Gabapentin is a drug that is mostly used for the treatment of epilepsy; it is a type of anticonvulsant. This medication is also used in the treatment of fibromyalgia (a form of widespread neurological pain). It has also been suggested that gabapentin might be useful in the treatment of alcoholism, and research is currently being carried out in order to determine if this is indeed the case.
How Might Gabapentin Help People Dealing with Alcoholism?
There is already some evidence that gabapentin might be useful in the treatment of alcohol dependence. A study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) involving 150 people found that those who were given this drug were more likely to stop drinking or at least significantly reduce their intake. This is an exciting development and there are now other studies being conducted to see if the results can be replicated reliably.
In the NIAAA study, it was found that patients who were given four times the usual dose of gabapentin (900 to 1,800 mg) were four times more likely to stop drinking than patients who took a placebo drug. Those who took the drug also claimed they had fewer withdrawal symptoms and found it much easier to sleep at night. One of the other reported benefits of taking gabapentin included the fact that it seemed to improve mood in those trying to escape addiction.
One of the reason why so many individuals remain trapped in alcohol addiction for years is they are unwilling to deal with the initial discomfort of breaking away from this drug. If the individual is able to make it beyond the early withdrawal stage then their chances of achieving permanent sobriety increases greatly. The exciting news about gabapentin is that it does seem to make it easier for individuals to deal with this initial period. The ability of gabapentin to reduce withdrawal symptoms significantly makes it such an exciting drug for those working in the recovery community.
Does Gabapentin Offer a Miracle Cure for Alcoholism
Already, plenty of stories abound online about how gabapentin is the miracle drug that is going to solve the alcohol epidemic. These types of claims for the drug are exaggerations; they are also potentially dangerous because they can mislead those who are in real need of help. It now seems likely that gabapentin is going to make it easier for many to deal with withdrawal symptoms, but it will only be part of the process of breaking away from addiction.
People end up abusing alcohol for a reason, which is the main driving force behind the addiction. It is usually the case that the individual is finding it hard to deal with life, tending to turn to alcohol for comfort. Alcoholism develops due to using this substance as a coping mechanism but the problem is that by drinking the person is not dealing with anything, instead they are just hiding from life.
Even if the individual is able to break away from alcohol with the help of a drug like gabapentin, they are still going to be left with the problem of having to deal with life. Most alcoholics will have managed to stop drinking for a few weeks, months, or even years, but they often relapse because they just cannot manage with sober living.
With any luck, gabapentin is going to help more people break away from alcohol, but it needs to be combined with some type of treatment programme in order to be really effective. This will mean that the person is eased gently into recovery, while also having the tools they need to build a great life free from the need to abuse alcohol. It could be that gabapentin combined with rehab can provide something close to a miracle cure.