Ketamine Addiction

Ketamine Addiction | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

Ketamine (Special K) is a potent anesthetic and dissociative, meaning it induces feelings of detachment from one’s body. It’s commonly used in veterinary medicine and to help with sedation during surgery but is also commonly found on the party and club scene among those seeking the high it provides. While ketamine isn’t believed to be as addictive as many other drugs of abuse, it does occasionally occur and can be detrimental to one’s life.

Ketamine comes in several forms, including powder, liquid, and as pills. When ingested, ketamine can cause users to experience visual and auditory hallucinations and euphoria. Because it’s an anesthetic, it also reduces physical sensations. Combining this drug with other depressants, such as alcohol, increases the risk of profound respiratory depression, which can be life-threatening.

Ketamine is also now available by prescription, as it is believed to be effective at treating symptoms of depression and alcohol addiction and withdrawal.

Signs and Symptoms of Ketamine Addiction

Ketamine is a relatively short-acting drug. One of the primary effects that people enjoy is that it blocks pain sensations. Unfortunately, not reacting to painful stimuli can be dangerous, and ketamine should not be used outside of a clinical environment or as prescribed by a doctor.

Furthermore, ketamine use can impair coordination, especially when used with other depressants. This effect could be risky and lead to injury, and it could also cause a person’s judgment capabilities to be diminished. It’s not hard to accidentally hurt yourself while on ketamine because it’s an anesthetic. Pain is sometimes essential for survival, as it warns us when we’re injured and forces us to take heed and focus on that injury, preventing further damage. Someone on ketamine can suffer from a severe injury and go one with life as if nothing happened.

In addition to sedating the user and impairing movement, it can produce out-of-body experiences in which the user feels detached from oneself and the surrounding environment. It distorts perceptions of sight and sound. At high doses, the user may encounter intense and frightening effects that may be described as similar to a near-death experience. This event is also sometimes referred to as a “K-hole.”

The symptoms of ketamine abuse and addiction are similar to those associated with alcohol abuse and may include the following:

  • Disorientation
  • Feelings of detachment
  • Hallucinations
  • Slowed or labored breathing
  • Mood changes
  • Depression
  • Impaired cognitive abilities
  • Impaired memory
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Effects of Ketamine Abuse

Ketamine Addiction | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

Ketamine can be an unpleasant drug to abuse in the long-term. Repeated use can cause a wide array of adverse effects on the brain and body.

For example, it can cause severe abdominal pain, as well as damage to the bladder and urinary tract, also referred to as ketamine bladder syndrome. This condition leads to decreased control of the bladder and incontinence. It may also cause blood in the urine and ulcers in the bladder.

Because ketamine is often found as a powder, it is frequently snorted. Unfortunately, many of these powders are laced with other drugs. It may be something relatively benign, such as talcum powder or sugar, but it could also be combined with something more hazardous, like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or drain cleaner.

A dose can be difficult to gauge, and in some cases, it could be the wrong substance altogether (e.g., fentanyl), and result in a life-threatening overdose.

Ketamine Withdrawal

Withdrawal from ketamine typically lasts for 4-6 days after the last dose, and it might feel like suffering from severe flu symptoms. A person may encounter the following symptoms:

  • Chills and sweating
  • Cravings
  • Fatigue
  • Nightmares
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Stiff muscles
  • Involuntary eye movement

These symptoms are not at all pleasant, but they can be effectively managed with medical care. Undergoing a supervised medical detox can ensure the patient is monitored and as safe and comfortable as possible as he or she withdraws.

Treatment for Ketamine Abuse or Addiction

If you are abusing ketamine or have developed an addiction, you can get help at a rehab center. At Recovery By The Sea, you can receive treatment for ketamine addiction in a safe and comfortable environment and remain protected from the temptations of further ketamine use.

It’s not uncommon for people who abuse ketamine to also use other drugs or alcohol, and if these other problems exist, they can be addressed simultaneously. Therapeutic services and activities we offer that are intended to treat all aspects of a person’s well-being include the following:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Individual and family counseling
  • Peer support groups
  • Health and wellness education
  • Substance abuse education
  • Art, music, and adventure therapy
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Aftercare planning

We also provide treatment for co-occurring mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, childhood trauma, and more.

If you are ready to take the first step toward sobriety, contact us today! Drug abuse and addiction are conditions that may need lifelong maintenance, but you don’t have to do this alone! We are here to help!

How Long Does Gabapentin Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Gabapentin Stay in Your System? | Recovery By The Sea

Gabapentin (brand name Neurontin) is a commonly prescribed medication that remains in the body for about 36 hours. Gabapentin has a half-life of 5-7 hours, meaning that it takes this amount of time for the body to eliminate one-half of a dose of the drug.

What Is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin is a prescription medication approved for the treatment of seizures and neuropathic pain related to shingles. Gabapentin may also be used off-label for other purposes, including the following:

  • Pain unrelated to nerve issues
  • Anxiety that can occur in certain types of psychiatric disorders
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Withdrawal symptoms from alcohol and other substances

How Gabapentin Works

The DEA does not classify gabapentin as a controlled substance, but it does require a prescription from a doctor to obtain it legally. It is believed to simulate the action of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which inhibits activity in the central nervous system (CNS).

Gabapentin does not appear to affect GABA receptors directly, and instead, reduces the activity of other neurons through a different but unexplained mechanism. This would explain why gabapentin can address issues like pain, anxiety, and seizures, which are the result of overactivity in the brain.

Gabapentin is not considered to have the same addiction potential as many other prescription pain medications, as on its own, it does not cause euphoria, and it is not as potent as opioids. However, doctors will often prescribe gabapentin with other drugs, and these combinations can result in the more effective treatment of a specific condition. Unfortunately, this approach may, in some cases, lead to some level of drug dependence.

How Long Does Gabapentin Stay in the Body?

How Long Does Gabapentin Stay in Your System? | Recovery By The Sea

Gabapentin is most often consumed orally in tablet form, and as noted, will remain in the body for about 36 hours. Gabapentin is one of the few drugs not broken down by the liver, and instead, is primarily metabolized by the kidneys. Because of this uncommon process, gabapentin does not stay in the body for a very long period.

Gabapentin comes in both immediate- and extended-release forms. The latter continues to release the drug into the system gradually, over time, and therefore the detection window for the drug will be extended, as well.

