In recent years, abuse of prescription medication has become more and more common. Though many times, this refers to opioid painkillers or benzodiazepines, other medications are popping up on the radar.
The prescription drug named Flexeril is making its way up the charts in terms of misuse and abuse.
An Overview of Flexeril Addiction
Flexeril, or its generic name cyclobenzaprine, has much more in common with tricyclic antidepressants than other pain medications. In fact, more than 20 million doctors’ notes were written for the drug as far back as 2011. Since then, getting prescribed Flexeril has become even more usual.
Due to Flexeril not being classified as an opioid or benzo, it is more likely to be assumed safe. However, this is a dangerous misconception, as it can be equally addictive and easily abused. Every substance comes with a risk, and no drug should be taken without a doctor’s supervision.
Not the Same as Other Medications
Flexeril, having a function similar to those prescribed for panic disorders, is not regulated the same as other addictive medications. In fact, it is not yet considered a controlled substance, according to the DEA. However, this does not make it any less dangerous, nor does it lack the means for abuse. In just one year, over 12,000 cases presented requiring emergency medical attention, and the numbers continue to swing upward.
Unfortunately, due to its lack of strict federal regulation, the prevalence of this drug being abused is becoming more common. Many assume that because it’s not considered a narcotic, and its overwhelming availability, it is considered to be a safer option. This is untrue, and the lack of understanding makes it even more hazardous when taken without doctor supervision.
What is Flexeril?
Flexeril is a medication used to treat short-term pain and muscle spasms. Flexeril is not designed to be taken long-term or in high doses. It functions in the central nervous system to calm the over sensitivity of nerve endings, counteracting a limited range of motion. Because it acts in the brain, misuse can cause psychological disturbance or damage in an otherwise healthy individual.
When used properly, it can restore the quality of life of someone experiencing uncontrolled movements that cause them discomfort. Flexeril increases the body’s release of a naturally occurring brain chemical, norepinephrine. As this reaction occurs, it is able to treat pain and injury of the skeletal system of the body.
Flexeril is Often Part of A Larger Therapy Plan
Most often, Flexeril is used in conjunction with physical therapy to treat back pain. It works as a muscle relaxer and is administered in the form of an oral tablet. The benefit of this medication is that the pain-relieving effects are much longer-lasting than many others available.
It is especially helpful to treat insomnia or sleep disturbances caused by spasms and pain. By promoting restful sleep and mild sedation, the healing process is more proficiently sped up. However, when taken in high doses, it can lead to a sense of euphoria that is appealing to those seeking substances to abuse.
Typically, this medication is prescribed for skeletal muscle pain in both extended-release and immediate-release oral tablets. The dosage varies, but it is intended to be taken about two times per day.
What is a Typically Prescribed Dose of Flexeril?
A prescription range dose of Flexeril varies from 5 to 10 per pill. The highest recommended dose does not exceed 30mg per day, taking 10mg, three times, within 24 hours. However, the maximum dosage is considered extreme.
Though it is designed as a short term solution for treating pain, the relief does not occur immediately. When used properly, it may take up to 10 full days to have any kind of relief from symptoms.
Unfortunately, the lack of instant satisfaction has the potential to lead to misuse. Because of this delay, a person is usually only given a two week supply at a time, and closely supervised during usage.
It is especially important to take this medication only after being evaluated by a medical professional. There is a long list of interactions when using Flexeril with other medications and substances.
For example, those that suffer from co-occurring disorders such as addiction, depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder should take extra caution. Just as well, in conjunction with alcohol and other drugs, Flexeril can have deadly consequences.
Accidental overdose resulting in seizures or even death have been reported from Flexeril. Having an undiagnosed psychological disorder should be discussed, as negative reactions can occur even when taken as prescribed.
Demographics of Flexeril Abuse
Some studies have shown that it is the young adult population, between the ages of 17-24, at the highest risk. Others report that more mature adults in their 50’s and 60’s are more likely to abuse medications like Flexeril. These specific age groups found most likely to abuse Flexeril are the same as those that abuse other prescription medications. This means that there is no specific high or low-risk population.
Regardless of gender, age, socioeconomic status, race, or culture, the likelihood of developing a Flexeril addiction is impartial. However, that doesn’t mean that the effects of substance abuse affect everyone the same either. In fact, certain age groups are specifically not ideal candidates to use this medication, even when doing so responsibly.
The dangerous side effects of this medication discourage health care providers from recommending Flexeril to those in poor health. Similarly, those being treated for other serious illnesses may not qualify either. This is especially true for the senior and elderly populations seeking relief from pain.
Furthermore, acquiring Flexeril illegally or taking higher than prescribed dosages will inevitably do more damage than it can benefit. Especially in regards to long-term abuse.
