Is It Safe To Mix Muscle Relaxers and Alcohol?
While any combination of muscle relaxers and alcohol can be dangerous, many people face extreme risks when using both drugs simultaneously to create a desired, pleasurable effect. Within situations of use, an individual is far more likely to use a medication in large dosages. This means that they may take greater-than-prescribed doses of the muscle relaxer or take the pill more frequently than they should, which increases the odds of overdose, addiction, and other adverse health effects.
Most muscle relaxers last around four to six hours, so the medication will still be in their system even if a person starts drinking several hours after they take their dose. Muscle relaxers can be highly potent; even having one drink while on one can cause debilitating, uncomfortable, and dangerous side effects.
What are Muscle Relaxers?
Muscle relaxers are used in addition to rest, physical therapy, and other measures to alleviate discomfort. They are usually prescribed for short-term use to treat acute, painful musculoskeletal conditions. However, muscle relaxers are occasionally prescribed for chronic pain (pain lasting longer than three months). These medications are also prescribed for other conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, and seizure disorders.
Muscle relaxers are not a class of drugs—meaning they do not all have the same chemical structure or work the same way in the brain. Instead, muscle relaxer describes a group of drugs that act as central nervous system (CNS) depressants and have musculoskeletal relaxant and sedative properties.
There are two categories of muscle relaxants:
- Antispasmodics are centrally acting skeletal muscle relaxants (SMRs) that relieve muscle spasms.
- Antispastics treat muscle spasticity and shouldn’t be used to treat spasms.
Physicians believe muscle spasticity is caused by nerves sending excessive signals to your brain. Muscle relaxers reduce the signals sent between your nerves and your brain. This is commonly referred to as a “sedative effect.”
Are muscle relaxers habit-forming? Muscle relaxers can be addictive and have adverse side effects, including impaired thinking and functioning, physical body symptoms, risk of substance abuse, and possibly unsafe interactions with other drugs.
Many asked, “Can you become addicted to muscle relaxers?” Muscle relaxants can be habit-forming for some people. Taking muscle relaxers without a prescription or more than your doctor has advised can increase your chances of becoming addicted.
Common Muscle Relaxants
Common muscle relaxants include:
- Baclofen. Baclofen may ease muscle tightness and spasms related to spine injuries. Moreover, the medication may help treat multiple sclerosis and stab nerve pain. However, typical side effects could include nausea, confusion, vomiting, headache, drowsiness, or muscle weakness.
- Benzodiazepines. In addition to treating alcohol withdrawal symptoms, anxiety, and seizure disorders like epilepsy, benzodiazepines can also treat skeletal pain and muscle spasms. Benzodiazepines, such as lorazepam (Ativan), diazepam (Valium), and temazepam (Restoril), are typically only intended for short-term use. This limitation is due to their habit-forming potential and altered sleep cycles, leading to sleep difficulties once the drug is stopped.
- Carisoprodol (Soma). Carisoprodol eases pain and stiffness and relaxes muscles caused by acute muscle and bone problems, often caused by an injury. It is taken orally in tablet form and is also available with aspirin, aspirin, and codeine. Soma can be addictive, mainly if used with alcohol or other prescription or illegal drugs with a sedative effect, including opioids (such as codeine). Common side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, and headache.
- Dantrolene (Dantrium). Dantrolene helps control chronic spasticity related to spinal injuries. It is also prescribed for multiple sclerosis, stroke, and cerebral palsy. Dantrolene is taken as an intravenous powder for injection or capsule. Sensitivity to light and drowsiness are common side effects. It can cause severe liver problems and should not be taken by individuals with active liver disease.
- Metaxalone (Metaxall, Skelaxin, Metaxall CP, PharmaPak, Lorvatus). Metaxalone targets muscle spasms and pain from strains, sprains, and injuries. This drug is available as a tablet or injection. Common side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, and vomiting. Metaxalone is typically not recommended for people with a known tendency to become anemic and who have liver or kidney disease.
