Are You Addicted to Flexeril?
Flexeril (cyclobenzaprine) is a muscle relaxant commonly prescribed to ease pain and discomfort associated with muscle sprains, strains, and injuries.1
Although Flexeril abuse and addiction are not as common as addiction to some other types of prescription drugs, the drug can still have a number of detrimental short-term and long-term effects. A person who is addicted may need to seek help from a recovery center to stop using.
Is Flexeril Addictive?
Flexeril is not a controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act. However, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has reported misuse and abuse of the drug. In 2010, more than 12,400 emergency room visits were associated with Flexeril use—a 101% increase from 2004.2
Many people who abuse the drug take it in combination with other drugs or alcohol to enhance its effects. People who misuse it report feelings of sedation and relaxation. A small number of users report euphoria.2
Flexeril is only intended for short-term use—typically 2–3 weeks. People who use it for a longer period of time may build tolerance and require higher doses to achieve the same effect they experienced before. Tolerance can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms when the person quits using it or reduces the dose.
Some of the withdrawal symptoms reported when long-term users abruptly stop taking Flexeril include:2
- General malaise.
How to Tell If You or a Loved One Is Addicted
Flexeril is a therapeutic drug frequently prescribed by physicians, so people may be unaware that its use can be problematic. Being aware of the signs and symptoms of Flexeril addiction and abuse can prevent negative outcomes, including overdose.
A person may be addicted to Flexeril if they have experienced or displayed the following patterns of drug-related behavior and consequences of use:
- Takes a higher dose than prescribed or requires more of the drug to achieve the initial effect.4
- Combines Flexeril with other drugs or alcohol.
- Continues to use Flexeril despite negative consequences.4
- Misses out on work, school, or social activities due to drug use.4
- Takes Flexeril for nonmedical reasons.
- Has tried to quit using Flexeril or has cut back on use and resumed using.4
- Uses Flexeril to come down from stimulants such as cocaine, amphetamine, etc.
- Has difficulties with relationships as a result of Flexeril use.4
- Gets into legal trouble due to Flexeril use.4
- Has a financial problem due to Flexeril use.4
- Uses the drug in dangerous conditions, such as while operating a motor vehicle.4
Physical and emotional signs of drug abuse include:4
- Unkempt appearance.
- Frequent mood swings.
- Sudden weight loss or gain.
- Changes in sleep habits.
- Slurred speech.
- Impaired coordination.
Getting Treatment and Starting Recovery
The right type of Flexeril addiction treatment depends on the person’s situation. Just as no 2 people are alike, no single treatment regimen will work for every person. Many programs can treat addiction to multiple substances and may be able to offer or recommend alternative treatments for pain management.
Common treatment options include the following:
- Inpatient treatment: Inpatient Flexeril treatment takes place in a residential facility where patients live full-time. The average length of stay is around 30 days, but people may stay longer in severe cases. Inpatient treatment programs combine many different treatment approaches such as medically supervised detox, individual therapy, group counseling, support groups, and 12-step programs.
- Outpatient treatment: People in outpatient addiction rehab attend group therapy or individual counseling part-time and continue to reside at home. Outpatient Flexeril treatment is a great option for those that want to continue to work, go to school, or fulfill other responsibilities outside of the treatment environment. Outpatient is also typically more affordable than inpatient facilities.
- 12-step programs: Twelve-step programs offer a step-by-step approach to recovery using the traditional steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. The steps outline a program for recovery that incorporates guidance from a higher power. But a person does not need to be religious to participate. Popular 12-step programs that may be appropriate for those with Flexeril addiction include Narcotics Anonymous and Pills Anonymous
- Teen rehab: Many teen rehab programs exist. These treatment facilities focus on issues that specifically affect teens who are struggling with addiction, such as peer pressure, body image, and self-esteem.
- Dual diagnosis: Dual diagnosis means a person suffers from drug addiction and a co-occurring mental illness. The dual diagnosis approach considers and treats both disorders simultaneously to improve treatment outcomes.
Choosing a treatment program can be intimidating. Below is a list of things to consider when making your decision.
- Location: If you are choosing an outpatient facility, make sure the treatment center is close to home so that you can easily get back and forth from treatment sessions. In addition, some insurance companies may not cover out-of-state services, or they may expect you to pay greater out-of-pocket costs.
- Cost: Addiction treatment can be expensive. Consider the costs of treatment when choosing a program. Inpatient programs and programs with more amenities will typically cost more.
- Qualifications of staff: A good addiction treatment center should have a highly qualified and trained staff of medical doctors, psychologists, licensed counselors, registered nurses, dietitians, or other health professionals.
- Program accreditation: Accreditation agencies hold treatment facilities to certain industry standards that help ensure a quality level of care. By taking the time to check what accreditations a prospective treatment program has, you will be more likely to choose a facility that will provide you with appropriate care and quality treatment.
- Program philosophy: Programs take different approaches to treatment: evidence-based, 12-step, religious. If you choose a program whose philosophy is not well-aligned with your beliefs and values, it can affect how much you get out of the program.
Paying for Treatment
Addiction treatment can be costly. However, costs can vary greatly depending on many factors, such as:
- Whether you choose inpatient or outpatient treatment.
- How long you choose to stay.
- How high-end the facility is.
- Where it’s located.
- Whether or not it’s covered by your insurance.
If you are uninsured or underinsured, consider financing your addiction recovery by:
- Using credit cards or personal loans: If you don’t have savings to cover treatment costs, you may want to consider taking out a person loan or funding treatment with a credit card. If you choose this option, be sure that the repayment plan and interest rate are affordable so that you don’t end up in a financial mess when you finish treatment.
- Borrowing from friends or family: It may be difficult to ask for help. But you may have some friends or family members who would be glad to loan you money to help cover treatment costs.
- Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding through sites such as GoFundMe or Crowdrise is a way to reach multiple family members and friends at once. You can use these online fundraising platforms to share your story and seek donations.
Short-Term and Long-Term Side Effects of Flexeril Dependency
The potential short-term side effects of Flexeril abuse and addiction include:1,2,3
- Increased sedation and drowsiness.
- Elevated heart rate.
- Stomach problems (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea).
- Dry mouth.
Because the drug is only recommended for short-term use, the long-term effects of Flexeril have not been widely studied. Some of the potential long-term effects of Flexeril abuse and addiction include:
- Physical tolerance.
- Withdrawal symptoms upon abrupt discontinuation of the drug.
- Impaired relationships.
- Stomach problems (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea).
Flexeril and Alcohol
Flexeril and alcohol are both central nervous system depressants. Combining the 2 can increase the effects of both and lead to:5
- Excessive drowsiness.
- Increased dizziness.
- Slowed or difficulty breathing.
- Impaired motor function.
- Memory problems
- Unusual behaviors.
- Increased risk of seizures.
- Increased risk of alcohol poisoning.
- Increased risk of Flexeril overdose.
The most common symptoms of Flexeril overdose, which occurs more often in combination with alcohol, include:3
- Elevated heart rate.
Less common symptoms of Flexeril overdose include:3
- Loss of bodily control.
- Severe hypotension or hypertension.
- Chest pains.
- Slurred speech.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Cardiac dysrhythmias.
- Cardiac arrest.
Call 911 immediately if you think an overdose has occurred.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2010). Cyclobenzaprine.
- U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). (2013). Cyclobenzaprine.
- Food and Drug Administration. Cyclobenzaprine HCI Tablets.
- Indian Health Service. Warning Signs of Drug Abuse and Addiction.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2014). Harmful Interactions: Mixing Alcohol with Medicines.