Gabapentin Treatment & Rehab
Gabapentin is a prescription drug also known by its brand name, Neurontin. Gabapentin is used to treat seizures related to epilepsy and also for certain types of nerve pain. Gabapentin is used to treat seizure disorders because of its effects on nerve impulses and electrical activity in the brain. It has an inhibitory effect, which can reduce seizure activity. The mechanism by which it relieves pain is not well understood.
Since gabapentin tends to slow down nervous system activity, side effects include dizziness and drowsiness. Also, gabapentin is associated with an increased risk of depression or suicidal thoughts or tendencies.
Gabapentin is increasingly utilized in addiction treatment, especially for alcohol use disorder and alcohol withdrawal. Since one of gabapentin’s main uses is to treat seizures, it makes sense that it can be used to help prevent seizures in people who are withdrawal from alcohol, since seizures are a serious symptom of alcohol withdrawal. Gabapentin may help prevent setbacks and cravings, and can also have benefits in treating co-occurring disorders that accompany addiction, such as anxiety and depression. Gabapentin is sometimes used during opioid detoxification along with other medications to aid in relieving the discomfort of withdrawal.
Understanding Gabapentin Abuse
Although gabapentin is used as part of detox and addiction treatment, it has its own risks related to abuse and dependence. Gabapentin can cause a sense of euphoria, especially with high doses, which may cause a person to misuse or abuse the drug. There have been small numbers of reports of gabapentin dependence, misuse and abuse. Most of the time these events occurred in people who had a history of previous or current substance abuse.
Signs that someone is misusing or abusing gabapentin can be:
- Taking gabapentin without a prescription or taking it in ways other than what is prescribed (such as larger or more frequent doses)
- Taking gabapentin with other substances like alcohol, opioids or benzodiazepines
- Development of physical dependence on gabapentin (withdrawal symptoms occur when drug consumption stops)
If someone is displaying signs of gabapentin abuse, it may indicate that treatment is needed. Since gabapentin is sometimes used to treat addiction, some people may think that it isn’t addictive. Many medicines used in drug and alcohol treatment also have a potential for abuse themselves, so they should be used carefully and only under professional supervision.
Gabapentin Addiction Treatment
If a person feels that they need treatment for gabapentin addiction, there are certain things to consider. First, gabapentin use can lead to physical dependence. If this is the case, and the person abruptly stops using it, withdrawal symptoms may occur. One serious symptom of gabapentin withdrawal is seizures. Withdrawal symptoms should be monitored in a professional treatment environment. When deciding upon a gabapentin rehab program, people should seek a facility that offers a detox program.
Another aspect to consider is whether the facility is equipped to help with treating co-occurring addictions — since gabapentin is often abused along with other substances — and mental health disorders. A polysubstance addiction may be more difficult to treat due to various properties of the substances being abused. Gabapentin abuse or addiction may occur alongside mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression, and some people may use gabapentin as a form of self-medication.
One important choice in choosing an addiction treatment facility is whether to do outpatient or inpatient rehab. An outpatient program allows the patient to continue living at home and taking care of normal life responsibilities while undergoing treatment. Outpatient treatment can be well-suited to someone who has only been abusing gabapentin for a short period, or those who don’t have other issues that need to be addressed, such as mental health disorders or addiction to other substances.
Inpatient or residential treatment requires the patient to live in a treatment facility. The patient will be unable to attend school or work because the entire focus is on recovery. Inpatient treatment is generally more expensive than outpatient treatment but may be more beneficial for a person’s success in the recovery process. In an inpatient treatment program, the patient can receive treatment without distraction or outside influences. Most inpatient facilities also provide medical detox before undergoing addiction treatment.
If you or a loved one live with a gabapentin addiction, Orlando Recovery Center can help. Contact a representative today to learn more about how individualized treatment programs can address addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. Recovery is possible, call today.
Mason, Barbara. “Gabapentin for the Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorder.” January 2018. Accessed April 30, 2019.
Salehi, M. “Importance of Gabapentin Dose in Treatment of Opioid Withdrawal.” October 2011. Accessed April 30, 2019.
Medical Disclaimer: Orlando Recovery Center 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.