Gabapentin Ruined My Life: Fear of Gabapentin Withdrawal

I have tried pretty much every medication out on the market available for fighting my anxiety. Seems like I had no improvement at all. My doctors prescribed me a variety of new and modified versions of newly available anticonvulsants. But nothing worked out for me.

Enter Gabapentin, my savior. Or so I thought. It took away the anxiety but gave me a long list of things to be extremely worried about. It was like, I took a pain, in order to remove one.

Little did I know, I had to pay a long list of prices for being on this medication. In short, gabapentin ruined my life. Here is why and how I lost trust in this medication.

How Does Gabapentin Ruined My Life?

Since I have been on gabapentin myself, and I am off it now, I wonder if I am the only one for gabapentin to ruin my life.

After a lot of digging on the internet, I found out, no, I am not the only unfortunate one. Many people have undergone the various spectrum of side effects encircling around gabapentin.

Gabapentin Ruined My Life

Nobody ever told me I had to gradually taper the dose off and so I suffered from the horrific effects of withdrawal symptoms all on my own.

Combining antidepressants with my gabapentin could be one huge reason why my depression actually got worse and started to give me some really bad thoughts. I was always on the edge and needed constant validation on how things were okay.

I actually thought this was just my depression talking, up until very recently I realized this was just my gabapentin ruining my life. To my horror, my body had also been refusing to comply with me.

I vividly remember being too afraid to drive or take the walk down my street alone. It all began with subtle chills down my spine to full-blown tremors and anxiety attacks. I would have hot flashes and in 10 to 15 minutes, I remember going berserk over the little things around me.

Once you are dependent on any sort of anxiolytic or antidepressant, your body makes coordinates to make it easy for you to calm down. The state of relaxation helps you to think wisely.

I was going to experience some serious side effects of Gabapentin like violent behavior, aggressiveness, anger, severe anxiety and restlessness, panic attacks, etc.

What Does Gabapentin Do To The Body?

Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant. It is also called an anti-epileptic. It calms the nerves and controls seizures or neuropathic pain like Shingles.

Gabapentin mimics the GABA neurotransmitter. The GABA neurotransmitters work by supervising the excitability of the neurons. In return, it also transmits the pain signals. For which, Gabapentin calms the overly excited neutron.

Gabapentin

It changes the track of the nerve to send pain stimuli. Gabapentinoids depress neuronal excitability by interacting with the calcium channel, acetylcholine production, serotonin production, and whatnot. All in all, the pain or the hyper-excited state is neutralized.

How Long Does It Take For Gabapentin To Work For Restless Legs?

Did you notice your habit of involuntarily shaking your leg in your nervous moments? Do you know why you do it?

Anxiety, nervousness, or tension makes us shake our feet involuntarily. One such condition is called the “Restless leg Syndrome“.

The nerves are hyper excited in this state and we at times, vehemently shake our legs. This is treated by gabapentin.

Gabapentin responds quickly from 2 to 3 hours and up to 5 weeks. It improves sleep and relaxes the leg muscles, giving it a more calming effect. The root cause in most cases of gabapentin is anxiety. The treatment to it removes the unwelcomed shaking of your legs.

Along with a course of gabapentin, Restless Leg Syndrome can be treated or managed with other therapeutic methods, like:

  • Warm water massage
  • Cool packs
  • Good foot care
  • Exercise
  • Caffeine off the diet
  • Foot wrap

Gabapentin Withdrawal Side Effects

Neurontin or gabapentin groups of medicines work fine with antidepressants as it induces sleep and has a calming effect. However, the withdrawal symptoms have been a series of horror for most other people. Even though the majority of the patients were fine with it, the rest of them are reportedly huge sufferers of the medicine.

The prime reason why gabapentin ruined my life is because of its terrible withdrawal effects. Some of the common side effects are:

  • Dizziness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Double vision
  • Tiredness
  • Rapid and unusual eye movements
  • Occasional tremors
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Depression
  • Dysphoria

The moment you stop your dose of gabapentin, you may show signs of some frequently faced withdrawal symptoms. A particular technique of stopping the drug is by lowering its use in a tapering system. It must never be shut down in one go.

Gabapentin withdrawal effects are also related to benzodiazepine and alcohol. Similar to those, you show marked signs of bodily revolt to withdrawal. These can become life-threatening if it’s not ignored.

Gabapentin Withdrawal Symptoms

The withdrawal symptoms do not appear right away. With time the intensity increases and may create a life-threatening situation.

