Gabapentin Treatment & Rehab in Colorado
Gabapentin is a generic anticonvulsant medication, available under the brand name Neurontin. Gabapentin is approved to treat seizures, but it has a variety of off-label uses. For example, gabapentin is sometimes used to treat neuropathic pain, restless leg syndrome, fibromyalgia and tremors.
Gabapentin is not an opioid. It is believed to affect the gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitter, in particular, creating a calming effect on the brain’s neural activity.
Gabapentin is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. If someone takes too much or combines this medication with another CNS depressant, like opioids or alcohol, they may require gabapentin overdose treatment. Other risks associated with gabapentin include the potential for misuse, addiction and dependence.
Understanding Gabapentin Abuse
On its own, gabapentin has the potential to be misused, but the risk is fairly low. What’s more common is combining gabapentin with other substances, like opioids, to increase the drug’s effects and experience a more intense high. A study from 2016 found gabapentin abuse went up to 15 to 22 percent among people who misuse opioids.
Gabapentin is more readily available than other prescription drugs that are commonly misused, like opioids. Gabapentin isn’t a controlled substance federally, so it’s easier to obtain. Doctors are looking for alternative ways to treat patients’ pain because of the crackdown of opioid prescriptions in most states. For example, gabapentin was the tenth most prescribed medicine in the United States in 2016.
Gabapentin isn’t a very powerful drug, so to get high from it, a high dose would have to be taken. This low potency increases the chances of a gabapentin overdose because people may falsely believe they can take more of it than recommended because they know it’s not a powerful drug.
Gabapentin Addiction Treatment
If someone misuses gabapentin, addiction is possible. Almost any time a substance affects neurotransmitters in the brain, which is the case with gabapentin, addiction can develop. While someone can become addicted to gabapentin on its own, they are more likely to have a polydrug addiction. For example, a person may be addicted to gabapentin and opioids, or gabapentin and alcohol.
If someone is addicted to gabapentin on its own, or multiple substances at the same time, they may benefit from a structured gabapentin addiction treatment program. Signs that someone may need gabapentin treatment for addiction include:
- Being unable to stop using gabapentin or cut down, despite having the desire to
- Developing tolerance and needing larger amounts to feel the desired effects
- Doctor shopping to get prescriptions or creating symptoms to do so
- Putting significant time and effort into getting and using gabapentin
- Using gabapentin only for certain effects such as euphoria or relaxation
- Using gabapentin in spite of the negative effects
If you or a loved one developed an addiction to gabapentin, help is available. Contact The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake to speak to a representative who can help you find the treatment best suited for your needs. Through individualized treatment programs, patients can address their addiction and any co-occurring disorders. You deserve a healthier future.
Smith, RV., Havens, JR., Walsh, SL. “Gabapentin misuse, abuse and diversion: a systematic review.” Addiction, July 2016. Accessed April 8, 2019.
Gordon, Ronnie. “Gabapentin’s Secret: The Drug Opioid Abusers Crave.” MedShadow. April 16, 2018. Accessed March 27, 2018.
Goodman, Christopher. “Gabapentin and Pregabalin for Pain — Is Increased Prescribing a Cause for Concern?” New England Journal of Medicine, August 3, 2017. Accessed April 8, 2019.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.