People often ask, is baclofen addictive? Search engine results can show confusing information at first glance because of some of the medication’s uses. In recent years, professionals have been using baclofen for addiction treatment. Studies show that baclofen can be just as effective as diazepam in treating the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Professionals also use baclofen for opiate withdrawals. Additionally, some professionals use it to treat people with cocaine dependence.
According to the results of one study, participants who used baclofen successfully reduced their use of cocaine over time. Although baclofen can be beneficial in some addiction treatment programs, some people can become addicted to it and may abuse the drug. Is baclofen addictive? Yes, and it is important to understand how to identify baclofen abuse and its dangers.
Jump to Section
What Is Baclofen?
Baclofen is a muscle relaxant that physicians may prescribe to treat muscle stiffness, tightness, or spasticity. They may prescribe it to people with spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, or other diseases that affect the muscles. There are other uses for the drug as well. For example, some doctors may prescribe it for epilepsy. When professionals use baclofen for addiction treatment, they typically prescribe it to treat withdrawal or to attempt to reduce dependence on another drug.
The drug may be in liquid or tablet form. Physicians typically prescribe three daily doses that patients take at different intervals. Although it comes with a risk of dependence, it is also important to not stop taking the drug suddenly. When a person stops taking baclofen as directed suddenly, there is a risk of hallucinations, seizures, fever, and confusion.
What Are the Side Effects of Baclofen?
With baclofen, most of the common side effects are not life-threatening. These are some of the common side effects that people may experience when they take a normal dose:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Increased urination
It is important to notify a physician of any of the above side effects. There are some rarer side effects that are potentially dangerous. They include hallucinations, depression, and profound confusion. It is important to report those side effects to a doctor immediately.
Any mental changes or mood changes can be harmful. If a person experiences itching, swelling of the throat or face, difficulty breathing, severe dizziness, or severe itching, it may be an allergic reaction. While allergies to baclofen are rare, they require emergency medical attention.
Why Is Baclofen Addictive?
While baclofen’s use as an addiction treatment drug spans more than a decade, more reports of abuse surfaced in recent years. One case study provided a good example of why the substance is addictive. In the case study, a 24-year-old male took baclofen for addiction to cigarettes after a respiratory infection. Combined with nicotine gum, the baclofen helped reduce cravings for nicotine. However, the man self-reported baclofen abuse, totaling about 20 pills per day.
The man in the case study said that in large doses, baclofen gave him a feeling of euphoria. Other studies show that people who take baclofen can build a tolerance to it, which means that physicians may prescribe increasing doses over time. For people with chronic illnesses or muscle problems, the risk of tolerance is especially high.
What is Baclofen Tolerance?
Tolerance happens when a person’s brain and body do not respond in the same way they did when they started taking a substance. Risks for relapsing on a different drug also exist in this situation. For example, a person taking baclofen for opiate withdrawals may no longer feel the effects and may take opiates again.
Taking higher doses of baclofen or any habit-forming substance can lead to dependence. This is what happens when a person depends on the substance, and the individual experiences withdrawal if the drug is suddenly stopped. To avoid the unpleasant effects of withdrawal and to achieve the same results, people turn to baclofen abuse by taking it more often than needed or in larger doses.
Prolonged misuse can lead to addiction, which is what happens when a person is unable to stop taking a substance even though the individual is aware of the harm it causes. To overcome addiction successfully, a person needs professional treatment.
Why Professional Addiction Treatment Is Important
Without the help and supervision of professionals, it is difficult and sometimes impossible to overcome addiction. Effective treatment requires successful detox, followed by continuing therapy. When people try to detox on their own, the effects can be dangerous. For example, imagine that someone who takes baclofen for opiate withdrawals develops a tolerance to the drug and stops taking it.
Although the person takes baclofen for opiate withdrawals, baclofen withdrawals may start if the individual stops. The person may experience other negative symptoms and may be more likely to relapse. Taking baclofen for opiate withdrawals is not the only risk. Some people take it for alcohol withdrawals or to manage dependence on another substance, which can create a complicated problem when baclofen abuse exists. Since there are so many complexities and risks, professional treatment is essential.
Treatments for Baclofen Addiction and Withdrawal
Fortunately, treatment for baclofen abuse is easier to access today. Professionals use a comprehensive approach to treat baclofen abuse and withdrawal, and they can treat co-occurring disorders at the same time. These are three important considerations in the treatment of baclofen misuse.
This is the first and most critical step in successful treatment. Detox involves letting the body cleanse itself of the substance. There can be unpleasant or even dangerous withdrawal symptoms during this time, which is why medical supervision is essential.
Physicians and nurses provide medications and treatment to ease symptoms and make people feel more comfortable. They also stay in a clean, safe and supportive environment. Also, they have someone to prepare nutritious meals for them, do their laundry, and assist them to help them focus on starting recovery.
Levels of Care
There are several types of treatment structures. Which one is better for a person depends on the individual’s home environment, work, family commitments, and other personal factors. Inpatient or residential treatment involves staying in the facility 24/7 for a specific number of weeks or months.
Outpatient treatment involves visiting the facility as recommended by a professional for therapy. Partial hospitalization involves spending several hours each day in the facility for treatment, and intensive outpatient treatment may require fewer hours per day or fewer sessions per week.
Types of Therapy
The types of therapy professionals use are designed to treat mind, body, and spirit. They use cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy to teach people to identify the causes of behaviors and change them. They teach people how to cope with triggers or situations and avoid others.
Therapy can also help people overcome past trauma or cope with the effects of it. Many people who have a substance use disorder also have a mental health disorder. It is important to treat both issues simultaneously since they can negatively affect one another and lead to relapse.
Group, family, and individual therapy structures give people the care they need to have individual support, the support of others who struggle with addiction, and the support of family members. Holistic therapies support overall wellness. Using multiple types of therapy to treat each person’s unique needs, therapists help them learn the keys to break the cycle of addiction.
Case management services are also available after people finish treatment to help them stay in recovery.
Finding Addiction Treatment for Baclofen in West Virginia
Is baclofen addictive? Yes, it can be, and we want people who struggle with addiction to know that there is help. If you take baclofen for addiction and know that you are misusing it, we can help. We can also help if you have a loved one who takes baclofen for addiction and is struggling with misuse.
At Harmony Ridge Recovery Center, we feel that everyone in the area deserves the best treatment and support. We provide detox, residential treatment, partial hospitalization treatment, outpatient treatment, case management, and multiple types of therapies. Also, we treat co-occurring mental health disorders along with addiction.
Our team takes pride in creating a safe environment where people can feel confident and comfortable. We make confidentiality a top priority. The programs we offer are designed to help people discover the keys to beating the cycle of addiction and staying in recovery. Our facility is in Walker, West Virginia.
We welcome residents of the Mid-Ohio Valley area and West Virginia to reach out to us for treatment. Our skilled team believes that everyone deserves to live life without the restrictions of addiction. We treat people who struggle with multiple forms of drug addiction and alcohol addiction. To learn more about our treatment options for baclofen addiction or baclofen misuse, please contact us.