Drug panel screens do not typically test for the presence of gabapentin because it is not a controlled substance and has a low potential for abuse. However, it can be detected if instructions are put forth to look for the drug specifically.
Gabapentin’s detectability ranges from 5-7 hours for most blood tests. It is not detectable in saliva, and it would be improbable that a hair follicle test would be used to check for gabapentin.

Urinalysis can, however, detect gabapentin for an average of 72 hours, and the broader range of detection would span from 1-3 days in most cases. A urinalysis, although rare in and of itself, is probably the most common method used to test for gabapentin.

Factors That Influence Elimination Time

Due to the way gabapentin is broken down in the body, the dosage may not affect the duration in which the drug stays in the system—at least to the extent of many other substances. Still, taking very high amounts of gabapentin could result in a longer elimination time for the medication.

Other factors can affect the elimination of gabapentin from the body, however, including the following:

  • Age, as older people experience longer elimination times Differences in kidney function
  • Weight and body mass index, as heavier people will eliminate it more rapidly
  • Hydration, because the drug is primarily broken down in the kidneys and eliminated through the urine

Getting Help for Drug Abuse

Although gabapentin is believed to have a relatively low potential for abuse, it does happen. Gabapentin is also commonly misused in conjunction with other drugs such as opioids, which can enhance their effects but also lead to additional complications, including drug dependence and addiction.

Moreover, those who are abusing gabapentin or other substances are urged to seek treatment as soon as possible. The earlier treatment is received, the less arduous the transition back to sobriety will be.

Recovery By The Sea offers comprehensive programs tailored to each individual’s unique needs and goals. We feature a variety of therapeutic services that are clinically proven to be extremely beneficial for the recovery process, including psychotherapy, counseling, group support, aftercare planning, and more.

Are you ready to take that first step to long-term sobriety and wellness? If so, contact us today and find out how we can help you get started, one day at a time!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Is Gabapentin Addictive?

Is It Safe to Mix Xanax and Weed?

Is It Safe to Mix Xanax and Weed?

Xanax (alprazolam) and weed (marijuana, cannabis) are two substances that are frequently used and sometimes abuse, and there may be interactions and dangers of using both drugs concurrently. Although the possible interactions and risks of mixing Xanax and weed aren’t well-established, many health professionals believe that combining the two could result in amplified side effects, such as profound drowsiness and poor judgment.

Such effects can be hazardous because a person who is high on weed and using Xanax may put themselves in dangerous situations such as driving. Their combined impact may be unpredictable, and different people will experience different effects, some of which may be unwanted.

Also, marijuana in and of itself can cause distress and anxiety in some people, so for these individuals, marijuana should be avoided, especially when using Xanax. It could undermine the medication’s ability to work effectively.

What Is Xanax?

Xanax is commonly prescribed to treat anxiety, panic disorders, seizures, and, occasionally, insomnia. Xanax is a powerful depressant and works by reducing activity in the central nervous system, which result in a person feeling more relaxed. However, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion may also occur, and Xanax is considered to have the potential for dependence and addiction.

For this reason, Xanax is only intended to be used for short-term treatment, and it’s important that people only use it with a legitimate prescription and precisely as directed.

What Is Weed?

Weed is a slang name for marijuana, which is an herb derived from the Cannabis plant. In the last few years, many states and municipalities have decriminalized its use or made it legal to use for either medical or recreational purposes.

In light of this, the stigma of marijuana use has further been reduced, particularly as researchers have found that it may have some therapeutic value in many cases. However, marijuana remains illegal in many states, and despite public outcry, the Drug Enforcement Agency has thus far refused to re-classify it, and it remains a Schedule I controlled substance.

When a person ingests marijuana, the active chemical THC binds to certain brain receptors and can induce feelings of euphoria, relaxation, and, in some people, anxiety, and paranoia. Side effects may also include drowsiness, dizziness, or cognition or memory impairments.

Interactions and Dangers of Mixing Xanax and Weed

Although mixing Xanax and weed isn’t as hazardous as mixing Xanax with some other substances, such as opioids or alcohol, potential users are urged to exercise caution. Doing this can amplify the effects of both substances, and result in severe drowsiness, confusion, and profoundly impaired judgment.

Impaired judgment is especially concerning because a person may not be able to make sound decisions that will prevent them from injuring themselves or others. Coordination may also be impaired, making walking and performing regular daily takes challenging or impossible and result in falls or injury.

There is unlikely to be a direct, life-threatening interaction from using Xanax and weed, but complications can occur, such as those aforementioned as well as suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

Is It Safe to Mix Xanax and Weed?

Getting Treatment for Drug Dependency

By offering a variety of evidence-based treatment options, Recovery By The Sea effectively approaches addiction from multiple angles, which can increase the effectiveness of each element of treatment.

Some of our therapeutic options are as follows:

Group Therapy – Group therapy addresses interpersonal, family, and social struggles and fosters communication and the learning of relationship skills. It also nurtures a shared identity by promoting an allegiance of understanding and loving peers, as well as encourages appropriate attitudes and behaviors.

Individual Therapy – During individual therapy, people will benefit from one-on-one engagement with a licensed, trained therapist in a private, non-judgmental environment. Behavioral therapies are employed, which seek to identify negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and find ways to replace them with ones that are healthy and positive. During therapy, patients are encouraged to explore the connection between their thoughts and behaviors in an effort to gain insight into the root causes of their addiction and understand themselves better. They will be encouraged to work through challenging and negative memories and experiences thoroughly.

Experiential Activities – Experiential activities can provide patients with an alternative way to express their feelings, as well as develop leisure and relaxation skills. These activities promote goal-directed thinking and problem-solving skills. Popular options include art, music, and adventure therapy.

A Comprehensive Approach Is Important for a Long-Term Recovery

Together, the above-mentioned therapies and services can enhance the effects of each other and make the overall treatment plan exponentially more effective than the sum of its parts.

By using a customized, multi-dimensional approach, clients learn better-coping skills to deal with cravings and triggers, prevent relapse, and manage co-occurring mental health conditions, such as anxiety.

If you are suffering from anxiety, other mental health problems, and drug dependence, we urge you to contact us today! Discover how we help people escape the prison of addiction and remain happy and healthy for life!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Snorting Xanax

Is It Safe to Mix Adderall and Weed?

Is It Safe to Mix Adderall and Weed?