Flexeril Dependency When Tolerance is Developed
One of the major issues regarding prescription medication or any type of substance abuse is the likelihood of dependency. Flexeril, even when used as instructed, is considered an addictive substance. Dependency and addiction are essentially different in terms of emotional urges, but very much the same physically.
After taking a medication, such as Flexeril, for any significant amount of time, the body will adjust to functioning with it. This is dependency. As soon as a medication is stopped, symptoms of withdrawal will begin to set in. Taken in higher doses is even more dangerous because withdrawal will be much worse, respectively.
Another common issue found with using any type of sedating prescription medication is the incidence of building up a tolerance. As the body and brain adjust to having the chemical in their system at a certain level, biology adapts. The beneficial or euphoric effects will no longer be as intense and can diminish altogether. This leads many to self-medicate or adjust the dosages by themselves and can have devastating outcomes.
Flexeril is Addictive
At some point, especially when using Flexeril illegally, dependency develops much further. It is then considered to be an addiction. Flexeril addiction, or addiction of any kind for that matter, is a disease. This is determined when substance abuse is no longer just physical dependency but has become psychological and behavioral as well.
When a person has an addiction to drugs, the functioning of the body and brain is chemically altered. This restructuring is a direct result of abusing substances. A person with a Flexeril addiction will have no control over their thoughts, urges, and uses when it comes to the drug. Part of having an addiction is the inability to cease use despite reason and best efforts.
In fact, many people that have an addiction to Flexeril have tried to stop the drug altogether at some point. This is especially once their prescription or supply has run out.
Once the disease of addiction had been developed, they were unable to regain control. Whether withdrawal had set in or the need for pain relief became extremely urgent, Flexeril addiction had surely developed.
How Does Someone Become Addicted To Flexeril?
Because of the way addiction works, an addicted person may begin to take the drug longer than needed or medically recommended. Or, due to having developed a tolerance, an addict may need more Flexeril at higher doses than treated with originally. This is when Flexeril addiction becomes extremely dangerous, and rehab addiction treatment is considered very necessary.
If you find yourself unable to stop using prescription medication drugs, such as Flexeril, there are programs designed to help. If you are experiencing unmanageable withdrawal symptoms, it is important to get help right away to avoid further health complications. Stay aware of any symptoms you are experiencing and seek assistance in order to detox safely.
Flexeril Side Effects and Withdrawal Symptoms
If you’re experiencing uncomfortable or life-threatening symptoms after having stopped using the drug Flexeril, professional help may be necessary. At this point, it is fair to assume a level of Flexeril addiction that has been developed. It is important to understand the difference and similarities between the drug side effects and withdrawal symptoms. Though regardless, either situation can warrant the need for proper rehab care.
As with any prescription drug, there is a risk of serious side effects that may require medical attention. Possible side effects of Flexeril use and abuse may include:
- Having dry mouth or trouble swallowing
- Brain fog or headache
- Fuzzy or blurred vision
- Tired, drowsy or fatigued
- Off-balance or dizzy
- Inability to eat or loss of appetite
- Nausea or pain in the stomach
- GI abnormalities such as constipation, gas or diarrhea
- Involuntary movement or weakness in muscle movement
Some of these symptoms, if not severe, will not require emergency medical attention if not accompanied by addiction. Others, however, may worsen with time, at which point professional assistance from a rehab facility may be vital.
Unfortunately, as Flexeril dependency develops into active addiction, some symptoms will worsen, especially once the medication has been stopped. This is recognized as Flexeril withdrawal. Stay alert for worsening of:
- Persistent nausea
- Extreme fatigue
- Headaches and frequent migraines
- Mood swings and malaise
The increase in these side effects reinforces active addiction simply by encouraging prolonged use. Rehab facilities specialize in providing care during this vulnerable time. Additionally, reinforcing treatment with a recovery management program can help manage the cravings that may come along after initial detox.
Combining Flexeril with Other Substances, Specifically Alcohol
For the same reasons, flexeril works to treat pain; it is especially dangerous when mixed with other substances. It is an antispasmodic medication that decreases the functioning of the nervous system and lowers inhibition. Sound familiar? There are many other substances that can do this as well, and together, the effects can be deadly.
If you haven’t put two and two together, let’s take a look at another central nervous system depressant. This one is sold legally and is highly abused. Though dangerous in itself, along with drugs like Flexeril, it can make for a menacing combination. This substance is very commonly known as alcohol.
Alcohol is the number one abused substance across the country. The reality of its popularity is because it is legal, almost always available, sometimes enjoyable, and also very addictive. As addiction and dependency can form very quickly to alcohol, so can a person’s tolerance to it.
