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Gabapentin Side Effects and the Risk of Dependency

In the quest for managing chronic pain, seizures, and even anxiety, many have turned to a medication known as gabapentin. Initially developed to treat epilepsy, its usage has expanded due to its perceived safety profile and efficacy in treating a variety of conditions. However, as with any medication, it is crucial to understand potential side effects and risks, including dependency. In this blog post, we will explore gabapentin side effects, delve into the risk of dependency, and offer guidance on how to use this medication responsibly.

Understanding Gabapentin

Gabapentin (common brand names: Neurontin, Gralise, Horizant) is a prescription medication primarily used to treat seizures and neuropathic pain. It is often prescribed off-label for a wide range of conditions, including anxiety disorders, insomnia, and even the management of withdrawal symptoms in substance abuse cases.

Despite its widespread use, however, it is important to approach gabapentin with a comprehensive understanding of its potential impacts on your health, especially if not taken strictly according to a healthcare provider’s prescription.

Common Gabapentin Side Effects

Most medications come with a list of possible side effects, and gabapentin is no exception. While many individuals may not experience any adverse effects, it is important to be aware of what could potentially occur. Common gabapentin side effects include:

  • Dizziness or drowsiness
  • Swelling in the extremities (edema)
  • Difficulty with coordination and concentration
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry mouth and throat
  • Nausea and vomiting

These gabapentin side effects can range from mild to severe. While they may seem manageable at first glance, their persistence or severity can significantly affect one’s quality of life. It is essential to monitor these symptoms and communicate with your healthcare provider if they persist or worsen.

Serious gabapentin side effects also include respiratory depression, especially when combined with opioids, and an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. The latter underscores the importance of close monitoring by healthcare professionals when prescribing gabapentin, particularly for individuals with preexisting conditions, a history of mental health issues, or those taking multiple medications.

The Risk of Dependency

One of the growing concerns with gabapentin is its potential for misuse and dependency. While initially thought to have a low potential for abuse, recent studies and clinical observations suggest otherwise.

Gabapentin’s ability to induce euphoria when taken in high doses has led to its recreational misuse. Individuals struggling with anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions may find themselves relying on gabapentin not just for its intended purpose but as a crutch for coping with daily life. This reliance not only exacerbates the risk of addiction but also detaches individuals from healthier coping mechanisms.

Dependency on gabapentin can creep up silently, often catching individuals unaware. It begins with tolerance – the need for higher doses to achieve the same therapeutic effect. This can quickly evolve into physical dependence, characterized by withdrawal symptoms when the medication is reduced or stopped.

Dependency can manifest in both physical and psychological forms. Physically, the body may become so accustomed to the presence of gabapentin that stopping or reducing the dosage can lead to symptoms such as agitation, confusion, and rapid heart rate. Psychologically, individuals may feel a compulsive need to continue using the medication despite negative consequences.

The Social and Emotional Impact of Gabapentin Misuse

The ramifications of gabapentin addiction extend beyond the individual, impacting relationships, professional life, and overall social well-being. The constant pursuit of the medication can lead to isolation, financial strain, and neglect of responsibilities and relationships. For loved ones, watching someone spiral into dependency can be heart-wrenching, often feeling helpless in breaking the cycle of addiction.

Safe Use and Alternatives

Gabapentin can be an effective medication for many individuals, but it’s vital to approach its use with caution and awareness of the potential health risks, including dependency.

If you are currently taking gabapentin to treat a specific condition, there are steps you can take to use this medication safely:

  • Open communication: Keep an open line of communication with your healthcare provider. Discuss any concerns or gabapentin side effects you’re experiencing.
  • Follow prescribed dosages: Do not adjust your dosage without consulting your doctor. Misuse can increase the risk of gabapentin side effects and dependency.
  • Monitor for changes: Be aware of any changes in your mood or behavior and report them to your healthcare provider.
  • Seek alternatives: If gabapentin isn’t right for you, discuss alternative treatments with your doctor. There are many different approaches to managing your condition that may be more suitable.

Remember, medication is just one part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Exploring a combination of therapies and lifestyle changes can provide a well-rounded approach to managing your condition.

If gabapentin dependency has affected you or someone you love, know that there are also resources available to help.

