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Is Gabapentin Addictive? And Other Important Facts

Is gabapentin addictive? Learn about gabapentin addiction, withdrawal symptoms, treatment at Ripple Ranch Recovery. 

What Is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant that can be used clinically to relieve chronic pain. Gabapentin medication is commonly used by patients with neuropathic pain and in the management of routine surgical pain. 

Gabapentin uses include the treatment of partial epilepsy and the prevention and control of seizures. Gabapentin is also proven to be impactful in treating cannabis dependence. As an off label use, clinicians often prescribe gabapentin for depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder treatment.1 

How Does Gabapentin Work?

Gabapentin treatment works by reducing electrical activity in the brain. This activity reduction helps lessen the intensity or frequency of seizures and is responsible for the various gabapentin uses. Gabapentin medication also interferes with the pain signals sent via the brain and down the spine, helping to stop persistent or neuropathic pain.  

In cases involving gabapentin for withdrawal, gabapentin reduces craving and disturbance in sleep, the key symptoms of withdrawal that may trigger relapses in some patients. Gabapentin anxiety treatment is based on the ability of the medication to calm the central nervous system.2

is gabapentin addictive

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Gabapentin Addiction?

Is gabapentin addictive? Yes, gabapentin can be addictive. There have been several documented cases of gabapentin substance abuse. However, the likelihood of gabapentin addiction is relatively low compared to psychoactive substances. However, gabapentin addiction and gabapentin substance abuse can still occur.   

Gabapentin addiction is most likely to occur in individuals already dependent or addicted to alcohol, opioids, or other narcotics. Even though clinicians prescribe gabapentin for withdrawal symptom treatment, gabapentin substance abuse mainly occurs when people use gabapentin medication for longer than prescribed or in larger doses than average.3

Symptoms of Gabapentin Misuse

Symptoms and signs of gabapentin abuse include:

  • Lying about or exaggerating symptoms to doctors
  • Seeking out multiple doctors to get extra doses.
  • Changes in social habits and circles.
  • Changes in personal hygiene and grooming habits.
  • Unease at the thought of the drug being unavailable.
  • Refusal to quit despite social, financial, or legal consequences.
  • Failed attempts to quit.

Gabapentin Side Effects

Based on the half-life of gabapentin, several related gabapentin side effects are temporary. Severe side effects occur in a few cases but are mostly rare. Most gabapentin side effects improve after or within a week of beginning gabapentin medication. However, some gabapentin side effects occur when an individual takes more than the prescribed gabapentin dosage.

Serious side effects of gabapentin include suicidal thoughts and drastic changes in behavior. In certain cases, due to the euphoric high gabapentin drugs give, some people use gabapentin for depression management. Others take gabapentin and alcohol or gabapentin alongside other medications that could create potentially dangerous side effects when drug interactions occur.4

Common Side Effects

Common side effects of gabapentin usage or gabapentin abuse include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Shaking in one part of the body
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Unsteadiness

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Symptoms of Gabapentin Withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms develop in varying intensities and can be physical or psychological. For example, substance use withdrawal develops following sudden discontinuation of substance use after substance dependence has set in. These withdrawal symptoms can be observed in gabapentin substance abuse caused by addiction.   

Although medical professionals can sometimes prescribe gabapentin to treat substance use withdrawal, one of the dangers of gabapentin use is the likelihood of dependency. Symptoms of gabapentin withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Nausea
  • Pain
  • Sweating

Symptoms of Gabapentin Overdose 

The average gabapentin dose is administered three times a day because of the short half-life of gabapentin. The half-life of gabapentin is about 5 to 7 hours, the time unaltered by the dose but may differ in elderly patients and those with impaired renal function. The recommended starting gabapentin dosage for adults is 300mg and a maximum of 3600mg daily.5 

It has been proven that the risk of gabapentin overdose is higher in persons with mental health conditions or depression. Gabapentin overdose can also occur when people take a higher than normal gabapentin dosage for anxiety, neuropathy, pain, or seizures. 

Indications of An Overdose

Symptoms of gabapentin overdose include:

  • Double vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness
  • Diarrhea

What Is the Gabapentin Withdrawal Timeline?

It is more advisable to taper off of gabapentin medication by gradually reducing the dosage until it is no longer used. A sudden stop of gabapentin dosage can bring about severe side effects and withdrawal symptoms. After the last dosage, withdrawal symptoms may begin within 12 hours and linger for 7-10 days.

Gabapentin should be tapered off gradually for at least a week and possibly months to minimize withdrawal symptoms. Experts recommend reducing the dosage by 300mg every four days. Slower tapers can give room for safer discontinuation of gabapentin.6

Factors That Impact Timeline of Withdrawal

Gabapentin Withdrawal timeline often differs between individuals and can be affected by a range of factors; some of those factors include:

  • Whether the gabapentin use was recreational or for medical purposes.
  • How much gabapentin was consumed?
  • If any other drugs were abused simultaneously.
  • Individual factors like age, overall health, lifestyle, mental health, and genetics.

Detox and Treatment For Gabapentin Addiction

In the event of gabapentin addiction or related substance abuse, there are several ways in which health care practitioners can achieve treatment.


Gabapentin detox is the most crucial step to recovering from gabapentin addiction. Gabapentin detox involves getting rid of gabapentin left in the system while under medical supervision.

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment involves admitting the patient into a medical facility or rehabilitation centre for treatment. Expert detox or therapy is highly necessary for individuals who must be closely monitored. Patients that would need inpatient care include people with long-term gabapentin addiction, the elderly, and anyone facing recurrent relapses while trying to quit gabapentin use. 

Residential Treatment

Residential treatment programs provide live-in recovery programs for individuals struggling with gabapentin addiction. This program may include individual, group, and family therapy or medication-assisted treatments.

Outpatient Programs

Outpatient treatment programs provide similar treatment to inpatient programs but do not involve patients' admission into any medical facility. Patients can recover in the comfort of their homes, surrounded by loved ones. Outpatient programs help patients get expert care while going about their normal lives. 

Support Groups

Support groups are put together to help individuals recovering from addiction stay clear even after rehabilitation from gabapentin addiction. Support groups can be highly beneficial for recovery as it rounds up individuals striving for similar goals. 

Continued Care Options for Gabapentin Addiction Treatment at Ripple Ranch

Ripple Ranch Recovery Center is an addiction treatment center in Texas with the number one goal of helping patients overcome substance use disorder. We offer care using methods backed by significant decades of statistics and medical research. Our recovery team consists of experts that can provide adequate treatment plans for total recovery from gabapentin addiction.

At Ripple Ranch Recovery, we offer several levels of care revolving around:

is gabapentin addictive

Sober Living Programs

Sober living programs provide sober living houses for people recovering from addiction. These houses offer a substance-free living environment for individuals attempting to recover from gabapentin abuse. While going through this living experience, expert care is also on the ground to cater to and attend to the needs of every individual in the establishment. 

Aftercare Programs

Aftercare programs provide interventions and strategies to ensure the re-establishment of individuals effectively back into society and prevent relapse in individuals recovering from gabapentin addiction. Aftercare programs are essential to ensure patients stay sober and free from gabapentin and substance use long after completing treatment. 

For more information on gabapentin use, gabapentin substance abuse, gabapentin overdose, gabapentin withdrawal symptoms, and treatment options, contact us today.