- Methocarbamol (Robaxin, Robaxin-750). Methocarbamol relieves acute muscle and bone pain. It is available as a tablet or by injection. Common side effects include headache, dizziness, flushing, nausea, and blurred vision. Methocarbamol is generally not recommended for individuals with renal disease or failure.
- Orphenadrine. Orphenadrine is a prescription drug that relieves stiffness and pain caused by muscle injuries. It is available as an extended-release tablet. Common side effects include heartburn, dry mouth, lightheadedness, difficulty urination, nausea, and vomiting. It is generally not prescribed to people with previous sensitivities to the ingredients, myasthenia gravis, those glaucomas, or certain types of ulcers.
- Tizanidine (Comfort Pac with Tizanidine, Zanaflex). Tizanidine is prescribed to treat muscle spasms caused by spinal cord injuries and other conditions such as multiple sclerosis. Tizanidine is available in capsule and tablet form and absorbs differently depending on whether it is taken on an empty stomach or with food . Is Tizanidine addictive? Some risk factors for addiction include taking it alongside narcotics, taking higher doses than prescribed, and taking it after you no longer need it.
Muscle Relaxers and Alcohol Drug Facts
Is Alcohol a Muscle Relaxer?
Is alcohol a muscle relaxant? Alcohol is a depressant or a muscle relaxer. This is to do with the fact that alcohol slows the function of nerves which spread messages throughout the body. This is also why you should mix muscle relaxers and alcohol.
How Long After Taking Muscle Relaxer Can You Drink Alcohol?
You must not operate heavy machinery (including car driving) while consuming muscle relaxers or alcohol. The effects of muscle relaxers alone can last anywhere from 4 – 72 hours. This is why drinking the same day as taking a relaxant is considerably dangerous.
Muscle Relaxers and Alcohol Withdrawal
When muscle relaxers and alcohol use ends, the addiction withdrawals begin. They become cravings that endure even with the knowledge of the adverse effects. Medical detox is critical in ensuring the withdrawal is manageable and reaches completion and that it does not become dangerous and life-threatening.
Muscle Relaxer Withdrawal Symptoms
Muscle relaxer withdrawal causes mild symptoms such as nausea, headache, drowsiness, malaise, and discomfort for many people. Symptoms tend to peak about two to four days after consuming Flexeril. However, some people may have withdrawal symptoms for up to 1-2 weeks.
Are Muscle Relaxers Addictive?
Muscle relaxers have the potential for abuse and addiction. Is muscle relaxers addictive? Prolonged use can increase tolerance and physical dependence, especially with Soma. For this reason, muscle relaxers are intended as a short-term treatment and not to be prescribed for more than 2-3 weeks. Can you OD on muscle relaxers? Muscle relaxer abuse can lead to serious dangers, such as an increased risk of overdose, which can result in a stupor, hallucinations, and seizures.
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Muscle Relaxers and Alcohol Addiction Statistics
About 40 percent of people who know they have an alcohol or substance abuse problem, such as muscle relaxers and alcohol addiction, are not ready to stop using. Many others feel they do not have a problem or need treatment.
In 2016, almost 70 percent of patients who obtained a prescription for a muscle relaxant also obtained a prescription for an opioid, which could potentially result in destructive interactions. The researchers also found that, despite national policies pointing out that this class of drugs should almost always be avoided in people 65 and older, muscle relaxants were prescribed disproportionately to older individuals throughout this time.
70% of patients prescribed a muscle relaxant also received a prescription for an opioid, which might lead to dangerous interactions.
Source: Penn Medicine
In 2016, 67 percent of hospital visits for continued muscle relaxant usage were accompanied by opioid treatment.
Source: Penn Medicine
Although just 14.5 percent of the US population, older people accounted for 22.2 percent of all muscle relaxant-related hospital visits in 2016.
