Woman on steps holding head frustrated about her Neurontin abuse.To prevent opioid abuse, some doctors have prescribed Neurontin instead. Unfortunately, Neurontin abuse has become a growing problem. An estimated one out of five users take this drug illicitly. While the drug is typically prescribed for neuropathic pain and epilepsy, it has been given for off-label uses for conditions like migraines, depression, and fibromyalgia.

A Growing Problem of Neurontin Abuse

A growing number of patients who suffer from prescription drug abuse are also abusing Neurontin. Over half of patients who use Neurontin take it with an opioid. This situation has not been helped by doctors. In 2015, there were 57 million prescriptions for Neurontin in the United States. This number increased by 42 percent since 2011.

Often, doctors prescribe Neurontin because they feel like it is safer than traditional opioids. Even the Centers for Disease Control have classified it as a safer alternative. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Like any drug, Neurontin abuse and addiction are real possibilities for patients who are prescribed this drug.

What Are the Side Effects of Neurontin?

When used properly, Neurontin is generally considered safe. Using this drug can cause side effects like loss of coordination, vision problems, sleepiness and dry mouth. Less common symptoms include diarrhea, headaches, chest pain, weight gain, edema, and tremors.

One of the most dangerous side effects of the drug is Neurontin abuse. When someone uses Neurontin in large doses or for an extended time period, it can become addictive. Since it has mind-altering properties, the drug is particularly susceptible to abuse.

Can Neurontin Be Addictive?

Nearly any medication can be addictive if it is used for long enough. Some individuals may develop withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop their Neurontin abuse. Patients may develop withdrawal symptoms like confusion, restlessness, chest pain, anxiety, disorientation, vomiting, light sensitivity, and headaches. In some cases, these symptoms can last for several months.

When someone tries to quit using, one of the first hurdles is the psychological dependence. Neurontin abuse can make the patient feel relaxed or euphoric. Once the patient quits using, they may miss this pleasant feeling and have drug cravings.

Signs of Abuse

One of the first signs of abuse is using Neurontin in larger amounts or more frequently than prescribed by a doctor. If the patient is resorting to drug-seeking behavior to get a new prescription, they most likely have an addiction. In addition, patients who have an addiction may develop withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit. If Neurontin abuse is affecting the patient’s life, then they may be suffering from an addiction.

A drug addiction treatment center can help patients go through detox and manage symptoms. They may offer additional recovery options such as:

  • Family therapy
  • Art therapy
  • PTSD or trauma therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Group support groups

Each patient is different, so the best treatment programs offer individualized treatment plans. In an individualized program, the patient works with an addiction specialist to determine the best combination of therapy and treatment options. They may be given options like dual diagnosis treatment or addiction education to help with recovery. Through these options, patients are given the tools they need to begin their sobriety and prevent relapse.

While recovering from an addiction is never easy, there are options available that can help. The right treatment center can help clients quit using and restart their normal lives. No one has to go through the treatments for drug abuse alone. Help is available if you or a loved one has an addiction to Neurontin or any other addictive drug. There are many ways to recover. We’re ready to help you find your way. Call Beaches Recovery right now at 866-605-0532.