Are Muscle Relaxers Addictive

Are Muscle Relaxers Addictive

Muscles relaxers provide a mild sedating effect that quiets down discomfort caused by muscle spasms or acute muscle pain. But what if these medications are taken longer than needed or even abused – are muscle relaxers addictive?

What Are Muscle Relaxers?

Doctors prescribe muscle relaxers to treat patients who suffer from a variety of conditions. These include acute pain, muscle spasms, neck and lower back pain, tension headaches, muscle cramps, and spinal cord injuries. Muscle relaxers are also used to treat chronic conditions, like cerebral palsy, ALS, and M.S.

Muscle relaxers are central nervous system depressants. The drug’s effects cause nerve activity in the brain to slow down, with the relaxing effects lasting 4-6 hours. The source of the pain is due to damage to the nerve pathways that control muscle movement.

The most commonly prescribed muscle relaxers are those sold under the brand names Soma and Flexeril. These drugs are indicated for acute pain relief and only approved for use up to three weeks so dependency doesn’t develop. So, are muscle relaxers addictive? The answer is yes.

What are the Adverse Effects of Muscle Relaxers?

While the relaxing effects of these drugs can bring relief from symptoms, there are some side effects caused by muscle relaxants. These include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Irritability
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Fainting
  • Nervousness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Falls or injuries

Someone taking muscle relaxers is advised not to drive or operate machinery due to the increased risk of injury.

Muscle Relaxer Abuse and Risks

Alcohol and Muscle Relaxers. Already the muscle relaxants cause reaction times to slow and for a person to have trouble thinking clearly. If someone taking these depressants adds another depressant, namely alcohol, it can greatly increase the risk of accidents. Using alcohol and muscle relaxers together causes the person to have:

  • Memory problems
  • Slowed breathing
  • Mental confusion
  • Nausea
  • Extreme drowsiness

Overdose Risk. Combining muscle relaxants with alcohol, or any other drug, is done for the purpose of enhancing the effects of each. Some drugs that are taken with the muscle relaxers are opioids, benzos, and antidepressants. The combining of the muscle relaxer with other drugs or alcohol can put the person at risk for overdose.

The symptoms of muscle relaxer overdose include:

  • In and out of consciousness
  • Respiratory depression
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Coma
  • Death

Adverse Health Effects. Over time, muscle relaxer abuse can cause adverse side effects, which are more severe than the usual side effects. These include:

  • Seizures
  • Anxiety
  • Convulsions
  • Heart arrhythmia
  • Inflammation of the liver
  • Paralysis
  • Low white blood cell count
  • Disorientation
  • Psychosis

As the person become dependent on the drug, they will begin taking higher or more frequent doses, and seek out the drugs by doctor shopping. The withdrawal symptoms experienced as the muscle relaxant wears off are the telltale sign that addiction has developed. Are muscle relaxers addictive? Yes. These are habit-forming drugs.

When Muscle Relaxers Lead to Addiction

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When these sedating drugs are misused, taken with other substances like alcohol, or taken too long they become addictive. The brain comes to expect the drug, so when it is absent the person feels ill, which prompts repeated use.

Signs of muscle relaxer addiction include:

  • Keeps requesting refills, or doctor shopping to get more refills
  • Fakes a back injury to obtain a prescription
  • Has frequent mood swings
  • Loss of interest in usual activities
  • Increases dose to obtain the desired effects as tolerance increases
  • Keeps taking the muscle relaxers even though pain has subsided
  • Spends much time thinking about obtaining the pills and maintaining a supply
  • Can’t stop taking the muscle relaxers, even if they are causing problems in life
  • Has withdrawal symptoms

Muscle Relaxer Detox and Withdrawal

If you have been misusing muscle relaxants for an extended time, you may be having withdrawal symptoms when the drug wears off. If you were already wondering are muscle relaxers addictive, you now have concrete evidence that they are.

When you decide to stop taking the Soma or Flexeril you should first consult with a doctor or addiction specialist. This is especially true if you have other substance problems along with the muscle relaxers. Many people develop alcohol use disorder alongside a muscle relaxer addiction, which makes detox complex and risky.

The safest way to rid the drug or substances from your system is through a closely monitored medical detox program. Your withdrawal symptoms will be mitigated through medical and mental health supports, which will help you make it through detox. It can take 5-16 days for the muscle relaxers to clear the system.

Withdrawal symptoms might include:

  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Tremors
  • Loss of balance
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle twitches
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Anxiety
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychosis

Note that Soma tends to produce more severe withdrawal symptoms vs. Flexeril.

Treatment for Muscle Relaxer Addiction

Substance addiction is something that is very difficult to overcome on your own. Over the time that the muscle relaxers were misused, your brain was altered and is now dependent on the drug. Because of this chemical dependence, it is crucial to enroll in an addiction recovery program.

Rehab is essential because it helps you break the addiction habits that have formed. This is done through various therapies that teach you how to replace the compulsive substance use with new behaviors. It is a process, and it takes effort and patience.

Here is what to expect at rehab:

  • Therapy. You will participate in many types of therapy. These include one-on-one sessions, group therapy, family therapy, and couples therapy. Through evidence-based behavioral therapies you will be equipped for recovery.
  • 12-Step. Recovery programs like A.A., N.A., and SMART Recovery provide a roadmap to achieving long-term sobriety.
  • Holistic. You will be introduced to multiple holistic and self-care activities that help reduce stress during the rehab process, and can be used later in recovery.

If you were wondering, “Are muscle relaxers addictive?” you now realize that they are. If you have formed a dependency on muscle relaxers, there is help for you. Please reach out today for support.

Capo by the Sea Offers Treatment for Muscle Relaxers Addiction

Capo by the Sea is a premier addiction recovery program that can help you overcome your muscle relaxers addiction. Our program is pet friendly, upscale, and includes recreational therapies to take the pressure off. We also have a couples program and couples retreat. Call today for more details at (888) 529-2114.