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Edited & clinically reviewed by THE BALANCE Team
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Did you know that Gabapentin addiction is often found in correlation with opioids drug addiction? Gabapentin belongs to a class of drugs called “anticonvulsants.” It also possesses tranquilizing properties because of its ability to act as a CNS depressant. It is prescribed to patients for seizures, alcohol addiction treatment, cocaine withdrawal, diabetic neuropathy, anxiety, and restless leg syndrome. 

But, is the abuse potential of Neurontin high? Well, no. It is not considered to be as high as other addictive drugs. At least that is what the books and journals dictate. Recreational abusers might disagree with the idea. It is also because of this relatively low abuse potential that Gabapentin is not a controlled substance in the US, the UK, or anywhere in the world for that matter. 

So, can you abuse Gabapentin? Yes. Unfortunately, even with a low potential for abuse, regular misuse of Gabapentin can easily lead to its dependence and addiction. Common brand names of Gabapentin include Neurontin, Gralise, Gaborone, and Fanatrex among others. 

The structure of Gabapentin is the same as the neurotransmitter “GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid).” For this reason, Gabapentin (Neurontin) tends to dull down the brain function, causing the consumer to experience feelings of euphoria, a pleasurable heaviness in the limbs, and complete calmness. 

So, is Gabapentin addictive? The straight answer is: Yes! Gabapentin’s effects can induce feelings of happiness and serenity. Because it stimulates the GABA receptors within the brain, you can become physically addicted to it, as well as psychologically addicted. 

When consumed for medical reasons, the margin for abuse remains shallow. However, recreational drug abusers often experience a greater and stronger high with frequent Gabapentin abuse. 

Gabbies and Morontin are the street names for Gabapentin. 

Moving on, the statistics from the US display that only 1.1 percent of the general population abused Gabapentin and became addicted to it. On the other extreme, 22 percent of the people in alcohol addiction rehabs abused Gabapentin. 

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Despite the fact that some people might compare a Gabapentin high to a Marijuana high, the actual physiological effects of the medication are easily comparable to that of alcohol. 

Either way, one thing is for sure: Abusing Gabapentin is dangerous. It can lead to dangers that you might not be able to imagine before you actually jump in with both feet to witness them. 

What are Gabapentin abuse symptoms? What are the signs of Neurontin addiction? How many Neurontin pills does it take to get high? 

Let’s explore each and every nook and cranny of the subject, shall we? 

People might indulge in Gabapentin abuse for a myriad of reasons.

First off, medicinal uses of Gabapentin apply to several conditions, For this reason, it is “readily available to be abused” on the shelves of a pharmacy; An addiction just sitting and waiting to conquer you as you charge towards the counter to purchase it.  

Secondly, Gabapentin’s effects can induce relaxation. It is for this reason that people often find comfort in easing their emotional pain without much of a “hassle” by abusing Neurontin. 

Whatsoever in the world is the reason for abusing Gabapentin for you, remember that Neurontin is an addictive drug. 

It will force you down a bottomless pit of Gabapentin addiction if you do not lift your finger off abuse. 

There are a few ways of abusing Gabapentin that are common in medicinal, as well as recreational users. These fall along the lines of:

  1. Crushing the pills to snort them through the nose. 
  2. Consuming a handful of pills with alcohol. 
  3. Taking Gabapentin with opioids. 
  4. Indulging in Neurontin abuse and Benzodiazepines consumption simultaneously. 

Note: Alcohol and Benzodiazepines are CNS depressants. They cause the release of GABA to induce calmness. Opioids, however, cause the release of endorphins, the “feel good” hormones in the body to trigger the reward mechanism in the brain. 

Let’s imagine it this way: Your nasal passage is a direct road to your brain. It does not include the complication for the drug to be absorbed within the bloodstream to reach the brain – A much faster route. 

For this reason, snorting Gabapentin medication causes a quicker and a stronger high because the efficacy of the drug is not challenged. 

Secondly, Gabapentin has been known to increase the effects of opioid narcotics. It is due to this factor that people indulge in Neurontin abuse alongside painkillers. However, keep in mind that both these drugs depress the function of the respiratory system and can lead to disastrous consequences. 

In combination with alcohol and/or benzodiazepines, the relaxation effects of Gabapentin increase a thousandfold.

Gabapentin abuse with alcohol, opioids, or benzos can additionally lead to dizziness, drowsiness, impaired judgment, confusion, and even death in the worst-case scenario. 

