Can you get high from Neurontin (Gabapentin)

How Gabapentin effects the brain
This image illustrates how Gabapentin works in the brain.

Can you get high from Gabapentin?

The short answer is yes, Neurontin, more commonly known as Gabapentin can be abused. This medication is an anti-seizure medication sometimes prescribed off-label for anxiety. Taken in moderate and reasonable doses (as prescribed) Gabapentin can reduce the levels of anxiety experienced by patients. Taken in higher doses, Gabapentin can cause drowsiness, mild sedation, and a barely felt, fleeting sense of euphoria. As long as you take the medication as prescribed, side effects for most people are mild.

How Gabapentin Helps with Anxiety

Gabapentin works by increasing the amount of GABA in the brain. At first, this is surprising, after all, how could something that raises the level of neurotransmitters decrease anxiety? As it turns out, GABA has a specialized function in the brain. GABA works by reducing the activity of the neurotransmitters it binds too, as noted by researchers “…gabapentin administration was associated with an average increase in GABA concentration of 55.7% (6.9–91.0%).”  See that research here.

Gabapentin helps anxiety by increasing the amount of GABA in the brain, which, essentially tells the other neurotransmitters to slow it down a notch.

At the Wellness Center NJ we see many patients who have abused drugs in an attempt to feel normal. Their drug use is not about fun. In fact, for most people seeking treatment, fun left a long time ago. The patients who abuse prescription medications often have one or more mental health disorders undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. In essence, they are abusing drugs to cover up for the discomfort of an untreated mental health condition. For example, some people feel so bad inside that a bottle of Gabapentin looks appealing.

If you are tempted to abuse Gabapentin, you might want to consider the fact that your desire to get high stems from an anxiety that could easily be managed by taking the drug as prescribed.
Feel free to reach out with any questions mentalhealthwellnessnj@gmail.com

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