Source: Penn Medicine
Mixing Muscle Relaxers and Alcohol
Can you mix alcohol and muscle relaxers? The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)  states that mixing alcohol and prescription drugs, including muscle relaxers and alcohol, may interact in harmful ways even when not taken together. The agency also notes two other factors that may increase risks for muscle relaxant and alcohol interactions: age and sex. Older people and women are more exposed to the side effects of combining muscle relaxants and alcohol.
Deliberately or habitually mixing muscle relaxer alcohol combo indicates substance abuse leading to addiction. Do muscle relaxers make one high? They have been documented to cause mild to severe degrees of euphoric high. Individuals who abuse muscle relaxants observe that alcohol intensifies the high derived from mixing muscle relaxers with alcohol.
When alcohol and muscle relaxants are combined, the depressant effect of both types of substances on the central nervous system (brain and spinal column) is heightened. This muscle relaxer alcohol combination is extremely dangerous because it increases the risk of overdose.
In other cases, alcohol may limit the effectiveness of prescription muscle relaxants. The same may occur with OTC muscle relaxant alternatives as well. The individual will then tend to increase the dosage or frequency of intake; thus, the risk of overdosing on muscle relaxers increases.
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Metaxalone and Alcohol
Metaxalone is used to help relax the muscles in your body and relieve the discomfort caused by acute (short-term), painful muscle or bone conditions. Metaxalone is a skeletal muscle relaxant. It acts on the central nervous system (CNS) to relax muscles. The use of alcohol or other medicines that affect the CNS with metaxalone may worsen the side effects of this medicine, such as dizziness, poor concentration, drowsiness, unusual dreams, and trouble sleeping.
Is Metaxalone a narcotic? Metaxalone isn’t a narcotic but a centrally-acting skeletal muscle relaxant with side effects related to the central nervous system, such as dizziness, drowsiness, and nervousness. Is Metaxalone addictive? Metaxalone 800 mg dose is uncontrolled and cannot cause dependence when taken within prescribed limits. Since the drug acts centrally on the brain and spinal cord, there is a sense of relief and depression in the central nervous system. The drug has a higher potential for substance abuse and should be taken cautiously.
Flexeril and Alcohol
Flexeril was the skeletal muscle relaxant cyclobenzaprine brand name, still sold under Fexmid and Amrix. It is a prescription medication used to treat muscle spasms and is intended to be used over a short period (over two to three weeks). The muscle relaxer is not a controlled substance but can be abused as a recreational drug to enhance the effects of other central nervous system depressants like alcohol.
Mixing alcohol with Flexeril can be dangerous or even deadly. Both Flexeril and alcohol depress the central nervous system and, when combined, may enhance each other’s effects. This can result in symptoms like severe sedation or drowsiness and may increase the risk of an accident.
Cyclobenzaprine usually lasts around four to six hours. Cyclobenzaprine has a half-life of eight to 37 hours for most adults. The half-life of a substance is the amount of time it takes for your body to metabolize half of the medication and remove it from your body. Muscle relaxers stay in your system longer than 24 hours. If you must have an alcoholic beverage, it is best to wait 24 hours or longer after taking your last dose of the muscle relaxer to avoid any potentially harmful effects.
Is cyclobenzaprine addictive? Yes. Cyclobenzaprine can be addictive in some people if it is not taken according to a physician’s instructions. It should not be taken for more than two or three weeks, and if physical dependence or addiction occurs, it should not be stopped abruptly. If you are experiencing addiction, contact your doctor for guidance.
Cyclobenzaprine and Alcohol
When cyclobenzaprine is taken as prescribed, it provides pain relief, can improve sleep, raises energy levels, and improves motor functions. Do muscle relaxers make you high? It cannot produce a euphoric feeling or any kind of “high.” When it is misused or abused, and especially abused with alcohol, the drug can cause distressing symptoms, such as:
- Blurred vision.
- Abdominal pain.
- Urination problems.
- Liver disease.
- Chemical dependence.