Using Adderall and weed together may, on the surface, seem like a clever way to counteract the adverse effects of each substance. Because Adderall is a stimulant and marijuana is a depressant, one could easily imagine that some of their effects would offset each other, making the experience of using these substances more pleasant overall.

Indeed, some users report that marijuana use relieves some of the distress and irritability that be associated with Adderall. They also say that Adderall’s ability to induce alertness and help counteract the lethargy and decreased cognitive function that can be caused by marijuana use.

There may be significant, long-term risks associated with the recreational use of Adderall and weed. Chronic Adderall abuse itself can cause devastating, life-threatening effects, such as seizures, anxiety, and depression. Marijuana impairment could lower inhibition and reduce a person’s ability to realize how much Adderall and using and underestimate the potential for adverse effects or overdose.

When used in combination, both drugs can result in an accelerated heart rate and palpitations. And, unfortunately, there is not much research that has been conducted on the interaction between Adderall and weed. Instead, only anecdotal reports from users exist who have experimented with the combined use of both substances.

Is There a Safe Way to Combine Adderall and Weed?

Regarding the safety of using both Adderall and weed in conjunction, there is no way to know for sure what consequences a person will experience. The effects of both substances vary widely, depending on several factors. These include the amount of Adderall used, whether it is being used as directed for a medical purpose, and the potency and amount of marijuana they are using. And, of course, individual differences such as biology also come into play.

That said, information obtained from users who have experimented with the use of Adderall and weed suggests that using this combination may lead to the following:

Heightened Euphoria – Both Adderall and week can offer users a boost of euphoria because they increase dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical that allows people to experience pleasure and reward from engaging in certain activities, such as eating and having sex. 

Increased Stimulation – Both Adderall and weed use can increase heart rate, and this effect may be amplified when the two substances are used together. For some, this experience may feel exciting and fun. For others, such as those with a heart condition or anxiety, this effect can be very distressing.

Reduced Anxiety – Both Adderall and weed can induce anxiety, but when used in combination, certain adverse side effects of each substance might be canceled out by the others. These include anxiety, paranoia, irritability, insomnia, and loss of appetite.

Increased Risk of Overdose

Although it is not believed that the use of marijuana can ever be life-threatening, Adderall, when used in excess, can lead to overdose and death. And because using weed with Adderall can mitigate some of the side effects of the latter, this combination leads to more Adderall use, increasing long-term risks and the potential for overdose.

A lethal dose of Adderall has been reported to be between 20-25 mg per kg of weight. Using this guide, a lethal dose for someone who weighs 70 kg (154 pounds) would be about 1,400 mg. This is more than 25 times higher than the highest prescribed dose. This amount would be, indeed, an incredibly high amount to accomplish. Still, a person using marijuana might not experience the effects needed to remind him or her that she has taken too much—this could be disastrous.

Adderall and Weed | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

What Is Adderall?

Adderall is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that includes amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It is FDA-approved to treat the symptoms of ADD/ADHD and narcolepsy. At prescribed doses, Adderall works to reduce the hyperactivity and lack of focus associated with ADHD, allowing people to feel more alert and focused.

Many people, particularly those in high school or college, report abusing Adderall as a study drug to utilize its stimulant effects. Students take it to stay awake for long periods to cram for tests or to complete challenging assignments. Like other stimulants, Adderall can place a significant amount of cardiovascular and psychological distress on a person’s body and well-being.

Effects of Adderall

Common side effects associated with Adderall use include the following:

  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Nervousness
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite and weight

More severe side effects may include the following:

  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Mania
  • Swelling of the face
  • Itching, rashes, and hives
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Paranoia or feelings of suspicion
  • Agitation and confusion
  • Fever and sweating or chills
  • Severe muscle stiffness or twitching
  • Impaired coordination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Depression
  • Blistering or peeling skin
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Changes in vision
  • Slow or difficult speech
  • Motor or verbal tics
  • Teeth grinding

About Marijuana

Marijuana is considered to be a relatively safe substance compared to many others, such as alcohol or opioids. However, the potency of marijuana has increased in recent years, and THC levels can be found as high as 13%. By comparison, In the 1970s, THC levels were only about 2%.

Chronic or excessive use of marijuana can lead to mental and cardiovascular problems, including anxiety and panic attacks, paranoia, hallucinations, accelerated heart rate, and dramatic increases in blood pressure. When taken in conjunction with Adderall, these effects can be amplified, in which the user will experience the adverse effects of both.

Adderall and Weed | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

Potential Long-term Effects on the Brain

There aren’t many studies that have examined the effects of combining cannabis and Adderall regarding a person’s mental health. Nonetheless, there are some things we know about the brain in general and how substances such as these can alter its functioning long-term.

For example, using drugs such as Adderall and marijuana chronically can impair the brain’s ability to release dopamine and serotonin naturally. This effect can lead, at least short term, to intense feelings of depression and anhedonia, in which a person cannot experience pleasure when a chemical component isn’t there to induce it. Moreover, these drugs combined may cause severe issues, such as clinical depression, after long-term use.

How Treatment Can Help

Abusing Adderall and weed qualifies as a polysubstance disorder in which or more substances are taken in conjunction. Such substance abuse requires an intensive, comprehensive approach that can effectively address both problems, as well as any co-occurring mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety.

A reputable professional recovery program, such as those offered by Recovery By The Sea, can help individuals sustain sobriety and long-term relief from the dangerous effects of Adderall, weed, and other substances.

During this type of full-spectrum treatment, clients can benefit from evidence-based and alternative therapies, such as the following:

  • Individual and family therapy
  • Dual diagnosis treatment
  • Peer group support
  • Art and music therapy
  • Stress management
  • Educational programs
  • Health and wellness programs
  • Relapse prevention planning
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Aftercare planning

Substance abuse of any kind has the potential to cause adverse, life-altering effects and severe health problems over both the short- and long-term, including death. The sooner you get help, the sooner you can begin to reverse some of the damage done and prevent more problems from occurring in the future.

If you are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, we urge you to call us today and seek treatment that can help you recover before it’s too late!

How Long Does Clonazepam Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Clonazepam Stay in Your System? | Midwood Addiction

How Long Does Clonazepam Stay in Your System? – Clonazepam (brand name Klonopin) is a commonly prescribed benzodiazepine that has a relatively long-lasting effect. The effects of most benzodiazepines (benzos), such as Xanax or Valium, last between 3-4 hours, while the effects of Klonopin can last much longer, anywhere from 6-12 hours.

