The prescription drug Baclofen is used for the treatment of muscle pain and spasms. It was originally intended for multiple sclerosis patients who often use it to alleviate stiffness in their muscles. Other uses include patients with spinal cord injuries. It is often prescribed as a muscle relaxer, as it works on the nerves in the spinal cord to decrease the number of muscle spasms as well as the severity.
Is Baclofen Addictive?
In 2018, doctors wrote 5,642,530 prescriptions for Baclofen, up from 4,764,197 in 2014. You don’t hear a lot in the media about Baclofen addiction, but it exists, as well as the potential for other health risks. Baclofen has been linked to addiction, as well as serious side effects, and has been used in suicide attempts.
The Scope of Substance Use Disorder (SUD)
Substance Use Disorder is defined by the Mayo Clinic as “a disease that affects a person’s brain and behavior and leads to an inability to control the use of a legal or illegal drug or medication.” In 2019, 19.3 million Americans experienced SUD. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 1.8 million of those struggled with addiction to prescription pain relievers, such as Baclofen.
Adults dealing with SUD have significantly higher rates of suicidal thoughts than those without SUD. Suicidal behaviors include:
- Mood swings, along with feelings of sadness that don’t go away
- Feeling hopeless
- Problems sleeping
- Withdrawing from normal activities
- Changes in appearance such as a typically neatly dressed person becoming sloppy in appearance
- Talking about suicide
If you have loved ones taking Baclofen and displaying any of these symptoms, be aware and get them help. They may be unable to help themselves, and you are their line of defense.
If you’ve been taking Baclofen longer than two months, you should stop taking it gradually, not all at once. Your doctor should organize your cessation schedule. Suddenly stopping this medication can lead to symptoms such as:
- Changes in vision
- Increased spasticity
If you’ve suddenly stopped taking Baclofen and experience any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor. Symptoms should be alleviated by resuming the use of the drug and then slowly reducing the amount over a period of one to two weeks.
If you feel the need to take more Baclofen than has been prescribed, talk to your doctor. Increase your dosage slowly and safely.
How to Take Baclofen
Baclofen has been shown to be most effective when the starting dose is small and gradually increases until the optimum dose has been reached. Your doctor should monitor all phases when you’re taking Baclofen from beginning to end. When it’s time to stop taking the drug, gradually reduce your dosage over time to lessen any possible adverse effects.
Use of Baclofen in Treating Addiction
Ironically, Baclofen has shown some success in treating drug or alcohol addiction, but can also, itself, be addictive. The National Center for Biotechnology reports that Baclofen has been found effective in treating Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). A schedule of Baclofen helped seven out of 10 participants to stop drinking alcohol and also to maintain that status and helped another two participants significantly reduced their intake of alcohol. This result was achieved on a very rigorous and definitive schedule of Baclofen, and every aspect of the program was overseen by medical professionals. But it is still in the baby stages of development, and these results cannot be achieved by most prescriptions given by a doctor to reduce muscle spasms.
Treating Baclofen Addiction
If you or someone you love is dealing with any type of addiction, you should understand there is no shame in seeking help. A cancer patient has no shame in seeing their doctor, and neither should you. You may have developed an addiction trying to control chronic pain—physical or emotional. While no one should live with pain, there are alternate methods to dealing with it. Explore the options. Ask your doctor, and they would be happy to help you with options for pain control. Seek help as soon as you realize there may be a problem. The earlier you start, the more likely you are to have a long-lasting, positive recovery outcome. There is no reason to suffer alone.
If you’ve found yourself in a position where this prescription drug (or any other substance) has taken ahold of your life, help is as close as a phone call. Treating this addiction is not a matter of willpower or dedication; this is a disease. There has been a mix-up in the brain signals, and it causes this overpowering need to take the substance. The only solution is to seek qualified help from people who have the knowledge and experience to deal with this SUD. This is where Granite Recovery Centers enters the picture.
Our facilities throughout New Hampshire offer residential drug rehab programs for adult men and women that follow a 12-step curriculum integrated into evidence-based clinical therapies. Founded by Eric Spofford after he experienced his own recovery and found that there was hope after addiction, Granite Recovery Centers has been growing and offers the same hope to everyone. Spofford says, “Addiction is absolutely a treatable disease. We prove this each and every day in our work.”