Can cyclobenzaprine be abused? Cyclobenzaprine addiction is marked by taking the drug when it’s no longer needed, taking more of it than prescribed to feel the same effects, constantly thinking about the drug, how to get more, and when to use it, not being able to stop taking it, faking symptoms to get another prescription, and sudden changes in appearance.
Soma Muscle Relaxer and Alcohol
Soma, a brand name for the prescription drug carisoprodol, is a muscle relaxant legitimately prescribed to relieve pain from muscle injuries and spasms. When taken in dosages exceeding those recommended by physicians or if you mix Soma and alcohol, it causes drowsiness, giddiness, and relaxation.
Individuals who abuse Soma and alcohol can develop psychological addictions to the drug. Common side effects of Soma and alcohol abuse include blurred vision, dizziness, drowsiness, and loss of coordination. More severe side effects include chills, depression, racing heartbeat, tightness in the chest, vomiting, and unusual weakness. Withdrawal symptoms associated with Soma dependency include abdominal cramps, headache, insomnia, and nausea.
Many Soma overdoses have occurred in the setting of multiple drug overdoses (including drugs of abuse, illegal drugs, and alcohol). The effects of an overdose of Soma and other CNS depressants (e.g., alcohol, benzodiazepines, opioids, tricyclic antidepressants) can be additive even when one of the drugs has been taken in the recommended dosage. Moreover, fatal accidental and non-accidental overdoses of SOMA have been reported alone or in combination with CNS depressants.
The Dangers of Combining Mixing Muscle Relaxers and Alcohol
Mixing alcohol with muscle relaxers is a dangerous combination that can produce decreased cognitive abilities, extreme sedation, impaired motor functioning, accidental death, and drug and alcohol addiction. Should an individual be addicted to one or both drugs, a comprehensive inpatient treatment program should be sought to alleviate these risks?
A person faces an increased risk of respiratory depression, falls and injuries, motor vehicle accidents, overdose, and seizures when mixing muscle relaxers and alcohol. They slow down or depress the body’s central nervous system (CNS), an action that can lead to these and other dangers should these two substances be combined. 
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Side Effects of Muscle Relaxers and Alcohol
Combining muscle relaxers and alcohol intensifies the sedating effects of both substances. On that note, how long does it take for muscle relaxants to take effect? Most muscle relaxants start affecting the system within 30 minutes of intake and stay in effect for six hours. During this period, side effects connected with these prescription drugs also become evident and may worsen with alcohol intake. 
These drugs can produce severe side effects. This is why other measures, such as taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) or using herbal muscle relaxants, must be explored before taking prescription-only muscle relaxers.
The following are side effects that may arise from alcohol-muscle relaxant interactions:
Nervous System Side Effects
- Mixing muscle relaxers and alcohol increases the adverse effects on the nervous system, including sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, and dizziness.
- With increasing muscle relaxers and alcohol misuse, dependence, or abuse, these side effects, including confusion, impaired thinking, memory lapses, and poor judgment, become more frequent, and the impact on the nervous system becomes more permanent.
- Typical complaints include dry mouth and constipation. Over time or increasing, dependence can lead to kidney damage, liver damage, and edema.
- Mixing muscle relaxers and alcohol also makes coordination and motor control more difficult. This is why it is important not to operate or drive machinery when ingesting muscle relaxants, especially if mixed with alcohol.
- Can you take a muscle relaxer with alcohol? Individuals who abuse muscle relaxers and alcohol experience blurred vision. Over time, this can lead to permanent damage to the eyes.
Increased Risk for Addiction and Overdose
- Early signs of addiction to an alcohol-muscle relaxant combination, such as shallow or slow breathing and slower heartbeat, may lead to low blood pressure, chronic fainting, higher risk for seizures, and death.
- Can you take muscle relaxers with alcohol? In this case, immediate detoxification as part of a more comprehensive professional inpatient medical treatment is advised to prevent side effects from escalating to irreversible and more severe complications.