Clonazepam is usually prescribed to address anxiety, panic, or seizures. Benzos are a class of central nervous system (CNS) depressants that also include medications such as Ativan, Xanax, and Valium.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies clonazepam as a Schedule IV controlled substance. This classification indicates that although it does have a legitimate medical purpose, there is still some potential for abuse, dependence, and addiction, albeit relatively low.

Clonazepam also has a long half-life, which refers to the length of time needed for half of one dose of the drug to be cleared from the body. For clonazepam, this time period ranges between 30-40 hours, meaning that it takes roughly 2-3 days for 50% of clonazepam to be eliminated from a person’s body. Due to its half-life, a small amount of the medication is likely to remain in the system for up to 9 days after the last dose.

Individual factors may also influence how long the effects of clonazepam persist and the amount of time it takes for it to be cleared from a person’s system include the following:

  • Age
  • Height and weight
  • Body fat and mass
  • Genetics
  • Food consumption
  • Liver function
  • Metabolic rate
  • Urinary pH
  • Average dosage amount
  • Frequency of use
  • Duration of use
  • Use of other drugs or alcohol

How Does Clonazepam Work?

Klonopin reduces overactivity in the CNS that is associated with anxiety, muscle spasms, seizures, insomnia, and a variety of other disorders. As an intermediate-acting benzo, it can decrease the risk of seizure activity for several hours after the drug has been used. Klonopin may also be prescribed to people who experience persistent restlessness, fidgeting, or other involuntary movements.

Sometimes health providers will prescribe Klonopin for the treatment of anxiety and panic attacks. However, it isn’t prescribed as commonly for the short-term treatment of anxiety or insomnia as other medications, such as Ativan and Xanax. These other benzos are often more effective at addressing such conditions because their effects onset rapidly within minutes but are not as long-lasting as Klonopin.

Clonazepam Misuse and Addiction

Like other benzos, clonazepam can induce feelings of relaxation and well-being, which give it the potential for abuse and addiction. Even those who use clonazepam as prescribed by a doctor may find themselves progressing into problematic use. It is these coveted feelings that often drive a person to use clonazepam more often or in higher doses than directed. 

Clonazepam use can lead to tolerance and dependence if use persists for a prolonged period. Tolerance is a condition that develops when the body adapts to the presence of a drug and gradually diminishes its effects. When this occurs, the individual may be compelled to use more of the drug to feel the desired effects.

Dependence also develops after extended exposure to a substance, as the body becomes accustomed to its presence and is no longer able to function normally without it. Once dependence occurs, a person will begin to experience unpleasant or painful withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop using the substance. Tolerance and dependence are hallmark signs of addiction, a condition that is also characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behavior despite the incurrence of adverse consequences.

Clonazepam Overdose

How Long Does Clonazepam Stay in Your System? | Midwood Addiction

Anyone who takes a dose of clonazepam in excessive amounts or too often is at risk for overdose. Although it is not easy to fatally overdose on clonazepam when used by itself, if it is used with other nervous system depressants, such as alcohol or opioids, the depressant effects of all ingested substances are compounded and can be life-threatening.

Symptoms of a clonazepam overdose include the following:

  • Drowsiness and fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Amnesia
  • Impaired vision
  • Stupor or unresponsiveness
  • Labored, slowed, or stopped breathing
  • Hallucinations
  • Impaired coordination
  • Low blood pressure

If you suspect that you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms after using clonazepam, especially with other drugs or alcohol, please call 911 immediately.

Getting Treatment for Klonopin Addiction

Once an individual has developed a dependence on clonazepam, it can be very challenging to stop use. Those who take clonazepam regularly for a prolonged period will likely experience unpleasant withdrawal effects when they attempt to discontinue use. The discomfort of these symptoms is frequently the prime reason why a person will continue to use clonazepam even if he or she is highly motivated to stop.

Fortunately, recovery from clonazepam addiction is certainly attainable, and the first step is to acknowledge that you have a problem and begin seeking help. 

Recovery By The Sea uses a comprehensive, research-based approach to addiction recovery that includes behavioral therapy, counseling, treatment for co-existing mental health conditions, peer group support, aftercare planning, and much more.

If you or someone you love is dependent on clonazepam or other substances, help is available. Please know that you don’t have to suffer alone—contact us today and find out how we can help!

Is Gabapentin a Controlled Substance?

Is Gabapentin a Controlled Substance? | Recovery By The Sea

At the time of this writing, gabapentin (Neurontin) is not considered to be a controlled substance on the federal level. However, some states, such as Michigan, and other municipalities, have scheduled it as a class 5 drug, meaning it is believed to have a relatively low potential for abuse. It is commonly prescribed to treat neuropathic pain, epilepsy, and restless leg syndrome.

Gabapentin is a fairly new medication that was first introduced in 1993. As such, its use, mechanism of action, and adverse effects are still being researched. However, gabapentin appears to have an effect on the GABA neurotransmitter but does not seem to manipulate receptors related to other common drugs of abuse, such as opioids. 

For this reason, it’s not commonly thought of as a drug of abuse, and yet, it still has depressant properties that are similar to many other abused intoxicant substances. Also, it has been known to induce withdrawal symptoms in those who become dependent.

This medication can function as a tranquilizer and produce feelings of well-being that, although mild, are similar to the high produced by marijuana. It can also produce feelings of calm and increased sociability. It is recreationally used by polydrug users who combine it with other substances to amplify the effects of both the gabapentin or the other substance. It may also be misused by those seeking to relieve some symptoms of withdrawal from other drugs or alcohol.

The likelihood of gabapentin abuse occurring is considered low due to its relatively low potential for addiction. It does, however, induce withdrawal symptoms, which is a tell-tale sign of physical dependence. Effects induced by the drug could also promote psychological dependence. Treatment for gabapentin addiction may be more complex than other addictions because the individual will likely be dependent on other substances concurrently.

Gabapentin Use and Abuse

Prescription drug abuse is characterized by any use above and beyond that which is prescribed by a doctor. This includes using the medication without a prescription or making up symptoms to obtain a prescription. Taking a higher dose or more frequently than instructed is also considered abuse, and this is likely to result in withdrawal symptoms when use is discontinued. 

