Carisoprodol is a muscle relaxer commonly prescribed for the treatment of pain resulting from muscle spasms and injuries. Prescribed use is kept as short as possible to prevent carisoprodol dependence. However, if carisoprodol is used for an extended period of time or in greater than recommended doses, carisoprodol addiction treatment may become necessary to avoid a period of withdrawal when the drug usage ceases.
Carisoprodol, sold under the brand names Soma and Vanadom, is often used with physical therapy for the relief of musculoskeletal pain. Taken as prescribed, carisoprodol blocks the sensation of pain sent from the patient’s nerves to the brain. Taken in greater than recommended doses, it leads the user to feel drowsy, relaxed, giddy and at times euphoric.
Signs of Addiction
Use of carisoprodol can be habit-forming. Prescriptions last on average between two and three weeks. Patients who develop a dependence often continue use after the original injury has healed. This extended use leads to the development of a tolerance in the patient’s system toward the drug. The increasing tolerance means that patient must take higher doses of the drug for the same effect. Successfully quitting the drug often requires participation in a carisoprodol addiction treatment program.
The potential for carisoprodol abuse has caused the drug to be declared a controlled substance in 18 states. A 2009 survey on drug use reports that 2.9 million people in the U.S. will use carisoprodol recreationally at least once. Due to this heavy usage, the Drug Enforcement Agency has placed the drug on its list of drugs of concern, for consideration of federal control. Long-term or high dosage use of carisoprodol has a visible effect on the user that can alert those close to him or her of the carisoprodol abuse. These signs can include:
- Loss of coordination
- Dizzy spells
- Increased drowsiness
- Restlessness or nervousness
Carisoprodol addiction treatment programs are available throughout the country for those who abuse the drug and wish to cease its use. Stopping the use of the drug suddenly or quickly tapering off its use can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms. Under a medically supervised treatment program, the user can go through a carefully structured detoxification process. During this process the drug can be removed from the system at a slow enough rate as to avoid the withdrawal altogether, or to reduce the symptoms of withdrawal to a manageable level.
Acute carisoprodol withdrawal can begin within hours following the last drug dose taken unless under treatment. The symptoms of acute withdrawal can last for up to 10 days, with the severity of the symptoms dependent on the length of the drug use and the amount of the dosage.
Symptoms of withdrawal include:
- Stomach pain
- Abdominal cramps
During the usage period, carisoprodol alters the normal function of the user’s brain. This alteration can lead to cognitive impairment. After the acute withdrawal stage, the patient’s body begins to readjust to being without the carisoprodol in the system. As the body returns to normal however, post-acute withdrawal symptoms can appear. Those symptoms may include:
- Sensitivity to stress
- Sleep disorders
- Cognitive impairment
- Impaired physical coordination
- Memory difficulties
- Mood swings
In order to avoid acute withdrawal symptoms, users can go through detox in a carisoprodol addiction treatment program.
The carisoprodol withdrawal symptoms can be severe if the withdrawal process is attempted alone. With acute symptoms lasting for up to 10 days, the discomfort of the symptoms can be cause enough for the user to return to carisoprodol use. Carisoprodol detox through a carisoprodol addiction treatment facility can help the user tremendously during the withdrawal process by using a controlled detoxification process. This controlled detox is based on a system of tapering off the user from the carisoprodol dependency.
During tapering, the user is slowly weaned from the drug over a period of weeks. At the end of the period, the amount of the drug in the user’s system is so low that ceasing the drug use results in little or no withdrawal symptoms. Detox begins with an intake interview and medical evaluation. The interview is done to assess whether the user is dependent on the drug to determine if the detox procedure is actually necessary.
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If the patient is determined to be in need of detox, the medical evaluation begins. Medical evaluation during the carisoprodol addiction treatment process consists of the taking of the patient’s medical history followed by a physical exam. The exam includes a toxicology screening to discover if the patient has been taking any other drugs besides the carisoprodol.
The effects of carisoprodol can be heightened when taken along with specific drugs or alcohol. For a successful treatment, the medical personnel need to know exactly what the patient has in his or her system to avoid a negative reaction to the tapering off of the medication. After the evaluation, the patient is given the first dose of medication. This dose is intended to keep the patient’s body from entering into the withdrawal process, or to pull the patient from withdrawal if he or she has already begun experiencing the withdrawal symptoms. The initial dose is given to provide a medically controlled dosage level that the carisoprodol addiction treatment personnel can use as a treatment baseline. Once the patient is on a controlled dosage level, tapering off from carisoprodol can begin.
Tapering the patient off carisoprodol is done slowly to allow the patient to adjust to the lowering amounts of carisoprodol within his or her body in stages. During the process, dosage of the drug is reduced on a daily basis by about 10 percent. After the reduced dose is given, the patient is watched for any withdrawal effect. If the tapering process proceeds successfully during carisoprodol addiction treatment, no signs of withdrawal will occur. The patient constantly adjusts to the lessened amount daily, reducing the body’s dependence on the drug by reducing the amount of drug within the patient’s system.
