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Is Gabapentin Addictive? Signs, Overdose, Withdrawal & Treatment. How Addictive is Gabapentin? Is Gabapentin an Addictive Drug?

How Addictive Is Gabapentin? Even though gabapentin was developed to treat seizures, it is commonly prescribed for other conditions such as anxiety and pain.

Is Gabapentin Addictive?

Gabapentin has attracted interest for possible applications apart from its original use in treating epilepsy. However, concerns about Gabapentin’s potential for abuse and addiction have been raised. Uses, side effects, and the potential for abuse of Gabapentin are all discussed in this article.

Struggling with gabapentin addiction? Join numerous individuals who have found support in We Level Up for gabapentin addiction treatment. Contact us 24/7 for confidential assistance. Our addiction professionals are here to guide you on your recovery journey.

What Is Gabapentin?

Anticonvulsants like gabapentin, sold under Neurontin, treat epileptic seizures and neuropathic pain. It’s in a class of drugs called Gabapentinoids, and it’s used to treat a wide variety of conditions, including epilepsy, RLS, hot flashes, and nerve pain. Despite being a safer alternative to opioids, gabapentin abuse remains a problem.

It has a structure similar to GABA and helps with sleep, anxiety, and nerve pain. Altering calcium channels, it is prescribed for pain associated with neuropathy, fibromyalgia, alcohol withdrawal, restless leg syndrome, and seizures. Some common brand names for these narcotics include Neurontin and Gralise, while their street names include “Gabbies” and “Johnnies.”

Gabapentin causes mood swings, suicidal ideas, and behavioral changes, in addition to its addictive potential. It causes hypertension, fever, disturbed sleep, altered appetite, and chest pain. Do your research and talk to your doctor regularly.

Gabapentin Abuse

Gabapentin abuse typically develops in people struggling with opioid or other substance dependencies. Misusing Gabapentin produces an altered state of consciousness similar to that produced by marijuana use, alongside feelings of extreme calm and euphoria.

The results of this study lend credence to these worries. Fifteen percent of study participants who reported using illicit drugs also reported using Gabapentin in combination with other substances within the previous six months. Another large-scale study intended to be representative of the general population found that nearly a quarter of patients prescribed opioids alongside Gabapentin were taking more than three times the recommended dosage, significantly exacerbating their addiction.

The abuse of Gabapentin without a valid prescription is a growing problem in many parts of the world. The drug’s ambiguous legal status complicates law enforcement’s efforts to address the problem. Some states are taking action to reclassify Gabapentin as a more strictly controlled substance to combat the growing problem of drug abuse.

While its effectiveness in treating a wide range of medical issues has made gabapentin one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States, its high abuse potential is cause for serious concern. The widespread harm and addiction caused by its use in combination with other substances makes it all the more important to raise public awareness and implement targeted intervention strategies.

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Overcoming gabapentin withdrawal can be a daunting journey. Many individuals battle to quit alone and often relapse due to symptoms and cravings. With We Level Up’s comprehensive therapy and effective treatment plans, you can find support for a smoother withdrawal and successful recovery.

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Gabapentin Abuse Statistics

Prevalence of gabapentin misuse in the general population was reported to be 1%, 40– 65% among individuals with prescriptions, and between 15–22% within populations of people who abuse opioids. An array of subjective experiences reminiscent of opioids, benzodiazepines, and psychedelics were reported over various doses, including those within clinical recommendations. Gabapentin was primarily misused for recreational purposes, self-medication, or intentional self-harm and was misused alone or in combination with other substances, especially opioids, benzodiazepines, and alcohol. Individuals with histories of drug abuse were most often involved in its misuse.


Neuropathic pain affects up to 8% of the population, causing significant distress and morbidity. Gabapentin is one of the recommended mainstays of evidence-based treatment.

Source: NCBI


The prevalence of gabapentin abuse in the general population was reported to be 1%,

Source: SAMHSA


65% among individuals with prescriptions and between 15–22% within populations of people
who abuses opioids also abuses gabapentin

Source: SAMHSA

Gabapentin Drug Facts

Gabapentin Abuse Overview

Gabapentin abuse is the misuse or overuse of medication for non-medical purposes. This can include taking higher doses than prescribed, taking the medication more frequently than directed, or using it without a prescription.

