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What are Somas? Understanding Soma Abuse and Addiction

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “approximately 1.71 billion people globally live with musculoskeletal conditions, including low back pain, neck pain, fractures, other injuries, osteoarthritis, amputation and rheumatoid arthritis.”[1]

When someone deals with chronic muscle pain, they are often provided with prescription muscle relaxants to manage their symptoms. These medications can be incredibly effective in providing people with the relief they need to function in their daily lives. Unfortunately, many of these medications can be habit-forming and addictive when misused.

One of the most commonly abused prescription muscle relaxers is carisoprodol (Soma). Soma, like other opioids, can be addictive. If you or a loved one are struggling with Soma abuse and addiction, please contact us today to discuss your treatment options.

What is Carisoprodol (Soma)?

Soma is the brand name for a prescription skeletal muscle relaxant called carisoprodol. This medication relieves muscle pain by blocking sensations of pain between the nerves and your brain. While Soma can help individuals suffering from chronic pain or injury, it is frequently abused for its euphoric and drowsy effects. 

According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), 2,276,000 people aged 12 or older abused Somas at some point in their lives.[2]

Carisoprodol can cause the following side effects:[3]

  • Drowsiness and dizziness
  • A rush of euphoria 
  • Headaches 
  • Increased heart rate 
  • Upset stomach or vomiting 
  • Seizures or difficulty breathing (in large doses)

Typically, Soma is prescribed to relax muscles and relieve pain after strains, sprains, or other muscle injuries. Since it can be habit-forming, it is not intended to be used long-term. 

Are Somas Addictive?

Somas can create symptoms of sedation, and euphoria, and decrease anxiety, so they can be addictive when abused. As a result, doctors usually do not prescribe it for longer than 3 weeks. However, individuals may go to multiple doctors or buy it off of the street to misuse it. 

Somas can cause addiction in a similar fashion as sedative drugs like benzodiazepines.[4] When consumed, the body breaks down carisoprodol into a metabolite called meprobamate, which is addictive. 

Addiction to Somas can develop if you use it in a manner other than prescribed. For example, if you were to use larger doses of carisoprodol to treat your pain you could develop a tolerance. As a result, you may continually increase your dose until you become dependent.

Additionally, because Somas are a common drug of abuse, many people buy them from drug dealers off of the street. Using Somas in this manner will eventually lead to a substance use disorder.

Common Signs of Soma Addiction

If you or a loved one abuse Somas, you might be wondering how to tell if you’ve developed an addiction. Being aware of the signs of Soma addiction can motivate you to seek help from a drug rehab program. 

The common signs of Soma addiction include:

  • Using the substance to experience a high
  • Taking more carisoprodol than prescribed 
  • Running out of prescriptions for Somas early 
  • Going to multiple doctors to receive more than one prescription for carisoprodol 
  • Needing a larger dose to experience a desired effect (developing tolerance)
  • Experiencing strong urges or cravings to abuse Somas 
  • Combining Somas with other substances like alcohol or opioids 
  • Failing to meet responsibilities at home, work, or school because of Soma abuse 
  • Continuing to use carisoprodol despite experiencing adverse physical or mental health effects 
  • Experiencing symptoms of withdrawal when you cannot use Somas 

If you are addicted to Soma, your body may be dependent on it to function properly. When you suddenly stop taking Soma, you will experience symptoms of withdrawal. These symptoms may include insomnia, vomiting, tremors, muscle twitching, anxiety, or ataxia.[4]

If you or a loved one are dealing with Soma withdrawal, you should seek help from a medical detox center to ensure that you do not experience severe symptoms. Additionally, a professional drug rehab program can provide you with the tools and support you need to maintain long-term sobriety.

The Risks of Soma Abuse and Addiction

Regularly abusing Somas can cause a variety of adverse health effects, some being severe and life-threatening. 

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the risks of abusing Somas include:[5]

  • Agitation or irritability 
  • Depression
  • Temporary loss of consciousness 
  • Tachycardia or hypotension 
  • Extreme weakness 
  • Increased risk of cervical spine injuries 
  • Trouble speaking 
  • Double vision or temporary loss of vision 
  • Dilated pupils
  • Confusion or disorientation 
  • Overdose 

If you take too much carisoprodol at once, you could experience a life-threatening overdose. Contact 911 immediately if you or a loved one develop chills, palpitations, vomiting, extreme sedation, shock, or coma. 

Find Help for Soma Abuse and Addiction

If you or a loved one are addicted to Somas, it’s time to consider professional treatment. At Mandala Healing Center, we can provide you with the tools and support you need to achieve long-term sobriety. 

To learn more about our opioid addiction treatment program, contact us today. 


  1. The World Health Organization (WHO): Musculoskeletal Health, Retrieved October 2023 From
  2. The Department of Justice (DOJ): Soma Fast Facts, Retrieved October 2023 From
  3. Medline Plus: Carisoprodol, Retrieved October 2023 From
  4. The National Library of Medicine (NLM): Carisoprodol: abuse potential and withdrawal syndrome, Retrieved October 2023 From
  5. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA): Carisoprodol, Retrieved October 2023 From