What Exactly Is Gabapentin?
Gabapentin, also known by the brand name Neurontin, is a prescription pain reliever that belongs to the Gabapentinoids drug class. It is an anticonvulsant that is commonly used to treat epilepsy, restless leg syndrome, hot flashes, and neuropathic pain. Although it is frequently used as a less-addictive alternative to opioids, Gabapentin addiction and abuse still occur in many patients.
Gabapentin’s chemical structure is similar to that of Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA), a brain chemical that affects the nervous system. It can induce feelings of relaxation and calmness, which can aid in the treatment of nerve pain, anxiety, and even poor sleep.
Gabapentin is used to treat nerve pain, withdrawal from alcohol and cocaine, restless leg syndrome, diabetic neuropathy, fibromyalgia, and seizures. It works by modifying calcium channels to reduce seizures and relieve nerve pain. Neurontin and Gralise are two brand names for gabapentin. The drug is also known as “gabbies” or “johnnies” on the street.
Gabapentin, in addition to being potentially addictive, can cause suicidal thoughts, mood swings, and abrupt changes in a user’s behavior. It can also cause high blood pressure, fever, insomnia, appetite changes, and chest pain.
- Featured Treatment Centers for Gabapentin Addiction
- Dana Point Rehab Campus Dana Point, California
- View the Center
- Galloway, New Jersey Ad Boca Recovery Center
- View the Center
- Abuse of Gabapentin Gabapentin abuse is more common in people who are already addicted to opioids or other drugs. Gabapentin intoxication has been described as causing a sense of calm, euphoria, and a high similar to marijuana.
A 2013 study in Kentucky discovered that 15% of the 503 participants who reported illegal drug use used Gabapentin in addition to other drugs to get high in the previous six months. Another study, using a sample of participants meant to represent the national population, discovered that nearly a quarter of patients with Opioids and Gabapentin co-prescriptions were receiving more than three times the prescribed amount to satisfy their addiction. People using the drug without a prescription is becoming increasingly common in many areas. Due to the legal status of the drug, this is difficult to address from a policing standpoint. Gabapentin abuse is becoming more common in some states, so the drug is being classified as a more strictly controlled substance.
Gabapentin’s unique ability to treat a variety of ailments has made it one of the most widely prescribed medications in the United States. According to GoodRx, it was the fifth-most prescribed drug in the United States in May of 2019. Despite its low potential for abuse, its ability to be combined with other drugs causes widespread harm and addiction.
Gabapentin Addiction Symptoms
The following are the side effects of excessive Gabapentin use:
Modifications in mood
Speaking with difficulty
Inability to experience pleasure
It is critical to try to identify these symptoms and to be on the lookout for other red flags, such as the presence or abundance of pill bottles. These consequences can be hazardous to one’s health, livelihood, and overall safety.
Many Gabapentin users in early recovery abuse the drug because high doses (800mg or more) produce a euphoric-like high that does not show up on drug screens. Gabapentin abusers typically combine the drug with opioids to achieve the desired high, a dangerous and potentially lethal combination. Gabapentin can be fatally overdosed on its own or in combination with other drugs. However, unlike opioid overdoses, there is currently no antidote that can be administered to someone in the event of a Gabapentin overdose. Seek medical attention right away if you find a loved one exhibiting signs of an overdose–drowsiness, muscle weakness, lethargy and drooping eyelids, diarrhea, and sedation.
Gabapentin Addiction Symptoms
Lying to doctors or exaggerating symptoms
Seeking out multiple doctors in order to obtain extra doses
Changing doctors after the original physician refuses to continue prescribing the medication
alterations in social habits and/or social circles
Personal hygiene and grooming habits are changing.
Preoccupation with the drug at all times
Unease at the prospect of the drug not being available
Refusal to quit despite the social, financial, or legal ramifications
Attempts to quit have failed.
Looking for a starting point?
Contact a treatment provider for free right now.
Gabapentin Addiction Treatment
Gabapentin can cause physical and psychological dependence if used frequently and excessively. This occurs when a person becomes so accustomed to taking a drug that they require it in order to feel and function normally. Quitting a drug like Gabapentin abruptly can be dangerous and result in a variety of withdrawal symptoms of varying severity. Anxiety, insomnia, nausea, pain, and sweating are some of the symptoms. Quitting also increases one’s chances of having a seizure, which can result in personal injury, the development of medical problems, and the development of life-threatening emergencies. Attempting to quit should be done in a rehab facility or under the supervision and guidance of a professional during a medical detox.