The risk of overdose due to Gabapentin drug abuse also barges in through the door of your life once you become accustomed to the practice. 

Gabapentin abuse symptoms include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Coordination difficulties
  • Tremors
  • Dizziness
  • Changes in mood
  • Forgetfulness
  • Anxiety
  • Slurred speech
  • Anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure in things that were once important to you).

Note: The aforementioned list of Gabapentin abuse symptoms is not exhaustive. The symptoms of Neurontin drug abuse can vary from person to person. There is never a hard and fast rule with patterns of addiction. 

If you believe that deadly combinations of Gabapentin with opioids, alcohol, and benzos will not lead to disastrous Gabapentin drug abuse side effects, we regret to inform you that you are highly mistaken. 

Before we proceed, let us get some discrepancies out of the way. 

First of all, Gabapentin’s side effects in women and men are not drastically different. The only differences lie in their sexual behaviors. Many women report decreased libido after abusing Gabapentin. Men, on the other hand, tend to experience impotence. 

Secondly, Gabapentin’s mental side effects tend to manifest themselves in the short-term, as well as long-term, or any duration in between the period of abusing Gabapentin. 

Note: All the side effects in the lists below marked by (*) are mental health side effects of Gabapentin. 

Thirdly, there are side effects of Neurontin that you might never experience. Every case of Gabapentin abuse is different. 

Moving on, short-term and common side effects of Neurontin dependence include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Delusions and dementia” 
  • Hoarseness
  • Physical weakness
  • Lower back pain 
  • Trembling limbs
  • Swelling on the face, hands, feet, etc.

It is also a common Neurontin side effect if you experience rapid and repetitive, uncontrolled eye movements. However, make sure that you seek immediate medical attention if you happen to notice these symptoms. 

As far as long-term side effects of Gabapentin dependence are concerned, kidney failure, memory problems, respiratory failure, and weakened skeletomuscular system are commonly observed. 

Rare side effects of Gabapentin dependence require immediate medical attention. Look out for the following warning side effects:

  • Sore throat
  • Black stool
  • Chest pain
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Anxiety, aggression, depression*
  • Memory loss* 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swollen glands and lymph nodes
  • Bruising and bleeding 
  • Immense lack of strength
  • False sense of wellbeing* 

You see, the aforementioned side effects in women and men – be it the common ones or the rare – are extremely challenging to afford. Putting yourself through these side effects can lead to destruction. 

Walk out of the life that causes you to neglect the presence of dangers of Gabapentin abuse and take on a route that encourages change. 

If you have been indulging in Neurontin drug abuse, you are more likely to face the complication of addiction. 

People who consume the drug as per the prescription of the doctor do not face addictive behavior.

However, there are a few risk factors that might change the course of situations for you even if you are using Gabapentin as prescribed by the physician. 

First of all, you are more prone to become addicted to Gabapentin if you were born into a family of drug abusers. You see, the genetic composition of drug abusers tends to alter itself when it is repeatedly exposed to addictive substances. If genetics play a role in your patterns, there is not much you can do about it besides preventing it. 

Secondly, because Gabapentin is not controlled like other prescription drugs that pose a risk of addiction, it is frequently found in medicine cabinets at home. 

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People who are exposed to the easy availability of Gabapentin tend to abuse it in the long term. 

Thirdly, Gabapentin’s recreational abuse can often lead to peer pressure. In the case of adolescents, peer pressure is often “uncool” to escape, causing them to give in to this environmental risk factor. 

Despite the differences in the risk factor of Gabapentin addiction that has exposed you to a life of misery, there are a few symptoms that are typical to all Neurontin addicts. 

The signs and symptoms of Gabapentin addiction can be evaluated by finding the answers to the following questions:

  • Do you lie about your symptoms to different doctors just to acquire multiple prescriptions for Neurontin? 
  • Do you exaggerate the intensity of your symptoms? 
  • Have you ever forged a prescription for Neurontin? 
  • Do you often try and yet fail to wean off Gabapentin? 
  • Is your behavior becoming aggressive? 
  • Do you find yourself compulsively seeking Neurontin medication?
  • Do you neglect your priorities to indulge in a Neurontin high? 
  • Do you happen to forgo the disastrous effects of Gabapentin to continue its abuse? 
  • Do you experience withdrawal symptoms upon abruptly ceasing the abuse of Gabapentin? 

