If you are concerned about how this drug is affecting your body, you should evaluate how you are using it. You should consider the following questions:
- Are you using it under the prescription of your physician?
- Are you following the right amount of dosage given to you?
If the answer is YES, then you don’t have to worry about addiction. Just like any other prescription drug, Gabapentin addiction is most likely to develop once there is a misuse or abuse of the product.
However, it’s a new drug that was first introduced in 1993 and whose generic version was released in 1994. Because of this, its uses and effects are still evaluated. In case you experience something unusual or bothersome while taking this medicine, it is best to consult your physician right away.
How does Gabapentin work?
This medication has a brand name Neurontin and it can come in the following form:
- a tablet
- a capsule
- an oral solution
- a suspension
It is used as a treatment for epilepsy and nerve pain. When a nerve is not working properly, it sends a message to the brain that something is painful even when there’s none.
This medicine works on that nerve by changing the way it sends a message to the brain. This results in reducing the pain you feel.
It works not specifically to cure epilepsy but to control or manage the seizures brought by epilepsy. It is basically classified as an anticonvulsant. It is also used as a prescription for nerve pain brought by shingles or diabetes.
Can Gabapentin be addictive?
This medicine functions similarly to our body’s Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a brain chemical that affects the nervous system. It relieves nerve pain by producing feelings of relaxation and calmness. It gives the user a strong sense of euphoria.
Once taken in conjunction with other substances such as opioids or alcohol, it enhances the other substance’s effect. Some people have testified that the high brought by this substance is similar to that of cannabis. Others, especially those with a cocaine history, also said that it is similar to the effect of cocaine.
This drug can be dangerously addictive when it is misused and abused. It may be thought of as a safe alternative for opioid painkillers, but it can be a great threat when taken without an accurate prescription.
How can you tell if you are addicted to Gabapentin?
Taking this drug at your own will is a sign of self-destructive behavior which can lead to addiction. Remember that it is a prescription drug that needs close supervision of a physician to function effectively. You can tell that you are addicted to the substance if you experience any of the following behaviors:
- You lie or exaggerate symptoms to doctors
- You seek out more than one doctor to get extra doses
- You switch doctors if the first doctor refuses to continue prescribing you with the drug
- You experience changes in your social actions
- You experience changes in your hygiene and grooming
- Your preoccupation with the drug is constant
- You feel uneasy when you think about the drug being inaccessible
- You refuse to stop taking the drug even if it’s affecting your social and personal life, as well as your finances
- You tried to quit but failed to do so
What are the side effects of using Gabapentin?
Just like any other medication, excessive use of Gabapentin without prescription poses an alarming threat to the user. Apart from the restless behavior caused by an extreme psychological dependence on the drug, some or all of the following can be experienced by the user:
Effects on the Brain
It can cause sleepiness and memory loss for the user, especially for prolonged abuse of the drug. The individual also experiences a loss of body coordination.
Effects on the Body
When there are too many contents of this substance in your body, it can lead to tremors and jerky movements. The person will also feel feverish since there’s an increase in body temperature.
Effects on the Eyes and Mouth
Abuse of this medication can cause unusual eye movements, double vision, and slurred speech. This is linked to reduced muscle coordination as well.
Effects on Emotional Stability
The euphoric sensation from abusing this drug is just temporary, and the next episode will be depression and anxiety. The person will have an unstable mood since the brain hormones are altered already.
It is highly recommended that you seek medical help immediately once you experience any, or worse, all of the symptoms mentioned above.
Besides, a long term effect could also be experienced by the user. These are the commonly observed long term effects of excessive use of this medicine:
- Loss of memory
- Weakened muscles
- Respiratory failure
Is it dangerous to use Gabapentin?
This medicine is safe if used correctly. It has been one of the leading prescription drugs in the United States due to its less addictive potential. However, most people abuse this to maximize the effect of other substances they pair it with, making it detrimental to one’s health.
Addiction to this substance and the other substance could pose a serious danger to a person’s mental health. Suicidal behavior could be intensified as well as anxiety and depression. This act could also lead to weakening the body’s central nervous system and affect one’s breathing. The risk for overdose and death could be really high.
It also brings about withdrawal symptoms once you suddenly quit using it. If you are taking the product for seizures and you suddenly stop taking this medication, it could intensify your seizure activity and may be hardly controlled.
This drug is not advisable to be taken by those with pre-existing problems in the kidney as they could be easily intoxicated and may lead to death.
Is there a treatment for Gabapentin addiction?
The problem when you’re intoxicated with this drug, there is no antidote available for overdose treatment, unlike opiates. The challenge lies in the prolonged and intense management of Gabapentin overdose.
If you feel the need for addiction treatment, you may consider the following in selecting a rehabilitation program for you:
- Look for a detox program especially since symptoms for Gabapentin withdrawal may need a professional detox facility.
- Look for a treatment facility that could cater treatment to multiple addictions since addiction is most common when used in conjunction with other substances.
- Look for a program that offers mental health management because depression and anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts, are most likely to co-exist for abusing this medicine.
If you think you are abusing this substance, seek medical help as early as today. You can book an initial consultation with a doctor or addiction specialist near you.
They have the experience and license to give you professional advice for your recovery. You also need to find a reputable rehab center for your treatment program.