Gabapentin abuse can lead to adverse physical and mental health effects, including addiction, withdrawal symptoms, and overdose. It is crucial to use gabapentin only as directed by a healthcare provider and to seek help if you or someone you know is struggling with gabapentin abuse.

Gabapentin Abuse Treatment

Gabapentin abuse can be treated with medication-assisted treatment, behavioral therapy, and support groups.

Treatment plans are tailored to the individual and may include detoxification, medication management, and counseling to address underlying issues related to substance abuse.

Gabapentin Side Effects

Gabapentin is a medication commonly prescribed to treat various medical conditions, such as seizures, neuropathic pain, and anxiety disorders. While it is generally considered safe and effective, there are some potential side effects to be aware of, including:

  • Dizziness or drowsiness.
  • Fatigue or weakness.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Headache.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Swelling in the extremities.
  • Mood changes or depression.
  • Difficulty speaking or slurred speech.
  • Coordination problems.
  • Memory or concentration difficulties.
  • Unusual eye movements.
  • Allergic reactions.

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How addictive is gabapentin? Gabapentin reaches its peak concentration in your body about 8 hours after you take it.
How addictive is gabapentin? Gabapentin reaches its peak concentration in your body about 8 hours after you take it.

Is Gabapentin Addicting?

To provide timely assistance and intervention, it is crucial to recognize the symptoms of Gabapentin addiction. The following are some symptoms of Gabapentin addiction and dependence:

  • Increased Use: Taking Gabapentin in higher doses or more often than prescribed.
  • Cravings are when you have a strong need or desire to take Gabapentin even when you are not in pain.
  • Loss of Control: It’s hard to stop or cut back on Gabapentin use despite its destructive effects.
  • Isolation: Staying away from people or activities to use Gabapentin alone.
  • Responsibilities: Ignoring personal, work, or family obligations because of Gabapentin use.
  • Preoccupation: Spending a lot of time thinking about getting Gabapentin, using it, or getting better from its effects.
  • Health Problems: Using Gabapentin and having physical or mental health problems because of it.
  • Doctor Shopping: Visiting multiple doctors to obtain additional Gabapentin prescriptions.
  • Combining Drugs: Using Gabapentin with other drugs to make its effects stronger.
  • Withdrawal symptoms: Having uncomfortable or upsetting symptoms when trying to cut back on or stop taking Gabapentin

Is Gabapentin Addictive for Anxiety?

The potential for addiction to gabapentin is limited, despite its widespread usage in treating epilepsy and nerve pain. The DEA has not designated it as a Schedule I or II drug. Though it has been used “off-label” to treat anxiety, it has varying degrees of success depending on the person taking it.

Although gabapentin has been shown to help some people with anxiety, it may not be appropriate for everyone. Abruptly discontinuing the medicine use after long-term use may cause dependence or withdrawal symptoms.

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Conquering Gabapentin Withdrawal: Discover the Support You Seek

Withdrawing from gabapentin can be an arduous journey to navigate alone. Numerous individuals face relapses during withdrawal as they try to ease symptoms and cravings. Yet, you can effectively manage withdrawal symptoms and achieve recovery through detox, rehab therapy, and a strong support network at We Level Up treatment centers. Contact a We Level Up treatment expert today if you need help on your rehab path. Your call is both free and confidential.

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Why do People Abuse Gabapentin?

