Cyclobenzaprine is a commonly prescribed muscle relaxer that is used in the treatment of muscle spasms, pain, and other nerve disorders like fibromyalgia. Individuals with skeletal disorders may often benefit from a combination of physical therapy and cyclobenzaprine. It is not meant to be used for more than two to three weeks at a time, and it can be habit-forming. Surprisingly, many people are unaware that addiction to a muscle relaxant is even possible. While many understand the likelihood of painkiller or anti-anxiety medications being habit-forming, people seem to view drugs like cyclobenzaprine in another light. After all, why would someone want to abuse a muscle relaxer?
The truth is that these drugs dull the nerve impulses in the human body, and those numb and relaxed feelings are very appealing to legitimate users as well as drug abusers.
Who Uses Cyclobenzaprine?
People who have received the drug via a legitimate prescription from their physician often abuse muscle relaxers. Not currently being covered under the Controlled Substances Act, this drug is somewhat easier for an addict to get their hands on too. Unfortunately, abuse of cyclobenzaprine has been on the rise in the past decade. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration notes 6,183 emergency room cases involved the drug in 2004, whereas 11,551 did in 2011 — an 87 percent increase. Perhaps even sadder is the amount of people who are using these drugs in an attempt to commit suicide. The Drug Abuse Warning Network notes 5,676 were treated for a cyclobenzaprine-related suicide attempt in 2011. There is potential for an increased risk of abuse among individuals suffering from depression or mental illness who may be at risk for contemplating or attempting to take their life. As with any substance, abuse is more common among individuals who have a reason to self-medicate. This is true of those who suffer from a mental health disorder, which 45.9 million Americans do, the National Alliance on Mental Illness reports. Among drug addicts alone, Helpguide notes 53 percent have at least one serious mental illness.
Cyclobenzaprine is manufactured is an extended-release form. This aids those using it correctly so they can take it only one time every day. The pill slowly releases regulated small doses throughout the day so that pain relief persists. Opening capsules, crushing the pill, and snorting or injecting it after dissolving it into a liquid solution will cause the abuser to ingest a much larger dose than they should. There is potential for this to cause significant and serious side effects, some of which may be life-threatening. These include:
- Sudden headache
- Chest pain
- Fainting spells
- Rapid heart rate
The dangers of abusing cyclobenzaprine are numerous. In 2010, cyclobenzaprine was linked to a reported 10,529 mentioned cases and 4,607 single exposures, per Yumpu. Abusers can also develop a condition known as anticholinergic toxidrome, which can produce even more severe side effects, including paranoia, coma, heart attack, and even death. As of 2003, there were only two confirmed deaths that left traces of cyclobenzaprine in the bloodstream, a Journal of Forensic Sciences publication reports.
When your body becomes physically and/or psychologically dependent on a substance, you will begin to show signs of addiction that are often fairly apparent to you and those around you.
- You’ve developed a tolerance to cyclobenzaprine and must take more of the drug and/or increase the frequency of doses in order to achieve the same desired result you’ve become accustomed to.
- You don’t feel “normal” or feel like you can’t function if you don’t take cyclobenzaprine.
- When you cut back on the drug or stop using it altogether, you start experiencing symptoms of withdrawal.
- You’ve tried to quit using or scale back on how much or often you use, but all your attempts have been unsuccessful.
- You spend excessive amounts of time thinking about your supply and making sure you have enough to last you until your next purchase or prescription.
- You’ve encountered legal ramifications due to your drug abuse, but you’re still using anyway.
- Even though you’re having a lot of problems due to your drug abuse, you can’t stop.
- You no longer engage in social activities that you used to enjoy.
- You are fighting with friends, relatives, or coworkers, and you have lost valuable relationships due to your drug abuse habits.
- You are slacking on your responsibilities at home, work, or school.
- When under the influence of cyclobenzaprine, you engage in risky behaviors that you wouldn’t normally take part in, such as speeding when driving or resorting to theft to secure a drug supply or money to buy drugs.
Do You Need Help?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 52 million people have used a prescription medication at one time or another without a medical reason for it. If what you’ve read here sounds a lot like you or someone you know, it’s time to seek the help of professionals who understand and can aid in getting you back on your feet. Taking cyclobenzaprine for even slightly more than the few weeks that are recommended could lead to withdrawal when you stop, inclusive of symptoms like nausea, sweating, and muscle aches that are consistent with detoxing from any drug. Professional detox is always the way to go where an addiction to muscle relaxers is a concern. At the start, you’ll undergo a medical and psychiatric evaluation. This will keep doctors and other treatment providers in the know regarding not just your physical health while going through withdrawal, but your mental health, too. However, detox is only part of the process. A full course of treatment — be it inpatient or outpatient — is always advisable for substance abusers. While detox is a necessary starting point, the support and therapy you receive during treatment and follow-up care are what will make the difference when you’re trying to get on with your life and remain abstinent from drug abuse. You can find all of this and more with Futures of Palm Beach. Call us now; every day counts.