Gabapentin is a prescription pain medication and anticonvulsant used to treat different types of neuropathic pain and is also used to control seizures for people with epilepsy, restless leg syndrome, withdrawal symptoms, diabetic neuropathy, and fibromyalgia. Although it is often used as a less addictive alternative to opioids, Gabapentin addiction and abuse can still occur in many patients.
Gabapentin addiction and abuse tend to happen with people who already have addictions to opioids and other drugs, and despite the fact that Gabapentin can be used as a part of detox and addiction treatment, this drug also poses its own risks related to abuse and addiction. Gabapentin can produce feelings of euphoria, relaxation, and calmness similar to the feelings that marijuana produces.
What Does Gabapentin Abuse and Addiction Look Like?
It is first important to understand exactly what addiction is. As a complex and multi-faceted disease of the brain, it can affect anyone regardless of who you are. Let’s break down addiction to see why more and more people are turning to Nerutonin and gabapentin when searching for a high. According to NIDA:
Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences. It is considered a brain disorder because it involves functional changes to brain circuits involved in reward, stress, and self-control, and those changes may last a long time after a person has stopped taking drugs.
Even though Gabapentin is less addictive than other drugs out there, it is still possible to get addicted. It is first important to recognize the symptoms of excessive Gabapentin use, such as:
- Blurry and double vision
- Coordination problems
- Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
- Changes in mood
- Forgetfulness and memory problems
- Difficulty sleeping
- An inability to feel pleasure
- Increased appetite and weight gain
Like previously mentioned, Gabapentin addiction tends to occur with people who already have addiction problems. It is especially prevalent in individuals in early recovery because, at high doses, Gabapentin creates a euphoric high that does not show up on drug screens. It is often also used in addition to opioid use to create the desired feeling. So what does Gabapentin addiction look like? Signs often include:
- Changes in social habits
- Secretive behavior
- Declining performance in commitments
- Lack of motivation
- Unexplained mood swings and changes in energy
- Constant and uninterrupted preoccupation with the drug
- Lying to or exaggerating symptoms to doctors to get a prescription
- Seeking out multiple doctors to get extra prescriptions
- Doctor shopping; switching doctors because they refuse to continue prescribing you the medication.
- Poor personal hygiene and grooming habits
- Anxiety at the thought of not having their drug available
- Refusal to quit using despite any consequences they may face, including social, financial, or legal.
- Multiple failed attempts to quit
If you or a loved one are dealing with gabapentin dependency and addiction, there is luckily a way to get over this problem. Our evidence-based addiction treatment programs get to the root cause of substance abuse and allow addicts to begin the process of healing.
Treating Gabapentin Addiction
Excessive and frequent use of Gabapentin will lead to psychological and physical dependence on the drug. This happens when someone is so accustomed to taking Gabapentin that they end up need it to function normally and feel normal.
Quitting Gabapentin cold turkey can be dangerous and tends to have many withdrawal symptoms, including nausea, pain, sweating, insomnia, and anxiety. Stopping suddenly also increases the risk of having a seizure, which can cause other medical problems. Quitting Gabapentin should not be done on your own. It is best to get off Gabapentin with supervision during medical detox.
Once you have safely detoxed, it is important to continue on with your recovery to stay sober and avoid a relapse, bringing you right back where you started. Here at Recreate Life Counseling, we offer many treatment options to help you continue with your journey in recovery and be as successful as possible. We offer partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient and outpatient treatment, medicated assisted treatment, day or night treatment, and even recovery residences so you can stay in a safe, comfortable environment while you put your life back together.
Drug addiction isn’t an easy thing to face. Luckily you do not have to face it on your own. Our admissions counselors and professionals are available around the clock. We are ready to help you or a loved one overcome the disease of addiction. Now is the time to change your life. Let us help you do it.