01 Aug Neurontin and Addiction
Neurontin is the brand name for the prescription drug called gabapentin, a medication that is intended to treat seizures. It has become a controversial prescription since its release more than a decade ago. Although it is intended for the treatment of epilepsy, doctors prescribe it for a number of other issues. As a psychoactive drug and because it is fairly common, Neurontin abuse has become a problem in recent years. If you are prescribed Neurontin, make sure you understand the consequences of misusing it.
What Is Neurontin?
Made by drug company Pfizer, Neurontin is made of a compound called gabapentin, which mimics a natural neurotransmitter. Neurotransmitters are brain chemicals that send messages from one nerve cell to another. Imbalances in these chemicals can cause a whole host of medical problems. Neurontin acts in the brain to prevent seizures in people with epilepsy.
Neurontin drugs work well at relieving pain, although they are officially only approved to treat epilepsy. Many doctors, however, prescribe Neurontin for pain relief. As it mimics neurotransmitters, Neurontin is a mind-altering substance and has a potential for abuse.
The potential for abuse is only one of the risks associated with Neurontin. There are some side effects that you may experience including headaches, fever, chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath, weight loss, chills, abnormal thoughts and tremors. Some side effects are more serious, but also rare; these include dark-colored urine, tarry stools, suicidal thoughts and rashes. Whenever you experience side effects with a medication, you should talk to your doctor.
Is Neurontin Addictive?
Not all drugs that have abuse potential are addictive. Drugs that are physically addictive are those that interact with the reward system in the brain. They produce a high and, with continued use, change the reward system so that the user feels the need to use the drug again and again. Neurontin does not do this, but people who abuse it may experience some of the same symptoms as addicts. For example, if you use Neurontin for longer than is prescribed or in greater quantities, you may experience withdrawal when you try to stop. Withdrawal from Neurontin can include disorientation, flu-like symptoms, chest pains, restlessness, sensitivity to light, headaches, anxiety and vomiting.
In addition to the possibility of real, physical withdrawal symptoms, which make it difficult to stop using Neurontin, you can become psychologically dependent on the drug. It imparts a pleasant and relaxed feeling and if you are often stressed or anxious, you may feel strong urges to use the drug to get to a better state of mind. If you have been prescribed Neurontin and you have started to abuse it, stop and talk to your doctor.
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