Gabapentin is a prescription drug that is gaining popularity and is increasingly being used in the United States for the treatment of many conditions. In 2018, the number of prescriptions for gabapentin reached over 45 million prescriptions making it the Top 11th most prescribed drug in the United States.
With so many people taking the drug, the question of whether or not gabapentin is addictive has been asked a lot of times. If you are already taking the drug or still considering to take it, you’re probably wondering if there is a risk of getting addicted. Can you actually get addicted to gabapentin? In this article, we will talk about what gabapentin is and whether gabapentin can be addictive or not.
What Is Gabapentin And What Does It Do
Gabapentin is a drug that is mainly used to treat epilepsy, neuropathic pain, and to stop seizures. Many doctors will prescribe gabapentin to treat nerve pain in the body because it can help reduce your symptoms such as tingling sensations, numbness, and burning sensations. Gabapentin is also prescribed for many off-label uses such as diabetic neuropathy, bipolar disorder, anxiety, ADHD, restless leg syndrome, and complex regional pain syndrome, among others.
Gabapentin is not an opioid as many people might think, instead it is a type of an anticonvulsant; it also has properties that can be considered an anxiolytic. Gabapentin affects the brain and interferes with how certain chemicals are released, which in turn modifies activity in different parts of the body such as those associated with anxiety or seizures. It belongs to the sedative class of drugs which means that it slows down brain activity in order to produce sleepiness or tranquil feelings.
Can I Get Addicted To Gabapentin?
Yes, it is possible to get addicted to gabapentin. While gabapentin has a lower risk for abuse, it is still possible to get addicted to the drug. Gabapentin addiction can occur from getting hooked on its effects without seeking out medical help. Abuse of the medication can lead you into gabapentin addiction, which is dangerous for your overall health and well-being.
A lot of people take gabapentin not realizing that it could be addictive. That’s because gabapentin is widely considered as a non-addictive drug so it’s being used as an off-label drug for many different conditions including pain and anxiety. For the most part, people can use it without becoming addicted if they follow their legitimate prescriptions and they will not have withdrawal symptoms when discontinuing use of the drug. However some individuals become highly dependent on gabapentin and use it for a long time.
In the past, gabapentin was rarely used as a recreational drug because many people do not believe that they can get addicted to the drug. However, as other prescription drugs like opioids and anti-anxiety drugs became more difficult to acquire, some users turn to gabapentin to satisfy their drug cravings. In fact, due to the rapid increase of gabapentin use in the United States, there are some states including Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, and Michigan that reclassified the drug as a controlled substance.
Symptoms of Gabapentin Addiction
How do you know if you are addicted to gabapentin? Some signs of gabapentin addiction include poor body coordination, dizziness, depression, anxiety, mood swings, suicidal thoughts, tremors, etc. You may also experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking the drug.
Abusing gabapentin is also dangerous because it can lead to serious consequences such as organ damage, problems in brain function, and even drug overdose. People who are taking gabapentin as an opioid substitute are at risk of overdose because they cannot tell when they are already taking too much. While gabapentin can also have calming effects, the effects may not be enough for opioid users, this could lead users to take more of the drug leading to overdose.
Treatment For Gabapentin Overdose
Although it has been found to have low risk for abuse, gabapentin addiction still occurs. If you are struggling with gabapentin abuse or addiction, you should get professional help as soon as possible. You might think that this is a problem that can be solved without outside assistance and support, however, not seeking expert help could delay your recovery.
Seeking help from a professional inpatient recovery center is advisable if you are suffering from gabapentin abuse or addiction. Inpatient recovery centers provide a variety of services to those who need them: detoxification, therapy sessions, medication management and aftercare planning as well as 12-step recovery programs. Our team will work closely with you every step of the way as we provide education about your current situation and explore different ways to get clean from addictive substances such as drugs or alcohol.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse and would like more information on how we can help you, contact Lighthouse Treatment Center today.