Carisoprodol/Soma abuse and addiction is becoming more common in recent years, and this may be in response to the changes surrounding opioid abuse, addiction, availability, and dangers. Abuse of non-opioid prescription drugs have become more common because the dangers of opioid prescription drug abuse have become widely known.
Many prescription drug abusers feel that the abuse of non-opioid RX drugs are safer. However, prescription drug abuse of any kind holds many dangers, and Soma/carisoprodol can be very dangerous drugs.
What Is Carisoprodol (Soma)?
Carisoprodol is a musculoskeletal relaxer that is often used to treat painful muscular or skeletal conditions including back pain, joint pain, and severe arthritis. The most common form of carisoprodol used for medical purposes in the United States today is in pill form under the brand name “Soma.” Because of its sedative properties, it is often misused, abused, diverted from legitimate medical uses for recreational use, and is considered addictive and deadly in the event of overdoses.
Carisoprodol/Soma Side Effects:
- Paralysis (numbness or loss of feeling in extremities).
- Weakness, lack of motor control, uncoordinated movements, inability to stand or balance oneself.
- Loss of consciousness, blacking out or fainting.
- Increased heartbeat or tachycardia.
- Seizures and convulsions, uncontrollable tremors, muscle spasms.
- Blurred vision, loss of vision
Carisoprodol/Soma’s Potential for Abuse and Addiction
The potential for substance abuse involving Carisoprodol/Soma has been widely documented, with its abuse potential being compared to hydrocodone, oxycodone, and codeine. A 2007 study on carisoprodol abuse in Norway [New Tab Link to: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2000626/] not only proved that substance abuse from carisoprodol was highly likely, but the study helped to get the drug banned in Norway in 2008.
In the United States, Carisoprodol/Soma is legal to use with a prescription, but has been a schedule IV drug in the U.S. since January of 2012.
How Is Carisoprodol/Soma Abused?
Carisoprodol is a skeletal/muscle relaxant that can help with back pain and other chronic pain issues by providing sedative, relaxant, and anxiolytic effects. Many soma abusers take the drug by its self in high dosages to maximize the effects felt, though carisoprodol/soma is also used for its potentiating effects when mixed with opioid narcotics.
The Dangers of Mixing Carisoprodol/Soma with Opioids
As a “potentiater,” soma/carisoprodol – when mixed with opioid drugs like codeine or hydrocodone – increases the amount of codeine/hydrocodone that is converted in the body to morphine/hydromorphine. In short, mixing soma with opioids makes the opioid effects stronger and more potent. It also dramatically increases the risk of accidental overdose and death.
The Dangers of Mixing Carisoprodol/Soma with Alcohol
Carisoprodol is also often mixed with alcohol by recreational users, and mixing soma and alcohol – like mixing it with opioids – increases the effects of alcohol on the body. When mixed, a small dose of carisoprodol and as little as 1 drink of alcohol can have extreme effects, causing blackouts, slurred speech, complete lack of balance, and loss of consciousness.
The biggest danger of mixing soma and alcohol is the risk of overdose and possible death. The overdose symptoms caused by carisoprodol is very similar to overdose symptoms of GABAergic chemicals like alcohol, opioids, or heroin. The risk of respiratory depression is high with soma overdose, which can lead to hypoxia and death quickly.
Can You Get Addicted to Carisoprodol/Soma?
Yes, physical chemical dependence and addiction is very possible with carisoprodol. The risk of addiction and dependence to soma is based in the way the drug works in the brain, acting on the GABA receptors of the brain – just like heroin, opioids, and alcohol. Once the individual has become dependent on the drug, withdrawals can occur if they discontinue use of the drug without tapering or quit cold turkey.
Carisoprodol/Soma Withdrawal Symptoms
Again, because soma is a GABAergic drug, the symptoms of soma withdrawal are quite similar to alcohol and opioid withdrawal symptoms and include:
- Changes in Cognitive Function, Confusion
- Increased Anxiety
- Increased Depression or Sadness
- Mood Swings
- Tremors, Shaking or Seizures
- Agitation and Aggression (Aggressive Thoughts and Behaviors)
- Muscle Cramps or Pains
- Nausea or Vomiting
- Increased Heart Rate, Tachycardia, or Heart Palpitations
- New or Worsening Mental Health Conditions (Phobias, OCD, Co-Occurring Disorders)
Because so many soma abusers mix the drug with other drugs and/or alcohol, the severity of the withdrawals and the timeline for withdrawal can vary greatly. Just like alcohol and benzodiazepine withdrawal, carisoprodol withdrawals can be deadly in certain cases. It is very important to seek soma detox or full medically assisted drug detox when attempting to quit carisoprodol.
Carisoprodol/Soma Addiction Treatment and Recovery
Carisoprodal and opioids are very closely related, in-that they share common action mechanisms and risks for dependence, overdose and withdrawal. Not only have we seen an increase in individuals abusing soma since the opioid epidemic has arisen, but we have also seen many chronic pain sufferers that have been switched to carisoprodol from opioid medications to treat their chronic pain.
The risk of abuse, overdose and addiction to carisoprodol is very real, and those that have found themselves dependent on soma will need addiction treatment for soma dependence to treat the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of addition.
Arizona Prescription Drug Rehab
At Reflections Recovery Center, we have become renowned for our efforts in treating prescription drug addiction throughout the opioid epidemic. While the majority of the country has now woken up to just how dangerous prescription opioids can be, too many are underinformed of the dangers of other prescription drug that are used to treat chronic pain conditions like severe back pain.
If you have found yourself with an addiction to Soma, or if your loved one has become addicted to carisoprodol, Reflections’ prescription drug detox and treatment program can help you to recover.