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Soma (Carisoprodol) Withdrawal and Treatment

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2012, 3.69 million people aged 12 and older have misused carisoprodol (brand name Soma), at least once in their lifetime.9

What is Soma (Carisoprodol)?

Carisoprodol is a skeletal muscle relaxer used in combination with rest and physical therapy to relax muscles and relieve pain associated with injury, strain, or sprain. When taken recreationally in doses higher than prescribed, carisoprodol can cause sedation, drowsiness, and a short-lived, mild euphoria.1

It is often misused by combining it with other substances such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, and opioids to enhance its effects. Though generally safe when taken therapeutically, those who misuse the drug can eventually become dependent on it and may choose to get help through addiction treatment.1, 2

Soma Withdrawal Symptoms

When people develop a physical dependence on carisoprodol, it can put them at risk for withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drug. Carisoprodol is a Schedule IV drug, which means its potential for misuse is lower than some other substances like opioids, but still can cause dependence.1

The muscle-relaxing effects of carisoprodol are achieved through its actions on the central nervous system (CNS). Physiological dependence may result from long-term use.1

After dependence has formed, carisoprodol may elicit some withdrawal symptoms when its administration is abruptly halted. Since carisoprodol is metabolized to a second addictive sedating substance–known as meprobamate, a tranquilizer–it may be associated with an even larger range of withdrawal symptoms than other drugs in the muscle relaxant class.1

Common symptoms associated with carisoprodol withdrawal include:1, 3

  • Anxiety.
  • Insomnia.
  • Headache.
  • Stomach cramping.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Delirium.
  • Confusion.
  • Tachycardia (increased heart rate).
  • Ataxia (loss of muscle coordination).
  • Muscle twitching.
  • Tremors.

Although less common, withdrawal from carisoprodol may produce:1

  • Chills.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Seizures.

How Long Does Soma Withdrawal Last?

The severity and duration of symptoms will depend on the dose, length of use, presence of polysubstance use, co-occurring disorders, and other physical conditions.8 Symptoms may endure longer in those who combine carisoprodol with other CNS depressants such as alcohol and benzodiazepines.1, 2

Soma Detox Programs

Detox programs may vary in their approaches to treatment. There are no approved medications approved to treat carisoprodol addiction; however, there are many residential detox programs that help people taper off the drug under the care and supervision of a physician. Also, medically assisted detox treatment programs will have nurses and/or doctors on staff to administer medications to address co-occurring physical and/or mental health issues.

Many detox centers offer social detox programs. A social detox is a form of short-term, clinically managed, non-medical detox where the patient is provided support during withdrawal in a sober environment. Social detox programs usually include room and board, interpersonal support, and medical surveillance.

Do I Need Detox for Soma?

It may be difficult for some people using carisoprodol to recognize that they may have a problem, as many begin taking it as prescribed by a doctor. However, there are certain indications that a person is struggling with a substance use disorder. The following are a few criteria for substance use disorders from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5), which may help you identify a need to seek help for misuse:10

  • Taking the drug in a way other than prescribed (combining with other drugs, increasing dosage, etc.).
  • Taking for nonmedical reasons (to relax, get high, come down from stimulants, etc.).
  • Spending a large portion of your time obtaining or using the drug.
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities.
  • Neglecting responsibilities in favor of using substances.
  • Experiencing mood swings.
  • Physical symptoms of use (nausea, vomiting, appetite changes, restlessness, etc.).
  • Frequent periods of illness and irritability (withdrawal in between doses).

Side effects of carisoprodol use and misuse can include:1

  • Drowsiness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Headache.
  • Hypotension.
  • Seizures (particularly with polysubstance use).

Carisoprodol overdose can be fatal.9

Benefits of Soma Detox

Quitting carisoprodol can be quite difficult as withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable. In some cases, carisoprodol withdrawal may be dangerous. The dangers of carisoprodol withdrawal are worsened when used in conjunction with substances like alcohol and other CNS depressants.1 If you’ve been using carisoprodol at high doses or with other substances, it is important to detox in a safe environment with medically trained staff in case of emergency.

Discontinuation of use can result in significant physiological and cognitive changes potentially producing symptoms of anxiety, depression, social withdrawal, or aggression that may persist beyond the acute withdrawal period.1

During supervised detox, a physician may help you slowly taper your carisoprodol dose to minimize the intensity of withdrawal symptoms. In some cases, additional sedating medications will be carefully administered to mitigate serious withdrawal risks. Psychologists and counselors will be on hand to help you address any emotional or mental health issues that may arise during the withdrawal period as well.

It is not only important to undergo medically supervised detox during the initial withdrawal period, but also to continue addiction treatment to support positive treatment outcomes. Your detox facility will typically provide you with a plan to transition into ongoing treatment and aftercare.6

Find Treatment for Soma (Carisoprodol) Addiction

Treatment for carisoprodol addiction is available on both an inpatient and outpatient basis.

Inpatient treatment is more intensive and takes place in a residential facility. People reside at the inpatient facility to receive 24/7 care. This immersive treatment environment can provide recovering individuals a safe place to address the physical and psychological components of their addiction, free from the stressors of their daily life, which may trigger them to want to use again.

Outpatient treatment takes place on a part-time basis and may be ideal for those with less severe addictions who want to maintain their personal and professional lives outside of treatment. People visit the outpatient facility on a regular basis but still live in their own homes.7

Whether outpatient or inpatient, a typical treatment program will likely include some combination of the following:6, 7

  • Medically assisted detox
  • Mutual support groups like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Pills Anonymous (PA).
  • Individual therapy and counseling
  • Group counseling
  • Aftercare planning for support groups, outpatient visits, counseling, and therapy to help you respond to cravings and triggers appropriately and prevent relapse.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction to carisoprodol, you do not have to go through it alone. Learn more about your treatment options by checking your insurance coverage or calling American Addiction Centers (AAC) at . Our caring admissions team is ready to help you get your life back.

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