The Basics of Ultram Rehabilitation

When an individual is ready to enter Ultram rehabilitation treatment, the first step is usually an orientation that includes a tour of the facility and opportunities to meet the staff members who oversee the facility’s treatment programs. Staff members work closely with each individual to develop a customized treatment plan that reduces the risk of relapse. The individual then goes through a medically managed detoxification, which can increase the individual’s comfort and lessen the effects of withdrawal.

The next step in Ultram rehabilitation is usually participation in behavioral therapy and/or medication-assisted therapy. Behavioral therapies help Ultram users identify their addiction triggers and develop healthy coping skills, which can help them stay sober and avoid relapse later on. Following discharge from an inpatient rehabilitation program, the individual can typically access ongoing support in the form of group meetings and outpatient therapy sessions.

the four steps of rehab process

What Makes Ultram Rehabilitation Difficult?

Ultram is classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance, which means it has some potential for abuse and addiction. According to the 2018 World Drug Report, rates of tramadol use have increased significantly in several parts of the world. In Africa, non-medical use of tramadol has been deemed a public health crisis, especially in the North, Central, and West regions of the continent. Non-medical use of tramadol is also a major concern in Middle Eastern countries such as Iran and Turkey, the United States, and some parts of Asia.

Once an individual is dependent on Ultram, it is difficult to stop using the substance because of the way it affects the nervous system. When someone takes a dose of Ultram, the tramadol hydrochloride binds with opioid receptors in the brain, flooding the brain with dopamine. Classified as a neurotransmitter, dopamine produces a sense of pleasure and well-being. Over time, the individual needs more Ultram to achieve the same effect. Additionally, Ultram withdrawal can produce some undesirable effects, making it difficult to stop using Ultram without a strong support system and help from treatment professionals.

The Unique Struggle of Ultram Addicts
  • affects the brain’s reward system, resulting in strong cravings
  • produces an overall sense of well-being, prompting the user to use Ultram in an unsafe manner
  • is marketed as a safer alternative to opioids like hydrocodone and oxycodone, but long-term use can lead to dependence and addiction
  • rehabilitation is difficult because of the withdrawal symptoms that occur when an individual stops using the substance suddenly

Ultram Rehabilitation Statistics

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) estimates the following:

  • 3.3 million individuals 12 years of age and older were current misusers of pain relievers like Ultram (2016).
  • 1.59 million individuals 12 years of age and older — about 0.6% of the American population — reported that they had misused tramadol within the past year (2015).
  • 145,275 individuals 12 years of age and older in need of treatment, or 7.2%, enrolled in a rehabilitation program for the misuse of opiates other than heroin, which includes tramadol products like Ultram (2017).

Opiate Treatment Admissions by Gender (Opiates Other Than Heroin)

52.7% Male
47.3% Female

Demographics of Individuals Seeking Treatment for Opiate Addiction

According to a 2017 SAMHSA report that charts admissions to and discharges from publicly-funded substance use treatment facilities, men are more likely to seek treatment for opiate abuse, which includes Ultram. The gender breakdown of treatment admissions for opiates other than heroin was 52.7% male and 47.3% female. While Ultram addiction occurs in all age groups, the most common age group admitted to a treatment facility for abuse of opiates other than heroin was individuals aged 25 to 34, with 35 being the average age of all individuals from all age groups who are seeking rehabilitation.

Opiate Treatment Admissions Percentages by Age Group, 2017 (Opiates Other Than Heroin)
Age at the Time of Treatment Admission


Percentage of Opiate Treatment Admissions
12-17 0.4%
18-24 10.4%
25 – 34 44.9%
35 – 44 25.4%
45-54 12.1%
55-64 5.9%
65+ 0.9%

Ultram Detoxification & Withdrawal Process

One of the first steps in Ultram rehabilitation is a short detoxification period, which is when tramadol leaves the user’s body. Since Ultram has a half-life of 5.1 hours, only half of the substance is eliminated from the body in this time frame. Therefore, it may take one to four days to eliminate Ultram from the body completely. Depending on factors such as weight, health status, and level of addiction, the full withdrawal process may take several weeks.

Post-acute Ultram withdrawal symptoms are unpleasant withdrawal effects that last for more than two weeks. Symptoms are more likely to persist in people who have been using Ultram for a long time. In some cases, the full withdrawal process may last as long as a year. How long it takes to withdraw from Ultram completely also depends on how much Ultram the individual typically takes at one time.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Body Mind
Short-Term Symptoms Excessive yawning
Increased tear production
Aching muscles
Profuse sweating
Long-Term Symptoms Abdominal cramps
Dilated pupils
Goose bumps
Mood swings

Source: MedlinePlus

Ultram withdrawal can result in fatal complications, especially in people who stop using it suddenly

Nausea and vomiting are among the most common symptoms of Ultram withdrawal. Although nausea and vomiting can often be managed with medications and dietary changes, they can cause aspiration, a serious complication. If a person withdrawing from Ultram vomits while lying down, it is possible to aspirate stomach contents into the lungs, increasing the risk for pneumonia.

Ultram and other opioids can cause severe respiratory depression, especially in people who already have a history of lung problems

Taking more Ultram than recommended can lead to tramadol intoxication, which slows down the central nervous system. When the central nervous system slows down, the user may experience respiratory depression so severe that it leads to respiratory arrest. Tramadol intoxication can also cause coma, fast heart rate, and seizures. The risk of these complications is higher in individuals who have chronic health problems, such as heart disease and reduced pulmonary function.

