Can You Get Addicted to Gabapentin (Neurontin)?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 7 Americans has dealt with a substance use disorder.[1] In other words, addiction is becoming increasingly common among individuals in the United States. When you think of addiction, you probably imagine someone abusing crack or heroin, however, prescription drugs are just as commonly abused.

One substance that has been gradually proving its addictive qualities is gabapentin. Gabapentin (Neurontin) is a prescription medication that is used for seizures. Sometimes, this substance is also used to alleviate nerve pain and manage conditions like restless leg syndrome.

While gabapentin can be effective in managing a variety of conditions, some people abuse it, and some ultimately become addicted.

What is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin is a prescription medication that belongs to a class of drugs known as anticonvulsants.[2] It works to alleviate the symptoms of nerve pain and manage seizures by calming the central nervous system. However, gabapentin affects the brain in a manner that can also lead to feelings of euphoria and relaxation, causing some individuals to begin abusing it.

The side effects of gabapentin include:[2]

  • Drowsiness and tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Shaking
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Feeling unsteady
  • Anxiety
  • Memory issues
  • Strange or unusual thoughts
  • Uncontrollable eye movements
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Back or joint pain

Why Do People Abuse Gabapentin?

Gabapentin can produce intoxicating effects, so it comes as no surprise that people abuse it and become addicted. Most people who abuse gabapentin already have a history of substance abuse and mix the drug with other substances, such as alcohol or opioids.[3] When used on its own, individuals must consume large amounts of gabapentin to experience a full intoxicating effect.

Mixing gabapentin with other drugs increases the intensity of intoxicating effects. Unfortunately, whether you are taking large amounts of gabapentin or combining it with other substances, doing so can be incredibly dangerous.

What are the Risks of Gabapentin Abuse and Addiction?

Gabapentin abuse may cause unwanted side effects. The effects of this medication will increase when it is taken in large amounts, leading to a risk of severe drowsiness or dizziness, loss of coordination, double vision, and even a fever.

Potential long-term risks of gabapentin abuse include:[2]

  • Mood and behavioral changes
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Memory loss
  • Weakening of the muscles
  • Tremors
  • Abdominal pain
  • Blurry vision
  • Weight gain
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Peripheral edema
  • Anxiety and aggression
  • Temporary amnesia
  • Suicidal ideation

If you take too much gabapentin at once, you could suffer from an overdose. According to research by Columbia University, overdose deaths linked to medications like gabapentin have tripled from 2000 to 2018.[4] As a result, you should always seek addiction treatment if you are struggling with an addiction to gabapentin.

The Signs of Gabapentin Addiction

When you are struggling with an addiction, it can be difficult to spot the signs. Being aware of the signs of gabapentin addiction can help you determine whether you need professional help. Typically, worrying that you have an unhealthy relationship with a substance is a good sign that you are dealing with a substance use disorder to some degree.

Other signs of gabapentin addiction include:

  • Running out of prescriptions too early
  • Taking more than the recommended dose of gabapentin
  • Visiting more than one doctor to receive multiple prescriptions for gabapentin at once (“doctor shopping”)
  • Combining gabapentin with other substances to experience a more potent effect
  • Stealing gabapentin prescriptions from friends or loved ones
  • Experiencing uncontrollable urges or cravings to abuse gabapentin
  • Continuing to use gabapentin despite facing social, emotional, physical, or financial consequences
  • Needing more gabapentin to experience the desired effect (building a tolerance)
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you cannot abuse gabapentin
  • Isolating yourself from your friends and loved ones to continue abusing the substance

If you identify with any of the above-mentioned signs, you could be struggling with an addiction to gabapentin. Gabapentin addiction must be treated by a licensed drug and alcohol rehab program where you can receive medical detox, evidence-based behavioral therapy, and aftercare services.

Find Help for Gabapentin Abuse and Addiction

If you or a loved one struggles with gabapentin addiction, it’s time to seek help. At Arise Treatment Center, we can offer you the support and tools you need to achieve and maintain long-term sobriety. Using a combination of comprehensive addiction treatment and therapy programs, we help people break away from the cycle of addiction and embark on the road to recovery.

To learn more about our gabapentin addiction treatment program, contact Arise Treatment Center today.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Stigma Reduction, Retrieved July 2023 From
  2. Medline Plus: Gabapentin, Retrieved July 2023 From
  3. The National Library of Medicine (NLM): Gabapentin: Abuse, Dependence, and Withdrawal, Retrieved July 2023 From
  4. Columbia University: Use of Non-Benzo Sleeping Pills and Anti-Epilepsy Drugs Linked to Overdose Deaths, Retrieved July 2023 From


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