Commonly, people enrolled in substance abuse treatment programs report abusing gabapentin without a prescription. One study revealed that 22% of surveyed patients used this medication for intoxicating purposes, especially for enhancing the effects of methadone.

Gabapentin is also increasingly being used as an adulterant in heroin. The fact that this medication is uncontrolled means that it’s not difficult to obtain legal prescriptions, which can then be sold on the black market. If gabapentin follows the trend of many other psychoactive prescription drugs, recreational use will likely increase until the DEA and other government agencies recognize the danger and begin putting restrictions in place.

Signs of Gabapentin Addiction

Is Gabapentin a Controlled Substance? | Recovery By The Sea

Although the potential for dependence on gabapentin is low, it can still occur, and such an addiction can be a serious issue due to the possibility of overdose and death. If you suspect that someone you know is using gabapentin without a prescription, other drugs, or alcohol, you can watch for the following symptoms of abuse:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Impaired memory
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Tremors
  • Jerky movements
  • Erratic eye movements
  • Double vision
  • Fever
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

If a person is taking gabapentin as directed with a prescription, these side effects are not necessarily an indication of abuse or addiction, although side effects tend to be more intense relative to how much a person uses. A number of symptoms characterize addiction, and a few are specific to prescription drugs. Common signs of prescription drug addiction include the following:

  • Making up or exaggerating symptoms to physicians
  • Doctor-shopping (visiting multiple doctors to get extra doses)
  • Switching doctors after a physician has refused to continue prescribing the drug
  • Changes in social habits and friends
  • Adverse changes in personal hygiene and grooming
  • Constant obsession with obtaining and using the drug
  • Feeling nervous about not being able to obtain the drug
  • Refusal or inability to quit using despite social, financial, or legal problems

Dependence and Withdrawal

Lastly, the occurrence of withdrawal symptoms after stopping the use of a drug is a hallmark indication of dependence and likely full-blown addiction. These occur because the body has adapted to the drug’s presence and has become unable to function without it. In addition to dependence, tolerance also usually develops, which is characterized by the need to use an increasing amount of the drug to achieve the same effect. 

In general, the higher the dose a person’s system adjusts to, the more severe the withdrawal symptoms will be. Common gabapentin withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Changes in appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Itching
  • Muscle pain or spasms
  • Stomach pain
  • Sweating
  • Seizures
  • Suicidal thoughts

While most of these symptoms are not outright dangerous, seizures can cause harm or even death, and suicidal ideations are always cause for alarm. For these reasons, it is recommended that a person who is thinking about going off gabapentin consult a doctor or addiction specialist. This should be done regardless of whether or not they are using it with a legitimate prescription. It may also be necessary for the individual to undergo a medical detox during the initial days of the withdrawal period.

Is Gabapentin a Controlled Substance? | Recovery By The Sea

Gabapentin Overdose

Prescription drug overdose fatalities have been steadily increasing for many years. Gabapentin overdose is similar to that of some opioids, such as heroin or Vicodin. However, unlike with opioids, there is no antidote to gabapentin overdose that can instantly reverse symptoms and prevent the substance from further affecting the brain and body. As such, irreversible damage is possible, even if a medical intervention is performed early.

Overdose is most likely to occur when combining gabapentin with other drugs or alcohol. For this reason, the fact that gabapentin is frequently being added to heroin by drug dealers is especially alarming. Moreover, heroin users often have no way of knowing what is in the drug they purchase on the black market, which is one of the reasons why opioid overdose deaths are so common.

Common signs of gabapentin overdose include the following:

  • Dizziness
  • Tremors
  • Slurred speech
  • Ataxia
  • Double vision
  • Accelerated heartbeat
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Diarrhea
  • Slowed heart rate and respiration
  • Central nervous system depression

The biggest threat to a gabapentin overdose victim is a lack of oxygen to the brain—especially when it is consumed alongside other CNS depressants. Depression of the CNS results in slowed breathing, and it can even cause breathing to stop altogether. An overdose on any CNS depressant is considered an extreme medical emergency, and 911 should be called immediately.

Getting Treatment for Addiction

Recovery By The Sea offers comprehensive, individualized programs designed to treat all aspects of drug abuse and addiction, as well as co-occurring mental health conditions. Our programs feature therapies and services clinically-proven to be vital for the process of recovery, including behavioral therapy, individual and group counseling, group support, aftercare planning, and much, much more.

If you or someone you love is battling a dependence on gabapentin or other substances, contact us today! Discover how we can help you break free from the grip of addiction once and for all and foster the happy, healthy life you deserve!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Is Lyrica Addictive?

Signs of Opioid Use

Signs of Opioid Use | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

Opioid drugs are commonly abused for their euphoric and sedative effects. For this reason, users often face a very high potential for abuse, dependence, and addiction. Opioids come in several forms, including prescription painkillers and street drugs such as heroin. Other commonly found opiates and opioids include the following:

  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco)
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet)
  • Opium
  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl and carfentanil
  • U-47700
  • Methadone
  • Tramadol

Prescription medications are usually found as a pill or tablet as a product of drug diversion, but also occasionally as a liquid or other form. Heroin and its highly-potent cousin fentanyl are usually found on the black market as a white powder. Heroin can also present as a dark tacky substance known as black tar and can be taken orally in a pill, smoked, snorted, or injected.

Opioid abuse is associated with the development of tolerance and dependence. Tolerance is caused by the brain’s propensity to diminish the response to a psychoactive substance after repeated use. This condition is hallmarked by a person’s need for increasing amounts of a drug to achieve the desired effect. Dependence occurs as the brain gradually adapts to the continued presence of opioids and becomes unable to function without it.

Withdrawal symptoms that onset after discontinuing opioid use are definite indications of physical dependence. Moreover, when a person stops using opioids or significantly reduces the dose, he or she will encounter highly uncomfortable and perhaps painful symptoms as a result. These unpleasant withdrawal effects are among the main catalysts for relapse.

Symptoms and Signs of Heroin Use

There are many physical, emotional, and behavioral signs of opioid use, including side effects, withdrawal, and symptoms of overdose. Some signs depend on the most common method of administration in addition to the type of drug used and the extent of abuse.

