Soma is a brand name for carisoprodol, a muscle relaxant used to treat strains, sprains, and other muscle injuries or disorders. When prescribed on a short-term basis along with rest, physical therapy, and other treatments, Soma can safely relax muscles and relieve pain and discomfort during the healing process.
As a skeletal muscle relaxant, Soma functions by relaxing muscles and reducing muscle contraction. It can also have a sedating and calming effect, and in higher doses, creates a mild, short-lived sense of euphoria.
Soma can potentially lead to dependence and cravings so it must always be taken exactly as directed.
Understanding Soma Abuse
Soma is a skeletal muscle relaxant that can be used on a short-term basis to treat pain and discomfort resulting from bone and muscle conditions or injury. It should be used in conjunction with, and not as a replacement for: rest, physical therapy, exercise, or any other therapeutic activity recommended by your doctor.
Taking Soma as directed by your doctor for a specific reason is unlikely to cause any serious addiction problems. However, overusing the medication, or taking Soma recreationally or without a prescription is very risky and could lead to dependence.
Taking Soma in higher than normal doses can have a sedating effect, as well as produce mild feelings of euphoria. If you have a history of drug and/or alcohol abuse, you are much more likely to become addicted to Soma.
Signs and Symptoms of Soma Abuse
People suffering from drug abuse tend to engage in secretive behavior designed to conceal their addiction. This can make it more difficult for loved ones to know that there is a problem.
Common sign and symptoms of an addiction to Soma include:
- needing to have a prescription refilled earlier than scheduled
- doctor shopping to acquire new prescriptions
- unusual changes in mood and behavior
- less concern with appearance or hygiene
- confusion and mental clouding
- financial problems
- isolation from family and friends
- changes in eating habits
- changes in sleeping patterns
- no longer seeming interested in favorite pastimes or hobbies
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Soma has the potential to cause numerous serious side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- fast heart rate
- upset stomach
- skin rash
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- difficulty breathing
- burning in the eyes
Dangers of Soma Abuse
You should never stop taking Soma abruptly. Consult a doctor for the best way to gradually taper your dosage to avoid dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
Sustained use of Soma will create a tolerance, requiring you to raise your dosage in order to experience the same effects. Taking large amounts of Soma will increase your risk of serious medical consequences, including death.
The Micromedex Consumer Drug information found on PubMed Health lists the following as possible symptoms of Soma overdose:
- bigger, dilated, or enlarged pupils
- blurred vision
- change in consciousness
- confusion as to time, place, or person
- difficult or troubled breathing
- false or unusual sense of well-being
- holding false beliefs that cannot be changed by fact
- inability to move the eyes
- increased blinking or spasms of the eyelid
- increased sensitivity of the eyes to light
- irregular, fast or slow, or shallow breathing
- loss of consciousness
- muscle stiffness or tightness
- pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin
- sticking out of the tongue
- trouble with breathing, speaking, or swallowing
- uncontrolled eye movements
- uncontrolled twisting movements of the neck, trunk, arms, or legs
- unusual excitement, nervousness, or restlessness
- unusual facial expressions
- weakness of the arms and legs
Who Abuses Soma?
In theory, almost anyone could become addicted to Soma, but it is most likely to occur if you have had previous drug and/or alcohol problems. Because Soma can reduce anxiety, promote relaxation and sedation, and may cause short-lived, mild euphoria, it can easily produce psychological dependence.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine reports that “both tolerance and physical dependence have been reported with the prolonged use of carisoprodol. Reported withdrawal symptoms with carisoprodol include:
- abdominal cramps
- muscle twitching
- ataxia (loss of muscle control)
You should never allow your pain to go untreated because you’re afraid of becoming addicted to pain-relieving medications. Chronic pain can have devastating consequences, potentially leading to mood disorders, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
What’s important is to take drugs like Soma and other doctor prescribed medications responsibly, and as directed by your doctor. Only when you take too much of the medication, or misuse it by using it to relax or for enjoyment instead of to treat pain or discomfort, do you risk becoming dependent.
Am I Addicted to Soma?
If you fear you are addicted to Soma, it’s time to examine your life and your habits with brutal honesty. Read the following questions. If you answer yes to one or more of them, you may be addicted to Soma.
- Do I regularly abuse Soma, as in daily, or even multiple times a day?
- Do I abuse the drug in order to combat negative feelings or to pretend that my problems don’t exist?
- Have friends or family members come to me to express their concern about my drug use?
- Do I become hostile or angry when they do so?
- Do I ever experience side effects such as those listed above, and yet continue taking Soma without consulting my doctor?
- Have I tried and failed to quit Soma because I couldn’t handle the withdrawal symptoms?
- Do I feel like I can’t have enjoy myself, be social, be normal, or complete tasks without Soma?
- Am I secretive about my drug use, and/or lie about it?
- Do I need more and more Soma each time I take it in order to still feel its effects?
- Have I experienced any upsets recently, such as a breakup, family or relationship problems, financial problems, job loss, car accident, or getting arrested as a result of my drug use?
- Despite these issues, do I feel unable to stop using Soma on my own?
Soma Addiction Treatment
There are wonderful treatment facilities everywhere that can help you break free from drug addiction and reclaim your life. Due to the variety of treatment styles, program formats, and financial options available, there is always a viable way to incorporate substance abuse recovery into your life.
You need a lucid mind and a body free from harmful, mind-altering chemicals before you can fully engage with the therapeutic process. This requires detoxification and sobriety.
Withdrawing from Soma can be extremely unpleasant and potentially dangerous. You will definitely be weaned off of Soma gradually, as abruptly stopping the drug can lead to serious medical complications. Experiencing detox in a rehab center under the care of medical professionals is preferred.
Rehabilitation and Recovery
Sometimes the hardest parts of addiction treatment also turn out to be the most wonderful. It isn’t easy to be open and honest about yourself, and to speak openly about your problems, your past, and your dreams, but once you do, odds are you will feel like a great weight has been lifted. Sometimes not talking about something is the heaviest burden of all.
Individual therapy can help you uncover and heal issues privately with a therapist, while group therapy can help you connect with other people who are experiencing similar highs and lows as you. Family and/or couples therapy is important to work through interpersonal issues, and to set up healthier ways of interacting so that you can continue strong in your recovery after returning home.
Other treatment options include:
- Alternative therapies: Less traditional, but proven treatment methods such as mindfulness training, equine therapy, and acupuncture are used at more treatment centers every day.
- Fitness, nutrition, and sleep: a strong body is just as important as a strong mind when it comes to lifelong recovery. To this end, eating well, exercising, and getting good quality sleep are essential.
- 12-step meetings: Meetings based on the 12-step program that originated with Alcoholics Anonymous are available everywhere, which makes them an important long-term resource.
Although an addiction to Soma can have a devastating effect on your life and everyone in it, a better future is within reach.