Causes & Effects of Flexeril Abuse

Understanding Flexeril Abuse

Learn about Flexeril abuse

Flexeril is the brand name of a prescription medication that is most commonly used to treat muscle spasms, back pain, and symptoms of fibromyalgia. The active ingredient in Flexeril is cyclobenzaprine, which is a muscle relaxant.

Flexeril is safe when used for a short period of time, typically no more than two weeks, under the supervision of a qualified physician. However, Flexiril’s effects include pleasurable sensations such as temporary euphoria, making the drug attractive for those who seek a recreational high.

Flexeril abuse can put you at risk for considerable harm, including the development of an addiction.


Flexeril abuse statistics

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has reported the following statistics:

  • In 2011, U.S. physicians wrote 25.2 million prescriptions for Flexeril and other medications that contain cyclobenzaprine.
  • In 2004, cyclobenzaprine use was a factor in 6,183 emergency room visits.
  • In 2010, the Drug Abuse Warning Network recorded 12,144 ER visits involving cyclobenzaprine, an increase of 101% from six years earlier.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for Flexeril abuse

Your risk for Flexeril abuse and addiction can be influenced by several factors, including the following:

  • Family history of substance abuse, addiction, or mental illness
  • Personal history of substance abuse or mental illness
  • Personal history of abuse, neglect, or other trauma
  • Being prescribed Flexeril for legitimate medical purposes
  • Novelty-seeking personality
  • Impulsivity
  • Early exposure to substance abuse

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Flexeril abuse

The following signs and symptoms of Flexeril abuse may indicate that a person has a problem with this drug:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Trying to get multiple prescriptions for Flexeril by visiting several doctors (a practice known as “doctor shopping”)
  • Hiding Flexeril use from family and friends
  • Attempting to borrow or steal Flexeril
  • Trying but failing to stop using Flexeril
  • Using Flexeril when it is clearly dangerous to do so, such as in combination with other substances or prior to driving a car

Physical symptoms:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness

Mental symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Euphoria
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations


Effects of Flexeril abuse

The side effects of Flexeril abuse can include the following:

  • Seizure
  • Heart palpitations and heart attack
  • Psychosis
  • Physical injury due to slips, falls, and other accidents while under the influence of Flexeril
  • Legal problems (if you attempt to steal Flexeril or acquire it via other illegal means)

Dual Diagnosis

Flexeril abuse and dual diagnosis

Flexeril abuse and addiction are associated with  several other mental and behavioral health disorders. The presence of multiple disorders is referred to as dual diagnosis. If you have been abusing or have become addicted to Flexeril, you may also be in danger of developing the following:

  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Antisocial personality disorder

Many people who struggle with addiction don’t realize they need help for dual diagnosis until they enter a program. This is one of the many reasons why it’s important to choose a center than offers comprehensive services. A provider that can assess the full scope of your needs, and provide dual diagnosis programming when necessary, can help you take significant strides toward successful long-term recovery from Flexeril addiction.

Withdrawal and Overdose

Effects of Flexeril withdrawal and overdose

Effects of withdrawal: If you become dependent upon Flexeril, your body will adapt to the presence of the drug. When you try to end your Flexeril use, your body may respond with various uncomfortable symptoms. Common Flexeril withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Intense cravings for Flexeril

Flexeril withdrawal is not typically dangerous. However, the distress of these symptoms can push you back into the self-defeating habit of Flexeril abuse.

Effects of overdose: If a person abuses Flexeril and then experiences the following symptoms, they may have overdosed. Anyone who overdoses on Flexeril needs immediate medical attention:

  • Extreme confusion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Anaphylactic shock
  • Seizure
  • Heart attack


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