Can Gabapentin Make You High?

Can gabapentin make you high? Discover everything you need to know about gabapentin in this informative article.

Table of Contents

Overview

When most people hear the term “drug abuse” or “addiction,” they immediately think in terms of popular illegal substances of abuse like cocaine and heroin. However, these substances aren’t the only ones known to cause addiction problems. Prescription medications account for many abuse and addiction cases, as many have been shown to elicit addiction-causing effects.

These implicated medications are perfect targets for people seeking to abuse them because they often produce mental exhilaration or a “high” when consumed. Some drug classes discovered to cause addiction, especially when misused, include barbiturates, benzodiazepines, opioid painkillers, and gabapentin.
can gabapentin make you high

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What Is Gabapentin?

By classification, gabapentin is an anticonvulsant medication used to treat and manage seizures and convulsions in people with epilepsy. Another common use is to alleviate symptoms of postherpetic neuralgia. Over the years, prescriptions for this medication have gradually been increasing, reaching sixty-four million in 2016.1
Gabapentin is similar to benzodiazepine, another medication commonly prescribed for seizures, in that they both act on the same area in the brain. However, this is more or less where the similarity ends because they have different approaches to carrying out their anti-seizure activities. Unlike benzodiazepines that directly bind to GABA receptors in the brain to effect excitatory results, gabapentin forces the brain cells to slow down, effectively decreasing abnormal brain activity caused by seizures.

How Is It Abused?

Several recent studies have shown that more and more people are abusing gabapentin. For instance, in Kentucky, gabapentin is found in nearly one in every three overdose deaths. This increased gabapentin abuse is primarily because the drug has been linked to causing “highs” in people who misuse it. Interestingly, however, unlike benzodiazepines, which directly cause addiction problems, gabapentin takes a somewhat unique approach.2

People abusing this medication can get a gabapentin high when they consume it in high doses, especially when they snort powders from gabapentin capsules. Beyond this, people combine the drug with other addictive substances like cocaine. People abusing gabapentin usually combine it with other substances, although it can produce a high by itself if used in high enough doses. Gabapentin elicits a more enhanced “high feeling” when combined with other drugs like opioids and alcohol. Since the drug is available in capsule dosage forms, it can be swallowed as it is. However, some people who abuse gabapentin do so by loosening the capsule and snorting its powder directly.

Signs of Gabapentin Addiction

Because gabapentin is commonly combined with other addictive substances like alcohol and cannabis, overdose and poisoning remain the ever-present dangers of gabapentin use. One study found that 40% to 65% of individuals with prescriptions and 15% to 22% of those who abuse opioids reported misusing gabapentin. 3
Fortunately, getting off gabapentin side effects is possible if its misuse is detected early enough. This is why it is important to be able to identify the symptoms of gabapentin use.

Indications of Gabapentin Addiction and Misuse

People with gabapentin addiction often present signs of dependency, such as:
  • Lying about or exaggerating symptoms to doctors
  • Seeking out multiple doctors to get extra doses
  • Switching doctors after the original doctor refuses to continue prescribing the medication
  • Changes in social habits and/or 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

Can You Get High on Gabapentin?

Yes, it is possible to get high on gabapentin; however, it typically takes a significant amount of gabapentin to produce a high, as gabapentin is pretty weak (in this aspect). As a result, getting high on gabapentin commonly involves combining it with other more powerful addictive drugs like opioids and cannabis. Combining this medication with other drugs does not require a large dose to experience the desired effects compared to taking it alone.

Can You Overdose on Gabapentin?

Yes. In fact, of all gabapentin abuse risks, overdose is one of the most prominent. As mentioned earlier, the high effect of gabapentin is commonly obtained when combined with different substances, which significantly increases the risks of overdose. While gabapentin risks of overdose may be milder when combined with less potent drugs, if combined with drugs like heroin and fentanyl, death is a real possibility because the potency will be too high. A study measuring the prevalence of gabapentin in postmortem blood samples found that 47.1% of deaths were directly related to gabapentin.4

How Does Gabapentin Make You Feel?

When patients first begin taking gabapentin, they might feel sleepy, lightheaded, or clumsy and may experience slower thinking. These are frequent effects of gabapentin, but as the body becomes used to the medication, these symptoms should improve. Because of this, people who are on a gabapentin prescription are encouraged to temporarily quit driving or operating heavy machinery if they feel any effect of gabapentin use.

How Long Does Gabapentin Stay in Your System?

Gabapentin has a half-life of about five to seven hours. However, studies have shown that it usually takes about five half-lives for gabapentin to be eliminated from the body. This means that gabapentin will remain in the system for about thirty-five to forty hours after ingestion.
Nonetheless, its elimination from the body depends on a variety of factors, such as kidney function and dosage form (e.g., sustained-release gabapentin tablets), so it can sometimes be detected in urine days after it is ingested.5

Side Effects of Gabapentin

No medication is perfect, and as you must have certainly gathered by now, this fact also applies to gabapentin. In fact, frequent inducement of gabapentin dosage high has been associated with several unpleasant side effects. Some of these gabapentin high dose side effects include:
  • Feeling tired
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Mood disorders
  • Memory problems
  • Infections
  • Weight gain
  • Diarrhea
  • Swollen arms or legs
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Erectile dysfunction

Risks of Gabapentin Abuse and Addiction

Aside from the unpleasant side effects like diarrhea and erectile dysfunction gabapentin use can cause, there are several other risks associated with gabapentin abuse. They include the following:
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting
  • Pain
  • Sweating
  • More frequent seizures (for those with epilepsy)
  • Feelings of physical dependence on the drug

Get Treatment Options for Gabapentin Abuse at Profound Recovery

gabapentin high

Are you currently struggling with gabapentin addiction?  If you are and you’re looking to get safe and effective gabapentin withdrawal and recovery treatment, Profound Recovery can help. 

Getting off gabapentin side effects can be difficult, as the withdrawal symptoms range from mild to severe. Thus, seeking professional help is recommended to ensure you get the required treatment in a stable and safe environment.

Discover Wellness and Profound Healing

At Profound Recovery, you’ll be able to get safe and effective gabapentin rehab that will greatly improve your quality of life. Every step of the gabapentin addiction treatment process, from tapering off gabapentin to therapy, is handled by highly trained and experienced medical professionals. 

Detox

Gabapentin dependence and withdrawal treatment at Profound Recovery usually starts with detox. The purpose of gabapentin detox is to effectively and systematically reduce gabapentin concentrations in the body until the patient is entirely gabapentin-free.

Treatment Options

As a patient looking to receive treatment for gabapentin addiction at Profound Recovery, you’ll be able to choose between inpatient or outpatient treatment. Inpatient treatment is often recommended for those whose addiction or withdrawal symptoms are severe or projected to be severe. This is because inpatient treatment programs consist of twenty-four-hour medical supervision to ensure each patient remains comfortable, supported, and in excellent health. You’ll also have access to support groups and aftercare therapy as well.

Contact Profound Recovery today to learn more about our treatment options and how we can help you begin your road to recovery and a higher quality of life.

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