What is Gabapentin?
Gabapentin or most popularly known by its brand name Neurontin® is a prescription drug with many uses. Its main function is to control and prevent seizures for epileptic patients. Because of its analgesic effects, some doctors will prescribe this medication to relieve chronic pain for patients who had undergone surgery. It also helps reduce anxiety because it can slow down the activity of the central nervous system. Overall, its effects are similar to diazepam also known as Valium®.
Unlike diazepam, this medication is not under the controlled substance category. Because of this, it is now a popular drug used for recreational purposes leading to drug abuse and addiction problems. How will you know if your loved one has a gabapentin high and how can you help them?
Signs of a Gabapentin High
A drastic change in your loved one’s daily activities, mood, and behavior is a major concern. However, it is inappropriate to automatically assume that he is under the influence of drugs. You have to look for signs that will confirm your suspicion. The following will help you verify if your loved has a drug abuse or addiction problem.
Classic Signs of a Gabapentin High
- Because of gabapentin’s anxiolytic effects, a person may also have a relaxed appearance. You will notice him staring blankly into space. He may also be unresponsive if you try to call or talk to him.
- The common side effects of gabapentin are drowsiness, lightheadedness, and blurred vision. Most likely, a person under the influence of drugs will act like a drunken person. You will notice signs such as confusion, overexcitement, lack of coordination and talkativeness.
- The main reason people use recreational drugs is to experience euphoria or a feeling of overwhelming happiness. This can manifest in two ways.
Serious Side Effects
- Withdrawal symptoms may also develop such as anger, agitation, paranoia, and anxiety. Typically, these symptoms will appear once the drug’s effect has subsided. It may occur the next day or after a week, once the drug becomes unavailable.
- Depression is another serious side effect of this medication. You will notice a drastic change in his mood. One day he is ecstatic and the following day he will be feeling blue for no apparent reason.
- People taking gabapentin may also experience serious side effects. However, these effects are more intense if a person is abusing or misusing the drug. The serious side effects are nausea, vomiting, memory problems, and involuntary eye movements.
- A common sign observed in people who abuses drugs is a drastic change in their behavior. In most cases, there will be changes in their eating, sleeping, and self-care habits. There will also be a decline in their performance at school or work. They may also become secretive and start hanging out with new people or friends.
- You can also look for other signs such as the presence of several empty drug containers prescribed by several doctors. Because gabapentin is a prescription drug, your loved one may steal or falsify prescriptions. He may have some blank prescription pads.
Why do People Use Gabapentin Recreationally?
People use gabapentin for recreational purposes due to various reasons, including the following:
- Gabapentin is a common drug prescribed in various alcohol and drug treatment programs like opiate withdrawal. Doctors will prescribe gabapentin to reduce the intensity of their withdraw symptoms.
- With today’s hectic and stressful way of living, many people use drugs to relax and cope with stress. The problem is the drug’s effect. To experience a gabapentin high, people have to take high doses of this medication. Although its effects can last longer than other recreational drugs, they will have to take several doses to maintain a euphoric feeling. As a result, most users develop drug tolerance and reliance.
Minimal Side Effects
- Gabapentin has minimal side effects such as drowsiness, nausea, and lack of coordination. Because of this, more people prefer this drug compared to other recreational and illegal substances. However, serious effects may still occur if a person injects, sniffs, or mix it with other substances.
Affordability and Accessibility
- This drug is also cheaper than other recreational or illegal substances. Typically, one can buy 30 capsules of 100 mg of gabapentin for less than $20.
- Most people choose gabapentin because of its affordability and accessibility. Unlike diazepam, this medication is easy to obtain since it is not under the “controlled substances” category. Furthermore, one can easily get a prescription for this drug if he is under a withdrawal treatment program.
Treatments for Gabapentin Addiction
Gabapentin addiction has several treatments, which includes the following:
- As of today, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any medications for the treatment of gabapentin addiction. The best approach is through tapering to avoid intense withdrawal symptoms. This process involves gradually reducing the drug’s dose until a person is able to go back to his normal life without taking the drug.
- The contingency management is another effective approach. In this type of therapy, the therapist will give rewards like money or voucher every time a patient has a clean result in his drug tests.
- Behavioral therapies are also effective in treating addiction problems. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a common approach used for gabapentin addiction. This therapy teaches patients to fight their cravings. The first step is to determine the triggers or events that influence the patient to take drugs. From there, the therapist will offer or teach various drug-free ways to avoid, cope, or respond to these triggers.
- One may also join support groups like the Narcotics Anonymous. A major benefit of joining a support group is being able to share your feelings and experiences. In this group are individuals who can relate and understand what you are going through. You can offer each other some bits of advice and tips on how to cope with your addiction problems. Joining a support group will reduce your distress, make you feel better, and help your regain control of your life.
- For artistic individuals, holistic treatments like art or dance therapy are good options. They can help divert cravings by doing enjoyable, relaxing, and meaningful activities. Yoga is also beneficial for those who want to develop and strengthen their self-awareness. This fitness activity can also help improve your physique.