Stop Gabapentin Dependency

Recognizing the signs of gabapentin dependency and seeking help is a vital step toward recovery. At Inner Voyage Recovery Center, we understand the complexities of medication management and are here to support you on your journey to wellness. Whether you’re navigating the challenges of dependency or seeking alternative treatment methods, our compassionate team is dedicated to providing the care and guidance you need.

Our approach is rooted in compassion and personalized care, recognizing that each individual’s path to recovery is unique. Through a blend of therapy, counseling, and supportive services, we aim to empower people to rebuild their lives, free from the chains of dependency. Our goal is to not only address the dependency or addiction itself but to foster resilience, self-awareness, and a renewed sense of purpose.

Embracing the Journey Together

Health and wellness is not a journey that you have to walk alone. At Inner Voyage Recovery Center in Atlanta, GA, we believe in the power of community and the strength that comes from shared experiences. Our support groups and programs provide a safe space for individuals from different walks of life to connect, share their stories, and encourage one another on the road to their best selves. Contact our team of dedicated professionals today at (470) 523-4606 to learn more.

Strategies for Getting a Family Help with Opioids

When a family member is suffering, it is instinctive to want to help. You may hate that your loved one is battling a condition like addiction. What makes the situation even more challenging to deal with is not knowing what you can do for your loved one. Addiction to opioids is very commonly crippling, and it may seem impossible to you to find a way to help. What should you do? There are several things you can do to help your loved one get the assistance they need to obtain sobriety.

The first thing you need to do is to realize there are limitations. Addiction to opioids is a very real health condition. You should view it as a disease like any other. Your family member is not likely to be able to simply stop using these substances on their own, even if they want to do so. For this reason, it is important to encourage them to get professional help and treatment. At Inner Voyage Recovery Center in Atlanta, GA, the help they need is available.

Education Is a Powerful Tool for Both of You

One of the strategies you can use to help get your family member into treatment is education. That is, help them to understand what is happening and why. This is also a great time for you to understand their disease more. Start with knowing what the drug is. The following is a list of opioids. Although this list is not fully inclusive, it can give you an idea of how extensive this type of drug is.

  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone
  • Morphine
  • Methadone
  • Hydromorphone
  • Heroin
  • Tramadol
  • Opium
  • Levorphanol
  • Tapentadol
  • Naloxone

It is vital to learn about how opioids like these change the way the brain works. Over time, any of these drugs can create dependence. This happens when the brain becomes dependent on the substance, and when a person stops taking it, they feel intense withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, once dependence forms, it can be nearly impossible for someone to stop using the substance on their own. That increases the need for professional treatment. Make sure your family member knows that this is not their fault but rather a change in the chemistry within the brain.

Understand the Impact of the Drug When Used

Many people with opioid addiction develop it after they take the medication for pain management. It may not seem like a problem to them because it alleviates pain. Yet, opioids’ ability to form addictions and dependence makes it highly dangerous to those who have used them for a long period of time. Also important is that tolerance can build. That means that, over time, the amount of opioids needed increases.

This also increases the risk of overdose. Opioid overdose, including heroin overdose, can occur as a person takes more of the substance to meet the demands of the brain. A person who is using opioids for pain management may find it simply is not effective any longer. They move on to other drugs, such as fentanyl, one of the most powerful of all opioids, or heroin, which is an illicit form that may be easier to obtain in some areas. This increases the risk of opioid overdose, including fatal heroin overdoses. Even if they believe they can control how much they use, many drugs purchased illegally are laced with fentanyl or heroin. Since these drugs carry a much higher risk of causing addiction and dependence, they are often added to other drugs to encourage people to come back for additional use.

Opioids’ Impact on Life

Explaining the science and the risks of opioids is a good start to help your family member. Yet, often, they need more help, guidance, and support. Often, that means showing them how addiction impacts their lives and your own. Here are a few examples of how to do so.

How Long Do Opioids Stay In Your System?

Opioids can remain in a person’s system for months. That means if they are drug tested at their place of employment, opioids may show up even if they took them minimally. That could mean they lose their job. That can be financially devastating to a family.

How Is Their Continued Use Impacting You, Specifically?

Talk to your family member about what you are seeing in them and how it impacts you. For example, are you afraid to be around them when they are using substances? Are you struggling with your family member’s abuse when they are not using it? Are they no longer engaging in family events and responsibilities because of their addiction? These are all important things to point out. Show them how it is impacting life. Be very specific, using just facts.

