Gabapentin, also known as Neurontin, is an anticonvulsant medication in the gabapentinoid drug class.
It’s usually prescribed to patients suffering from seizures, epilepsy, restless leg syndrome, fibromyalgia, or nerve pain as well as those experiencing alcohol and cocaine withdrawal symptoms. While this drug is considered less dangerous than opioids, gabapentin addiction is still a risk to its users.
At our drug and alcohol rehab center in Philadelphia, we’ve come across a variety of substance abuse disorders. The lack of information about opiates led to America’s first opioid crisis in the 1800s, but the more recent opioid crisis arose because many patients believe that prescription drugs are safer than illegal drugs and easily become addicted. In order to spread awareness about other potentially harmful drugs, our Banyan Philadelphia team is taking a closer look at gabapentin addiction.
Is Gabapentin Addictive?
Gabapentin works by targeting calcium production in order to reduce seizures and nerve pain. Although this drug isn’t an opioid, it has replaced opioid addiction for many. But is gabapentin an addictive drug? Absolutely. Like opioids, gabapentin not only relieves nerve pain, but also produces feelings of calm, euphoria, and pleasure. Due to the similarities in side effects, many opioid users will turn to gabapentin as a replacement when they’re unable to obtain their usual substance of choice. In fact, a study found that the prevalence of gabapentin abuse ranged from 40 to 60 percent among people with prescriptions, and between 15 and 22 percent among people who abuse opioids.1 A preexisting substance abuse disorder normally increases an addict’s risks of experimenting with other drugs.
Prescription drug addiction is a chronic disease that normally requires professional recovery treatment. At Banyan Treatment Centers Philadelphia, we offer a prescription pill detox that is specifically designed to treat the immediate and underlying problems related to prescription drug addictions.
Signs of a Gabapentin Addiction
Gabapentin was introduced in 2004, so there is still plenty of research being done on its effects. Researchers have found that gabapentin is addictive, however, so it’s important to be aware of any red flags that may indicate a developing dependency in yourself or another person.
Signs of gabapentin addiction include:
- Loss of coordination
- Trouble standing or walking
- Doctor shopping
- Trouble speaking
- Tremors or shakes
- Odd eye movements