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Muscle Relaxers Addiction: Signs, Symptoms, & Treatment

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Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

January 3, 2024

Table of Contents

Muscle relaxers are used to treat muscle issues like spasms and spasticity. There are various types of muscle relaxers, and they work in different ways. Discussing the potential risks and benefits of these medications with your healthcare provider can help you make more informed decisions about the long-term use of muscle relaxers.

If you have been prescribed this class of medication and you are concerned about becoming addicted to muscle relaxers, read on to discover:

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Need help getting addiction treatment?

  • Are muscle relaxers addictive?
  • Can you become addicted to muscle relaxers rapidly?
  • How to engage with muscle relaxer addiction treatment.

Can You Get Addicted to Muscle Relaxers?

Carisoprodol and diazepam are both controlled substances, indicating their potential for addiction and the likelihood of withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation if dependence develops. It is advisable to refrain from using these medications if you have a personal or family history of substance use disorder.

If you sense a dependence on carisoprodol or diazepam developing, or if the prescribed dosage fails to adequately address your symptoms, do not  exceed the recommended dosage. Instead, promptly communicate with your healthcare provider to discuss your concerns.

Other prescription muscle relaxants are not classified as controlled substances and are not considered addictive.

Signs of Muscle Relaxers Addiction

Recognizing the signs of muscle relaxers addiction can help inform early intervention and effective treatment. Individuals struggling with addiction may exhibit various behavioral and physical indicators, including:

  • Increased tolerance: Developing a tolerance to muscle relaxers, requiring higher doses over time to achieve the same effects.
  • Compulsive use: Engaging in the recurrent, uncontrollable use of muscle relaxers, even in the face of adverse outcomes.
  • Social withdrawal: Gradual withdrawal from social activities and relationships, with a focus on obtaining and using muscle relaxers.
  • Neglect of responsibilities: A decline in personal, academic, or professional responsibilities, reflecting a growing disregard for essential duties.
  • Financial strain: Persistent financial difficulties, especially if linked to funding muscle relaxer use, indicating escalating dependence.
  • Engaging in risky behaviors: Pursuit of risky activities under the influence of muscle relaxers, potentially compromising personal safety.
  • Loss of interest in hobbies: Diminishing interest in previously enjoyed activities, signaling the prioritization of muscle relaxer use over other aspects of life.
  • Increased secrecy: Concealing the extent of muscle relaxer use and engaging in deceptive behaviors to hide the addiction from others.
  • Emotional instability: Fluctuations in mood, heightened irritability, or emotional instability beyond the norm, possibly inflamed during periods of abstinence.
  • Continued use despite consequences: A persistent pattern of using muscle relaxers despite experiencing negative consequences in various aspects of life.
a man sitting down representing withdrawal from muscle relaxers

Muscle Relaxers Addiction Symptoms

In addition to recognizing behavioral signs, understanding the symptoms associated with muscle relaxers addiction can help people engage with effective assessments and treatment. DSM-5-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) outlines specific criteria for diagnosing muscle relaxers addiction, including:

  1. Using muscle relaxers in larger quantities or for an extended duration than initially intended.
  2. Inability to cut down or control muscle relaxer use, despite wanting to do so.
  3. Spending a substantial amount of time on activities related to obtaining, using, or recovering from the effects of muscle relaxers.
  4. Experiencing strong cravings or a compelling desire to use muscle relaxers regularly.
  5. Muscle relaxer use affecting responsibilities at work, school, or home.
  6. Persistent use despite recurring social or interpersonal issues related to its use.
  7. Abandoning or reducing participation in significant social, occupational, or recreational activities due to muscle relaxer use.
  8. Using muscle relaxers in situations that pose a physical risk, such as driving.
  9. Continued use despite awareness of physical or psychological issues related to muscle relaxer use.
  10. Developing a tolerance, requiring more muscle relaxers to achieve the desired effects.
  11. Experiencing withdrawal from muscle relaxers upon cessation. Withdrawal symptoms of muscle relaxers when use is reduced or discontinued.

Awareness of both signs and symptoms enables individuals and healthcare providers to identify and address muscle relaxers addiction promptly. Early intervention increases the likelihood of successful treatment and recovery.

Muscle Relaxers Addiction Treatment

While muscle relaxers serve a valuable medical purpose in alleviating muscle spasms and tension, the potential for addiction and dependence exists. Individuals who misuse or develop a dependency on muscle relaxers may require specialized muscle relaxers addiction treatment.

Assessment and evaluation

A thorough assessment is conducted to understand the person’s history of muscle relaxer use, co-occurring mental health issues, and overall health status. This evaluation helps tailor the treatment plan and address underlying factors contributing to addiction.

Detoxification

In cases of severe muscle relaxer addiction, a supervised detoxification process may be necessary to manage withdrawal symptoms. Detox aims to safely remove the substance from the body while providing medical support to alleviate withdrawal discomfort.

Counseling and therapy

Behavioral therapies, such as CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and motivational enhancement therapy, are effective in treating muscle relaxer addiction. These therapies address the psychological aspects of addiction, helping people identify and change negative patterns of thinking and behavior.

Support groups

Participation in support groups, whether specific to muscle relaxer addiction or general addiction support groups, provide individuals with a supportive community. Sharing experiences and receiving encouragement from peers in recovery can be a valuable source of motivation.

Family therapy

Involving family members in the treatment process is almost always beneficial. Family therapy helps improve communication, address family dynamics that may contribute to addiction, and create a supportive environment for the person in recovery.

MAT (medication-assisted treatment)

Depending on the circumstances, medications may be prescribed to manage co-occurring mental health issues or to streamline the recovery process. MAT aims to stabilize the person and reduce the risk of relapse disrupting recovery.

Holistic approaches

Integrating holistic approaches like mindfulness practices, yoga, and exercise can contribute to overall well-being during recovery from muscle relaxer addiction. These activities promote stress reduction and support mental and physical health.

Aftercare and relapse prevention

A comprehensive aftercare plan is central to sustaining recovery. This may include ongoing therapy, support group participation, and strategies for managing triggers and preventing relapse.

Treatment for muscle relaxer addiction should be personalized, addressing both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction to promote lasting recovery and a healthier, substance-free life. Seeking professional help is essential for individuals struggling with muscle relaxer addiction to receive the appropriate interventions and support needed for a successful recovery journey.

FAQs

Are muscle relaxants addictive?

Muscle relaxants can be habit-forming, and prolonged use or misuse may lead to dependence and the presentation of withdrawal symptoms of muscle relaxers upon discontinuation. Follow prescribed dosage and duration to minimize the risk of addiction.

Can you overdose on muscle relaxers?

Yes, it is possible to overdose on muscle relaxers, which can result in serious health consequences. Overdose symptoms may include extreme drowsiness, confusion, difficulty breathing, and even coma. Seek immediate medical attention if an overdose is suspected.

What should you do in the event of muscle relaxer overdose?

If someone experiences symptoms of a muscle relaxer overdose, it is imperative to call emergency services immediately. Do not wait for symptoms to worsen. Providing vital information, such as the type and amount of the medication ingested, can assist medical professionals in administering appropriate treatment.

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Get Treatment for Drug Addiction at Renaissance Recovery

If you need help addressing prescription drug addiction, reach out to Renaissance Recovery at any time. We offer a variety of outpatient treatment programs, including PHPs (partial hospitalization programs) and IOPs (intensive outpatient programs) at our luxury beachside facility located in Huntington Beach, CA.

All treatment programs recognize the unique nature of each addiction and deliver personalized therapies that include:

To combat addiction to muscle relaxers, dial 866.330.9449 right away.

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Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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