What Is Cogentin (Benztropine Mesylate)?
Cogentin, or benztropine mesylate, is a medication that is often prescribed to treat symptoms caused by Parkinson’s disease in combination with other prescription drugs. The drug helps to decrease muscle stiffness and increase muscle control, and it may also help to reduce the reactions that may occur with use of other medications prescribed to treat emotional, mental, and/or nervous disorders – medications that may include Mellaril, Compazine, Thorazine, Phenergan, and Trilafon, according to the US National Library of Medicine.
Cogentin is classified as an anticholinergic medication, which means that it works by blocking acetylcholine in the system. It can help to stop muscle spasms associated with the use of other drugs that affect the eyes, back, neck, and other areas.
Does Cogentin Create a High in the User?
Cogentin can create a number of effects that are termed overdose in medical terms but may be sought after by recreational users and experienced as a “high.” At certain doses, some people may experience a high that may include visual hallucinations, confusion, dizziness, and excitability.
However, high-dose use of Cogentin can also contribute to effects such as:
- Muscle weakness
- Altered vision
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Nausea and vomiting
- Intensified mental health symptoms if being treated for those disorders with antipsychotic drugs
- Depression of the central nervous depression
- Respiratory arrest
Use of Cogentin to get high is not safe. In fact, use of the drug for this purpose, with or without a legitimate prescription for the medication, can be a life-threatening choice.
What Are the Risks Associated with Abuse of Cogentin?
The high associated with use of Cogentin may be achieved at great risk, and continued attempts to get high on Cogentin can lead to an increased risk of sudden death due to overdose and other medical emergencies as well as an increased chance of developing a substance use disorder.
Additionally, because Cogentin can depress the respiratory system and cause mental confusion, it is recommended that patients avoid use of other substances with similar effects while taking Cogentin – drugs like alcohol, prescription benzodiazepines, and painkillers. Combining use of Cogentin with use of these substances purposely can contribute to the risk of overdose and addiction. Even the use of over-the-counter sleeping pills, certain medicines for cold or allergy treatment, antidepressants, and some supplements can exacerbate the effects of Cogentin, so patients are encouraged to disclose the use of any and all other medications and supplements to the prescribing physician.
Accident under the influence is a considerable risk as well. Use of Cogentin can cause drowsiness, and it is recommended to avoid driving a car, operating machinery, or doing anything that may require full attention for optimum safety.
What Are the Symptoms of Cogentin Abuse?
Depending on the dose of the drug taken according to prescription, the use of other substances, and the symptoms created by co-occurring mental health disorders, the signs and symptoms of Cogentin abuse may vary.
There are, however, a number of behaviors that can indicate abuse of Cogentin, including:
- If prescribed tablets, crushing those tablets to swallow, snort, or dissolve in water and inject the drug
- Taking more than prescribed or taking doses more frequently than prescribed
- Taking Cogentin without a prescription for recreational purposes
- Purposely using alcohol and other drugs with the goal of increasing the “high” associated with Cogentin use
- Attempting to get more Cogentin or other medications without a prescription in the hope of augmenting the drug’s effects
Any use of Cogentin outside the bounds of a prescription, or without a prescription, constitutes abuse of the medication.
What Are the Signs of Cogentin Addiction?
Addiction to Cogentin, like addiction to any mind-altering substance, impacts every part of a person’s life. In fact, there is almost no area that will remain untouched by the effects of heavy use of the drug. People who struggle with Cogentin addiction may exhibit the following:
- Personality changes: Changes in appearance, friends, musical interests, and hobbies, as well as other personality changes, can all indicate heavy drug use if there are no other identifiable causes or if those changes persist for months.
- Mood swings: Extreme shifts in behavior depending on the current engagement with drug use is also common among those who are both physically and psychologically dependent on Cogentin and use it to get high regularly.
- Financial difficulties: The cost of medications as well as other drugs used to augment Cogentin can add up quickly. Additionally, abuse of any substances can make it more difficult to maintain employment or get a new job. Financial problems often result, putting a strain on the individual as well as the rest of the family.
- Relationship troubles: Addiction is a disorder that causes an emotionally unhealthy state of being; thus, it is not possible to maintain healthy relationships when struggling with the problem. It is not uncommon for people living with addiction to Cogentin to struggle with maintaining a strong relationship with their spouses, children, close family members, and friends.
- Health problems: Experiencing mental health or physical health problems, including medical emergencies related to overdose or accident under the influence, is a clear sign that Cogentin use has reached the level of addiction, especially if these problems continue and worsen.
What Treatments Are Effective for Cogentin Abuse or Addiction?
In the cases in which Cogentin is prescribed for the treatment of issues related to Parkinson’s disease or ongoing use of antipsychotics, it is essential that use of the drug is not stopped without the care and supervision of the prescribing physician. In addition to withdrawal symptoms related to addiction to the drug, someone who is prescribed Cogentin may also experience a recurrence of the issues for which they originally sought treatment. Both mental health and physical complications are a risk, and it is necessary to have emergency medical care ready and available.
The Cogentin detox process will vary in terms of length and intensity, depending on a number of factors, including:
- The length of time the person used/abused Cogentin
- Other substances of abuse in current use and the doses
- Co-occurring mental health disorders and their symptoms
- Co-occurring medical conditions and their symptoms
After detox, treatment is not over. Therapeutic treatment to address the underlying issues that first triggered abuse of Cogentin, such as trauma and untreated mental health symptoms, must be identified and addressed in order to build a strong foundation in recovery. For each person, the exact nature of therapies and treatments used for this purpose will vary according to individual need. In most cases, however, therapies will often include:
- Traditional therapies: Personal therapy sessions one on one with a primary therapist once or twice per week allow for case management as well as the opportunity to address underlying trauma and new challenges that arise in recovery. Support groups can offer peer support as well as a deeper investigation into specific topics that are commonly faced in recovery.
- Treatment for co-occurring disorders: If a co-occurring mental health disorder or chronic medical condition is an issue, this will play a role in the ability to stay sober for the long-term and must therefore be treated concurrently.
- Alternative therapies: A range of alternative therapies, from sports and outdoors therapies to artistic and animal therapies, can help to deepen an individual’s growth and progress during treatment. These should be chosen based on personal goals for treatment, personal interests, and long-term skills development needs.
- Holistic treatments: Stress reduction treatments like meditation, yoga, and tai chi can all help increase the ability to manage the urge to relapse more healthfully.
- Family support: Educational workshops as well as support groups just for family members and family therapy sessions can all help families to become a strong base of support for the individual in recovery and begin their own individual journeys toward a more balanced way of life.
- Aftercare and alumni groups: Maintaining a connection with therapists and peers in treatment during the transition into independent living in recovery is critical. Long-term engagement with ongoing treatments and therapies can help individuals to remain accountable to their sobriety and build a strong new community in recovery.