Citation: Aliasdck. "The Long Struggle: An Experience with Tramadol & Codeine (ID 46965)". Erowid.org. Jan 17, 2008. erowid.org/exp/46965
Iíve been using tramadol and codeine for a long time now. I take either drug once a day, always in the evening, several hours before bed time. I consider myself an addict to opiates and have had love affairs with other opiates such as hydrocodone and morphine. But due to prices and availability, I am usually confined to codeine and tramadol.
I donít take both drugs at the same time, or switch back and forth very often due to some reasons I will get to later on in this article. To summarize, I started taking codeine every night. I fell in love with this drug. The effects come on very fast, were incredible, and usually faded away rather quickly. My supply of codeine was dwindling, and I can across tramadol in my search for a substitute. I began using tramadol every night instead of codeine, because like codeine, it would take away my pain and also cause a very nice high. Tramadol's high was different from codeine. It came on slower, was less intense (though you can get very intense buzz off of the right dose), and lasted much longer.
I decided to submit this report because Iíve discovered some things about these two drugs. I love both drugs, and both are effective, though codeine does help with pain more than tramadol does.
Iíve noticed that switching from one drug over to the other causes some problems for me. However, I notice that when I switch from codeine to tramadol, my first few nights with tramadol are not very comfortable. Instead of feeling pain relief and a sense of well being, I tend to feel the effects of withdrawal from the codeine more severely. I donít really get anything out of tramadol. But, by the second or third night, tramadol begins to act normally in my body. By this time, I am well settled with tramadol and will stick with it until my supply runs out, or I build up too much tolerance to the drug.
My best time with tramadol is within the first few weeks. It doesnít take very much, maybe 100 or 150mg a night to soothe my pain. For the most part, I feel normal during the day. But once my tolerance builds up, and I start taking around 200 to 300mg a day or more, and the drug begins to take its toll on my life. My sleeping schedules become irregular. I become a zombie during the day. I am always tired and very grumpy. When I do finally sleep I have very vivid dreams that leave me feeling more exhausted then when I feel asleep. I hate it when I get to this point with tramadol, so this is when I decide to switch back to codeine.
Switching back to codeine is another story all together. I can take codeine the first night without a problem. I donít really feel much from taking the codeine, but at least I donít feel the withdrawals from tramadol. Every day before dosing, though, I feel the withdrawals from tramadol and these withdrawals usually last a few days. The withdrawals, for me, are very awkward. Aside from the physical discomfort, I get wide swings in my emotions. I can feel very sad at times, and also very happy, and I always find myself doing a lot of internal dialogue in which I work out a lot of problems in my life. This time is hard for me, but part of me likes it. Itís almost a sacred time. During this time, I feel emotions that I donít get the chance to feel very often, and they are usually very amplified. Especially the feeling I get when I hear a song on the radio and it reminds me of a very happy time in my life. I even find myself crying from time to time, which is very unusual for me.
But this state doesnít last very long. After 3 or 4 days itís gone, and I am taking codeine every night without a problem. During the first few weeks itís great. The side effects are minimal, and I find myself feeling very alive and many times very athletic during the day (I am athletic... or try to be). This is probably why I like codeine more than tramadol. Because I feel better during the day. I think it has to do with the quality of sleep I am getting after a dose of codeine as opposed to a dose of tramadol. But, as tolerance develops, codeine soon takes over my life. Codeine seems to be more habit forming and tolerance develops quicker. After several weeks, I find my body and mind needing the dose... and if I donít take my dose at the usual time I can become quite irritated. My fingers and joints become stiff. I hate that feeling. Once my tolerance to codeine gets really bad, the side effects just outweigh the positives, and then I know itís time to switch again.
Whenever I am at a point where my tolerance has built up, my life begins to fall apart. Iím sure my family and friends are affected, and Iím sure they can tell something is wrong with me. The best times are always after a few days after I make the switch from one drug to the other, sometimes I almost feel normal, almost like Iím not a drug addict.
I just wish I had kept opiates and opioids as a recreational drug. They were much more fun back in those days. Now, they are simply just a way of life.
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