- Flexeril Withdrawal Symptoms
- Withdrawal Timeline
- Is Withdrawal Dangerous?
- Flexeril Treatment Programs
- Therapeutic Modalities
- Lifestyle Adjustments
- Key Sources
- Medical Disclaimer
Flexeril is a muscle relaxant medication that is widely prescribed to treat muscle spasms and pain that is incurred from injuries, sprains, and strains. However, while Flexeril is deemed to be non-addictive and is usually only prescribed for short-term use, it still poses risks for abuse.
As Flexeril can produce a mild euphoria at higher doses, some individuals become hooked on this drug, especially if it provides much-needed relaxation and pain relief. Tolerance can also occur if taken for long periods, leading individuals to take larger doses to achieve the desired effects. This cycle of dependence and tolerance can lead to Flexeril addiction and abuse.
Luckily, however, there are several options when it comes to recovering from Flexeril addiction. In this article, we cover the typical symptoms encountered during Flexeril withdrawal and the timelines for recovery. We also address the range of treatment options available.
Although Flexeril is a milder drug, successfully withdrawing from it can involve multiple stages of rehab that target the physical, psychological, and emotional causes of your addiction. However, the first stage is to detox from the drug itself. This requires an individual to stop taking Flexeril, and this is best done through medically supervised detox.
During detox, an individual will experience withdrawal symptoms, which can vary between each person. These are also dependent on several factors, such as:
- Levels of tolerance
- Individual physiology
- Duration of use
- Dose and frequency of use
- “Poly-drug use” (using multiple drugs at once)
- Co-occurring conditions or mental health issues
Flexeril Withdrawal Symptoms
- Difficulty sleeping
- Extreme sweating
- Flu-like symptoms
- Body and muscle pain
However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also notes that individuals can experience tricyclic anti-depressant withdrawal symptoms from Flexeril due to the similarities between these drugs. Symptoms include:
- Muscle aches
While Flexeril withdrawal can be uncomfortable, it is not dangerous. Once a person stops taking Flexeril, they are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms within a few days after the last dose.
The first couple of days can feel like a mild flu, followed by drowsiness, malaise, and other discomforts. These symptoms will typically peak within the first 1 or 2 days and will then subside. General withdrawal symptoms can last for up to a few weeks.
Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)
If withdrawal symptoms last longer than a month, this is referred to as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). The PAWS period differs depending on the drug, but it is less common for drugs like Flexeril. Again, extended withdrawal symptoms can depend on each person and are affected by how long they’ve taken Flexeril and whether they’ve mixed it with other substances.
Is Withdrawal Dangerous?
Withdrawal from muscle relaxants like Flexeril is much less dangerous than street drugs or other prescription medications, like benzodiazepines and anti-depressants. The primary concerns when it comes to detoxing from Flexeril are relapses.
However, there are health complications associated with long-term Flexeril use, and these will depend on several factors, such as the duration and intensity of use.
Flexeril Treatment Programs
If you find yourself addicted to Flexeril, the good news is that treatment is available. While every individual is unique and will have different needs, many centers provide tailored recovery plans. Below is a list of the most common forms of drug abuse treatment programs and what they entail.
Detox programs are available at certain clinics and medical facilities where they supervise a person’s drug withdrawal and provide supportive medications where necessary. These clinics are usually staffed with a team of doctors and nurses who have experience with addiction and drug withdrawal.
The advantage of going to a detox center is that medical assistance is readily available. A detox center will place you in comfortable surroundings, where you can be assured of help in case of emergencies. These clinics also provide medications to ease some of the symptoms.
Short-Term Inpatient (Residential)
Short-term inpatient centers typically start with medical detox and are followed by a program of addiction treatment, such as therapy or counseling, for 30 to 90 days. These programs range from basic inpatient to luxury options, all varying in terms of their amenities and types of therapy. These facilities usually provide 24-hour medical support and are often led by a team of counselors, clinicians, and doctors. Short-term inpatient rehab is ideal for individuals who need detoxing and therapy, but who don’t require long-term treatment.
Long-term inpatient treatment varies in length, but typically ranges between 3 to 18 months. This type of rehab is best suited to individuals with long-term chronic addictions, especially those who have co-occurring mental health issues. Long-term treatment also provides an opportunity for the individual to physically withdraw from Flexeril while they focus on their mental and emotional rehabilitation. These centers also vary in terms of their provision of amenities, which range from basic to luxury options.
Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP)
For individuals who require intensive treatment but still prefer to live at home, partial hospitalization (PHP) or day treatment programs are also available. PHP typically consists of hospital treatment 5 to 7 days a week for 4 to 8 hours per day. Like inpatient treatment, clinical staff are on hand to assist with detox, medication management, and withdrawal symptoms. PHP also involves counseling and group therapy, as well as specialized services that focus on skill-building, relapse prevention, and employment assistance.
Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)
Intensive outpatient programs are less involved than partial hospitalization programs and typically take place at a treatment center or outpatient clinic. Clients receiving intensive outpatient treatment will usually visit the center 2 to 5 days per week for 2 to 4 hours per day. IOP is well suited to clients who have just completed inpatient rehab and who wish to receive intense treatment while living off site. Programs vary, but they often involve a mixture of individual and group therapy, case management, 12-Step programs, experiential therapies, cognitive-behavioral therapies (CBT), and services that cover topics like skill-building, goal setting, and relapse prevention.