In maximum cases, the withdrawal symptoms are not briefed properly by the doctors and as a result, the patients may lose their calm over the slightest inconvenience. Needless to say, the symptoms can be dealt with, very easily and must not be ignored at the moment of emergence.

The common side effects of gabapentin withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritation
  • Headache 
  • Photosensitivity
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Disorientation
  • Memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Lack of concentration
  • Fever
  • Hallucinations
  • Tachycardia
  • Catatonia
  • Status epilepticus

Most of the side effects last for the entire time period of stopping gabapentin. Any intrusion of drugs that interact with gabapentin may also induce side effects.

What Happens When You Stop Taking Gabapentin

The withdrawal symptoms may show their emergence as soon as 12-48 hours or even late to weeks. The detox period varies from person to person in terms of their pre-existing health condition or this physiological health.

Often observed, when a Neurontin is associated with Amitriptyline it shows extreme side effects in some cases. Tremors and akathisia are reported and these lead to life-threatening conditions.

How To Wean Off Gabapentin?

For a week or two, Gabapentin can be phased out. The exact scheduling must be consulted by a doctor after observing a patient’s routine.

A maximum dose rate of 300 mg every 4 days must be maintained in order to wean off in a tapering way.

A patient must be informed about the prerequisites of withdrawal, in order to maintain stop Gabapentin to show some serious repercussions.

How Long Does Gabapentin Withdrawal Last

One of the crucial points, why I feel gabapentin has ruined my life, is because of its moderately long-standing withdrawal effects.

As soon as the withdrawal symptoms begin within 12 hours to 7 days of abrupt stoppage, the effects start to show. Nausea, vomiting, and dizziness start to intensify with time.

It is reported in various surveys that most people suffering from withdrawal symptoms, start to show psychological disturbances from the second week. Complaints about lack of concentration, irritation, and hyperventilation have been noted by quite a lot of people.

However, one good thing about the withdrawal effects is that it does not leave any permanent damage. As the medicine leaves your system after detoxification, it gradually leaves the side effects too.

Is Gabapentin Safe For Long-term Use?

According to the World Health Organization, (WHO), “The efficacy and safety of Gabapentin have not been examined in clinical studies for treatment periods longer than five months.”

If it crosses the five months tenure, it is better to keep it under strict observation of a consultant.

Long-term effects of Gabapentin include memory loss when abused and lack of cognitive movements. In addition, it causes memory impairment and hampers our daily lifestyle.

Altered mental status, drowsiness, and renal dysfunction are also some effects that retain if Gabapentin is not taken off.

As a patient, you have to watch out for the appearance of the side effects in between your treatment regimen or in the withdrawal time frame. The pain or the anxiety issues will reduce but if the other side effects are ignored, there are slim chances of permanent brain damage.

Previously mentioned, long-term use of inconsiderate amounts of Gabapentin may weaken muscles and induce respiratory failure. This can even lead to death.

Similair Story: Doxycycline Ruined My Life: Could this Prescription Antibiotic be a Silent Killer?

FAQs

  1. What Are Some Special Precautions To Follow Before Gabapentin?
  • Inform the doctor about any previous history of allergy to the active or inactive ingredients
  • Choose a suitable method of administration 
  • Inform the doctor about the gastric medication 
  • Must provide a history of recent or past surgery
  • Must provide a history of any endocrine or cardiac dysfunctions
  1. Can Gabapentin Make You Crazy?

It can make you agitated, irritable, or even hostile at times, but that does my label you as “crazy”. As the medicine tapers down, you start to feel better and more oriented.

  1. What Damage Can Gabapentin Do To The Body?

It helps to cure shingles, epilepsy, anxiety, etc. but it may induce weight gain and some uncoordinated movements.

  1. Can Gabapentin Damage Your Kidneys?

Yes, it can. The elimination of gabapentin through the kidneys can cause local impairment and increase the risk of toxicity.

Endnote

Gabapentin has been the savior or curse to many. Personally, gabapentin ruined my life.

Irrespective of the fact that it cured my anxiety to a great extent, I would have been a lot more stable and not impulsive if I knew about the horror of the after-effects.

Don’t get me wrong. The medicine is not bad. What I lacked was proper guidance to deal with it. Also, I was unable to identify what caused me so much intense emotions. That part is on me as well.

Please take good notice of what medicines you are taking, so that you do not face difficulties like me.

Nuha Adila

Nuha Adila

I am a health enthusiast who finds fitness as a top priority in life. I like to keep a track of what I eat despite my profound attachment to any spicy food. Being a medical student, looking out for healthier food and lifestyle options has become a habit. And music inspires me while I write.

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