Provide Your Family Member with a Solution

When talking to a spouse, child, or another person about their opioid use, they may not know what they can do to get help. It is never as simple as just no longer using. A person with addiction or dependence is unable to simply stop. They need guidance and help to do so. You can play a role in that.

Reach out to a treatment center in advance of talking to your family member. Ask about admissions, treatment plans, and care options. Be ready to provide this information to your loved one. Then, only make promises that you can keep. For example, if you plan to help them to stay sober, tell them that. Also, tell them that you cannot continue to provide them with financial support if they continue to use those substances. It is often critical to make it clear that there is help available and that you will be by their side if they get that help.

You may not be able to force someone into treatment. You can, however, provide them with all of the tools, knowledge, and support they need to make the decision to get help. Often, this is one of the most challenging decisions of a person’s life. They need you to provide them with the support to get to that point.

Reach Out for Professional Guidance

You do not have to go through this on your own. Instead, turn toInner Voyage Recovery Centerin Woodstock, GA,for hands-on support in helping your family member get the care they need. Call 470-523-4606 for help on what to do next to support your family member.

“Is Ambien Addictive?” Yes, and Treatment May Help You

Your doctor prescribed you Ambien to fight your insomnia, and you’re a little nervous. After all, you’ve probably heard the buzz about folks becoming hooked on their sleeping pills, right? So, can you really get hooked on it—is Ambien addictive? You deserve to know before you start taking it. Here’s the TLDR version: yes, Ambien is potentially addictive. Is it as dicey as dealing with benzos? Not quite, but abuse may still take over your life in scary ways.

Good news! We’ve got your back at Inner Voyage Recovery Center. At Inner Voyage Recovery Center, we’re equipped to confront your Ambien dependency head-on and accompany you every step of the way on your journey toward recovery. So please read through this article to learn more. Even if you don’t take Ambien, let a friend who does know about this. Even a single conversation could make all the difference potentially, especially if abuse and addiction worsen with time.

Is Ambien Addictive? Potentially

So, let’s cut to the chase: is Ambien addictive, and how? According to, yes. When it was first discovered, doctors believed they’d discovered a sleep medicine with no addictive potential. Sadly, that’s not the case. Ambien users know all-too

Studies have shown that physical dependence can develop in a few weeks, even when used properly. How can doctors be so wrong? Unfortunately, predicting addictive potential may be challenging. Modern Ambien dosage recommendations limit you to only 7-10 days.

Taking Ambien longer can cause heavy withdrawal symptoms in many people. What is withdrawal? It’s a condition that occurs when you stop taking an addictive substance suddenly. Expect physical, emotional, and even behavioral reactions when quitting Ambien.

  • Mood Changes: Unfortunately, you’ll likely experience extreme mood swings, particularly depression, when quitting Ambien. You can also anticipate nervousness, anxiety, and panic attacks.
  • Insomnia: Quitting a sleep medication like Ambien may suddenly trigger insomnia. Tragically, that’s a common result and typically occurs even after quitting Ambien carefully.
  • Cramps and Tremors: People who quit Ambien may experience abdominal and muscle cramps, as well as heavy tremors, sweating, and even intense pain through their extremities.
  • Digestive Issues: After quitting Ambien, expect to experience stomach cramps, nausea, and even vomiting. In rare cases, seizures may even occur: how scary is that?

When answering the question “Is Ambien addictive?” the answer is all too obvious. Does that mean Ambien is dangerous? Not necessarily, especially if you follow your doctor’s recommendations. Is help available? Absolutely! Rehab centers can work you through your recovery and help you regain your sobriety. Understanding this process can ensure that you get the support that you deserve.

Can Rehab Support Help?

High-quality drug rehab is the most powerful way to overcome addiction. So while yes, the answer to the question “Is Ambien addictive?” is a scary one, your recovery doesn’t have to frighten you. Our team understands that recovering from addiction occurs on many levels, including:

  • Physical elements, such as withdrawal pain and other suffering
  • Emotional factors, including co-occurring disorders
  • Behavioral concerns, such as rewarding negative behaviors with drugs

How do we handle this complex recovery process? By providing a whole-person treatment. We don’t just handle your rehab and kick you out the door. Instead, we work with multi-tiered therapy sessions that help improve your recovery and ensure that you get the help you need to thrive.

