Despite the reputation of prescription drugs as being safe, they are not without risk. While the use of gabapentin can ease several medical conditions, it can also cause great harm. Is gabapentin addictive? The risk of developing an addiction definitely exists. When addiction happens, people need professional substance use disorder treatment.
What Is Gabapentin?
Gabapentin is in a drug class called Gabapentionoids. It is available only by prescription. Gabapentin is considered a painkiller and is manufactured under several brand names. These names include Gabraone, Gralise, Neurontin, and FusePaq Fanatrex. Also used as an anticonvulsant, the drug assists in treating neuropathic pain, epilepsy, and restless leg syndrome. It is known by the street slang name “gabbies”.
The way it affects the nervous system allows the body to feel relaxed. This can aid in a person’s ability to sleep and feel less anxiety. It also helps reduce the symptoms of nerve pain, fibromyalgia, and seizures. Some people use this medication to help with cocaine and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. When used responsibly, the dangers of gabapentin are minimized but not without risk.
Is Gabapentin Addictive?
Some believe more studies need to be done on the question of “Is gabapentin addictive?” Still, many medical professionals believe the risk exists. While the drug is not classified as an opioid, there is reason to worry about the dangers of gabapentin. The drug acts as a sedative. It can produce a high, especially when abused. When this happens, people can develop a psychological addiction. Both physical and psychological addictions benefit from professional treatment in order to become sober.
The Dangers of Gabapentin Abuse
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about the dangers of combining gabapentin and other drugs. Potential dangerous effects can occur for patients. Of concern are those who have respiratory issues and take gabapentin. Those who take opioid pain medicines and other medications that depress the central nervous system can be at risk. Doctors should be made aware if a patient is taking both kinds of medications.
In addition, many people who take gabapentin end up also using opioids. They risk becoming addicted to either or both drugs. Some individuals who stop taking opioids end up abusing gabapentin. They often take it as a replacement for opioids in order to achieve a similar high. Gabapentin does not show up on an opioid drug screening test. This may allow the person to hide a new addiction that has developed.
Gabapentin was not initially classified as a Federal Schedule V Controlled Substance. That may change over time. The drug has been added to several states’ lists as a controlled substance in recent years. Several other states now list it in their prescription drug monitoring programs. As the drug moves onto these types of lists, more medical professionals recognize the potential dangers of gabapentin. This includes the potential for developing an addiction to it.
Is Gabapentin Addictive? Recognize the Withdrawal Symptoms
The dangers of gabapentin include what happens when a person stops taking it. Once addiction sets in, most people experience withdrawal symptoms when they go off the drug. Withdrawal symptoms can start anywhere from several hours to several days after taking the last dosage.
Most people feel the symptoms within a day or two. They can include:
- High blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Nausea and vomiting
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Difficulty sleeping
- Feeling agitated
Is Gabapentin Addictive: Signs and Symptoms to Look For
If a person is wondering, “Is gabapentin addictive?”, they can look for clues. Signs and symptoms of gabapentin addiction vary from person to person. Physical signs may include:
- Difficulty walking
- Trouble with speech
- Problems with coordination
- Memory problems
Psychological and behavioral signs and symptoms may include:
- Suicidal feelings or behaviors
- Trying to quit the drug and failing
- Doctor shopping (seeking prescriptions from multiple doctors)
- Being dishonest about symptoms in order to get prescriptions
- Withdrawal symptoms when reducing or stopping drug usage
- Spending excessive money and risking legal consequences to get the drug
Types of Treatment for Gabapentin Dependence
Gabapentin has something in common with other potentially addictive drugs. This type of addiction requires professional medical care in order to get sober. The dangers of gabapentin include the risk of a person being unable to quit on their own. Addiction treatment programs provide the supervision and assistance needed to become drug-free.
Addiction treatment begins with a detox program. From there, the person may move to inpatient care. This requires them to live in a treatment facility. Others enroll in outpatient treatment so they can return home each night. A big part of treatment involves individual and group therapy. This helps individuals understand the source of their addiction. Because of this, they learn to avoid relapses.
Programs for young adults often include lessons in developing life skills. This is important to help them become responsible adults. Life skills include learning to find a job or make plans to return to school. Doing this sets them up for bright futures.
Treatment for Gabapentin Addiction in Los Angeles
Being addicted to drugs causes a person’s life to spin out of control. They compromise their physical and mental health. Future plans often fall to the wayside, and they don’t live up to their potential. Launch Centers in Los Angeles helps young people overcome addiction and start new lives. If you have questions about if gabapentin is addictive or if you need help, contact us now.