything. I wish I had read all of these posts before I ever agreed to take the "safe, non addictive, pain medication." Uh ya right! It sucks to be physically addicted to a drug you don't EVEN WANT TO TAKE. I can't lie I have considered taking "just one more vicodin" to feel normal but I refuse. I have a refill of tramadol waiting for me at the pharmacy and I refuse to pick it up. I don't want to be tempted to put an end to this. I know I will be right back at square one. Cold turkey was the only option for me. Granted I didn't take it for any reason other than pain, but that doesn't mean a thing, plenty of people are taking their pain medication exactly as prescribed. Unfortunately with this drug, those of us who followed the instructions lost the freedom to just discontinue when we didn't need it anymore. I don't think many doctors really understand just how addictive (physically) this drug is. Just because abusers choose other drugs (opiates or whatever) doesnt mean that tramadol is safe. That logic doesn't even make sense...I guess I am just rambling in my withdrawal induced anger but...this drug is dangerous and I am so happy to have found all of these posts from other folks. I felt really ashamed and embarrassed over my plight. But now I realize that so many others have been, currently are, or will be right where I am at. I am halfway to the end of the "acute" phase, and then another 15 to 30 days of sleep disturbance and phantom pain (and who knows, it may not be that long), but I know if I give in, I will be all the way back to the beginning. Thank you to all for posting and sharing, I am inspired and feel a sense of support that I guess I need right now. I feel less like a weak pathetic soul, and more like a VICTIM of this stupid pill! Disclaimer, I do understand pain though, and for pain control for a chronic condition I do believe that Tramadol taken as prescribed is great. I just think docs should exhaust ALL avenues of treatment before just writing scripts...
The following user gives a hug of support to k00k00: monoxide (04-26-2012)
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You did a wonderful job resisting temptation. It gives inspiration to those of us who are trying to beat the demon. I appreciate this post.
Working in the healthcare profession... I have seen many drug reps come in and bribe the doctor to prescribe all these meds. They do it with out asking what the repercussions are. The more they wrote the bigger of a kick back they get. It's sad. Luckily the facility I work for banned drug reps.
One thing I am a little confused about is why it is so dangerous to just stop Tramadol? It's starting to freak me out. I am on day 6 of no tramadol and I actually feel pretty much like my normal self again. I had a massage last night, so sore today, and the massage therapist had warned that perhaps I should RESTART the Tramadol and then slowly wean off?? He said something about major depressive episodes that can occur and that it is not a good idea without consulting with my MD first? OK one, as the punk that I am, it just irritates me to be told that I cannot do what I want. And two, scared me. I am 6 days off and going strong, granted like Day 1 (even with my "made up take Vicodin to offset w/drawal SX" regimen) I was a little "emo." Which is NOT like me at all, and I was far more impatient than normal but still nothing THAT extreme, but other than that, I feel normal and patient, and just my normal self. The pharmacist recommended that I try getting a script for Trazadone (whatever that is) because abrupt cessation of Tramadol is not ideal, I am confused now and because I am this far in AND I do not want to start this ALL over again am I really in danger of suffering some major meltdown, shooting spree, over the edge nutso episode? I feel normal and I SOOO do not want to go back on these pills. To me the thought of going back on tramadol depresses me. Ughh....
I'd rather hear from others who have been in my position, instead of MORE doctors/practitioners speculating about what "could" happen and why I should really resume the Tramadol and wean off it?? It just doesn't make sense to me, if I am this far in and feel pretty much OK, can't I just keep on keeping on like I am. I cannot go back on a daily regime of these pills and/or any other pills of the like. I am not depressed, I am not anxious, I have minimal tolerable pain, and can completely function i.e. mothering, wifey duties, career obligations are all in check. Cannot just continue on as I am? It makes me a little nervous because I have a little 5 year old boy and I would not want to just have some crazy mental breakdown. I've been feeling guilty enough trying to just hide all of this from him. Anyway, I was fine, now all these people are freaking me out, if something WAS going to happen, wouldn't have already happened? And seriously, if you don't ACTUALLY know please don't respond because those of us in the getting clean phase need support, not people scaring the s#!% out of us. Thanks in advance to anyone who has some words of wisdom for me I appreciate it greatly.
Tramadol unlike other narcotic or opiod pain meds has anti-depressant qualities, that's one of the things that pain docs liked about it so much, because dealing with long term chronic pain generally brings on a great deal of depression. The thing is, they never told their patients that it has to be treated like other SSRI or SNRI psych meds, and the general public doesn't know anything about those kind of meds. These types of anti-depressants work with the Seratonin levels in your body, Seratonin is a chemical that your brain makes, the meds work by either increasing it or decreasing it and adding other chemicals to it. That's the general non-technical explanation. When you stop a medication that works on your brain chemistry abruptly, your brain gets confused and starts randomly trying to increase chemicals to re-balance what it is missing. The danger of this is mainly Grand Mal Seizures, and Depression.
Trazadone is a semi heavy duty anti-depressant, it works by increasing Seratonin in the brain. It's also used as a sleep med, because it usually knocks you out.
Okay, so your 6 days out from stopping Tramadol, if you've not had any major medical issues, you probably will not, you just have to get through the withdrawal issues and finish detoxing. Starting Tramadol again at this point so you can taper off of it, is just crazy. Be wary of docs/healthcare professionals who want you to cure your addiction with more pills. All of these pain meds/psych meds are hard core, they carry increased rates of addiction, they carry severe side effects, they're not meds to be taken lightly. Once again your 6 days out, why would you start another med now, that your just going to have to taper off of in a few weeks? None of these meds are the type that can just be safely stopped.
From this point on, you have to be your own advocate. You need to start doing some serious research on the meds your prescribed before you take them. You need to be more informed about what your doing to your body.
Thanks Kat. I do appreciate your directness as well. I am just going to stick with what I am doing. I agree completely that it just seems illogical to start all over again. I somewhat get the whole anti-depressant part of it and why it's so important, and I could certainly understand for those who were on anti-depressants due to depression, but in my case given depression nor anxiety was an issue, pain was my problem of a mechanical nature, I do not believe that I am really at risk for some sort of major depressive episode.
Thank you for the reassurance. I am looking forward to every new day that I am "dammitall" free. The w/drawal really isn't that bad, ya sweating for no reason is gross but whatever, nothing that a shower and clean clothes can't fix. ;-). I am OVER IT, moving on! Thanks again Kat
Your gonna be just fine. Dont go back on the Tramadol...keep running and never look back! You might feel a little depressed but it will pass. Keep that positive attitude up...this is a mind over matter kinda thing. If you think positive and not worry about all the scary stuff people tell you then you wont find your self loaded with anxiety thinking about seizures. I can tell u most people have theses effects when they are taking more then what they are supposed to. I know when I quit Tramadol I was terrified that I would have one but i didnt...I did taper and then eneded up going cold turkey too...Everyone is different though. I had the same mind set as you...I hated Tramadol--I felt like it was the devil and took my body over! I litterally demanded my life back too and never looked back!
I'm happy to report that almost a month later I'm still tramadol free. Finally feel just calm focused and rational. Yay I am me again! I have not suffered any breakdowns seizures brain zaps etc. I was tired for a bit and that's about it. I still feel a little tired here and there but big deal. Sooo glad I'm off those meds. Would not recommend tramadol as an alternative to opiates for short term pain mgmt. Not as harmless as its advertised. Thanks for support!