Muscle relaxers are a type of drug used to treat moderate to severe pain. These drugs affect skeletal-muscular function and decrease muscle tone.
Despite the name, muscle relaxers do not act on the muscular system; rather, they act on the nervous system. Muscle relaxer addiction can develop overtime after someone is prescribed them or obtained illegally and abused. Learn about muscle relaxers, muscle relaxers addiction, short and long-term side effects, dangers of use, and possible treatment options.
There are two main types of muscle relaxers:
- Neuromuscular blockers
Spasmolytics are most commonly used to alleviate pain associated with spasms and a variety of other neurological conditions. Neuromuscular blockers are used in surgical procedures and are often used in emergency situations to cause temporary paralysis.
Muscle relaxers are not always recommended as the first method of treatment for back pain and are primarily used to treat more severe neurological conditions. Due to their side effects, an initial assessment is required to evaluate the need for the drug and the length of time for which it is required. Generally, muscle relaxers are not prescribed for long-term use and individuals using these drugs should be under the care of a physician.
Common names of muscle relaxers include:
- Flexeril (Cyclobenzaprine)
- Soma (Carisoprodol)
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When taken exactly as prescribed, the drug, while producing some mild side effects, does not become addictive and can improve an individual’s pain experience. Individuals who suffer with arthritis, for instance, find a great deal of relief with these drugs.
Muscle relaxer addiction often develops when the drugs are used habitually for pain relief. The fast-acting nature of these drugs can cause an individual to become dependent on them whenever they experience any degree of pain. The drug quickly becomes the primary method of relaxation and disconnecting from stressors, both physical and mental.
Even more problematic is when muscle relaxers are used in combination with other substances. When this occurs, the side effects associated with abuse are exacerbated. With prolonged use, individuals who abuse muscle relaxers can experience withdrawal symptoms when they are no longer using them.
In short, muscle relaxers are highly addictive and very dangerous when they are not used as prescribed or intended. Since these drugs suppress the nervous system, it is important to use the drugs as they are prescribed: Usually with small, controlled doses that may increase gradually or decrease over time.
While abuse and addiction to muscle relaxers are not as common as other controlled substances, the increased use of these drugs to control pain makes them more readily available in many households and, as a result, easier to abuse.
Treatment for Muscle Relaxer Addiction
Abuse of any prescription drug can lead to serious addiction and be life-threatening. Even if you’re not sure whether abuse has become addiction, it’s best to understand treatment options in order to prepare for the worst. We offer treatment programs for young adult men & women age 18-26 who are struggling with prescription drug addiction and/or mental illness. Click the button below to learn more about the specialized elements of our program. If you are worried your son or daughter may be abusing muscle relaxers, it may be time to get them to treatment. More About Drug Addiction Treatment Options
Short-term muscle relaxer abuse can cause a number of adverse side effects that can impair normal functions, including:
- Drowsiness or slurred speech
- Nausea or vomiting
Due to the side effects associated with the use of these drugs, individuals are advised to not drive or operate machinery after use and it is often recommended the drug be taken prior to going to bed.
Long-term side effects of abusing drugs like Flexeril or other muscle relaxers include:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Heart Failure
The effects of muscle relaxer abuse on the nervous system make them appealing to individuals looking to get high. Since these drugs are designed to suppress the Central Nervous System (CNS), the dangers associated with abusing muscle relaxants can be life-threatening.
Withdrawal From Flexeril and Other Muscle Relaxers
Since it is possible to become addicted to muscle relaxers like Flexeril, withdrawal symptoms may be experienced if an individual suddenly does not have access or stops taking muscle relaxers. The severity of symptoms depends on:
- The dose
- The kind of muscle relaxer taken and whether it was taken in conjunction with other nervous system depressants
- How long an individual had been using the drug
Muscle relaxer withdrawal symptoms include:
- Chills and sweating
- Irritability or agitation
- Muscle aches
Withdrawal from muscle relaxers like Flexeril can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Withdrawal can be painful and is best treated by medical professionals at a treatment center.
Can You Overdose On Muscle Relaxers?
Yes, it is possible to overdose on muscle relaxers. Overdose is normally characterized by extreme drowsiness along with an irregular heartbeat (fast, uneven or pounding). The individual may feel very anxious and have difficulty breathing. Any individual experiencing these symptoms after abusing muscle relaxers should certainly seek medical treatment followed by an inpatient addiction treatment program.
Mixing Muscle Relaxers And Alcohol
Muscle relaxers are often abused in combination with another substance to produce greater highs and experiences of euphoria. Alcohol is commonly abused alongside muscle relaxers because it heightens the side effects of both, causing the individual to experience a more intense high (sedation).
When mixing muscle relaxers and alcohol, the individual risks death as the respiratory system slows so much so that breathing can stop.
In order for an individual to get treatment for their addiction to muscle relaxers, they must be willing to accept help. Continue reading to learn how to start that conversation with our young adult intervention tips.
If your loved one is in need of treatment, give us a call at 800.465.0142 or fill out a contact form to receive timely responses to your questions and support for whatever you’re going through.