Updated on April 26, 2024
4 min read

Soma Effects, Risks, and Treatment

Key Takeaways

Soma, also called carisoprodol, is a muscle relaxant that affects how the brain and spinal cord process signals related to muscle tension. It’s an FDA-approved prescription medication, but its use is restricted due to potential side effects.

Doctors typically prescribe Soma for short-term relief of painful muscle conditions like sprains and muscle spasms. Because of its potential for sedation and addiction, doctors recommend using it only for 2 to 3 weeks maximum.3

Soma can affect your judgment and coordination. There’s even a link between Soma use and car accidents. Unfortunately, some people misuse it by combining it with alcohol or other drugs. This is extremely dangerous because it greatly increases your risk of severe side effects, including overdose.

Is Soma Addictive?

Yes. Despite its status as a Schedule IV controlled substance, it’s common for people to use Soma recreationally and form an addiction.

Soma abuse can lead to addiction and occurs when people use the drug:

  • Without a prescription
  • For reasons other than its intended use
  • In higher doses than prescribed
  • In combination with other CNS depressants

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Signs and Symptoms of Soma Addiction

Repeated Soma usage can produce two of the hallmark symptoms of addiction⁠—tolerance and withdrawal. With tolerance, people may require larger doses to feel the same effects and experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using it. 

Other Soma addiction symptoms include:

  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Engaging in risky behavior
  • Prioritizing Soma use over professional, familial, or social responsibilities
  • Fluctuating appetite and weight
  • Isolating from loved ones

People with a history of substance addiction should seek professional medical advice before taking Soma.

Can Addiction Worsen Soma Side Effects?

Even when used as prescribed, Soma carries side effects. Addiction to the drug only increases your risk of experiencing more frequent and severe side effects.

It can amplify common side effects like drowsiness, dizziness, and headaches. Other effects include:

  • Vertigo (spinning, off-balance sensation)
  • Syncope (temporary loss of consciousness caused by a lack of blood flow to the brain)
  • Ataxia (difficulty walking)

Long-term Soma abuse can cause potentially life-threatening problems, including:

  • Seizures (especially in overdose situations)
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Dangerous drops in blood pressure
  • Increased irritability and mood swings

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What Are Soma’s Withdrawal Symptoms?

Soma withdrawal symptoms occur when someone who has developed a physical dependence on the drug stops using it suddenly. They typically begin 12 to 48 hours after the last dose, persisting for an additional 48 hours after onset.

Common carisoprodol withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Cramping
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Muscle twitching
  • Tremors
  • Chills
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychosis

More severe Soma withdrawal symptoms include tachycardia and ataxia. Tachycardia is a dangerous increase in heart rate, while Ataxia results in the loss of muscle coordination.

The severity and duration of carisoprodol withdrawal depend on a person’s dosage and duration of use. It’s often worse for those who misuse Soma and combine it with other depressants, such as alcohol, opiates, or benzodiazepines.

Can You Overdose On Soma?

Combining Soma with other CNS depressants can increase the risk of overdose. The overlap of overdose symptoms with other medications can also make diagnosis difficult.

Soma overdose produces symptoms such as:

  • Severe gait impairment
  • Amnesia
  • Agitation and violent outbursts
  • Confusion
  • Excessive sedation
  • Seizures

Severe overdoses can cause suppression of breathing, followed by coma and death.

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How to Prevent Soma Abuse

Prescription drug abuse is a concern among teenagers since these drugs are easier to access and are perceived as less dangerous than illegal drugs. If you have prescription medication like Soma, always lock it away and check the amounts used.

The best way to prevent drug use is to know its dangers. Explain that drugs like Soma can have harmful effects when: 

  • Not taken as prescribed
  • Consumed with alcohol or other drugs
  • Ingested via alternate methods such as injection

If symptoms of Soma addiction arise, treatment may be necessary.

How Is Soma Addiction Treated?

Long-term, consistent treatment is essential for achieving lasting addiction recovery, often involving a combination of therapy, support groups, and other supportive measures.

Listed below are some treatment options you can seek out for soma addiction:

  • Supervised medical detox: It’s often required as part of Soma addiction treatment. If you have become addicted to Soma, your doctor will direct you to start tapering the dosage.
  • Inpatient program: During treatment, a person lives at the rehab center, adheres to a highly structured schedule, and receives around-the-clock medical care on-site.
  • Outpatient program: A person attends sessions while maintaining other personal commitments outside treatment, such as employment, school, and family obligations.
  • Support groups: These groups let people solidify positive life changes and join a community around recovery.

Relapse Prevention Strategies

Relapse prevention strategies for Soma (carisoprodol) addiction are crucial for maintaining long-term recovery. Here are some effective strategies: 

  • Education on risks and effects: Understanding the potential for abuse and the side effects of Soma is essential for both patients and healthcare providers.
  • Medication management: Use Soma as prescribed, for the shortest duration necessary, and avoid higher doses or prolonged use to minimize the risk of dependency and addiction 
  • Identify and manage triggers: Recognize personal triggers that may lead to Soma use, such as stress, certain social situations, or emotional states, and develop strategies to manage or avoid them.
  • Build support networks: A strong support network, including family, friends, and support groups, can help provide encouragement and accountability.

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Updated on April 26, 2024

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