The level of the dose continues to shrink until the doses are small enough that quitting the use of the drug does not cause the withdrawal symptoms to occur. If the carisoprodol withdrawal begins at any time during the tapering process, the patient’s dose for the day is raised slightly to stabilize the patient once again and stave off the beginnings of withdrawal. After the withdrawal is once again held off, tapering begins again. After the tapering process ends and the patient is taken off the drug entirely, the carisoprodol addiction treatment facility continues to monitor the patient’s health for up to 48 hours to make certain withdrawal does not occur, and that there are no side effects from the detoxification process.
Medical personnel are kept available during the entire monitoring period to react to any medical emergency for the patient’s safety. After the tapering ends, the patient can begin a carisoprodol addiction treatment rehab program to deal with the after effects of the dependence, including many of the post-acute withdrawal symptoms.
Cravings for the use of carisoprodol remain even after the last of the drug is gone from the patient’s system after detox. The cravings are just a part of the psychological dependence experienced by the patient because of the extended period of drug use. Cravings along with other symptoms of post-acute withdrawal may last months, but the cravings can be fought off through the use of skills obtained during carisoprodol addiction treatment rehab.
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Carisoprodol rehab occurs within a rehab facility under the direct supervision of medically trained personnel. During rehab, the patient is given extensive counseling intended to prepare the patient for the post-rehab recovery process. This counseling combines one-on-one behavioral therapy sessions with group therapy that includes other rehabilitating patients and family education.
The initial inpatient rehab stay is generally 30 days, but there is no upper limit to the amount of rehab time a patient may go though. Rehab takes as long as is necessary to see that the patient is ready to live a drug-free life outside the facility, with treatment times often lasting as long as 60 or 90 days. At the core of the therapy process used within a carisoprodol addiction treatment program is the desire to modify the behavior of the patient.
For long-term success at remaining drug free, a replacement must be found for the patient’s addictive behavior. Whenever the impulse to take the carisoprodol occurs, an alternative to taking the medication must exist to aid the patient in resisting the drug use. For success at implementing a behavioral change, the patient will have to change much of his or her lifestyle to be rid of drug triggers. These changes can include family members, friends, jobs or anything else in the patient’s life that leads to the drug use. Finding each trigger can be a time-consuming process, which is why there is no time limit placed on the rehab process. Each trigger identified and dealt with can mean an increase in the chances for a long-term recovery without carisoprodol.
During the carisoprodol addiction treatment therapy, the patient will find that many of the triggers are internal. These are the underlying causes behind the addiction and stem from issues that the patient has in his or her life that long preceded the drug use. In order to handle the issues, the treatment process concentrates on the creating of coping skills for the patient. These skills allow the patient to confront the issues without returning to the use of the drug while doing so.While undergoing one-on-one therapy, the patient also undergoes group therapy during the carisoprodol rehab program.
The methods behind group therapy are a continuation of the methods used in the one-on-one sessions and are intended to open the patient up to sharing the dependence experience with others in the carisoprodol addiction treatment program, as well as the process of recovery. At the same time, other members of the group are sharing their experiences as well. The sharing process among group members has a dual purpose. The first is to remove the sense of isolation the patient may feel during treatment.
There’s often a sense that the patient is unique in his or her addiction and that others cannot understand what the patient’s going through. Group sessions show that not only are others going through the same process, but also that they can offer the patient support during his or her own recovery process. This support is the second purpose behind the group sessions. Seeing others going through the recovery process helps motivate the patient to continue with his or own recovery and see the program through to the end.
Group TherapyGroup sessions show that not only are others going through the same process, but also that they can offer the patient support during his or her own recovery process. This support is the second purpose behind the group sessions.
The third type of therapy during the carisoprodol addiction treatment process involves the patient’s family. While using the drug, familial relations are likely strained. By involving the patient’s family in the treatment process, an effort is made to mend that strain. Family members can be a great source of support for the patient after rehab, providing additional motivation to remain clean of the drug use. Using a specialist from the treatment process to educate the family members about the patient’s addiction helps them to better understand the actions of the patient while under the influence of the drug.
The education also includes the signs to look for in case of a relapse, so that the family can confront the patient early on if such a relapse should occur. After the patient has developed sufficient methods during the carisoprodol addiction treatment process for dealing with the post-dependence cravings, he or she is finished with rehab. However, completing rehab is not the end of the recovery process. Dealing with life after dependence requires continual work on the patient’s part to remain clean and sober.
The patient doesn’t have to go it alone after rehab. A wide variety of addiction support groups exist that can help the patient navigate his or her way through the post-facility recovery process. Many of the groups are like those experienced during the carisoprodol addiction treatment program.
A support group, which consists of former drug users, meets frequently to discuss the issues of dependence and recovery. Through these discussions, the patient can discover information that can help with the avoidance of further drug use, and with any lingering issues of isolation. There is a chance to recover from carisoprodol dependence if the user is determined to do so. All it takes is a commitment to go through treatment.