Why Do People Combine Muscle Relaxers and Alcohol?
Can you drink alcohol with muscle relaxers? Muscle relaxers, including benzodiazepines, can cause euphoria and intense relaxation, leading to abuse of their own prescription or someone else’s. Some individuals may also use these medications to self-medicate to induce sleep or reduce the unpleasant feelings associated with alcohol withdrawal.
Can you drink alcohol while taking muscle relaxers? The dangers linked to alcohol muscle relaxer combo may occur unknowingly, as a person consumes one drug close to the dose of the other. This may happen when a person takes the muscle relaxant as prescribed and drinks with it (without realizing the harmful interactions). It can also occur if they drink a short time later while the medication is still in their system.
Can You Die From Muscle Relaxers and Alcohol?
When mixing muscle relaxers and alcohol, dangerous consequences can occur. The two substances combined can even be lethal. Can alcohol and muscle relaxers kill you? Common signs of muscle relaxer overdose include respiratory depression or trouble breathing. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Feeling extremely tired.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Slowed breathing.
- Feeling very weak.
- Severely impaired movement or coordination.
- Heartbeat abnormalities, such as palpitations or arrhythmias.
- Low blood pressure.
Can You Overdose on Muscles Relaxer and Alcohol?
One primary concern of mixing muscle relaxers with alcohol is the increased risk of overdose due to the sedative effects of both depressants. Moreover, muscle relaxers can slow down breathing, and when combined with alcohol, this effect is amplified. Can you overdose on muscle relaxers and alcohol? YES. This can lead to difficulty breathing or even stopping breathing, which can be fatal.
What About Muscle Relaxers for Alcohol Withdrawal?
In general, muscle relaxers and alcohol don’t mix. However, some experts believe a baclofen muscle relaxer might help with alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal is when a person who’s been drinking heavily or for a prolonged period quits drinking alcohol.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be possibly severe and include things like:
- Elevated heart rate.
- Quick breathing.
- Increased blood pressure.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Trouble sleeping.
It’s believed that baclofen may work by mimicking the effects of alcohol on a specific type of brain receptor. But so far, evidence supporting the use of baclofen for alcohol withdrawal is limited. A 2017 review couldn’t draw concrete conclusions about the effectiveness of baclofen in treating alcohol withdrawal. The researchers found that the studies reviewed contained either insufficient or poor-quality evidence.
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Are You Struggling with Muscle Relaxers and Alcohol Addiction?
Frequent use of muscle relaxants causes the brain to become used to their effects. If you stop using muscle relaxers abruptly, you may experience withdrawal from muscle relaxers. Depending on the specific drug and how long you have been using it, various treatment options can help you overcome your addiction.
Flexeril, a popular muscle relaxer, can cause withdrawal with mild symptoms such as headache, nausea, malaise, drowsiness, and discomfort for many people. These symptoms tend to peak about 2-4 days after you last took the Flexeril, although, in some individuals, withdrawal symptoms may last for up to 1-2 weeks. If muscle relaxer addiction is accompanied by alcohol or opioid addiction, the withdrawal symptoms from these other substances can be severe and life-threatening. In these situations, it may be best to undergo medically-assisted detox.
Soma withdrawal is usually more severe and can include hallucinations and seizures. Therefore, it is often best to find an inpatient treatment program that includes detox to manage withdrawal symptoms for your safety and comfort. After detox, clients can transition into the actual inpatient rehab program. Most inpatient rehab programs include cognitive behavioral therapy to help you learn the coping skills needed for long-term recovery.
Someone who has become addicted to muscle relaxers and alcohol should seek immediate addiction treatment. During your rehabilitation, the staff from your treatment facility will help you identify what caused your addiction and teach you skills that will help you change your behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that led to your addiction. Break free from muscle relaxers and alcohol addiction. Reach out today! Each call is private and confidential.
Top 10 Muscle Relaxers and Alcohol FAQs
Can you buy muscle relaxers over the counter?
