What is Neurontin?
Neurontin, also known as gabapentin, is a prescription drug that was created to manage epilepsy, but it’s also utilized to manage neuropathic pain and seizure disorders. Neurontin has become the go-to treatment for the neuropathic pain from diabetic neuropathy, central neuropathic pain, as well as post-herpetic neuralgia- the nerve pain associated with shingles. It’s also is popular for other off-label uses like treating restless leg syndrome and insomnia.
Neurontin was originally intended to mimic a powerful brain chemical called GABA, much like Benzodiazepines such as Xanax and alcohol do. Research now suggests Neurontin does not mimic GABA as originally intended, and its strong psychoactive effects have been linked to dependency and addiction.
Neurontin Side Effects
Neurontin causes several side effects. Most notable is the Neurontin high that resembles the effects of marijuana. If you take Neurontin exactly as prescribed and under the attentive care of a qualified physician, you will probably notice certain side effects.
These may include:
- Clumsiness or unsteadiness
- Dry mouth
- Swelling of the extremities
- Weight gain
- Sexual dysfunction
In addition, kidney problems may grow worse if you already have impaired renal function.
Neurontin is also linked with an increased risk of depression, including suicidal behavior, in those who combine it with other anti-seizure drugs. Taking too much Neurontin can cause a fatal overdose, especially when combined with another depressant such as alcohol.
Since fatal overdose is possible, it is important to take Neurontin exactly as prescribed and never with alcohol. Combining Neurontin with antihistamines, muscle relaxers, narcotic painkillers and sleep aids can also be dangerous. You can identify a potential overdose through certain symptoms such as slurred speech, extreme sedation or drowsiness, and blurry vision. Unlike opiates, there is no reversal drug you can administer in the case of overdose so it’s important to seek immediate medical attention. Most overdoses occur when combining Neurontin with another substance.
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Neurontin grew in popularity as an effective drug and it was not believed to cause addiction, physical dependence or withdrawal. The view on Neurontin has changed, however, even though the federal government does not count Neurontin as a controlled substance. Neurontin produces a similar high to that of marijuana – an overall sense of calm and relaxation. A study of illicit Neurontin abuse found that more than half were taking it in conjunction with an opioid and nearly 30 percent were taking it with an opioid, muscle relaxant or anxiety medication. According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network, ER visits involving the nonmedical use of Neurontin has jumped 90 percent in the U.S. since 2008. Numerous cases of individuals suffering from flu-like symptoms, gastrointestinal problems, anxiety and cognitive problems have been reported. If you have been taking Neurontin for an extended period of time, you can expect to feel withdrawal syndromes similar to the ones felt by people addicted to benzos or alcohol. It only takes 5-7 hours for Neurontin to clear the body – its half-life. Half-life is important because medications with shorter half-lives tend to produce the most severe withdrawal symptoms.
Those withdrawal symptoms include:
- Change in appetite – either increased or decreased hunger
- Depression/crying spells – even people with no prior emotional problems may experience random, excessive crying spells
- Itchiness all over the body
- Muscle pain
- Excessive sweating and worsening night sweats
There are two very serious effects that can take place during withdrawal, which is why it is recommended to never quit cold turkey on this medication. Stopping use of Neurontin suddenly can produce seizures and suicidal thoughts.
With one of the potential dangers of Neurontin having suicidal thoughts or behaviors, please be aware of the following warning signs of suicide:
- Expressing thoughts about being a burden to others or having no reason to live
- Using more drugs and alcohol
- Reckless behavior
- Withdrawing from normal activities
- Calling loved ones to say goodbye
Do I Have a Neurontin Addiction?
If you have been taking Neurontin and think you may be addicted, ask yourself:
- Have I tried to quit Neurontin but find the withdrawal symptoms too difficult to tolerate?
- Have I asked my doctor for a higher dosage of Neurontin?
- Have my original pain symptoms disappeared, yet I still take Neurontin anyway?
- Have I started having problems at work, with loved ones, with finances or my reputation — even if it doesn’t seem related to Neurontin?
- Have I combined Neurontin with alcohol or another drug to get a stronger high?
If these symptoms sound familiar, or if you’re still not sure, we can answer your questions about Neurontin.
Neurontin Addiction Treatment in Florida
If you have been abusing Neurontin for a long period of time, stopping use abruptly can increase your chances of seizures or suicidal thoughts. For your safety, it is important to seek professional help for your addiction. At 12 Keys Rehab, our Neurontin Addiction treatment will begin with a clinical assessment so that our staff can determine the best path for your treatment plan.
There is never a one-size-fits-all approach to the treatment of addiction. Everyone has their own story, their own challenges, and their own personal journey they will take. Our staff makes it a priority to get to know you and create a plan will be customized to your specific needs. This will include the treatment of any mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety or PTSD. We will help determine the root cause of your addiction so that we can tackle each piece of the puzzle day-by-day. We will begin with medically assisted detox, where our staff will be at your side to help ease painful withdrawal symptoms and slowly and safely eliminate the drug from your system. Treatment continues with counseling, 12-step education, and group therapies.
Once you leave treatment, we are still there by your side. We will assign a recovery coach to support you in your first year of recovery. Having a challenging day? Just call them and they will help. And they will be checking in with you on a regular basis to ensure you are staying on the right path. We will also provide you with a tool to track all of your recovery goals so you can see your progress in real time and look back at how far you’ve come.
Don’t let another day pass by, not living the life you deserve. Call us now for more information and find your path to freedom, starting today.