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  • Soma (Carisoprodol) Addiction | Abuse Potential, Side Effects, Signs, & Treatment

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    Soma (Carisoprodol) Addiction | Abuse Potential, Side Effects, Signs, & Treatment

    In addition to classic drugs of abuse like alcohol, heroin, and cocaine, non-euphoric prescription drugs like the skeletal muscle relaxant carisoprodol can also be abused. In fact, carisoprodol can sometimes produce physical dependence and addiction after a period of drug abuse.

    What Is Soma?

    The prescription drug carisoprodol, sold under the brand name Soma, is used for pain relief related to muscle injuries like strains and sprains

    It is often prescribed in combination with physical therapy to help patients feel more comfortable and less distressed as they stretch, move, rest, and heal with reduced muscle tension.

    The medication takes the form of an oral tablet taken several times each day as directed, up to a maximum recommended treatment period of three weeks.

    While some formulations of carisoprodol only contain the drug itself, others use a combination of carisoprodol and aspirin, or a combination of these drugs in addition to the opioid/opiate painkiller codeine.

    Soma (Carisoprodol) Abuse Potential

    While the exact way in which carisoprodol relieves muscle pain and tension is unclear, it appears to act on GABA receptors on the brain, inhibiting certain signals in the central nervous system. 

    This mechanism is generally similar to that of benzodiazepines, a class of anti-anxiety medications like Xanax that are frequently abused and habit-forming.

    Like benzos, Soma can cause pleasurable feelings of relaxation and sedation if taken in high enough doses, and the drug may also be used to increase the effects of other abuse-prone substances like opioids and alcohol. 

    Controlled Substance Status

    While its potential for abuse is much lower than potent narcotic drugs like oxycodone, the risk associated with Soma is great enough that it has been classified by the FDA and DEA as a Schedule IV prescription medication.

    This classification means that the drug is considered to have a relatively low but still considerable potential for abuse, dependence, and addiction. And as a controlled substance it is only legitimately available with a valid prescription from a licensed healthcare provider.

    It is also important to note that codeine, which is included in some versions of carisoprodol, is a Schedule II opioid narcotic and is considered to lend carisoprodol medications an even greater potential for addiction and abuse when present.

    Side-Effects Of Soma Abuse

    The direct effects of carisoprodol include muscle relaxation, sedation, and decreased anxiety. But, as with other muscle relaxants, the drug can also cause a variety of unwanted and sometimes concerning short-term side effects that may include:

    • dizziness
    • drowsiness
    • elevated heart rate
    • headache 
    • impaired motor control 
    • impaired judgment
    • irritability
    • nausea and vomiting
    • upset stomach
    • rash
    • sleep disturbances

    Breathing problems, fever, weakness, and other potentially severe side effects or allergic reactions may also occur following Soma use in rare cases. 

    The drug’s sedative effects may also contribute to accidental injury or unsafe sexual behavior undertaken while under the influence of the drug.

    Can You Overdose On Soma?

    Soma’s sedative effects may be intensified to a harmful degree if the drug is misused in higher doses than directed or taken in combination with other substances that act as central nervous system depressants or sedatives. 

    Soma overdoses may even lead to serious or potentially life-threatening medical emergencies.

    Signs Of Soma Addiction

    Addiction, or substance use disorder, is a medical condition in which a person will continue to seek out and use or abuse a substance despite its harmful effects.

    Common signs and symptoms of Soma addiction may include:

    • spending excessive amounts of time finding, using, or recovering from Soma use
    • using the medication longer than prescribed
    • using the medication in higher doses than prescribed
    • taking Soma with other drugs or alcohol
    • faking injuries, forging prescriptions, doctor shopping, or attempting to buy Soma online
    • sleep problems
    • mood swings
    • changes in appetite, weight, and energy level
    • withdrawal from loved ones and personal responsibilities
    • various signs of mental or physical impairment
    • experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop using Soma or lower your dosage

    Soma Withdrawal

    Soma is intended only for short-term use, as prolonged use of the drug can contribute to the development of physical dependence, tolerance, and withdrawal symptoms. 

    And, as with benzodiazepines, these withdrawal symptoms can be very severe, especially in cases of high dose Soma abuse and addiction.

    Common Soma withdrawal symptoms can include:

    • anxiety
    • depression
    • insomnia
    • headache
    • cramping
    • nausea
    • confusion
    • muscle twitching
    • tremors
    • chills

    In rare cases, serious hallucinations, delirium, and seizures have also occurred.

    Soma Addiction Treatment

    Treatment for Soma addiction begins with tapering and detox, or medical services provided to help safely remove the drug from your system and overcome any physiological dependence that may have formed over time.

    Following detoxification, personalized treatment programs hosted in either inpatient or outpatient treatment centers can help a person better understand their addiction as they build positive coping strategies to help maintain a long-term recovery. 

    Behavioral therapy, counseling, dual diagnosis treatment, and peer support are often key elements in this process.

    For information on our drug addiction treatment services, including treatment for Soma abuse and addiction, please contact us today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
    Article Sources

    Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) - CARISOPRODOL (Trade Name: Soma®)
    Mayo Clinic - Carisoprodol (Oral Route) Side Effects
    National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Carisoprodol

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