Tramadol and Depression

Are They Connected?

Table of Contents

Some studies show a link between tramadol and depression. We’ll explore that link and determine whether there is room for concern.

What is Tramadol?

Tramadol is a prescribed pain reliever that is used to treat chronic pain. It is a pain killer that binds to pain receptors, stopping pain signals.

Tramadol is available only on prescription. It comes as tablets, capsules, and liquid drops that are taken orally. It also comes in the form of an injection. Injections are only done in controlled environments such as hospitals.

Is Tramadol a Narcotic?

Tramadol is an opiate (narcotic) analgesic. It acts in the central nervous system (CNS) to relieve pain. Due to its calming and euphoric effects, it’s possible to develop a mental or physical dependence on tramadol, especially when taken for a long time or in larger doses than prescribed.

In 2014, the FDA listed tramadol as a Schedule IV substance. This means that although it has accepted use in medical care, it also poses a risk for abuse and addiction.

Depression and Tramadol

Can Tramadol Cause Depression?

Tramadol has been known to cause some people to feel as though they can not function without it. Consequently, this can lead to mood swings and depressive symptoms. During tramadol withdrawal, it should be expected to feel varying degrees of anxiety and depression.1

Can Tramadol Help Depression?

Some studies have suggested that tramadol can help with mood improvement.2 Despite these findings, it is vital to keep in mind that tramadol’s medical use is not to treat depression. It should be taken with medical supervision.

Is it Safe to Take Tramadol for Depression?

Some studies report tramadol’s effectiveness in improving mood when taken in low doses. But it is important to remember that tramadol can lead to physical and mental dependence. As such, it should be taken only as prescribed.

The claim that tramadol should be used for depression is still up for debate. Some medical experts argue that the drug’s primary purpose is pain relief, not helping with depression. If you are living with depression, discuss treatment options with a medical professional.

Can You Become Addicted to Tramadol?

In 2011, one study showed—for the first time—that physical dependence on tramadol is possible, regardless of whether a person is taking the drug therapeutically or not.3 This can lead to taking more than prescribed, resulting in an addiction. Physical dependence also means that withdrawal symptoms will occur when they suddenly stop taking the drug.

As tramadol acts like an opioid, many of its withdrawal symptoms are similar to other opioid withdrawal symptoms. However, the withdrawal symptoms are less intense than those that occur with heroin or oxycodone withdrawal.

Treatment for Tramadol Addiction

Therapy may be a good option for treating tramadol addiction. One of the most effective types of treatment is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT offers a path towards understanding why you feel or act a certain way and how those feelings and actions lead to substance use. You learn how to identify negative feelings and change negative attitudes and actions that lead to drug use. Also, skills to cope with cravings, avoid triggering situations, and reduce the risk of relapse are taught.

Why Are People Talking About Tramadol for Dogs?

Tramadol is one of the few drugs that is prescribed both to humans and dogs. In dogs, it is used as an opioid painkiller drug for treating pain after surgery and managing the pain associated with osteoarthritis.

If your vet prescribed tramadol for your pet, make sure you follow their guidelines and administer the recommended doses.

This information should not replace a visit to a doctor or treatment center. If you are concerned that you or a loved one might be suffering from a tramadol addiction, ask for professional help today.


If you or a loved one needs help, please call us at
623-523-4748 and our team at Blueprints For Recovery in Arizona will help.

Related Content

Learn More

In-Network with Most Major Insurance Providers

Fill out our free and confidential form to see how your insurance could cover the cost of treatment. No commitment required.