Following long periods of use, patients taking gabapentin are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms if they decide to discontinue intake. The effects of gabapentin will vary from user to user; some may experience a feeling of euphoria, which may lead to abuse.
How is gabapentin used?
Gabapentin is categorized as an anticonvulsant, and the drug is prescribed to treat the following conditions:
- Manage epileptic seizures
- Manage shingles and restless legs syndrome pain
- Treat cocaine, methadone, and alcohol addiction
What drugs include gabapentin?
Gabapentin is commonly known by the brand names Horizant and Neurontin. This drug comes in pill form, as an extended-release tablet, or as oral solution. People taking the brand Horizant normally take it once a day, particularly in the evening, whereas other brand names are taken in several doses over the day.
How does gabapentin affect the body?
Gabapentin reduces brain activity and suppresses the central nervous system. As a result, gabapentin is an analgesic that effectively controls post-operation pain. With its anticonvulsant properties, this drug is also an effective epilepsy treatment.
How does gabapentin addiction develop?
As I have mentioned, long-term gabapentin intake can lead to physical dependency. If you suffer from severe seizures (such as from chronic epilepsy) and take gabapentin regularly, you may develop a dependence.
Can gabapentin use lead to addiction?
Although gabapentin isn’t a controlled substance like the narcotics, it’s still possible for gabapentin users to become psychologically addicted and abuse this drug. Gabapentin abuse means taking higher doses than prescribed by your doctor.
What are the side effects of gabapentin abuse?
If taken in large doses, side effects of gabapentin may include:
- Blurry or double vision
- Feeling of anxiety
- Difficulty in memory
- Dry mouth
- Ear pain
- Swelling in the extremities
- Weight gain
Other serious side effects include itchy eyes, swelling of face and mouth, difficulty in breathing, and seizures.
In the event that you feel this drug has taken control of your physical and emotional well-being, notify your doctor immediately or seek a drug intervention specialist.
What are the symptoms of a gabapentin overdose?
Gabapentin overdose can happen either accidentally after taking a larger dose than prescribed, or by intentionally taking a larger dose to get high. Serious side effects of a gabapentin overdose an cause long-term damage to the heart, lungs, and kidney. Symptoms of a gabapentin overdose include:
- Blurred vision
- Slurred speech
Gabapentin users with overdose case must be brought to the hospital for immediate medical assistance.
What are gabapentin withdrawal symptoms?
If you decide to put an end to your gabapentin abuse, your doctor will gradually reduce the dose, through a process called “tapering,” to prevent severe withdrawal symptoms. Common symptoms of withdrawal include:
- Feeling of restlessness
- Change in appetite
- Crying spells
- Suicidal thoughts
- Temporary increase in seizure symptoms
Are there gabapentin addiction treatment programs?
Drug addiction treatment is designed to help a gabapentin user stop the dependency on this drug. The treatment programs may come in various forms and length of time. Most of these addiction treatment programs may include the following:
FDA-approved medications are usually prescribed to treat the person’s specific withdrawal symptoms after quitting gabapentin. For example, if the patient is experiencing nausea, the doctor will prescribe anti-nausea medication.
Behavioral therapies can also be part of a drug addiction treatment program and may include cognitive-behavioral therapy and contingency management. These therapy sessions are administered by counselors and are designed to motivate patients undergoing treatment to cope with their cravings and teach them skills and techniques to for relapse prevention. Behavioral therapies are also intended to enhance a patient’s communication, relationship with others, and other life skills.
The type of addiction treatment given to gabapentin users depends on their level of drug dependency, specific needs, and health condition. In some cases, a person being treated for addiction will require both medication and behavioral therapy, or even a specialized treatment program, to reach full recovery.