People may abuse Gabapentin for various reasons, often seeking to experience its euphoric or relaxing effects. Some of the motivations behind Gabapentin abuse include:

  • Euphoria: Gabapentin can induce euphoria, calmness, and relaxation, which some individuals find pleasurable and desirable.
  • Enhancement of Other Substances: Some people use Gabapentin to enhance the effects of other substances, such as opioids or benzodiazepines, leading to a more intense high.
  • Self-Medication: Individuals may misuse Gabapentin as a form of self-medication to alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, or pain, even without a valid prescription.
  • Opioid Withdrawal: Gabapentin has been used to manage opioid withdrawal symptoms, as it can alleviate discomfort and help individuals cope during detoxification.
  • Combating Insomnia: Some people abuse Gabapentin to improve sleep or manage insomnia, as it can induce sedation and drowsiness.
  • Experimentation: Curiosity or experimentation can drive individuals to misuse Gabapentin to understand its effects and how it interacts with other substances.
  • Availability: Gabapentin may be readily available and easy to obtain, leading to misuse by those seeking a readily accessible high.
  • Lack of Awareness: Some individuals may be unaware of the potential risks of Gabapentin misuse and may inadvertently develop a habit.

Why is Gabapentin Addictive?

Unlike opioids and stimulants, gabapentin is not widely regarded as highly addictive. However, there have been reports of people becoming dependent on gabapentin, particularly in abuse or excessive dosing cases.

Gabapentin can be sedating because it affects the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitter. As a result, it is employed in treating epilepsy and neuropathic pain. Some people may abuse gabapentin because they seek its sedative and anxiolytic effects, which they may see as beneficial.

Abruptly discontinuing gabapentin use after long-term use might lead to dependence because the body will have adjusted to the drug’s presence. This can bring on withdrawal symptoms like agitation, sleeplessness, and anxiety.
The potential for addiction to gabapentin is limited, despite its widespread usage in treating epilepsy and nerve pain. The DEA has not designated it as a Schedule I or II drug. Though it has been used “off-label” to treat anxiety, it has varying degrees of success depending on the person taking it.

Although gabapentin has been shown to help some people with anxiety, it may not be appropriate for everyone. Abruptly discontinuing the medicine use after long-term use may cause dependence or withdrawal symptoms.

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Gabapentin Detox and Addiction Treatment

Suddenly, discontinuing Gabapentin can boost the probability of seizures, so it’s vital to seek assistance when looking to quit. Suppose you are getting treatment for a gabapentin addiction problem. In that case, you will likely begin with a medically-assisted Gabapentin detox to slowly eradicate the drug from your body in a controlled way. After completing the Gabapentin detox, you need medical clearance before transitioning into an inpatient treatment program. There are several gabapentin addiction treatment options available, including:

Medically-assisted Gabapentin Detox

After heavy or extended use of this drug, your system becomes dependent on Gabapentin and needs it to function and avoid a possible dangerous withdrawal symptom. Getting medically-assisted Gabapentin detox helps you slowly wean off gabapentin while under medical care.

Inpatient Treatment

If your gabapentin addiction is severe or you have co-occurring mental health or medical issues, an inpatient program can provide intensive care. Inpatient treatment demands that you live at the facility for the entire duration of your treatment. These programs provide a safe environment and a high level of structure that minimizes triggers to use the drug. Before starting treatment, medical professionals will assess your situation and your addiction to create a tailored treatment plan. This may include group and individual therapy, family therapy, relapse prevention lessons, support groups, and aftercare planning.

Support Groups

Before, during, or after treatment, you may attend 12-step meetings like AA/NA or other support groups. When you go to a support group, you will be welcomed by individuals who know what you’ve been through because they’ve gone through it too. Feeling accepted can make a massive difference in your healing because you will create a new support network of sober people and learn from individuals who have been abstinent from drugs for longer.

Aftercare Addiction Treatment Program

While in rehab, you will get ready for your transition out of treatment by developing an aftercare plan. This will look different for every person and may include the following:

  • Transitioning into a sober living facility.
  • Locating a counselor or therapist outside of treatment.
  • Regularly attending 12-step meetings or other support groups.

After you leave treatment, you must stay involved with aftercare recovery treatment to prevent relapse.

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The inpatient treatment approach works best to change the person’s behaviors. Also, it will help clients establish social support systems and better coping methods. However, a person will likely experience many different side effects from the abuse and misuse of Gabapentin. These side effects may be physical, emotional, or mental. For instance, someone in withdrawal will likely experience many uncomfortable feelings and negative thoughts about life during detox. Unfortunately for those with dependency, medically assisted Gabapentin detox is an unavoidable first step towards recovery. 