Even though it is a "safer" opioid, Ultram can still cause an overdose

Overdose is one of the greatest risks associated with Ultram withdrawal. During the initial detoxification period, Ultram leaves the user’s body. If the individual relapses several weeks or months later, the body will no longer have the same level of tolerance for the drug. Therefore, if the user takes the same amount of Ultram they did in the past, it could lead to an overdose.

Ultram Detoxification Medications

Several medications help relieve the symptoms caused by Ultram withdrawal, making the initial detoxification period more comfortable for the user. Metoclopramide is used to reduce nausea and vomiting, while loperamide is used to control diarrhea associated with Ultram withdrawal. For users who experience joint or muscle aches during the detoxification process, acetaminophen and ibuprofen can be helpful for relieving pain. Valium and other sedatives are used to reduce anxiety and make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. A medication called clonidine might also be prescribed to reduce excessive sweating and control anxiety.

For more information about withdrawal, read our guide on Ultram Addiction.

Treatment for Ultram Addiction

Rehabilitation Settings

Within either an inpatient or outpatient setting, treatments such as detoxification services, behavioral therapies, and medication-assisted treatments are offered for varying lengths of time.

Inpatient treatment involves living full-time (including overnight) at a treatment facility for a set period of time. Outpatient treatment involves scheduled appointments at a facility in which you are free to come and go. Within each category, there are several distinctions.

Ultram Treatment Programs
Setting Type of Treatment Description Duration Time Commitment
Inpatient Short-Term Residential Intensive treatment, sometimes in a hospital setting. Therapies offered are extensive. Medication-assisted treatment is available to those who qualify. 14-30 days Hours Per Day:


Days Per Week:


Long-Term Residential Intensive treatment in a non-hospital setting, most often a therapeutic community with other patients. Therapies offered are extensive. Medication-assisted treatment is available to those who qualify. 3-12 months Hours Per Day:


Days Per Week:


Partial Hospitalization Intensive treatment in a hospital setting. Patients do not stay overnight. Considered inpatient due to the hospital setting. Extensive services are provided and require a near full-time commitment every week. Medication-assisted treatment is available to those who qualify. 14-30 days Hours Per Day:


Days Per Week:


Outpatient Intensive Day Treatment Extensive services of an inpatient program but patients return home each day following treatment. After completion, patients often transition to less intensive counseling. Therapies offered are extensive. Medication-assisted treatment is available to those who qualify. 3-4 months Hours Per Day:


Days Per Week:


Counseling Both individual counseling and group counseling focus on short-term behavioral goals to develop coping strategies. Therapies offered are moderate. Medication-assisted treatment is not available. As long as desired Hours Per Day:


Days Per Week:


Support Groups Self-help groups center on maintaining abstinence after another form of treatment. Typically meet one day a week for 1-2 hours. As long as desired Hours Per Day:


Days Per Week:


Behavioral and Medication-Assisted Therapies

Behavioral therapy for substance addiction seeks to identify and manage addictive behaviors that lead to use and prevent relapse. Behavioral therapy is based on the concept that all behavior is learned, and, thus, unhealthy behavior can be changed through learning coping skills and increasing awareness of negative thoughts and beliefs that contribute to substance abuse.

Medication-assisted therapies are used along with counseling and other behavioral therapies to create a holistic approach to Ultram addiction treatment. Three medications have been approved by the FDA for use in the treatment of opioid addiction: methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. Methadone is highly regulated, and therefore, it is not available for home use. Instead, the user must visit a methadone clinic regularly, receiving a single dose of methadone during each visit. This substance works by preventing Ultram cravings and eliminating other withdrawal symptoms, making it more likely the user will be able to stay sober. Buprenorphine also reduces Ultram cravings, but it is available as a pill, a skin patch, or an implant that lasts for six months. Naltrexone prevents the user from feeling the pleasurable effects associated with Ultram and other opioids. The pill form is taken daily, while the injectable form lasts for one month.

Behavioral Therapies for Ultram Addiction
Type of Therapy Definition
12-Step Facilitation Therapy

Further reading:

The purpose of 12-step facilitation therapy is to encourage users to participate in 12-step programs, which involve regular meetings and an acknowledgment that addiction is a lifelong disease with no cure. The user must also acknowledge that abstinence from drugs and alcohol is the only effective way to combat addiction.

In addition to participating in 12-step meetings, the user is expected to complete additional activities, which can help maintain sobriety and prevent relapse.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Further reading:

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a research-based approach that seeks to change the way an individual feels, acts, and thinks. CBT can help people learn to manage their emotions effectively and solve problems without turning to Ultram or other substances.

Instead of focusing on the past, therapists trained in CBT focus on the present. During each therapy session, the individual works with the therapist to come up with solutions to current problems, which can help control cravings and prevent relapse.

How to Find Help

Finding a Rehabilitation Center for Ultram Addiction

When looking for an Ultram rehabilitation center, it’s important to choose a facility that offers supervised medical detox. Having medical professionals on hand can help users manage their withdrawal symptoms and avoid relapse.

Choosing a facility that offers a combination of behavioral therapies and medications can make the recovery process easier and safer for Ultram users. Medications help control the physical and psychological symptoms of Ultram withdrawal, while behavioral therapies help users identify certain behaviors that contribute to their addictions.

Inpatient and outpatient facilities are available, but for heavy users, inpatient rehabilitation may be the best option. An inpatient facility provides a structured environment, reducing the risk of relapse and giving Ultram users the support and resources they need to recover.

Our Directory

Our directory of rehab programs includes a comprehensive list of available treatment centers and programs as provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In the directory, you will find tools to filter the programs by setting, price, and location.