Does Faith-Based Counseling Work?

After answering the question “Is Ambien addictive?” you may find yourself drawn to faith-based counseling. Thankfully, at Inner Voyage Recovery Center, we can provide this therapy for you. We know faith helps many people recover. Does it matter what faith you follow? Our team supports all Christian-based counseling options, including therapies like:

  • Prayer and meditation to help you focus on recovery
  • Fellowship, along with praise and worship services
  • Daily devotionals to keep you focused on recovery
  • Biblical and 12-step studies to work through this care
  • Scripture study that gives you emotional support
  • Spiritual reflection with the help of a guided counselor

Furthermore, we can help you answer the question, “Is Ambien addictive?” and ensure that you’re spiritually prepared for treatment. Note that we may offer some alternative religious services for people who need them. Reach out to us to learn more about these options, and we can help you get through your Ambien addiction recovery process following your specific faith-based needs.

Other Treatments to Consider

If faith-based treatments aren’t the answer to the question “Is Ambien addictive?” or your treatment, we’re here for you! Our team provides multiple high-quality treatments that can minimize your struggle. What are these therapies? Holistic and exciting treatments are designed to make your therapy more effective. Just a few that you might want to consider include:

  • Adventure Therapy: In this treatment, you’ll ride horses, go camping, and explore the wilderness while learning more about addictive behavior patterns.
  • Family Therapy: Are you part of a large family that suffered due to your Ambien addiction? This therapeutic option lets you meet in groups to work through your issues together.
  • Intervention: Do you know someone else who might be addicted? Our intervention services step into place and help get them into treatment.
  • Trauma Therapy: Addiction creates trauma, and this therapy helps you manage it. For instance, we can reduce your sleep-based trauma to help you rest easier at night.
  • Behavioral Therapy: Addiction often includes heavy behavioral elements. Thankfully, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) can help.
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment: Are you experiencing severe withdrawal when quitting Ambien? Medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, can help you through this process effectively.

Our team will help you choose one of these treatments when answering the question, “Is Ambien addictive for you?” and will ensure it meets your needs. What happens if you don’t like your therapy? Just let us know! We’re here to tweak your approach to meet your needs. Remember: this is your life, and we’re your therapists. Just tell us what you want, and we will achieve it.

How Can We Lend a Hand?

So, is Ambien addictive? Yes, especially when taken improperly. If you’re worried about addiction, please contact us at Inner Voyage Recovery Center by calling (470) 523-4606 today. Our team will assess your needs and work you through this process. Can we handle all your recovery needs? Yes, so please let us know what we can do to help you here.

The Dark Side of Prescription Drugs: Exploring the Risks

Prescription drugs are designed to treat specific medical conditions and should only be used as prescribed by a healthcare professional. However, some individuals may engage in the misuse of these medications, unaware of the serious consequences for their health and well-being. Here is some information about prescription drugs and their potential for abuse in the wrong circumstances.

How Are Prescription Drugs Abused?

Prescription medications are typically available in pill, capsule, or liquid formulations and are administered orally. The misuse of prescription drugs encompasses three main behaviors:

  1. Deviating from the prescribed method or dosage of medication
  2. Consuming medication that has been prescribed to someone else
  3. Taking medication with the intention of experiencing its psychoactive effects

If any of the behaviors above describe you or someone you know, speak to a licensed addiction specialist or seek treatment from a prescription drug rehab center as soon as possible.

Types of Prescription Drugs at Risk for Abuse

Prescription drugs often include concentrated ingredients that may produce psychoactive (mind-altering) effects, which is the primary reason for their misuse. There are three primary categories of drugs that are frequently subject to abuse:

  • CNS depressants
  • Stimulants
  • Opioids

CNS Depressants

Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants encompass a range of prescription drugs, such as sedatives, tranquilizers, and hypnotics. These medications have the ability to decrease brain activity, which makes them valuable in the treatment of conditions such as anxiety, panic disorders, acute stress reactions, and sleep disorders.

However, when an individual uses CNS depressants over an extended period, it is possible that they may require higher doses in order to achieve the desired therapeutic effects. Prolonged usage of this product may result in the development of dependence and withdrawal symptoms if the usage is suddenly reduced or discontinued.

When individuals experience a CNS depressant overdose, it is common for breathing to slow down or cease entirely.

