Tramadol is an opiate and therefore a narcotic. This is similar to drugs like morphine, hydrocodone and the like. They are "downers" in that they will dull the pain but also depress vitals like your breathing rate for example. They are most definitely addictive and should only be taken as prescribed. If too many are taken or if they are taken with alcohol, you risk lowering your breathing so much that you stop breathing altogether. Be careful with the stuff but don't be afraid to use it when you are in pain. That's what it is there for after all.