Gabapentin Addiction: Side Effects, Detox Withdrawal, and Treatment

What is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant medicine that also functions as a moderate tranquilizer, and it can only be obtained with a prescription. It’s commonly used to treat epilepsy and discomfort caused by nerve injury. It can also be used as a medicinal therapy for diabetic neuropathy, restless leg syndrome, or anxiety.

Gabapentin’s generic form was initially released in 2004, so it’s still a relatively young treatment, and specialists aren’t sure how it works. They do know, however, that it has an impact on the brain and neurological system.

Gabapentin comes in the form of capsules, tablets, or an oral solution, and persons who misuse it may smash the pills and snort the powder, or mix it with opioids and benzodiazepines to increase the effects and get a nice high. When gabapentin is used with alcohol, it might produce severe dizziness or drowsiness.

Is Gabapentin Addictive?

Neurontin (gabapentin) is a regularly prescribed prescription medicine that may potentially be misused recreationally. Although recreational usage is not a legally banned drug in the United States, it can develop tolerance, dependence, and addiction.

When the body develops habituated to a drug and requires it in order to operate correctly, this occurs. Physical dependency is a natural reaction to taking a substance on a frequent basis. If you become physically reliant on gabapentin, you will have withdrawal symptoms if you reduce or stop taking it.

Withdrawal symptoms can be addressed in a variety of methods, including gradually reducing the drug’s dosage or addressing the symptoms with alternative drugs. Withdrawal symptoms might be far more severe if you quit “cold turkey,” or all at once. Gabapentin withdrawal requires medical supervision and should only be attempted with a doctor’s permission.

Effects of Abuse

Gabapentin should be used under the supervision of a doctor to check adverse effects. When using this medicine, some people get a surge of pleasure or “high,” leading them to take bigger dosages or utilize it in ways different than how it was intended. Abusing this medicine can result in more serious adverse effects, as well as an increased risk of overdosing and physical dependency.

  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Shaking in one part of the body
  • Blurry or doubled vision
  • Unsteadiness
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty with memory
  • Strange or unusual thoughts
  • Uncontrolled eye movement
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Increased appetite and weight gain
  • Swelling in the extremities
  • Back or joint pain
  • Fever
  • Ear pain
  • Red, itchy eyes

Signs of Overdose

According to the National Library of Medicine, overdose symptoms include:

  • Double vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness
  • Diarrhea

It is possible to overdose and develop harmful effects if too much gabapentin is taken accidentally or if the medicine is overused. If the person returns to gabapentin usage after withdrawal and does not gradually raise the dosage, the risk of overdosing rises. Gabapentin dosages should always be gradually raised and lowered over a period of at least several days. Any drug overdose needs prompt medical intervention. Internal organs such as the heart, liver, and kidneys can be permanently damaged by an overdose.

What Symptoms of Gabapentin Addiction?

  • Taking extremely high doses of gabapentin.
  • Using gabapentin with other drugs (especially opioids) or alcohol.
  • Faking symptoms to get gabapentin prescriptions.
  • Doctor shopping (seeing multiple doctors to get gabapentin prescriptions).
  • Being preoccupied with using and/or obtaining gabapentin.
  • Displaying sudden changes in appearance, hygiene, or social habits.
  • Refusing to stop using gabapentin, despite financial problems, relationship issues, or legal problems.