As explored prior to this, Gabapentin’s dangers can be fatal if addiction is not treated carefully.  

Note: The aforementioned Gabapentin addiction symptoms are extreme. Do not neglect them because they often work as a key to unlock the door to Neurontin overdose. 

To withdraw from any drug can be immensely challenging. The anxiety; the restlessness; the pain; the discomfort; can be terrible. 

The same is true for withdrawal from Neurontin. The process of Gabapentin detox can be extremely uncomfortable if not fatal. 

Moving on; there are two ways to withdraw from Gabapentin. These include:

  1. Abrupt cessation of Neurontin
  2. Weaning off Neurontin

As per the recommendation of physicians, tapering off your Gabapentin dosage is a much more sophisticated way to experience Neurontin addiction withdrawal. 

Tapering off requires lessening the dose each day till your cravings for Neurontin subside. For instance, if you were consuming 800 mg of Gabapentin each day while abusing it, your doctor will ask you to decrease the dosage to 400 mg, then 200 mg, 100 mg, and so on. 

Once you begin consuming a much lighter dosage, your physician will ask you to space each dose consumption apart. Pretty soon, you will be taking 100 mg doses on alternate days. 

Eventually, you will stop requiring the drug as your body slowly begins to shift to normal. 

Note: This is not a guideline for you to wean off Gabapentin. It is a mere example. Always take your doctor’s advice on how to deal with such circumstances. 

This is because the intensity and severity of your withdrawal symptoms and cravings can be dialed down a few notches if you slightly decrease the dosage by the “wean-off” method. 

In the case of abrupt cessation, the outcomes can be negative and the discomfort associated with withdrawal will blast through the roof. 

Here is one thing that you should keep in mind: Tapering off Gabapentin does not mean that you will not experience any withdrawal symptoms of Neurontin. It merely means that your symptoms will not put you in a trance of pain and agitation. 

Overall, the withdrawal symptoms of prescription drug Gabapentin include:

  • Anxiety 
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Body pain
  • Profuse sweating
  • Tremors
  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure (Hypertension)
  • Gastrointestinal problems 

Note: The only way to combat Gabapentin dependence is to face the withdrawal symptoms that arise during the process of tapering off the drug. 

You know, unlike opioid drugs, a Gabapentin overdose might not always lead to death on its own. 

However, as you begin to climb the stairway of Gabapentin abuse, its potential for becoming lethal during an overdose skyrockets. 

Initially, you might not notice climbing up a step in search of increasing the efficacy of Neurontin. By this time, you might already be consuming higher-than-recommended doses of the prescription drug Gabapentin. 

It will not be long before you climb up a few more steps to wash down a handful of Neurontin pills with a big, soothing sip of alcohol. 

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Before you realize it, your pockets will be full of Neurontin, opioids, and benzos, while you hold a glass of alcohol in your hands. 

At this point, if you overdose on Gabapentin, it will be fatal. 

To simply state it, Gabapentin alone is not enough for death. However, once you embark on the journey of actively abusing Neurontin, overdose becomes a stairway to death. 

Gabapentin overdose symptoms often include:

  • Double vision
  • Bluish tint on the skin and nails
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of motor control and lack of coordination
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Respiratory distress
  • Coma 

In severe cases, death may occur. However, even if Gabapentin overdose does not prove lethal, it will certainly cause disastrous complications. 

Gabapentin overdose side effects include:

  • Seizures
  • Permanent brain damage
  • Coma
  • Kidney damage
  • Liver damage

Note: Gabapentin overdose is a medical emergency. Look out for the symptoms and call for help if you notice someone’s condition deteriorating. 

To sum up, it is fair to say that Gabapentin abuse is not justified. Despite the reason that you indulge in Neurontin abuse, nothing can change or alter the fact that it is an addictive drug. 

Gabapentin addiction can cause you to suffer from kidney damage, liver damage, memory problems, and respiratory failure. 

In extreme conditions, you can even overdose on the medication in the process of complying with your Gabapentin dependence. 

Remember, you can only prevent yourself from abusing Neurontin if you follow the guidelines from the physician and do not challenge your body at every instance. 

Once you become dependent on Gabapentin, you will be stuck in a never-ending loop that causes you to witness mental health deficits and physical health afflictions. 

Prioritize treatment if you are already immersed within Gabapentin (Neurontin) addiction. 

Learn to navigate through life on your own and become independent from your controlling addiction. 

FAQs (Neurontin Abuse)