Please do not try to detox on your own. The detox process can be painful and difficult without medical assistance. However, getting through the detox process is crucial for continued treatment. We Level Up provides proper care with round-the-clock medical staff to assist your recovery. So, reclaim your life; call us to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our counselors know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions. 

Are gabapentin addictive? Yes, gabapentin can be addictive, especially when misused or taken in higher doses than prescribed.
Is gabapentin addicting? Gabapentin can be addictive, especially when misused or taken in higher doses than prescribed.

At We Level Up Treatment Center, we are committed to guiding you toward lasting recovery from Gabapentin withdrawal and co-occurring conditions. Our multidisciplinary team is here to provide unwavering support, guidance, and personalized care every step of the way. Let’s embark on this transformative journey together.

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  1. Is gabapentin an addictive drug? How addictive is gabapentin?

    Gabapentin and addiction go hand in hand because the drug can be abused, leading to dependence. Even though it’s not as addictive as opioids or benzodiazepines, it can still cause physical and mental dependence, especially if taken in high doses or for a long time.

  2. Is gabapentin addictive yes or no?

    Yes. Gabapentin can be addictive, especially when misused or taken in higher doses than prescribed.

  3. Can you get addicted to gabapentin? Is gabapentin for sleep addictive?

    The answer is yes. Gabapentin addiction is possible. Although Gabapentin has a lower potential for abuse and addiction than many other substances, it is still possible to become addicted. Some people may abuse Gabapentin because it relieves the discomfort of opioid withdrawal or produces a pleasant euphoric or relaxing effect on their own. Physical dependence and addiction can develop with prolonged and high-dose use of Gabapentin.

  4. Is Gabapentin physically addictive?

    Gabapentin is not considered highly physically addictive in the same way as substances like opioids or stimulants. It doesn’t produce the same intense euphoria or rapid physical dependence development characteristic of many addictive drugs.

  5. Is gabapentin used for alcohol addiction?

    Yes, gabapentin has been used as a treatment for alcohol addiction, although it’s not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) specifically for this purpose. Gabapentin may help individuals with alcohol use disorder (AUD) by reducing alcohol cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It’s believed to work by affecting certain neurotransmitters in the brain involved in addiction and withdrawal.

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Search We Level Up Is Gabapentin Addictive? Uses, Effects, and Gabapentin Abuse Resources

[1] Gabapentin: MedlinePlus Drug Information Learn More: Is gabapentin addictive? Is Gabapentin Addicting?

[2] Substance misuse of gabapentin – PMC ( Learn More: Is gabapentin addictive? Is Gabapentin Addicting?

[3] Gabapentin drug misuse signals: A pharmacovigilance assessment using the FDA adverse event reporting system – PMC ( Learn More: Is gabapentin addictive? Is Gabapentin Addicting?

[4] FDA warns about serious breathing problems with seizure and nerve pain medicines gabapentin (Neurontin, Gralise, Horizant) and pregabalin (Lyrica, Lyrica CR) | FDA Learn More: Is Gabapentin Addictive? Gabapentin is it Addictive?

[5] Notes from the Field: Trends in Gabapentin Detection and Involvement in Drug Overdose Deaths — 23 States and the District of Columbia, 2019–2020 | MMWR ( Learn More: Is Gabapentin Addictive? Gabapentin Is it Addictive?

[6] A Qualitative Analysis of Gabapentin Misuse and Diversion among People who Use Drugs in Appalachian Kentucky – PMC ( tags: Is gabapentin addictive? Can you abuse gabapentin

[7] Misuse and abuse of gabapentin ( tags: Is gabapentin addictive? gabapentin for addiction

[8] Gabapentin add‐on treatment for drug‐resistant focal epilepsy – PMC ( tags: Is gabapentin addictive?

[9] Gabapentin: An update of its pharmacological properties and therapeutic use in epilepsy – PMC ( tags: Is gabapentin addictive?

[10] Gabapentin in generalized seizures – PubMed ( Learn More: can you get addicted to gabapentin