Side Effects of Opioid Use

Signs of Opioid Use | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

The following symptoms are among the most common effects that can manifest as a result of opioid use:

  • An initial rush of euphoria
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Severe itching
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Prolonged drowsiness
  • Heavy feelings in limbs
  • Impaired thinking

People who are addicted to opioids also frequently have mental health issues, which either contributed to the opioid use or are directly caused by it. Most commonly, these are related to clinical depression or anxiety, but can include many types of mood disorders and behaviors, including the following:

  • Agitation and irritability
  • Suicidal thoughts and actions
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Obessessive-compulsive disorder

Behavioral Signs of Opioid Use

When opioid use develops into a priority, a person’s entire life may begin to transform, and drug use becomes the primary focus. Due to this fact, there are likely to be marked changes in a person’s appearance and behavior. Most often, a person who is in the throes of addiction will continually prioritize drug use over obligations and relationships despite the myriad of problems it can cause. 

The following are common behavioral signs associated with opioid use that can serve as warnings for concerned loved ones that there is an immediate need to seek professional treatment:

  • Adverse changes in behavior
  • Concerning changes in social group
  • Use of street slang related to heroin or other opioids
  • Friends or family missing money and/or valuables
  • Neglect of important responsibilities, such as family, school, or work
  • Disheveled appearance and poor hygiene
  • Legal and/or financial problems
  • Deceptiveness and secretiveness
  • Firm denial that there is a problem despite clear evidence to the contrary
  • Doctor-shopping (visiting several doctors or pharmacies in an attempt to obtain prescription medication)

It’s important to note that many signs of opioid abuse are related to the method of administration. For example, a person who is using heroin or other substances intravenously may exhibit marks or sores on extremities at injection sites. They may also have bruises, abscesses, and scars, wear long sleeves or pants, even in warm weather, to hide this evidence of use.

A person who smokes opioids might experience frequent bouts of coughing and develop other lung problems, such as emphysema or COPD later in life. A person who snorts opioids may have nose bleeds and incur damage to nasal tissues.

Drug paraphernalia is also a sure-fire indicator of opioid use. People who inject will likely have needles and tourniquets lying around, and people who smoke it might have pipes and spoons. People who consume pills may have several bottles, perhaps empty in the trash. 

Symptoms of Overdose

An opioid overdose requires immediate medical care. The following are common signs of an opioid overdose:

  • Bluish lips or nails (cyanosis)
  • Clammy or cold skin
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Slowed or stopped breathing
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Muscle spasticity
  • Low blood pressure
  • Weak or absent pulse
  • Profound drowsiness
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Coma
  • Death

If you suspect that you or someone you know is experiencing an opioid overdose, please call 911 immediately or visit the nearest emergency room. If you have naloxone (Narcan) available, administer this medication as it can reverse an overdose and save a person’s life.

Signs of Opioid Use | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms manifest as a result of physical dependence in frequent opioid users or after a “binge”—a prolonged period of excessive use. Short-acting opioids, such as heroin, can result in withdrawal symptoms in as soon as 6-12 hours, whereas longer-acting opioids, such as methadone, are associated with an extended time before the onset of withdrawal symptoms—up to and beyond 24 hours in some cases. In all cases, symptoms tend to subside over 5-7 days.

In some instances, the loved ones of those abusing opioids may not know they have been using or the scope of their use. However, in learning to recognize the symptoms of withdrawal, they may increase their awareness of the extent of the problem.

Common withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid abuse include the following:

  • Dysphoria
  • Insomnia and sleep disturbances
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Cravings
  • Body aches and pains
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Runny nose
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration

Without treatment, a person undergoing withdrawal is very likely to relapse. Because of the heinous nature of addiction, they will often do anything to get their fix. This includes pilfering prescription medications from loved ones, stealing money and other items, dealing drugs themselves, or even prostitution.

Treatment for Heroin Addiction

Opioid abuse is a debilitating and potentially life-threatening disorder that causes a tremendous amount of suffering for both the person who uses and their loved ones. Fortunately, heroin addiction is very treatable through the use of a comprehensive, research-based approach. A comprehensive program consists of therapeutic services essential for recovery, such as psychotherapy, individual and group counseling, group support, and aftercare planning.

Treatment usually begins with detox—a medically-monitored process in which a person is supervised for several days while his or her body is cleared of opioids and other toxic substances. After detox, patients are encouraged to participate in an intensive treatment program followed by outpatient therapy.

Recovery By The Sea employs addiction specialists who provide patients with the tools and support they so desperately need to achieve a full recovery, prevent relapse, and enjoy long-lasting wellness and sobriety. 

Contact us today to discover how we can help you or a loved one navigate the recovery process toward a fulfilling and healthy life!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Signs of Cocaine Use

Snorting Xanax

Snorting Xanax | Recovery by the Sea

Last updated on August 12, 2019 – Snorting Xanax – (Alprazolam) is a short-acting benzodiazepine (benzo) medication prescribed to manage symptoms of panic disorder, general anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder. Xanax has anxiolytic effects, meaning it is a minor tranquilizer. As a benzo, Xanax carries a high risk of habit formation and abuse.

Xanax addiction occurs because of its potent effects on the reward center of the brain. A special brain chemical called GABA is responsible for inhibition of the nerves, producing feelings of mental and muscular relaxation and well-being when active. Ingesting Xanax increases GABA concentrations in the brain.

Can You Snort Xanax?

The answer is yes – when prescribed by a physician, Xanax is most often administered orally in tablet form and is, therefore, the most common method of abuse. Nevertheless, another method of abuse consists of Xanax being crushed into a fine powder then snorted intranasally.

After inhalation, Xanax is rapidly absorbed through mucous membranes lining the nasal passages into the intracranial bloodstream next to the brain. Whereas oral ingestion requires digestion first, snorting is a more direct, expedient route.

Snorting Xanax accelerates the onset of its anxiolytic effects on the nervous system, making it ideal for users who want a faster high. Since snorting delivers the most rapid high, the habit of snorting can quickly result in dependency and addiction.

While addiction itself a critical health concern, snorting Xanax also significantly increases the risk of developing nasal infections and can result in damage to the septum, neighboring nasal tissues, sinuses, and lungs.

Xanax Tolerance and Dependence

Long-term use of Xanax can lead to the development of tolerance when the chemical pathways of the brain become increasingly desensitized to higher and higher concentrations of the drug. This results in the need for ever-increasing dosages to achieve and maintain a desired high. Moreover, persistent Xanax use may produce dependence.

