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Is Baclofen Addictive? What is it Used For? 

What is Baclofen?

Baclofen is a prescription drug that individuals can use to treat muscle spasms. These spasms may be caused by medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS), as well as spinal cord diseases or injuries. Baclofen may also be known by other brand names such as Lioresal and Kemstro.  

This medication works to relieve pain and it operates as muscle relaxers. Baclofen also helps to improve the overall movement of muscles as it combats spasms. But addiction treatment professionals are finding a use for this drug on the rehab scene as well. 

However, those who are considering medication-assisted treatment of any kind for addiction recovery may wonder about the possibility of further addiction. After all, some individuals know all too well how unfortunately easy it is to develop prescription drug addictions.  

So, some may wonder, “is baclofen addictive?” This is a valid question and a concern that recovery centers should certainly address. It’s important for those who are suffering from addiction to find hope at addiction treatment centers that have their best interest in mind. So, here at Sana Lake Recovery Center, our mission is to help inform you of your treatment options and address any concerns you may have. 

The History of Baclofen

Originally, baclofen was meant for treating epilepsy. But this treatment did not prove to be overwhelmingly successful. Medical professionals did find, however, that baclofen was helpful in minimizing spasticity.   

In the early 2000s, an individual by the name of Oliver Ameisen provided details about his recovery from alcoholism with the help of baclofen. As a cardiologist, Ameisen’s memoir about this process was certainly one that captured many people’s attention.  

The experimental use of baclofen is swiftly catching on and becoming more and more of a topic of discussion. So, it only seems fitting that, since using this medication for addiction treatment is still in the experimental stage, people would wonder about its qualities and characteristics. Learning about whether or not baclofen is addictive and gaining more information about baclofen withdrawal can be helpful for those who are wondering about this treatment method. 

Information About Baclofen Dosage

In regard to baclofen dosage, those who use it typically experience varying doses. Sometimes, medical professionals may increase or decrease a person’s dosage depending on the individual’s needs and how the body responds to the medication. 

It is not recommended to use more than 100 mg of baclofen per day. In many cases, the recommendation will be to use smaller and frequent doses of this medication as opposed to large, single doses. 

When it comes to the side effects baclofen use may produce, it is important for individuals to be aware of the ways in which this drug may affect them. Baclofen may cause people to feel dizzy or drowsy. It may also cause confusion, physical weakness, or discomfort in the stomach. In severe cases, baclofen use can lead to seizures or breathing problems. 

It’s important to note, however, that the more severe side effects of baclofen are not as likely to occur as the moderate symptoms. Still, individuals should also consult medical professional advice when it comes to using any sort of medication, including baclofen. This will ensure that people are using it safely and effectively without danger of severe and serious effects. 

Also, the effects of baclofen can vary depending on the following: 

  • Age 
  • Underlying or co-occurring physical health conditions  
  • Underlying or co-occurring mental health disorders 

Again, it is critical to speak with your doctor about using baclofen as the effects may be different for you than they are for others. This is especially necessary if you have specific mental or physical health concerns or conditions. 

About Baclofen Withdrawal Symptoms

When a person uses baclofen for a while, the individual’s body will learn to depend on this substance. So, suddenly ending baclofen use may lead to withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms may include confusion or anxiety. Some individuals may experience symptoms of psychosis. Convulsions may also occur in some instances. (2) 

This is why it is best to avoid abruptly ending baclofen use. Instead, individuals should consult a medical professional and decrease the dosage for a week or two. Eventually, they will likely be able to stop using the drug altogether.  

Infographic on the Symptoms of Baclofen Withdrawal

Is Baclofen Addictive?

As the study on baclofen and its use in addiction treatment continues, many cannot help but wonder, “Is baclofen addictive?” After all, individuals often find themselves wondering if MAT, in general, is effective as it uses prescription drugs to help people end substance dependence. Some wonder if this approach to alcohol and drug use treatment is the same as “trading one addiction for another”.  

Those who wonder about this should not be concerned; medication-assisted treatment involves expert supervision and guidance. However, the question about the addictiveness of baclofen remains viable. 

In truth, individuals who use baclofen for a while may develop a tolerance for it. Their bodies may begin to depend on it. Baclofen causes a pleasurable calming effect, which many may grow to desire often. Some individuals may begin to use baclofen outside of the recommended use. This can lead to addiction. 

Should this occur in a person’s life, it is absolutely necessary to seek assistance from addiction treatment specialists. Through professional treatment programs, those who suffer from addiction can break free from substance use disorders. 