Why Would Someone Mix Flexeril with Alcohol?
As tolerance to alcohol is developed, those that suffer from alcoholism often experiment with mixtures to enhance the effects. Being that Flexeril is considered a non-narcotic and relatively easy to obtain, abusing the combo is sadly common. Alternatively, interactions are also reported by those that are prescribed Flexeril, and even when it is used appropriately.
However, when given this medication by a physician, many ignore the warning, assuming they can handle both substances at once.
Unfortunately, because both Flexeril and alcohol are depressants, by design, they suppress brain activity. This is also true in the case of benzodiazepine abuse as well. Each used separately can have harmful effects, yet combined, the substances are exponentially enhanced.
This is where the uncertainty comes in. When the automatic systems of the brain are slowed, so are the functions it is designed to maintain. While mixing alcohol and Flexeril can simply make you tired or very relaxed, this is not a dependable reaction. Internally, the mix is lowering vital functions such as heartbeat and breathing rate haphazardly.
As a result, many substance abusers experience sensations such as:
- Feeling drowsy
- Disorientation or dizziness
- Slowed thought processing or difficulty concentrating
- Decreased motor coordination such as slurred speech or inability to walk
- Difficulty with memory recall
- Seizures or unconsciousness
- Exhibiting unusual or irrational behaviors
These typical functions that we take for granted, when altered by substance abuse, can lead to accidents and injuries. Because of their ability to interfere with nerve receptors, injuries sustained while intoxicated can be much worse than they initially appear. This adds to the contribution of becoming easily addicted, abuse, dependency, and accidental overdose can occur rapidly with Flexeril and alcohol.
Signs of Flexeril Overdose
One of the primary reasons a person may abuse Flexeril is to enhance the effects of other substances. When too much of a substance or a mixture enters the bloodstream, the body works aggressively to neutralize it.
When the organs are unable to do this, the experience and symptoms that follow are known as an overdose. Though it may take a significant amount of Flexeril alone to produce a reaction such as an overdose, it is still possible. However, when consumed in addition to other substances, such as alcohol, large amounts are not required for a negative reaction.
Some of the many signs of an overdose involving Flexeril, according to the FDA, include:
- High blood pressure and rapid heart rate
- Slurred speech and tremors of the body
- Obvious agitation or confusion
- Stomach irregularities such as nausea and vomiting
- Hallucinations, feeling dizzy or lack of muscle control
- Falling into a comatose state
While all of these signs require medical attention, there are even more dangerous scenarios to be on the lookout for. Abusing Flexeril for anything other than its intended purpose can cause irreversible damage and even death.
If you or someone you know taking Flexeril is experiencing any of the following symptoms, call 911 immediately. Knowing the signs of a Flexeril overdose and how serious other drug interactions can be can save a life. Be sure to notice signs of:
- Severe or persistent chest pain
- Loss of consciousness or seizures
- Showing signs of extremely low blood pressure
- Cardiac arrest, lack of detectable heartbeat
- Lasting irregular heart rate
- High fever, profuse sweating or sensitivity to cold
- Rigid muscle movement or feel
- An altered mental state
Once these signs begin to appear, there is no time to waste. Get emergency care right away. If addiction and substance abuse are threatening your life or the life of someone you love, don’t wait for intervention. It is time to talk about getting professional treatment, where you can receive treatment privately, and get necessary medical attention.
Treatment for Flexeril Addiction
When a person has found themselves dependent or addicted to Flexeril, asking for help may not be the easiest. Especially when it comes to medications prescribed by a doctor, the embarrassment of admitting substance abuse may not seem ideal. Many addicts refuse to get help until it is too late, thus creating a more difficult rehabilitation experience.
The truth is, with drugs such as Flexeril, professional help is usually necessary. When abuse of the medication has taken place and addiction has grown significantly, withdrawal symptoms may be too severe to manage alone. That is not to say it’s impossible; however, it is not necessarily safe.
Under the care of professional rehabilitation, usually a residential treatment program, safe options for detox are discussed. In some situations, a person may be slowly weaned off the medication to lessen the uncomfortability.
To do this as safely as possible, only a licensed professional should use this discretion. In addition, life-saving care can be administered day and night, as well as remaining under optimal supervision throughout.
Get Help Getting Clean and Off of Flexeril
Prescription medication and substance abuse can really do damage to a person’s life once an addiction has developed. Take the time to work toward regaining your health and wellbeing once and for all. Jumping from one medication or addiction to another is exhausting and can lead to significant unwanted effects on overall health. Contact us today to discuss how rehab can help get you back on the right track. Drug and alcohol treatment is ready to help you. Isn’t it time that you are prepared to help you as well?