As dependency develops, unpleasant withdrawal symptoms ensue if the user attempts to cut back or quit altogether. Withdrawal symptoms reveal that the user’s nervous system has become incapable of normal function in the absence of Xanax. These symptoms may be endured for several days following the last dose, compelling the user into dangerous cycles of consumption to escape the adverse effects.

Withdrawal symptoms from Xanax include the following:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Rebound anxiety
  • Agitation and aggression
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Impaired sense of smell
  • Increased perspiration
  • Diminished concentration
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Seizures

Increasing tolerance in combination with dependency often leads to an addiction and, in many cases, life-threatening complications.

Snorting Xanax and Overdose

Snorting Xanax | Recovery By The Sea

Benzos are not easy to overdose as a stand-alone drug, but can easily prove fatal when used with other psychoactive substances, particularly other central nervous system depressant drugs or alcohol. This is known as combined drug intoxication (CDI).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2016, there were more than 63,000 drug overdose deaths in the U.S., and more than10,000 involved the use of a benzodiazepine such as Xanax. Many deaths involving benzos also included the use of an opioid, either prescription (e.g., oxycodone) or illicit (e.g., heroin.)

An overdose of Xanax, especially when used with other drugs or alcohol, is a medical emergency. If you or someone you know is currently using or abusing Xanax and exhibiting the following symptoms, please call 911 immediately.

  • Excessive drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Weakness
  • Impaired coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Depressed respiration
  • Unconsciousness
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Stupor
  • Coma

Treatment for Xanax Addiction

Snorting Xanax | Recovery by the Sea

Treatment for Xanax abuse or addiction typically begins with a medical detox or a process in which the patient is monitored 24/7 by professional staff for several days until withdrawal symptoms abate and the risk of complications has diminished.

Following detox, patients are urged to participate in an inpatient rehab program of 30 days or longer at our center. During a residential stay, patients are treated using comprehensive, evidence-based approaches such as behavioral therapy, individual and group therapy, counseling, 12-step programs and holistic activities such as yoga and music and art therapy.

After residential treatment has been completed, many patients choose to engage in intensive outpatient treatment (IOP), which provides many of the same services as residential treatment. However, IOP patients are allowed to live off-site of the center while they continue to participate in therapy and counseling several times per week. The objective of IOP is to ensure that patients receive ongoing treatment and support while transitioning back to the outside world.

Following intensive treatment, patients can benefit from our aftercare planning services, which help would-be graduates of our program locate mental health and supportive service outside of the center to help sustain lasting recovery. Former patients can also participate in alumni activities and enjoy the benefits of long-term peer support and fellowship.

Want to learn more about about getting help for substance abuse? We are here to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Contact us today.

How Long Does Xanax Last?

How Long Does Xanax Last? | Recovery By The Sea

The effects last for only about 4 hours. While the average half-life of Xanax is around 12 hours, the drug is no longer effective in the system after 4 hours. For this reason, people who use Xanax may have to take it several times per day, depending on the prescription and severity of symptoms.

Many factors can influence how long Xanax stays in a person’s system, including the following:

  • Age
  • Height and weight
  • Genetics
  • Liver and kidney function
  • Metabolic rate
  • Urinary pH
  • Presence of other substances
  • Dosage
  • Frequency of use

Uses for Xanax

Xanax (alprazolam) is a prescription benzodiazepine and central nervous system (CNS) depressant. It is most often prescribed to treat anxiety, panic disorders, insomnia, and seizures. Xanax is specifically approved for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and panic disorder, though it may be used off-label to treat other conditions.

GAD is characterized by persistent and excessive concern about everyday life, the anticipation of adverse outcomes, uneasiness, and sleep difficulties. Panic disorder is associated with anxiety and occurs when a person encounters sudden panic attacks.

Panic attacks are typically accompanied by several terrifying symptoms, including the following:

  • Changes in heart rate
  • Nervousness
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Chest pain
  • Derealization
  • Depersonalization
  • Feelings of impending doom
  • Fear of losing control or dying

How Long Does Xanax Last? | Recovery By The Sea

Effects of Xanax

Xanax, like all benzodiazepines, works by improving the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA, a neurotransmitter, works to reduce nerve impulses throughout the body, and, in doing so, induces sedation, relaxation, and relief from anxiety. Xanax becomes effective quickly, often producing the desired effects within minutes.

Why People Misuse Xanax

Xanax has been a popular choice for people with substance use disorders or those seeking to self-medicate for emotional problems. Xanax can induce many pleasant and desirable effects, including feelings of deep relaxation and euphoria, detachment from reality, and sound sleep.

These effects compel some people to experiment with Xanax for non-medical purposes for the pleasurable feelings it can provide. And because Xanax also achieves peak blood concentration in 1-2 hours and has a short half-life, this may encourage potential abusers to take doses repeatedly in rapid succession.

Xanax Use Disorders

As with many substance abuse disorders, people who use Xanax often do so either out of curiosity or via recommendation from someone else. To obtain it, those without legitimate prescriptions must have access to someone who does or buy it on the black market.

More than half (55%) of recreational users received prescription drugs such as Xanax for free from a friend or relative, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Furthermore, 17% abused medications that were prescribed by their own physician, 11% bought them from a friend or relative, 5% stole them outright from a friend or relative, and only 4% obtained them from an actual dealer.

Of note, if used chronically, even those with legitimate prescriptions can become dependent on Xanax. For this reason, long-term regular use of Xanax is not usually advised.

Signs of a Xanax use disorder may include the following:

  • Obsession with acquiring and using the drug
  • Using medication faster than prescriptions are ready to be refilled
  • Taking higher doses of Xanax than directed
  • Taking Xanax non-orally, such as by crushing pills and snorting the powder

Xanax Dependence

Dependence on Xanax can manifest in just two weeks, but more often, it will take between 30-60 days. Chemical dependence occurs when the body has adapted to having a certain amount of a drug in the system. Regarding Xanax, the body will stop producing its own GABA in normal amounts, thus relying only on the presence of Xanax for feelings of relaxation and calm.

Dependence is also characterized by the development of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation. These symptoms can include rebound anxiety and sleep disturbances, and in severe cases, life-threatening seizures.

Adverse Side Effects

Side effects of Xanax use, misuse, or abuse may include the following:

  • Memory impairments
  • Forgetfulness
  • Loss of pleasure
  • Impaired coordination
  • Appetite changes
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Lack of inhibition
  • Depression
  • Apathy

Also, according to research from Harvard Medical School, people who had taken a benzodiazepine such as Xanax for three to six months raised the risk of developing Alzheimer’s by 32% and taking it for more than six months increased the risk by 84%.