No muscle relaxers can be purchased over the counter in the U.S., but some OTC drugs can have muscle-relaxing effects. These include guaifenesin and NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen.
Is Zanaflex addictive?
Yes, it can be addictive. Some risk factors for addiction include taking it alongside narcotics, taking higher doses than prescribed, and taking it after you no longer need it. All of these factors increase the risk of addiction.
How to flush muscle relaxers out of your system?
Hydrating the body thoroughly with about three liters of water per day could be a good way to speed up the elimination process of the chemicals in your system.
Can you get high on muscle relaxers?
When abused, cyclobenzaprine may have a sedative and relaxing effect and potentially even cause a euphoric “high.” Can muscle relaxers get you high? Flexeril may be abused orally, mixed with other drugs, easily dissolved in alcohol, or crushed to be snorted. Do muscle relaxers make you feel high? Muscle relaxer abuse can have serious side effects.
How long does muscle relaxers stay in your system?
Generally, a substance takes about five half-lives to exit the body. This means Flexeril could appear in lab tests around four days after the last time taken or about eight days later.
Can you drink alcohol on muscle relaxers?
If you’re taking a muscle relaxer, you should avoid consuming alcohol. Can alcohol relax muscles? Drinking alcohol and muscle relaxers is not safe.
How long does muscle relaxer last?
Muscle relaxers act as central nervous system depressants and cause a sedative effect or prevent your nerves from sending pain signals to your brain. The onset of action is rapid, and effects typically last 4-6 hours.
How long are muscle relaxers in your system?
It may show up in urine from five to 13 hours after discontinuing use. How long do muscle relaxers stay in the system? It can be detected in blood two to four hours after use.
How long does it take muscle relaxers to work?
Some people start to feel the effects within 30 minutes, but you should feel the effects within an hour. The long-acting Amrix (cyclobenzaprine) capsules take a little longer to work but last up to 24 hours. Most people start to feel the effects about an hour and a half after they take their dose.
Does alcohol relax muscles?
When you consume alcohol, it causes muscle relaxing and anxiety reducing effects. Consistently using alcohol for this purpose is discouraged by physicians because people can become psychologically and physically dependent on the effects.
Muscle Relaxers Cyclobenzaprine, Soma, Baclofen, their Side Effects, Warnings, Types & Risks Video
What are muscle relaxers? Muscle relaxers are medications that relieve muscle spasms, stiffness, or tightness.
Popular Muscle Relaxer Names and Brands
Prescribed muscle relaxers’ names include Flexeril (cyclobenzaprine), Skelaxin (metaxalone), Robaxin (methocarbamol), Soma (carisoprodol), and Zanaflex (tizanidine). Baclofen, Carisoprodol, and Cyclobenzaprine are the most commonly prescribed muscle relaxer medications. Talking to your doctor before taking any of them is important, as each has different potential side effects and interactions.
Muscle Relaxant Uses
When blood alcohol level pain and muscle spasms produce significant muscle pain and suffering, doctors may prescribe muscle relaxants or muscle relaxers. Muscle spasms are uncontrollable contractions of one or more of your muscles that cause cramping or twitching. It can happen for several causes and occasionally be excruciatingly painful. The constitution, chemical makeup, and cerebral actions of prescription medications used as muscle relaxants can vary.
Muscle relaxants typically have sedative effects or stop the nerves from transmitting pain signals to the brain by acting as central nervous system (CNS) depressants. The effects normally last between 4-6 hours, with a rapid beginning of the action. Muscle relaxants carry the same abuse and addiction risks as other prescription medications. The National Center for Biotechnology Information has identified centrally acting muscle relaxants as potentially misused medication.
Muscle relaxants addiction can be effectively treated using a variety of methods. Encourage your friend or loved one to discuss using alcohol treatment programs, drug abuse treatment, relapse prevention, or support groups as part of their recovery with their doctor or a treatment counselor.
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