Baclofen is a generic, prescription medication used to treat muscle spasms. Specifically, baclofen is given to people with multiple sclerosis or diseases of the spinal cord. Baclofen activates specific GABA receptors in the central nervous system. Baclofen’s mechanism of action is similar to drugs like phenibut and pregabalin. It’s classified as a derivative of GABA -a calming neurotransmitter that naturally occurs in the brain. When baclofen activates GABA receptors, it creates a calming effect on the nerves, reducing muscle spasticity. Like other drugs that interact in this way, baclofen has a potential for abuse and dependence. There are two different things to consider when discussing baclofen and addiction treatment. First, there is the risk of baclofen leading to abuse and addiction. At the same time, baclofen is often used as part of addiction treatment. This leaves people wondering if the drug is addictive or if it is part of an addiction treatment.
As well as being used to treat symptoms of conditions like multiple sclerosis, baclofen is increasingly being used in addiction treatment. Using baclofen in addiction treatment is still considered as an off-label usage because it’s not approved by the FDA. However, there is a lot of research being conducted to see if baclofen is as beneficial in addiction treatment as some medical professionals believe. It’s already been shown to have some success in clinical trials. Baclofen is sometimes used in addiction treatment because it can have a calming effect on patients and it can increase their dopamine levels. The theory is that these dopamine increases can reduce cravings for alcohol or other addictive substances. Despite the promising evidence, using baclofen in addiction treatment is not without risks.
At a normal prescribed dose, baclofen doesn’t have a high risk of abuse or addiction. For a long time, baclofen wasn’t believed to have any abuse potential. However, it is possible for baclofen to cause mild euphoria or a sense of well-being when it is taken in high doses. In high doses, baclofen can have other properties, such as anti-anxiety and sedative effects, and it’s a central nervous system depressant. All of these qualities can lead to abuse and addiction. People often combine baclofen with other central nervous system depressants in order to increase the effects, which is more common than abusing the drug on its own. For example, baclofen might be abused with alcohol or opioids.
In any of these situations, a person might require treatment for baclofen addiction and abuse. While the risk of this occurring isn’t high for someone who uses the drug as prescribed, it is a possibility that one should be aware of. This risk is something medical professionals have to be aware of when utilizing baclofen as an addiction treatment option as well. There is a concern about replacing one addiction with another when certain drugs are used to treat symptoms of addiction or withdrawal.
If someone feels that they’re abusing baclofen or addicted to it, there are different rehab program options to explore. For some people, an outpatient baclofen rehab program might be enough. For others, an intensive inpatient rehab program is better suited to their needs. What’s most important when comparing baclofen rehab program options is to choose one that includes a medically-supervised or assisted detox program. Baclofen withdrawal symptoms can be extremely dangerous or even deadly. Some of the possible baclofen withdrawal symptoms can include hallucinations, delusions, delirium, anxiety, psychosis and mood disturbances. Baclofen withdrawal can also include tachycardia, muscle rigidity, seizures, tremors or organ failure. These high-risk symptoms are why it’s essential to look for baclofen rehab program options that are equipped to provide a safe detox environment.
There’s not one addiction treatment program that’s going to be right for everyone. The biggest decision most people make is whether they will participate in an outpatient or inpatient baclofen treatment program. Outpatient addiction treatment has advantages, such as a lower cost and the ability to stay home while participating. However, outpatient treatment might not be right for everyone. Someone who has been using or abusing baclofen for a long time or someone with multiple addictions might be better suited to an inpatient facility. Another relevant factor is if a person has co-occurring mental health conditions that may need to be treated. In this case, inpatient rehab is usually better as well.
To learn more about inpatient or outpatient baclofen addiction treatment, contact The Recovery Village.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.