Gabapentin is a medication that can be useful in treating neuropathic pain, epilepsy symptoms, restless legs symptoms, and other conditions. It is an anticonvulsant drug, and when prescribed by a doctor, it can be very useful. In small amounts and when the person follows the dose on the prescription, gabapentin can improve the patient’s life.
However, there are situations when gabapentin use spirals into an addiction. Despite many people saying gabapentin is not too dangerous, it can still lead to serious consequences for people who abuse it. This is why whenever someone develops an addiction, they must get help to make sure the situation doesn’t escalate.
Info On Gabapentin
Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant drug generally prescribed for treating nerve damage pain, restless leg syndrome, and epilepsy. It circulates under brand names like Gralise, Neurotin, and Horizant. The drug is similar to the Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) chemical, which is known to influence the nervous system.
The drug promotes a feeling of calmness and relaxation. At the same time, it is useful against anxiety, poor sleep, and nerve pain. Doctors prescribe Gabapentin for anxiety very rarely, though.
Understanding how the brain works can help you understand how the drug works as well. GABA and glutamate are neurotransmitters that mediate the balance of inhibitory and excitatory nervous system activity. Gabapentin signals the GABA inhibitory activity while causing a reduction in the glutamate activity neural excitation. This is how symptoms like agitation, pain, and anxiety are decreased.
A gabapentin dose can range from 100mg to 800mg, depending on what the doctor prescribed. The healthcare provider will also recommend how often one must take the medication. This will depend on why the patient needs gabapentin and factors like the severity of withdrawal symptoms. The half-life of the drug is 5.7 hours.
Whereas gabapentin may be unproblematic as long as the prescribed doses are respected, some people go overboard with the amount they consume. They either go totally against the prescription, or they obtain the medication illegally, after which they consume as much as they want without thinking about the consequences.
The Addiction Potential
To some people, it may seem strange that gabapentin, which is prescribed by doctors in order to treat various types of pain and conditions, could be addictive. However, it can lead to an addiction, and young people are the ones who abuse it most commonly.
Gabapentin is known by street names like “gabbies” or “johnnies”, and a lot of people, particularly young ones, tend to mix it with different other substances. Gabapentin alone can already cause an addiction but combining it with other substances increases the addiction potential.
For the most part, there is a low abuse likelihood when it comes to gabapentin, but it can result in a physical addiction when used for long periods and in high amounts. As such, many people who use gabapentin deal with withdrawal symptoms later on, when they stop using the drug. Gabapentin can also be overused and result in an overdose.
The Addiction Signs
Someone who is addicted to gabapentin will change their behavior, and if you notice unusual symptoms in them, you should start asking questions. Gabapentin addiction manifests in unique ways, and some of the following symptoms may appear in people who are dealing with it:
- Problems with their coordination
- Having a hard time speaking
- Mood changes
- Dealing with suicidal thoughts and behaviors
Additionally, the person dealing with the addiction may also show these signs:
- Refusing to quit the drug despite facing multiple consequences
- Trying to quit with no success
- Experiencing changes in social circles and/or habits, as well as grooming and hygiene habits
- Feeling uneasy when thinking about gabapentin not being available
- Changing doctors after the initial one doesn’t want to keep prescribing the medication
- Looking for multiple doctors in order to obtain additional gabapentin doses
- Lying about symptoms or exaggerating them in front of the doctors
Side Effects of Gabapentin Abuse
Gabapentin does not only affect an individual in the short term but may also affect them in the long term if they do not do something about it. Side effects will not hesitate to show up, and they may involve:
- Doubled or blurry vision
- Shaking in a part of their body
- Dry mouth
- Unusual thoughts
- Memory difficulties
- Nausea and vomiting
- Uncontrolled movement of the eyes
- Extremity swelling
- Joint pain or back pain
- Higher appetite and weight gain
- Red and itchy eyes
- Ear pain
Some people also deal with other more serious side effects, like mouth or face swelling, difficulties breathing or swallowing, hoarseness, rashes, itching, and seizures.
When a person has become addicted to gabapentin, their body will expect it, so if they stop using it, the body will have a negative reaction. This is known as withdrawal and may require immediate medical attention.
Gabapentin withdrawal can range from mild to severe depending on a few factors, such as how long the individual has abused gabapentin and how high their doses were. Also, it may be affected if the person combined gabapentin with other substances during their addiction.
Some symptoms that will appear during gabapentin withdrawal include:
- Hard time sleeping
The withdrawal will start 12 hours after the last use of the drug, and the symptoms will reach their peak during the 3rd day. After a week, they will slowly start to go away.
How Is The Addiction Treated?
Gabapentin addiction can be treated in a rehabilitation center by going through detox. This can ensure that the individual stops consuming the drug without feeling the need to go back to it when going through withdrawal.
Also, in some cases, a person may start to give up on gabapentin gradually and under medical supervision, to make sure withdrawal is not too severe.
Treatment may often include therapy for people dealing with underlying issues.
Why Real Deal Can Help
Reaching out to Real Deal can ensure that you have a safe journey while getting rid of your gabapentin addiction. We offer a rehabilitation program to help you get the drug out of your system, along with individual therapy to treat potential issues that may have led to your addiction or resulted from it.
Our approach is unique, and with both addiction treatment and mental health being in the spotlight, you can rest assured that you will have a successful recovery.
Do you know someone who has a gabapentin addiction? Help them start their recovery by reaching out to us as soon as possible.