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According to the American Addiction Centers, abruptly discontinuing gabapentin can cause serious withdrawal symptoms, particularly to those who have become physically dependent on the drug.

How long do gabapentin withdrawal symptoms last?

The American Addiction Centers estimates withdrawal symptoms can last up to ten days. Symptoms usually begin between seven and 12 days after quitting gabapentin. It can, however, be sooner than that.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Abruptly coming off gabapentin can have serious side effects. It is critical to consult with your doctor before stopping gabapentin. These symptoms include, but are not limited to,:

  • Anxiety
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Dizziness
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Trouble with sleep
  • Nausea
  • Pain and/or headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Seizures

Precautions

Every person may experience different withdrawal symptoms. Some people may not experience withdrawal symptoms or experience the symptoms less severely. The American Addiction Centers states there are factors that can affect a person’s withdrawal experience, and these include:

  • Age
  • Dose
  • Length of gabapentin use
  • Any other present medical or mental health issues
  • Concurrent use of alcohol and/or other drugs
  • Kidney function

Treatment Options

Medications

Your doctor might prescribe an alternative medication for you, especially if you experience side effects from taking gabapentin or if the side effects do not subside. Every individual will respond to prescription drugs differently, so it is important to discuss with your doctor about all of your options if you both decide taking an alternative medication is the best choice.

Therapy

Mental health counseling is a common treatment option for drug withdrawal, especially in cases of addiction. Mental health counseling for withdrawal often involves Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), where the therapist helps the client name and re-frame unhealthy thought and behavior patterns.

Group therapy is another form of counseling in which a person can discuss problems with drug withdrawal in a group setting.

Therapy can treat the psychological aspects of withdrawal, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Drug dependency
  • Substance use disorder (SUD)

Coping Strategies

If you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, there are coping strategies that can help. These include:

  • Managing stress: Some people take gabapentin to treat pain. Chronic pain can lead to certain mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. It’s important to address these issues in a professional setting with a mental health professional to prevent them from developing into serious, chronic issues.
  • Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet: Maintaining a healthy diet is a good way to ensure your body is obtaining the proper nutrients each day. Drink plenty of water and eat a variety of vegetables and fruits to keep your body in good health.
  • Tracking your symptoms: Keeping track of your symptoms during treatment with gabapentin and after it can provide you and your doctor with the information you need about future treatment.

Resources

If you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms from coming off gabapentin, talk with your doctor about treatment and resources. They will be able to provide the best treatment plan for you based on your individual needs.


The National Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is a government-regulated resource available online and by telephone at 1-800-662-HELP. SAMHSA provides treatment facility options and referrals to support groups and local organizations based on your individual needs.

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.


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