Is Gabapentin Addictive?
Yes! Not only can Neurontin cause a psychological addiction, but it can also cause a physical one. Gabapentin addiction is not as widely understood as other prescription drug addictions and it is not considered to be as damaging or severe. But it definitely exists and if you have Gabapentin addiction then you will certainly feel like its severe, damaging and deserving of attention.
How Does Gabapentin Work?
We’ve mentioned Gabapentin’s mechanism of action a few times already here on Addictive Addiction, because it is one of those strange drugs that we don’t really understand. We have a good idea of which receptors it works on and which neurotransmitters are triggered. We also have a good idea of what the positive and the negative effects of Gabapentin are.
However, that’s pretty much it. We don’t yet know how it does what it does or even what it’s doing. This is strange, but not rare. There are many modern drugs that baffle us and for the most part, there is no issue with this. However, there are some causes for concern with Gabapentin and other drugs in this class (such as Lyrica, AKA Pregabalin).
The major issue concerns the age of this drug. It was only approved in the mid 1990s, which means that it has only been around for a couple of generations, not even a single lifetime. That means that there could still be some long-term issues with this drug that we don’t yet know. If indeed that is the case then we would probably have some inclination by now, so it’s not a huge concern for long-term users, but there could still be some scary reports waiting around the corner.
So, keep this in mind if you choose to use Gabapentin long-term. Don’t let it stop you from using it if you need it, but if you don’t and if you’re thinking of using Gabapentin long-term for recreational purposes, then know that it may not be as innocent as you have been led to believe, especially at the large doses required to use this drug recreationally.
What is Gabapentin Used For?
Gabapentin is an anti-epileptic medication, often referred to an an anticonvulsant. It is also prescribed for nerve pain and is commonly prescribed for shingles. Gabapentin and similar drugs, such as Pregabalin, are increasingly being prescribed for anxiety disorders and other mental health issues.
They are also becoming more popular with recreational users, which is why Gabapentin addiction and similar addictions are on the rise in the United States and across Europe.
Gabapentin addiction is often overlooked by the healthcare community because it is not considered to be as serious of an issue as heroin addiction or even Adderall addiction, but it is a growing problem and one that needs to be addressed.
Why is the Gabapentin High So Popular?
Gabapentin has become popular because of its sedative effect and the slight euphoria that it produces, as well as the fact that there are minimum side effects for many, there is no hang-over, and it is widely available. Unlike opiates (such as codeine) and stimulants there are no tight regulations on Gabapentin. It is a prescription drug, but one that is widely prescribed and therefore commonly available.
The fact that risk of Gabapentin addiction is considered to be low means that vast quantities of the medication are given out, often without considering any history for drug abuse that the patient might have.
The correct Gabapentin dosage will depend on the person using it and the reason they have been prescribed. You can get Gabapentin tablets in many different strengths, from 100mg to 800mg. If it is prescribed for epilepsy then the initial dose is often 300mg once on the first day, 300mg twice on the second day; and then 300mg three times on the third. The maintenance dose is then between 300mg and 600mg three times a day.
This dose is similar for other purposes and you will be advised accordingly by your doctor. You may also be prescribed a slow release Gabapentin, in which case it will be a larger tablet that is steadily absorbed throughout the day.
You can take Gabapentin with food and without with.
Can You Smoke Gabapentin?
Gabapentin can not be smoked like marijuana and nicotine cigarettes. It has a very specific mechanism of action that means the effects will only be felt if the drug is consumed orally. Alternative methods of ingestion are popular amongst growing street drugs like this and as Neurontin addiction rises then so do the questions about these methods of ingestion. But actually swallowing the tablets is the best way.
Side Effects of Gabapentin / Neurontin
There are a long list of Gabapentin side effects, as there are with every prescription drug. It’s important to understand that these have to be listed, even if they only occur in extremely rare cases. Just because there is a side effect listed on the leaflet doesn’t mean that you will get it.
The follow side effects are associated with Gabapentin use, both in the short term and in the long term:
- Memory Loss
- Lack of Coordination
- Trouble Communicating
- Unsteady on Feet
- Vision Issues
- Jerky Movements
- Strange, Uncontrollable Eye Movements
One of the most worrying side effects concerning Gabapentin use is an increased risk of suicide. This was a Gabapentin side effect that was more or less ignored in the beginning. But over the years more and more users of this drug took their own lives, while others reported serious feelings of depression and a desire to end their lives. As a result, this is now one of the Gabapentin side effects that users are warned about the most, and one that anyone with Gabapentin addiction will need to watch out for.
There are other Neurontin side effects as well, all of which you can find on the official side effects leaflet.
Snorting Gabapentin: Dangerous Habit
Many recreational users are known to snort Neurontin because they believe that they are getting a quick and better high. It may be quicker, because it gets into the bloodstream much faster that way, but it’s also not advised because it can cause damage to the thin membrane in the nose through which Gabapentin is absorbed.
It’s important to remember that this is not a pure powder; it’s not designed to be snorted or smoked. There are fillers in there and while you might not have issues snorting a drug directly, you will start to develop issues if you start ingesting those fillers via this method.
Not only that, but there is nothing wrong with ingesting Neurontin orally. It is the most effective way and the only way that guarantees a clean and exact dose. So, whatever you are using it for and whether you have been prescribed it or not, you should always look to ingest orally. In all cases, you should also be very careful with slow-release tablets.
These are designed to be released steadily over time and therefore contain more of the drug than is listed on the tablet. Breaking these tablets up will damage the slow release formula and cause all of the medication to be released at once. This could cause a Gabapentin overdose, which could result in serious complications and side effects.
Is Nausea Common on Gabapentin?
Nausea is one of the more common Neurontin side effects and it’s also a Gabapentin withdrawal side effect. Nausea is actually very common with most sedative drugs and the likelihood will increase in first-time users and with large doses.
If you suffer from nausea then know that it will likely pass and will typically only present itself during your initial use of the drug. That’s not always the case though, so caution is always advised. If it is severe, if there are other side effects, or if you are particularly troubled by it, then you should consult your doctor.
Why Does Gabapentin Cause Weight Gain?
It has been said that as many as 3% of Gabapentin users will experience weight gain. This may not sound like a lot, but it is enough for this to be classed as a common side effect and it’s enough to cause concern with the users of this drug. When you consider that weight gain is even more prominent in Gabapentin addiction then it may be even more cause for concern.
So, why does Gabapentin cause weight gain?
The main issue is water retention. Studies conducted on Gabapentin showed that as many as 8 out of 100 users had significant water retention, enough to cause sizable weight gain. An increase appetite may also play a role. If water weight is the cause then the weight should drop off once the medication is stopped. If you are worried about experiencing this Gabapentin side effect or you have experienced it already, then consult your physician.