Drugs like gabapentin can mess with your dopamine levels, and with prolonged use, they may be the only source of dopamine in your body. As a result, it is highly addictive. Gabapentin, also known by the brand name of Neurontin, is a prescription pain medication that belongs to its class of drugs known as gabapentinoids. It is commonly used as an anticonvulsant and is prescribed to treat things like epilepsy and seizures, restless leg syndrome, neuropathic pain, and hot flashes. It is even given to treat alcohol and drug withdrawals. In addition, it is often prescribed because it is less addictive than alternative opioid pain medications.
Evoke Waltham’s Massachusetts drug rehab center can help you if you can become addicted to gabapentin. We can provide the support and resources that can give you a positive outcome in your journey to recovery. Our treatment program includes personalized plans tailored specifically to your needs, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, group counseling, medication management, and holistic healthcare approaches such as yoga and art therapy. Don’t wait to learn more about addiction treatment options. Call us at 866.276.1920.
How Do You Become Addicted to Gabapentin?
It is possible to become addicted to gabapentin. Generally, abuse and addiction to gabapentin occur in people who already have an addiction to other drugs or alcohol. A gabapentin high can be described as being high on marijuana and causes feelings of calmness and euphoria. However, whether in conjunction with other drugs or on its own, gabapentin can be abused and even become an addiction. An addiction to a drug always begins with abuse first.
Gabapentin abuse happens when someone takes the drug in any way that is not prescribed to them, whether in higher doses or more frequently than prescribed. For example, if someone is prescribed gabapentin to help with restless leg syndrome, they might find out that, eventually, it doesn’t work as well. Because of this, they might increase the amount they are using. They may not even know it is addiction until it is too late.
Getting High Dopamine Levels
Others may use the drug without a prescription with the sole purpose of getting high. It is even seen that the recreational use of this drug has expanded in recent years. Someone using this drug for this purpose is likely to continue doing it until they run the risk of becoming dependent and even addicted to it. When someone abuses gabapentin, it makes sense that they would eventually get addicted to it.
As time passes, a tolerance to the drug is developed, causing you to increase your dosage to achieve the same high steadily. At some point, you will feel like you can no longer manage your life without using it. Dependence and addiction to the drug occur because it affects the dopamine levels in your brain. When used to get high, your brain will experience higher-than-normal floods of the pleasure-inducing chemical dopamine. This makes you feel happy.
However, eventually, your brain cannot naturally produce dopamine at the right levels and eventually not at all. So it is now the job of gabapentin to supply your brain with dopamine, so when you are not using it, you no longer feel like yourself.
Withdrawal Symptoms from Gabapentin
When you stop using gabapentin or take a lower dose than what your body is used to after being dependent and addicted, you will experience withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms can begin just 12 hours after your last dose and last upwards of a week. The symptoms of gabapentin withdrawal include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Body pains
- Mood changes
- Lack of hunger
- Seizures can occur in some cases
If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to gabapentin, our team at Evoke Waltham can help.
Signs of Gabapentin Addiction
Have you taken gabapentin, or are you considering taking this drug? If so, can you become addicted to gabapentin? The truth is that while the drug can be a helpful and even life-changing medication for some people, it can also present the risk of addiction. Signs of addiction can include:
- Drug-seeking behavior
- The need to increase the dosage to achieve the same effect
- Spending more money on the drug than you can afford
- Using it for recreational purposes, like “getting high”
- Feeling more anxious than usual
- Increased aggression toward others
Other signs can include increased sleepiness, lack of coordination and balance, restlessness or agitation, cravings for more medications, and difficulty sleeping. If any of these signs sound familiar to you, reach out to discuss them with your healthcare provider. Don’t wait until it’s too late—be aware and ask for help if needed.
Get Help from Evoke Waltham Today
If you might believe you might have an addiction to gabapentin, now is the time to act, and we can assist you in your journey to sobriety. You may feel trapped in your addiction, but you need to know that isn’t true. Our team can help you move forward and provide the support and resources to give you a positive outcome.
Our treatment program includes personalized plans for your individual needs, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, group counseling, medication management, and yoga and art therapy. With the proper treatment and support, you can achieve sobriety and recovery. Contact us at 866.276.1920 to connect with one of our addiction specialists at any time, and rest assured that all calls are free and confidential.