Gabapentin (the brand name is Neurontin) treats seizure disorders and nerve pain. The drug is used to treat epilepsy, restless leg syndrome, neuropathic pain, and even hot flashes. However, the latest craze among opioid abusers is now a gabapentin high. It is not on the list of regulated drugs because it was not originally known to be a substance of abuse. It was originally thought to be a safer alternative to opioids.

What is a Gabapentin High?

Opioid abusers like the effects of this drug which are even greater when mixed with other drugs. A gabapentin high is described by drug users to be of sedation and a calming feeling. They especially get this feeling when combining the drug with anxiety medications, opioids, or muscle relaxants. They also receive a euphoric high or a marijuana-like high feeling. However, when gabapentin is abused it can cause brain and organ damage.

Called Johnnies or Gabbies on the street, a gabapentin high may consist of a cocktail of drugs or abusers that may take many at one time to achieve the high that they are looking for. Emergency room visits and overdoses of gabapentin have more than doubled in the last few years. There is no antidote for the drug like there is for opioids, so an overdose could very easily become fatal.

Some of the gabapentin side effects can include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Chest pain
  • Loss of appetite or weight gain
  • Heart palpitations
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Depression
  • Restlessness, aggression, and mood swings
  • Urinary problems

Prescriptions Increasing for Gabapentin

As prescriptions increase tremendously for gabapentin, the drug reaches more individuals who do not have prescriptions for it. This fact is one of the first red flags for abuse of this drug. Many patients who have a history of drug or alcohol abuse and are prescribed gabapentin take more than prescribed of the drug. Taking more than a person’s prescription calls for is abuse in no uncertain terms. Withdrawal symptoms occur when these patients are taken off of the drug.

Since gabapentin is not a controlled substance, prescriptions will likely continue to increase, making this drug more abused as a recreational drug over time. Physicians need to keep abreast of drugs which gain popularity so quickly in the population. Many doctors are still not aware that this drug is being abused. Today, it is easy to obtain legal prescriptions for gabapentin making it very easy to obtain on the black market.

Withdrawal Symptoms Associated with Abuse

As the dosage is increased to make up for the tolerance built up in the body for the substance, the worse the withdrawal symptoms will be when stopping the drug.

Some of the common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Sweating
  • Changes in appetite
  • Headaches
  • Abdominal pain
  • Seizures
  • Muscle spasms

Although most of the symptoms are not particularly dangerous, some individuals experience suicidal ideations when withdrawing from gabapentin. Undeniably, these ideations are always a cause for alarm in patients. Seizures can be dangerous and even deadly in some cases. Anyone stopping gabapentin whether they have a prescription or not should do so under a doctor’s supervision.

Prescription Drug Overdoses on the Rise

Prescription drug overdoses have been on the rise for many years now. A gabapentin overdose is very similar to an opioid overdose. However, as mentioned before, there is no antidote for gabapentin. Brain damage can occur very quickly. Most gabapentin overdoses are related to mixing this drug with other substances such as opioids or alcohol. The biggest threat of overdose is a lack of oxygen to the brain, followed by slowed breathing or complete cessation of respiration.

Treatment for Drug or Alcohol Addiction

If you know of someone who is reaching for a gabapentin high or abusing any other substance, please contact an inpatient addiction treatment facility right away. There’s a multitude of addiction treatment programs that can help your loved one or yourself. Also, a treatment plan can be tailor-made to suit your needs and preferences.

To learn more about inpatient addiction treatment programs that can get you on the path to recovery, call one of our experienced representatives today. There is help for you or your loved one available. You can return to a life of sobriety and good health.

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