Gabapentin is a medication generally prescribed by physicians in severe situations. It can help an individual deal with seizures and pain. Although it does not frequently lead to an addiction, it can become addictive. Many times, gabapentin leads to addiction in people who had it prescribed. At the same time, certain people can obtain the drug illegally and use it this way.
The worst thing about this is that once the body becomes addicted to the substance, giving up on it can be extremely difficult. The individual may end up going through withdrawal, requiring urgent treatment, especially if the symptoms become severe.
What Is Gabapentin?
Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant used in treating nerve pain and seizures. There are also cases when it is prescribed “off-label” for treating pain, fibromyalgia, and migraines. The substance is not controlled at the moment as experts do not think it has high chances of making someone addicted.
Gabapentin circulates under names like Gralise, Neurontin, and Horizant. Several records show that the medication is sometimes misused by people, and those who are addicted to it may use it in combination with other substances. The most common combinations include drugs like opioids and benzodiazepines, but also alcohol.
The medication comes in different forms when prescribed by a physician. It can either be found in a capsule form, tablet, solution, or extended-release tablet form.
About The Withdrawal Process
Gabapentin withdrawal often occurs when someone stops taking the medication. Because they were already used to the substance, suddenly stopping the consumption may cause various symptoms depending on the case. Severe symptoms will have a higher chance to appear if the individual stops taking gabapentin cold turkey.
Even though it is rare to see someone going through gabapentin withdrawal, there are records of individuals who experienced withdrawal symptoms. We’re talking about people who were used to taking gabapentin doses from 400mg to 8,000mg on a daily basis for at least a 3-week period.
Dealing with gabapentin withdrawal can be extremely difficult, and often it may make the addict go back to consuming the drug to soothe the withdrawal symptoms. This is why one should not stop using the drug all of a sudden – not unless they are supervised by a healthcare professional.
Signs and Symptoms of Withdrawals
Within the first 12 hours after you last used gabapentin, you may notice some withdrawal symptoms. The common symptoms will differ from one person to another and will be affected by various factors. These include the amount of time during which the person has been addicted to gabapentin, how much they’ve been using regularly, and how their bodies handle the drug.
The most common symptom of gabapentin withdrawal is agitation. But there are other signs to look out for, including disorientation and confusion, as well as the following:
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Gastrointestinal symptoms
There were reported cases of gabapentin withdrawal where people entered this state without intending to. It usually happened when the individuals were either on a trip out of town or when they were out of gabapentin.
Risk Factors for Gabapentin Withdrawals
Some people are more predisposed to gabapentin withdrawal. This depends on certain factors. More specifically, individuals with a history of substance abuse issues or psychiatric problems are the ones dealing with gabapentin withdrawal more often. Some risk factors for gabapentin withdrawal include:
Gabapentin is very likely to lead to unpredictable effects if you are pregnant. One case study shows an infant that had to be admitted to neonatal intensive care as a result of being born in withdrawal from gabapentin.
This is why it’s important to talk to your obstetrician about whether gabapentin is safe or not during your pregnancy.
- Pre-Existing Problems
If you had pre-existing health issues before taking gabapentin and the drug served as a relief, then withdrawal symptoms may hit you harder.
For instance, if you used the medication for pain, you may experience severe pain during the withdrawal. Also, if you already have a history involving substance abuse, it is more likely for gabapentin withdrawal to occur.
There will also be problems for people who have a history of depression, psychosis, bipolar disorder, and epilepsy.
Timeline for Gabapentin Withdrawals
Gabapentin withdrawal will be different for everyone, but for most people, the symptoms will appear within 12-48 hours after last using the drug. The symptoms will appear slowly and will start to get worse gradually.
During the first two days, the person will experience symptoms such as sweating, headache, and shaking.
From Day 3, things will get much worse. The individual will deal with severe withdrawal symptoms, which include hallucinations, disorientation, fever, and increased heart rate.
From days 4-5, the withdrawal symptoms will slowly decrease. At the same time, the person may still experience confusion, anxiety, and sensitivity. To be clear, gabapentin withdrawals are unique to an actual gabapentin overdose.
Treatment For Withdrawals
To treat gabapentin withdrawal, one may have to stay in a special facility where they can safely and slowly stop using the drug until it is out of the system and there is no risk. Someone who experiences withdrawal must be supervised by a physician, and they may also have to give up on the drug gradually rather than suddenly.
At the moment, no particular medication was approved to treat gabapentin withdrawal specifically. This is why slowly stopping the use is the best way to make sure you put an end to your suffering.
In the long-term, the treatment you get will depend on whether you are also dealing with pre-existing conditions or not.
Why Choose Real Deal?
Real Deal can take care of you if you experience gabapentin withdrawal and can also help you give up on gabapentin addiction. You will stay in a facility where you’ll be assisted by professionals who know how to ease your symptoms.
Not only can we help you with your addiction by offering a detox program, but through therapy, we can also help you treat pre-existing conditions. This way, you can return to a better and healthier life.
If someone you know is going through gabapentin withdrawal, make sure to call us for help. This way, we can assist the person in the process and help them manage the symptoms.