Common CNS depressants include:

Xanax® (Alprazolam)

Xanax is a benzodiazepine prescribed to treat certain anxiety and panic disorders. However, excessive or non-prescribed use of this medication can cause memory impairment, suicidal ideation, and paranoia, among other symptoms. Taking Xanax in combination with other substances, such as alcohol, can cause breathing problems or death.

Valium® (Diazepam)

Valium is used to treat anxiety, acute seizures, muscle spasms, and even alcohol withdrawal. Sometimes, Valium may be given before anesthesia during a surgical procedure. Similar to Xanax, benzodiazepines like Valium can cause life-threatening side effects when combined with alcohol or other drugs.


Prescription stimulants are drugs used to treat conditions including narcolepsy, in which the patient has sudden and uncontrolled bouts of sleepiness, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Prescription stimulants have the ability to enhance the activity of brain chemicals such as dopamine and norepinephrine. Dopamine plays a crucial role in the reinforcement of rewarding behaviors, while norepinephrine has a significant impact on various physiological processes within the body, such as blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory function.

When taken in high doses, prescription stimulants can potentially result in severe health complications, such as elevated body temperature, irregular heartbeat, cardiac failure, and seizures. It is crucial to exercise caution and adhere to prescribed dosage guidelines to minimize any potential risks associated with these prescription drugs.

Common stimulant prescription drugs include:

Ritalin® (Methylphenidate)

Ritalin is prescribed for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in both children and adults, as well as to help individuals reduce impulsivity and hyperactivity. On the other hand, it is also classified as a Schedule II substance as defined by the Controlled Substances Act. Substances classified as Schedule II drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, possess a significant risk for abuse.

Adderall® (Amphetamine/Dextroamphetamine)

Adderall is a medication that is prescribed for the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy. However, there is significant misuse of Adderall by individuals who do not possess a valid prescription for this medication. This may be primarily due to the fact that Adderall contains amphetamine, a powerful stimulant substance.


Prescription opioids are commonly prescribed to manage moderate to severe pain, particularly after surgical procedures, injuries, or in cases of health conditions like cancer.

Receptors are natural chemical structures that send messages throughout your body, and they play a significant role in regulating sensations of pain and pleasure. When opioids bind to these receptors, they effectively inhibit the transmission of pain signals from the brain to the body. Additionally, they stimulate the release of significant quantities of dopamine throughout the body. However, this release has the potential to reinforce drug usage, which can put the patient at risk for addiction.

When an individual engages in the improper use of a prescription opioid, they may choose to orally ingest the medication in its intended form. People may also sometimes smash tablets or open capsules, dissolve the powder in water, and then inject the liquid into a vein. In addition, there are individuals who choose to inhale the powder.

Overdosing on opioid prescription drugs often results in slowed or stopped breathing. As a result, insufficient oxygen supply to the brain can lead to severe consequences such as a coma, irreversible brain damage, or even death.

Common opioid prescription drugs include:

OxyContin® (Oxycodone)

OxyContin is an opioid analgesic (painkiller) typically produced in extended-release tablet or capsule form. This method of delivery carries the potential for users to develop opioid addiction, abuse, and misuse. Additionally, it increases the risk of overdose and potential fatality due to the higher concentration of oxycodone present in the medication.

Percocet® (Oxycodone/Acetaminophen)

Percocet consists of a combination of acetaminophen and oxycodone. Acetaminophen is a pain reliever with less potency that can, however, enhance the effects of oxycodone. This prescription drug carries a high risk for addiction and dependence. Furthermore, the consumption of this substance in excessive amounts or in conjunction with other substances, such as alcohol or illegal drugs, can lead to severe respiratory complications and even death.

Know Where to Find Prescription Drug Rehab in Atlanta, GA

If you have any concerns or questions regarding your prescription drug medications, consult with a healthcare professional who can provide you with appropriate guidance and support. Prescription medications may be just as harmful to a person’s health and life as illicit drugs. If you believe that you or someone close to you may be at risk of prescription drug addiction, know there is help available.

At Inner Voyage Recovery Center, our prescription drug rehab programs in Atlanta, GA, are personalized to meet each individual’s needs, offering effective holistic modalities to help you champion a lifestyle without the need for substances.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about our programs, our helpful admissions team is here to assist you. Contact us today at (470) 523-4606.