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Is Gabapentin Withdrawal Dangerous?

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Gabapentin is an FDA-approved prescription medication commonly used to treat epilepsy, bipolar disorder, and some addictions such as marijuana use disorder. But when abused, gabapentin can cause physical dependency and increase the risk for an overdose. While patients may have good intentions when quitting the drug abruptly, quitting cold turkey can be dangerous and increase the risk for serious gabapentin withdrawal symptoms.

If you or someone you love is struggling with gabapentin addiction or withdrawal, understand it’s never too late to get help. Call our 24/7 confidential helpline at 800-662-8079 to locate a nearby detox center or treatment facility that can help you overcome gabapentin dependency.

The Effects of Gabapentin

Gabapentin prevents seizures and changes the way the brain responds to pain signals by decreasing unusual brain activity. When used to treat substance abuse and addiction, gabapentin alleviates withdrawal symptoms caused by alcohol, marijuana, and other substances. Gabapentin reduces nervous system activity — including pain, anxiety, and irritability —  so patients can overcome physical dependency on substances safely and more comfortably.

Some patients report feeling a euphoric high, a sense of calm, and improved sociability when using gabapentin — all of which can drive the risk for addiction. Other patients report that gabapentin makes them feel zombie-like, due to how the drug reduces pain. Those who stop taking gabapentin abruptly often experience withdrawal symptoms that cause pain and discomfort, and that increase the risk for relapse and overdose.

Withdrawing From Gabapentin

Due to the way gabapentin interacts with the central nervous system, withdrawing from gabapentin can cause adverse side effects. For instance, those who take gabapentin to treat seizure disorders may be at increased risk for seizures upon quitting the drug abruptly. On the other hand, those who take gabapentin to treat bipolar disorder may be at increased risk for suicidal thoughts or mania.

Gabapentin withdrawal symptoms include the following:

Is Gabapentin Withdrawal Dangerous

Nausea and headaches are common gabapentin withdrawal symptoms.

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Sleeplessness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Itching
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Changes in appetite
  • Restlessness

Dangers Associated With Gabapentin Withdrawal

Withdrawing from gabapentin on one’s own can be highly dangerous, especially for those physically dependent on large doses. Many times, users who try quitting on their own end up relapsing later on to avoid withdrawal symptoms. These users often take larger doses in an effort to alleviate symptoms, which increases the risk for an overdose, coma, and/or death.

Those who want to stop taking gabapentin may fare best with overcoming physical dependency at inpatient or outpatient rehab centers that treat addiction. At these facilities, patients can withdraw safely and more comfortably from gabapentin, and have access to medical support when they need help. Patients who overcome gabapentin addiction at inpatient rehab centers benefit from 24/7 access to medical support.

Most rehab centers put patients back on gabapentin, and gradually reduce their dosages over time until patients are no longer taking the medication. This treatment method, known as tapering, helps reduce and eliminate withdrawal symptoms so patients can overcome dependency safely with a lowered risk for complications.

If you or someone you care about is suffering from gabapentin withdrawal or abuse, call our 24/7 confidential helpline at 800-662-8079 to learn more about your treatment options. Our caring addiction treatment specialists will connect you or your loved one with rehab centers devoted to helping you overcome physical dependency on gabapentin.

What Is Gabapentin Withdrawal?

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