Carisoprodol, known under its brand name as Soma, is a commonly used muscle relaxer in the United States. Carisoprodol comprises over 1 million prescriptions in America currently. Is Soma a controlled substance? Yes; according to the FDA, it’s a legal Schedule IV drug, meaning there is moderate potential for abuse that may lead to mental and/or physical addiction. The drug can alter brain chemistry, and it has been associated with addiction when it’s taken for a long time.
Who Uses Soma?
Soma is commonly prescribed for musculoskeletal pain or injury. If you have musculoskeletal pain, you might feel it in an isolated area, such as your back, or you could have pain throughout your body with a condition like fibromyalgia. Soma is proven effective to treat pain, but doctors advise to only used it for short periods of time—three weeks or less. There is no efficacy to long-term use, and the type of pain Soma treats is typically acute pain or inflammation periods within chronic disease.
Soma, with its potential for abuse, is typically not abused independently. It’s often taken in combination with opioids and benzodiazepines. When used as a cocktail, these three types of drugs are referred to as “The Holy Trinity” and reportedly increase the experienced high. People using Soma recreationally are seeking some of its effects, like sedation, relaxation, and anti-anxiety effects. Overdoses involving Soma are usually the result of combining the carisoprodol with other recreational drugs without awareness of the risks and side effects.
Are You at Risk for Soma Abuse?
People with a prescription take a drug every day; people with addiction do as well. The motivation of each person is varied. Understanding how you use carisoprodol can help you identify if you need to seek help and support for potential addition.
Have you ever found yourself:
- Buying Soma from a drug dealer? When you’re addicted to a substance, you need more than your doctor will give you to control pain. If you’re tempted to break the law and buy it on the street, this is a worrisome sign.
- Crushing or snorting Soma? This drug is made for oral use. Crushing and snorting the powder can provide a more immediate high, and it’s a sign that you’re developing a need for larger doses.
- Feeling sick or ill due to too much carisoprodol? Large doses of the drug can cause confusion, fainting, uncontrolled eye movements, and jerking muscles. Episodes like this are scary, and they should prompt you to stop taking the drug. If they don’t, addiction could be to blame.
- Taking more than your doctor recommends? Soma is typically prescribed to be used three times a day. If you find that you’re taking the drug much more frequently, and your doctor hasn’t suggested that change, you could be dealing with an addiction.
- Wanting to stop, but you can’t? Addictions are defined by compulsive use. If you know you should stop, but you can’t seem to do it, you might be addicted.
- Hiding your use from others? Do you stash pills around the house? Do you get defensive when people ask about your prescription? Do you lie about your use? These could be signs that Soma is problematic for you.
How Soma Can Hurt You
Carisoprodol is considered a “prodrug.” The ingredients within each pill aren’t dangerous on their own. It’s only when the body begins to break down the substances that the real danger emerges.
Soma is addictive and can create physical dependence when used long-term. The physical dependence creates physical withdrawal symptoms. These look like the symptoms for alcohol withdrawal:
- High heart rate
Psychological dependence can also occur with Soma abuse, and that dependence can lead to psychological withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking the drug. These symptoms can be cognitive changes that might persist for weeks or months after use and include:
Soma pills are metabolized into several compounds, including meprobamate. This is a sedative drug that is associated with addiction and overdose. Because of this, some countries have made this substance illegal. In Sweden, for example, Soma was pulled from the market. It is still widely available in the United States.
The effects of carisoprodol pills start in about 30 minutes, and the effects can last for as long as 6 hours. During that time, you may experience:
- Facial flushing
- Shifts in perception, including feeling like you’re moving or spinning
High doses of carisoprodol have also been associated with comas.
Side effects of Soma alone include:
More severe side effects can include:
Signs of an allergic reaction can include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of your face, tongue, lips, or throat
When Soma is used in higher doses, there is mild to significant euphoria experiences. This feeling is often what’s sought after from Soma abuse, but it is very short-lived because of how carisoprodol is metabolized.
Recovery from Carisoprodol Use
As an addiction deepens, you’ll need bigger doses of Soma to feel a high that once came with one pill. And those bigger doses are associated with severe side effects that could cost your life. But you don’t need to let your addiction strengthen. Treatment professionals can help you regain control.
Soma changes the way your brain works, and when you try to stop, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. In a medical detox program, teams will use medications and other therapies to help your body make the switch to sobriety. You’ll move through the process a bit easier than you would on your own, and that lowers your risk of an early relapse.
The work isn’t over once you’ve detoxed from Soma. Therapy is needed to help you understand what led to your addiction and to build skills that you can carry into a sober life. In an addiction treatment program, whether it’s inpatient or outpatient, you can expect:
- Counseling sessions – One-on-one with a therapist or in a group therapy setting, counseling can help you come to terms with how your addiction began and what should come next.
- Adjunct therapy – This might include complementary therapy like art therapy, music therapy, or adventure therapy to help you tap into and get acquainted with your feelings, so you’re less likely to tamp them down with drugs.
- Support group work – This encourages you to connect with other people in recovery, so you won’t feel alone as you work.
Your Soma treatment program may be measured in months or years, but recovery is lifelong. You will still need help on tough days, and sometimes you might be tempted to slide back into addiction. Alumni groups can keep you in touch with the concepts you learned in therapy, helping you to avoid relapse. Before you exit a formal program, you’ll make an aftercare plan with your therapist. This will serve as a foundation you can stand on in ongoing recovery.
Ready to get help for substance abuse? We’re ready to help. Contact Footprints to Recovery today to learn more about a treatment program that can work for you.