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7
Oct

The Dangers of Mixing Gabapentin and Alcohol

When taken as prescribed, gabapentin can help a person with medical issues and not become a problem. Still, for many, it can become addictive. When combined with alcohol abuse, this combination of addictions requires professional treatment for substance abuse. Treatment starts with detox for alcohol and gabapentin and can be continued in an outpatient program. If you need help letting go of these addictions, the time to reach out and get help is now.

What Is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin is a prescription drug sold under the brand names Neurontin, Gabarone, Gralise, and FusePaq Fanatrex. It is an anticonvulsant medication used to treat a few different conditions. It helps manage epileptic seizures by decreasing the production of abnormal excitement in the brain. It also helps control pain related to shingles. The extended-release kind helps alleviate the symptoms of restless leg syndrome. 

Gabapentin comes in capsules, tablets, and an oral solution and can be combined with other medications. Anyone taking gabapentin should have their doctor monitor them for any side effects they experience or a need for a change in dosage. They should also inform their physician if they consume both alcohol and gabapentin because of how dangerous this combination can be. 

The Dangers of Mixing Alcohol and Gabapentin

When someone uses a prescription drug according to instructions, they may assume there are no other concerns. They may not consider if combining alcohol and gabapentin might be dangerous. When someone consumes both alcohol and gabapentin, this can increase the side effects associated with both substances. 

Side effects that may increase include:

Drowsiness: This can be quite risky if the person is driving or performing other potentially dangerous tasks. 

Slowed breathing: The person may not realize their breathing has slowed down or be unable to get immediate medical help.

Decreased cognitive ability: The combination of alcohol and gabapentin can cause a person to have difficulty concentrating, thinking, and being able to react.

Moodiness: Alcohol is a depressant that, combined with gabapentin, can cause noticeable changes in a person’s moods that they may not associate with using the two substances together. 

Headaches: The person may believe their headaches are related to drinking too much and not realize the source is a combination of substances.

Other side effects of alcohol and gabapentin can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and feeling lightheaded. Additionally, some people experience feelings of anxiety. 

If a person who takes gabapentin also has an alcohol use disorder, it is important that they immediately speak to the prescribing physician or another medical expert. Because gabapentin offers benefits and a great relief to those who take it, the focus should be on getting professional treatment for alcohol abuse. If it turns out the person also has an addiction to gabapentin, this should be addressed, too.

Symptoms of Gabapentin Addiction

Because many people associate drug addiction with street drugs, they often have difficulty understanding that prescription drugs can also become addictive. While not all symptoms of an addiction to gabapentin happen to everyone, some are commonly experienced. These include:

  • Difficulty with coordination
  • Cognitive difficulty
  • Trouble speaking coherently
  • Memory trouble
  • Lethargy and sleepiness
  • Dizziness
  • Tremors
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Moodiness
  • Suicidal thoughts and feelings

Someone with a gabapentin addiction may also have a larger supply of the medication than makes sense to others. They may doctor shop, which is the act of going to more than one doctor to get multiple prescriptions for the same drug. The individual may also experience withdrawal symptoms when they take low dosages of gabapentin or do not have any. They also may have tried to quit taking this medication on their own and found they could not do it alone. 

How Does Treatment For Alcohol and Gabapentin Abuse Work?

When someone combines an abuse of alcohol and gabapentin, they will need professional treatment to overcome both addictions. Substance use disorders often happen in pairs, and a quality addiction treatment program can address two or more addictions happening simultaneously in one person. 

Treatment begins with detox, which can take place in a residential or an outpatient facility. From there, many people benefit from attending outpatient care that builds on what they accomplished while in detox. Choices for outpatient care include:

Because there isn’t just one therapy used to treat addiction, many treatment centers offer a variety of therapies. These usually include individual, group, family, and holistic therapy. The goal of treatment for addiction to alcohol and gabapentin is to learn what contributed to developing the addiction and how it can be controlled. This allows the person to leave treatment knowing how to use healthy coping skills that help them avoid relapse. 

Treatment for Addiction to Alcohol and Gabapentin in Atlanta

Do you struggle with addiction to alcohol and gabapentin? Buckhead Behavioral Health in Atlanta understands that no one recovers without professional help. We provide substance abuse treatment that addresses addiction to alcohol and drugs. Our detox and other outpatient programs allow you to learn how to avoid the temptation to relapse and enjoy a new sober life.

If you would like more information about how to get started on our program, visit our admissions page now. Let us show you how we can help you.

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