At Granite Recovery Centers, we’re equipped to handle addiction of every kind, starting with a medical detox center. Our facilities have medical staff experienced and knowledgeable in every phase of detox. Many of the staff have gone through their own recovery from addiction, and they entered this field in order to help other people in their own recovery. No one has to go through detox alone, and indeed, shouldn’t even try. Some addictions require a medical detox, including alcohol, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, benzodiazepines, and opioids. There is no reason to go it alone.
How to Choose the Right Rehab Program
The first step is knowing what type of treatment you need—inpatient or outpatient.
Inpatient centers offer 24-hour care and treatment where clients find:
Group and individual therapy
- Focused recovery programs
- Clinical psychotherapy
- Exercise and/or holistic therapy
- Skill-building instruction
- Community-based exercises
- 12-step programs
Inpatient care offers clients supervised, structured living for optimum results. Each client receives an individualized program of care.
Outpatient care allows the client to live at home and often comes after they have gone through a program of inpatient care. After inpatient care, it’s important to receive continued support as you re-enter life and work. Outpatient care offers:
- Group therapy
- Holistic classes in yoga, meditation, etc.
- Skill-building workshops
- Career/education resources
- Access to psychotherapy
- Case management
- 12-step programs
The decision to receive inpatient or outpatient care depends largely on the client’s personal needs. Outpatient care can be very effective if the client has a positive and supportive environment at home. If their personal environment has opportunities to access the addictive substance, inpatient care will be more successful. Other factors include how long the addiction has been active and the severity of the addiction. The professional team that works with Granite Recovery Centers can help you to make this decision.
What Happens After the Program Ends?
Going back into family and work-life can be somewhat of an anxious time, but support continues after the rehab program is successfully completed. Granite Recovery Centers offers Extended Care Programs that provide:
- Daily/weekly meetings and workshops
- Daily/weekly psychotherapeutic sessions
- Daily/weekly goal-setting and check-in
- Gender separate facilities
- Continuation of the 12-step work
- Skill building
- Goal setting and more
Along with Extended Care, a client can also enter Sober Living Homes. As a client re-enters their work-life and works at re-establishing relationships, some additional structure can be a helpful thing. Sober Living Homes provide:
- Staff on hand
- Rules about cleanliness and conduct
- Participation in chores/housecleaning
- An abstinent environment
Sober Living Homes require a client to submit to regular and random drug testing; they must obtain a sponsor and secure a service position.
The goal is always to return the client to a productive and useful life, repair family relationships, and to refrain from using substances as a method to deal with pain. This goal is achievable, as evidenced by the number of successful graduations. You can view a number of testimonials on this page. It makes good sense to learn about a center’s success rate before entrusting your rehab process to them.
Treatment for Uniformed Personnel
Uniformed professionals undergo unique stress in their jobs as they serve and protect. An estimated 20-30% of police deal with a substance use disorder. By comparison, just 10% of the general population deal with SUD. Uniformed personnel undergo extremely high-stress levels on an everyday basis, and the results can be SUD and depression. They work long hours, shift work, and this can cause problems at home. This kind of work affects marriages and heaps on guilt because the uniformed partner is not able to attend every child’s football game or dance recital. Resentments can surface, and soon, the officer is not only dealing with high stress on the job, but they are also dealing with high stress at home. At some point, something’s got to give.
Uniformed personnel includes police, firefighters, and the military. A study done in 2012 showed that 56% of firefighters are binge drinkers and many active-duty military members suffer from PTSD. Depression rates in the military are five times higher than in the general population.
There is the misconception that to seek help, they may lose their job or face ridicule from their peers. But if they don’t seek help, they will certainly lose their job.
At Granite Recovery Centers, we offer the Uniformed Professionals Treatment Program (UPTP) specifically geared to treating active and retired uniformed personnel for alcohol and substance use disorder as well as PTSD, stress-related issues, and depression. In addition to working through a 12-step program, personnel will participate in wellness activities such as exercise, yoga, meditation, hiking, or other physical activities. The goal is to graduate with a healthy mind and body.
A successful rehab program takes more than just medical knowledge. It requires dedication, patience, compassion, and flexibility. No client is exactly like another, even if they struggle with the same substance. Many of our team members have faced addiction themselves, which gives them a deep understanding of the addiction struggle, and their very presence stands as a symbol of hope. Overcoming addiction is entirely possible.
Don’t suffer in silence. Don’t let the stress of the job overwhelm you. Help and hope are available. Talk to one of our Admission Specialists by calling 855-712-7784. They can answer all your questions and offer assistance in choosing the right program for you. Our Admission Specialists are knowledgeable and professional and are waiting to hear from you. Make today hopeful by just talking to one of them.