Like with many other prescription medications, alcohol should be avoided when taking gabapentin. Alcohol can cause the side effects of gabapentin to worse and vice versa. This can be potentially dangerous, and at the least uncomfortable. Beginning any new prescription medication generally comes with potential risks and possible side effects. The prescription drug gabapentin is no different. While safe to take as prescribed, mixing gabapentin and alcohol can have potentially serious side effects and possible interactions. Drowsiness, dizziness, and a hard time concentrating are just a few of the side effects that can occur when drinking alcohol while taking gabapentin. For more information about our polysubstance addiction treatment options, contact Vertava Health today at 844.470.0410.
What Is Gabapentin (Neurontin)?
Gabapentin, brand name Neurontin, is a prescription medication that is most commonly used to prevent and control seizures. Gabapentin also has various other uses, including treating nerve pain resulting from shingles. Additionally, gabapentin is currently being experimented with to treat hard-to-treat depression, mood swings, and anxiety. It is known as an antiepileptic and anticonvulsant medication.
Gabapentin is used to help calm impulses that can occur in the nervous system and lead to seizures and nerve pain. It may also play a role in managing the neurotransmitter GABA, which is known as the calming neurotransmitter.
Possible Side Effects of Gabapentin
As with any prescription medication, gabapentin does come with the possibility of side effects. Some of the most common side effects experienced while taking this drug include:
- Problems with vision
- Weight gain
These side effects are typically temporary and should subside after taking the medication for some time. More severe side effects that rarely but may occur while taking gabapentin include joint pain, blurred vision, viral infection, and motion sickness. If any of these side effects are experienced while taking Neurontin, you should seek medical help immediately.
Additionally, individuals taking gabapentin are advised to monitor their mood, as antiepileptics have been associated with suicidal thoughts and behaviors. If these thoughts or behaviors arise, you should speak with your doctor immediately.
Mixing Gabapentin and Alcohol
Many people don’t consider the prescription medication they are taking when they drink alcohol, so it’s relatively common for individuals to drink while taking gabapentin. However, it’s essential to be aware of the possible side effects of drinking alcohol and taking this drug.
Mixing alcohol and gabapentin can cause the effects of the two substances to become heightened. This means that the side effects of gabapentin can become worse while drinking alcohol, and the effects of alcohol can be more severe when drank while taking gabapentin. For example, someone may become extremely intoxicated after only a few drinks when on gabapentin.
Risks of Combining Gabapentin and Alcohol
Side effects of either substance can become worsened when alcohol and gabapentin are combined. As a result, the following side effects may occur or become heightened when mixing alcohol and gabapentin:
- Loss of coordination
- Nausea, vomiting, and headaches
- Digestive issues
If you are already experiencing side effects while taking gabapentin, it’s best to avoid alcohol until you have spoken with your doctor.
Health Consequences of Mixing Substances
While not common, death is a possibility when mixing alcohol and gabapentin. Both substances are known to slow down a person’s breathing, and ingesting enough of the substances together can have detrimental effects.
Additionally, alcohol and gabapentin can both have a dramatic effect on mood, thoughts, and behaviors. Individuals who drink alcohol while on gabapentin may display erratic behavior and make bad decisions, resulting in injury or death.
Withdrawal from Gabapentin and Alcohol Detox
Individuals getting help for an alcohol use disorder generally will begin with a medically supervised detox program. This is because alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be severe, uncomfortable, and even deadly, depending on the level of dependence.
A medically supervised detox program provides a comfortable and safe environment to withdraw from alcohol that is also free from temptation. It also offers 24/7 care and support from trained medical professionals who can provide any medication if needed throughout the withdrawal process. Detox programs tend to range from three to 10 days but will vary depending on the person’s unique condition.
Some detox facilities and alcohol addiction treatment centers use medication to make the withdrawal process easier. Common medications used include acamprosate calcium (Campral) and naltrexone (Vivitrol).
Naltrexone is a medication that helps prevent relapse by blocking the euphoric effects of alcohol on the body and mind. Acamprosate calcium helps minimize the physical and mental stress that an individual can feel once-off alcohol. Both drugs work to ease withdrawal symptoms and help a person stay sober.
Treatment for Alcoholism and Addiction
While the first step to recovering from alcohol addiction is often a medically supervised detox program, that is not the end for most people. Many individuals choose to continue their recovery path by attending an inpatient treatment program. This is often considered the most successful form of addiction treatment and is also the most intensive treatment for alcoholism.
There are many different kinds of treatments that may be used in an inpatient treatment facility. Therapy is one of the most common treatments. Many rehab centers utilize therapy throughout their treatment programs. Therapy works to change negative thoughts and behaviors in an attempt to better someone’s life. Common types of behavioral therapy include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Motivational interviewing
- Aversion therapy
- Adventure and wilderness therapy
In addition, many individuals suffer from co-occurring disorders or have a dual diagnosis. This is when someone has substance use disorder and mental health disorder, such as depression or anxiety. While this can certainly make treatment more complex, many rehab facilities offer specialized programs for co-occurring disorders.
In addition to inpatient treatment for an alcohol use disorder, there are also many forms of outpatient treatment that an individual can attend. Outpatient treatment is often suggested for those with a more mild form of alcohol use disorder or those who cannot get away from family or their job. It’s best to speak with your doctor to determine which type of treatment is best for your unique condition.
Contact Vertava Health Today
Are you suffering from polysubstance abuse? If so, Vertava Health can help. To learn more about the side effects and interactions that can occur when mixing gabapentin and alcohol, contact us at 844.470.0410 today.