Severe interactions with other intoxicating substances can also occur, including those related to alcohol, other sedatives and hypnotics, antihistamines, and painkillers, among others.

Overdoses and fatalities are rare while using Xanax by itself, but the drug is commonly involved in other overdose deaths. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that the total number of overdose fatalities in the U.S. involving benzodiazepines rose significantly between 1999-2017, reflecting a ten-fold jump from 1,100 deaths to over 11,000.

How Long Does Xanax Last? | Recovery By The Sea

Why People Are Tested for Xanax Use

People are most often tested for Xanax use as part of a compliance program for those with substance use disorders. Testing may also be conducted if an overdose is suspected or confirmed.

Urine tests are the most commonly used, as they can test for all prescription and illegal drugs. Blood tests can identify everything that urine tests can, but they are more expensive and, thus, less common. Hair testing can be performed for all illicit drugs and some prescription medications—a form of testing mainly used only by the criminal justice system to identify long-term drug use.

Treatment for Xanax Addiction

Detox from Xanax should occur gradually using a tapering schedule as directed by a doctor or addiction specialist. Abrupt cessation of prolonged Xanax use can lead to a life-threatening syndrome comparable to alcohol withdrawal, so it should not be attempted without medical help.

Recovery By The Sea offers comprehensive treatment programs for substance abuse that include behavioral therapy, individual counseling, peer group support, medication-assisted treatment, and aftercare planning. Our services are offered in partial-hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and outpatient formats.

We employ a team of highly-skilled addiction specialists who render services to clients with compassion and expertise. We are committed to ensuring that every client receives the resources and support they need to be successful at recovery and enjoy long-lasting sobriety and wellness.

If you or a loved one is dependent on Xanax, other drugs, or alcohol, give us a call now. Find out how we guide people toward an addiction-free life. You are not alone—we can help!

Is Gabapentin Addictive?

Is Gabapentin Addictive? | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

Gabapentin (brand name Neurontin) is a prescription medication commonly prescribed for the treatment of seizures, neuropathic pain, and restless leg syndrome.

Gabapentin is not currently scheduled by the Drug Enforcement Agency as a controlled substance because research has historically shown that it has little potential for abuse or dependence. Although gabapentin is considered to be a relatively safe drug, especially when used as directed, over the years, research has raised questions regarding the drug safety and potential for addiction.

Gabapentin Abuse

According to research presented at the 2015 American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) 26th Annual Meeting, gabapentin abuse is an increasing concern. This concern is primarily due to the fact that the drug has become more and more available, as many doctors consider it a safer alternative to other drugs formerly used to treat some of these conditions, such as benzodiazepines or opioids.

While this belief is, in general, correct, some people who use Neurontin have described experiencing feelings of well-being, which could certainly be appealing to would-be recreational users. Others say that gabapentin enhances the effects of other drugs, including prescription painkillers and alcohol.

According to a report published in Pharmacy Times (2015), 57 million Americans had been prescribed gabapentin. Still, other reports reveal that there are also many people abusing Neurontin illicitly without a prescription. A report in the journal European Addiction Research found that 38% of people in the six substance abuse facilities they studied admitted to misusing either gabapentin or pregabalin (a similar medication) with methadone to experience a high.

Also, in 2004, a study that surveyed patients in a Florida correctional facility found that less than 20 percent of the gabapentin prescriptions given out were in the hands of people who had actually been prescribed the drug. Five of the inmates reported crushing the pills and snorting them, and four of the five reporting experiencing a high similar to cocaine, and all had histories of cocaine abuse.

Risks and Symptoms of Abuse

Gabapentin essentially mimics the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the body, thereby increasing the available amount of GABA to the brain, which in turn, induces relaxing feelings of well-being and anticonvulsant effects. Like any other drug, gabapentin can have adverse side effects, including the following:

  • Weight gain
  • Dizziness and headaches
  • Fever
  • Impaired memory
  • Double vision
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Tremors
  • Nausea
  • Impaired motor function

In some cases, the side effects of gabapentin abuse can be even more significant. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that any anticonvulsant, including gabapentin, can lead to an increase in suicidal thoughts. Outside of legitimate therapeutic reasons, in most cases, the mild “reward” of using gabapentin does not outweigh the risks associated with abuse.

Is Gabapentin Addictive? | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

How Is Gabapentin Addictive?

Whenever a new medication is introduced into the prescription drug market, there are always concerns regarding the drug’s potential for addiction. To determine whether a drug may have such a potential, researchers examine how the drug affects specific nerve receptors in the brain. If it activates these receptors and results in compulsive, drug-seeking behavior, the drug is considered to be addictive. If it does not, it is deemed nonaddictive.

Although gabapentin has been found nonaddictive according to scientific research, anecdotal evidence has raised concern. For example, one report in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice highlights a case of gabapentin abuse, in which the person suffered from “toxic delirium, intense cravings, and a prolonged post-withdrawal” similar to withdrawal from benzodiazepines. A severe withdrawal period can drive a person to continue using gabapentin even if they attempt to quit, a result that indicates drug dependence has indeed developed.

Gabapentin withdrawal can be highly unpleasant, and symptoms may include nausea and fatigue. If people are using the drug for seizure control, they can expect to encounter an increase in seizure activity if they discontinue use. Most patients choose to taper off the drug under the care of a medical professional to mitigate the severity of withdrawal symptoms.

It’s also important to note that any substance has some potential for psychological or emotional dependence, even if a true chemical addiction is not present. Issues that can manifest as a result of psychological dependence may include drug cravings, anxiety, agitation, and depression associated with the use of the drug of choice.

Treatment for Gabapentin Abuse and Addiction

If you or someone you love is struggling gabapentin abuse, it is vital to seek professional help. If a person is abusing gabapentin, it is very possible that they are using it with other drugs or alcohol, which is another issue that deserves to be addressed in its own right.

Recovery By The Sea is a specialized addiction treatment center that offers integrated, evidence-based approaches that include psychotherapy, psychoeducation, counseling, peer support, medication-assisted therapy, aftercare planning, and more.

If you or someone you know needs help overcoming substance abuse or addiction, contact us today. Discover how we help people break free from the vicious cycle of addiction for life!

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