Millions of Americans experience muscle-related pain. According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine (NLM), low back pain has consistently been ranked among the top 5 reasons for doctor’s visits in the United States.

When someone is experiencing pain in their muscles, the standard of care is a combination of physical therapy and prescription medications. The medications used to treat muscle pain are known as muscle relaxers.

Prescription muscle relaxers might be used to treat the symptoms of muscle pain, spasms, back pain, or even neurological disorders. Even though these medications can provide much-needed relief from pain, they can be addictive when misused.

There are tons of different types of muscle relaxants out there. One of the most commonly prescribed muscle relaxers is Soma. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that 2,276,000 people abused Somas at some point in their lives.

Muscle relaxant abuse can lead to a substance use disorder. Being aware of the signs, symptoms, and dangers can help you determine whether it’s time to attend an addiction treatment program.

What are Muscle Relaxers?

Muscle relaxers or muscle relaxants act as central nervous system depressants and cause a sedative effect. This prevents nerves from sending pain signals to your brain, relieving any pain you are experiencing. As a result, these medications are used to treat a variety of symptoms, including muscle pain, spasms, spinal cord injury, and spasticity.

Skeletal muscle relaxants can be divided into two categories: antispasmodics and antispastics. Antispasmodic muscle relaxers are used to treat lower back pain and muscle spasms. On the other hand, antispastics can relieve spasticity.

Antispasmodic muscle relaxers include:

  • Carisoprodol (Soma)
  • Chlorzoxazone (Lorzone)
  • Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril)
  • Metaxalone (Skelaxin)
  • Methocarbamol (Robaxin)
  • Orphenadrine (Norflex)

Examples of antispastic muscle relaxers include:

  • Baclofen (Lioresal)
  • Dantrolene (Dantrium)

Side effects of muscle relaxers include dizziness and drowsiness, blurry vision, confusion, headaches, and more.

Are Muscle Relaxers Addictive?

Muscle relaxers might cause people to experience a drowsy and euphoric high. As a result, some people use them in higher doses than recommended. Additionally, others might mix muscle relaxers with other substances like alcohol or opioids.

When muscle relaxers are misused, they can be highly addictive. Eventually, abuse will cause someone to develop a physical dependence, which means they are addicted to muscle relaxants.

People who are addicted to muscle relaxants may experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking them abruptly.

Symptoms of muscle relaxer withdrawal might include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Insomnia
  • Shaking and tremors
  • Impaired coordination and balance
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Muscle twitching
  • Anxiety
  • Psychosis
  • Seizures

Due to the risk of severe withdrawal symptoms, you should always seek professional help for muscle relaxer addiction. Medical detox programs offer the tools and medications you need to overcome withdrawal safely and comfortably.

Signs of Muscle Relaxer Addiction

If you or a loved one regularly abuses muscle relaxants, it’s essential to recognize the signs and symptoms. Muscle relaxant abuse can change the way a person thinks, feels, and behaves, and may result in a range of psychosocial issues.

The signs of muscle relaxer addiction include:

  • Running out of your prescriptions early
  • Taking larger doses than you are prescribed
  • Going to multiple doctors to receive more than one prescription
  • Faking back pain or injuries to receive a prescription
  • Changes in appetite and sleeping habits
  • Borrowing or stealing money to buy more muscle relaxants
  • Losing interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Isolating from your loved ones
  • Wanting to quit using muscle relaxants but being unsuccessful
  • Mixing muscle relaxants with other substances like alcohol or opioids
  • Experiencing uncontrollable cravings or urges to abuse muscle relaxers
  • Needing to increase your dose of muscle relaxers to experience the desired effect
  • Dealing with withdrawal symptoms when you stop using muscle relaxants

Addiction treatment centers like First Step Behavioral Health provide safe medical detox and a continuum of care to address muscle relaxant use disorders.

What are the Dangers of Muscle Relaxer Abuse?

One of the main risks of muscle relaxer abuse is a life-threatening overdose. Many people who abuse them consume them in large amounts or mix them with other central nervous system depressants like alcohol and opioids. This can lead to fatal overdoses that include symptoms of respiratory depression.

Other dangers associated with abusing muscle relaxants include:

  • Extreme drowsiness and sedation
  • Fatigue
  • Weakening of the muscles
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Disorientation, confusion, and psychosis
  • Swelling of the liver
  • Low white blood cell count and increased infections
  • Paralysis, coma, and death

Long-term abuse of muscle relaxants can lead to a wide range of dangers, so it’s crucial to seek treatment when it is needed. Addiction recovery programs will help you unpack the root causes of your substance abuse, making it easier to achieve long-lasting sobriety.

Find Help for Muscle Relaxer Abuse and Addiction

If you or a loved one suffers from muscle relaxer addiction, it’s time to seek help. First Step Behavioral Health is a state-licensed and Joint Commission-accredited dual diagnosis treatment facility with a focus on substance abuse. Through holistic medical, physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual care, we aim to help individuals address the root causes of their substance abuse and achieve lasting sobriety.
Contact us today to learn more about our Florida addiction treatment programs.

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