Treatment for Substance Use Disorders

Those who suffer from substance use disorders should never attempt to end substance use without help. It’s both important and even necessary for individuals to seek assistance from others. This certainly remains true in cases of baclofen dependence and addiction. 

Individuals who are suffering from baclofen dependence can find hope and healing here at Sana Lake Recovery Center. Through our services and programs, those who are struggling will have access to professional treatment and resources that can help guide the way to recovery. 

If you are currently dealing with the impact of addiction and you’re not sure how to overcome these challenges, you may benefit from our addiction treatment services. You may need to consider enrolling in an inpatient or residential program. In this type of treatment program, you will be able to live in a drug- and alcohol-free environment, away from any negative influences that may exist at home. 

Or you may benefit from an outpatient program. This may include a partial hospitalization program (PHP) or an intensive outpatient program (IOP). While these programs are not as intensive as residential treatment, they offer individuals the tools and resources they need in order to work toward a life that is free from substance use disorders. 

Treatment for addiction typically involves various types of therapy. Some individuals may benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Another helpful therapeutic approach is dialectical behavior therapy, or DBT. Other types of therapy and resources for substance use disorders include the following: 

  • Yoga 
  • Meditation 
  • Acupuncture 
  • EMDR therapy 
  • Therapy for grief and loss 
  • Therapy for Recovery 

Those in recovery can take advantage of the benefits of group therapy and individual therapy. Both of these methods can help people as they seek liberty from substance dependence. While in an individual therapy session, a person can discuss his or her needs, feelings, emotions, experiences, challenges, and more with a therapist. This one-on-one setting allows people to freely express themselves without fear of judgment. It also enables people to receive individualized and personalized care and guidance. 

Group therapy sessions are helpful for many reasons. Firstly, being in a group setting can help to make individuals aware of the fact that they are far from alone. Physically being around others can help give individuals the emotional support they need. Also, group therapy enables people to freely talk about their experiences with people who truly understand and relate to them. Group therapy also gives recovering individuals an atmosphere in which they can develop healthy and supportive interpersonal relationships. 

Finally, family therapy can also be beneficial and helpful during the recovery journey. Unfortunately, substance use disorders affect individuals and their families alike. Since this is the case, it is important for families to seek support and guidance as they navigate through the challenges that occur as a family member works through recovery. Family therapy helps to equip family units with the education and understanding they need throughout this time. 

Let Sana Lake Help You: Seek Help and Guidance Today!

Here at Sana Lake Recovery Center, we understand the importance of helping people find freedom from substance use disorders. Our team offers compassionate and comprehensive care to those who are working to end drug and alcohol use. So, whether you are suffering from addiction or you are struggling to maintain freedom from this disorder, we’re here to help. 

Our facility is in Dittmer, Missouri and its serene surroundings offer individuals a peaceful and safe environment. With our treatment programs, comfortable atmosphere, and understanding staff, Sana Lake offers people hope and healing.  

If you’ve been looking for addiction treatment resources and services, allow us to help you. At Sana Lake, you can find what you have been searching for and gain the skills you need to overcome substance use disorder in your life.  

Today is the day to begin anew. Contact us now to start a new path, one that leads away from addiction and toward health and happiness. Recovery is a lifelong journey that can certainly present many challenges. But it also provides many opportunities for growth and development. We are committed to walking beside you on this journey. So, reach out to our representatives today! 

Garbutt, J. C., Kampov-Polevoy, A. B., Gallop, R., Kalka-Juhl, L., & Flannery, B. A. (2010). Efficacy and safety of baclofen for alcohol dependence: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 34(11), 1849–1857. 

Eap, C. B., Bertschy, G., & Baumann, P. (1998). Baclofen withdrawal syndrome in an alcohol-dependent patient. Alcohol and Alcoholism, 33(6), 603–604. 

Ameisen, O. (2008). The End of My Addiction. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 

Picture of Ashley Murry LCSW
Ashley Murry LCSW
Ashley Murry, LCSW, is the Chief Clinical Officer at Sana Lake Recovery. She oversees clinical operations, ensuring effective treatment strategies and compliance. Before this, she was Program Director at Gateway Foundation, managing care programs and collaborating with state departments. Ashley has also served as Director of Clinical Services at Treatment Management Company, improving staff retention and clinical standards. She holds a Master's in Social Work from the University of South Florida and a Bachelor's in Social Work from Saint Leo University. She is licensed in Florida, Arizona and Missouri.
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