Standard Outpatient Programs
Standard outpatient programs are suited to individuals who have just completed an inpatient program and want to continue some form of therapy. Standard outpatient is also ideal for people who may be juggling other responsibilities, such as work or school. Individuals typically report to a treatment center or clinic 1 or 2 days per week. These programs can include counseling, group therapy, 12-Step groups, skills development, goal setting, and relapse prevention training.
Due to the mild withdrawal effects, stopping Flexeril use on your own is possible. However, if you have co-occurring physical or mental health issues or if you are concerned about stopping the drug on your own, a detox facility is an ideal option, as clinicians can keep you safe and comfortable.
During rehab, centers and clinics will provide a range of treatments such as medications, counseling, and behavioral therapies. Below are some of the more effective therapy options for Flexeril abuse and addiction.
Rehab facilities that offer dual diagnosis treatment are often staffed with psychiatrists or clinical therapists that can diagnose and/or treat co-occurring mental health conditions. This kind of treatment is especially useful for people who have underlying issues such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This allows clinicians to address these conditions alongside withdrawal from the Flexeril itself.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
One of the most effective therapies for substance abuse is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This is especially useful if you find it difficult to stop Flexeril use for emotional reasons. CBT helps individuals change negative cycles of thought and behavior into more positive ones. Clients receiving CBT often learn how to recognize “automatic thoughts” and dysfunctional thinking patterns, how to understand the behavior and motivation of others, and how to develop a greater sense of self-understanding and confidence. CBT also helps clients find solutions to triggers that might encourage drug use. CBT is known to be effective and long-lasting, as clients can continue utilizing these strategies once their therapy sessions have ended.
Dialectical-Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Dialectical-behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that focuses on mindfulness, how to live in the moment, cope with stress, and improve relationships. DBT also helps clients identify negative influences in their lives and learn how to develop healthy coping skills. This kind of therapy is useful for people who have anxiety or mood disorders. DBT is also effective for PTSD and for people who exhibit self-destructive behaviors.
The Matrix Model
The Matrix Model is another form of therapy that has shown to be effective in treating various forms of substance abuse. This 16-week approach is comprehensive and consists of a mixture of behavioral therapy, individual counseling, 12-Step support, family education, drug testing, and encouraging non-drug-related activities. Through guided therapy, patients learn about issues connected to addiction and relapse. These sessions are designed to promote self-esteem and self-worth while the patient and therapist work together to reinforce positive behavioral changes.
Contingency management is another effective treatment and is based on a reward system. In most cases, the therapist provides incentives to the patient in exchange for ongoing abstinence and acceptance of treatment. One well-known contingency approach is Motivational Incentives for Enhancing Drug Abuse Recovery (MIEDAR), which is effective for teaching individuals that it is possible to achieve abstinence using self-control. Participants who continue to abstain receive rewards, such as prize draws for money or in-demand objects.
Alternative or Holistic Therapies
Many rehab centers also provide holistic therapies. The purpose of these therapies is to treat the whole person and not just the symptoms. These can be incredibly beneficial for providing calmness, spiritual support, emotional expression, improving physical health, and teaching valuable skills. Some of the popular holistic therapies include:
- Nutritional therapy
- Animal-assisted therapy (e.g., emotional support dogs)
- Massage therapy
- Adventure therapy (e.g., hiking or rock climbing)
- Mindfulness and meditation
- Art therapy and music therapy
- Equine-assisted (horse) therapy
Recovering from Flexeril abuse can be challenging, but there are ways to make this process easier. Along with treatment, lifestyle adjustments and self-care can ease the symptoms while transitioning to a new life.
Exercise is great for improving cardiovascular health, which is especially important following substance abuse. Exercise also stimulates endorphins which can help with depression and low mood. Good forms of exercise include a mix of low- and high-intensity exercises such as walking, running, swimming, cycling, or yoga.
Meditation is known to help calm anxious or racing thoughts. Meditation can also stimulate the pleasure centers of the brain and improve cognitive function, which is especially useful when recovering from addiction.
Getting adequate nutrition after detoxing from substances is vitally important. The right diet can help repair any damage incurred following sustained drug use and lead to improved immunity, cognitive function, and energy.
Learning to avoid triggers is vital during the recovery period. These can include people, situations, or circumstances that can prompt a desire to take drugs.
While cravings can be difficult to manage, hobbies such as sports, art, music, or crafts can be useful distractions. These activities can help someone redirect their cravings and focus on something positive and fun.
If you or a loved one are struggling with Flexeril abuse or addiction, you are not alone. Treatment and support are readily available. Contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment.
You can also find a list of treatment centers near you on our website to help get you on the path to recovery.
Food and Drug Administration. (2001). Flexeril. Cyclobenzaprine HCl Tablets. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2003/017821s045lbl.pdf.
Drug Genius. (2020). Cyclobenzaprine Withdrawal – What Are The Symptoms & How Long Do They Last?. https://druggenius.com/withdrawal/cyclobenzaprine.
Hom, E. (2017). Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril): Dosage & Side Effects. LiveScience.com. https://www.livescience.com/41517-cyclobenzaprine.html.
At RehabAid.com, we are dedicated to helping people recover from problematic substance use and associated mental health disorders. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol, you are not alone. Information on treatment and support options is readily available through the National Helpline of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at 1-800-662-4357. To further assist you along the path to recovery, the treatment center locator on our website allows you to easily find rehabilitation programs and services in your local area.
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