Withdrawal hell! Hoping this isnt permanent!

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Hi all. Let me preface this by saying I know I'm an idiot and i dont deserve any sympathy. I'll try to keep this as short as possible, please bear with me i desperately need help. I was abusing gabapentin at VERY large doses-8 grams every other day for 5-6 weeks. I realized i had a problem and stopped cold Turkey the day before xmas. the first week was HELL! ive wd from several opiates and benzos and let me say this makes it seem like a walk in the park. I immediately noticed several of the "normal" wd symptoms: severe memory loss, insomnia, severe depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, blurred vision, headaches, agitation, and tinnitus. about 5 days in, i woke one day with HORRID jaw pain! it felt like no matter what i couldnt hold my jaw in the right place. to this day it still feels like it's out of place, but the pain comes and goes. from what i can gather it seems to be TMJ, but ive never had any jaw issues prior to this.

I also noticed that i have vision disturbances. its hard for me to read now, it feels like my eyes dart instead of moving smoothly. I also have blurry vision, and i have a really hard time seeing far away. I started getting numbness in the left side of my face and scalp which I thought I was having a stroke! the numbness in my scalp would come and go, but it was soon replaced by intermittent sharp pains in the top and back of my head. the neurologist thinks it may be from occipital neuralgia, which i also never had prior to this. I used to be able to do mental math on a savant level, now i struggle to do basic math. its hard for me to recall words, spelling, and definitions which is HIGHLY uncharacteristic of myself. I'll often blank in the middle of a sentence and feel like an idiot.

ive noticed that ive become extremely sensitive to sound. loud or unexpected noises will send a jolt thru my body. ive also noticed that my arms and hands have become weak, especially the left side. I have trouble moving my fingers, and get intermittent pain in my left arm. I get tinnitus often and I get dizzy all the time. it also seems like my pupils will dilate with no rhyme or reason.

Sleeping is the worst. for the first 3 weeks every time i tried to go to sleep i would get these strange nonsensical racing thoughts. its hard for me to describe, my mind would just go on tangents that made absolutely no sense and it would make me feel like I was losing my mind! luckily that symptom has seemed to gotten better the past week. Unfortunately the little sleep I do get is awful. I have the most insanely vivid dreams/nightmares that also make no sense. I will constantly wake up every 1-2 hrs in a dizzy panic and not be able to fall back asleep.

ive sought out 3 doctors, a neurologist, and the ER and all of them are clueless. they all tell me Gabapentin doesnt have a wd, and im fine. i got an MRI and EEG done which came back normal, however since they were normal the neurologist said there was nothing to treat. he did however give me an occipital block shot in my neck which has seemed to help a bit with the sharp pains in my scalp. I'm terrified that either I'm having nocturnal seizures that are frying my brain and nerves, or that i caused irreparable damage to my brain. every single day I think about suicide just to end my suffering. ive never been suicidal in my life, and I have a strong will to live but i cant shake this feeling.

well, thats my story. I'm now about 5 weeks in and have very little hope. I have been scouring the internet for help/support and have found very little. I'm really hoping someone on here can help or at least relate. I'm at the end of my rope and am considering checking into the local psych ward which is terrifying to me. I dont have a history of mental illness and i fear theyre just going to put me on a bunch of psych meds that i dont need and make things worse. I feel like my IQ dropped 30 points. I just feel plain stupid. thank you for hearing my story, please comment or share!

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  • Posted

    Hello Pahn,

    We note from a recent post which you have made to our forum that you may be experiencing thoughts around self-harm. If we have misinterpreted your comments then we apologies for contacting you directly. But if you are having such thoughts then please note that you are not alone in this, and there are people out there that can help.

    If you are having these suicidal thoughts then we strongly recommend you speak to someone who may be able to help. The Samaritans offer a safe space where you can talk openly about what you are going through. They can help you explore your options, understand your problems better, or just be there to listen.

    Their contact details are on our patient information leaflet here: https://patient.info/health/dealing-with-suicidal-thoughts, which also offers lots of other advice on how you can access the help you may need.

    If you are having such thoughts then please do reach out to the team at the Samaritans (or the other people detailed in our leaflet) who will understand what you're going through and will be able to help.

    Kindest regards

    Patient

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  • Posted

    hi pahn ..

    for starters i wanna tell you that nearly everything youve explained your symptoms i had, apart from tinnitus.

    I was on gabapentin for only 3 months & the sh*t it done to my mind was outrageous !! I thought i was losing my mind too ..

    It got that bad that i attempted suicide shortly after posing on this website..

    i couldnt deal with it, saw no way out!

    after attempting suicide i was sectioned in a mental health institute for a few weeks, came out, nothing got better so i got sectioned again..

    Was by far the worst time of my life!!

    & i suffered chronic pain for 8/9 years, took gabapentin for the pain, pain went completely, but unfortunately the gabapentin messed with my mental state MAJORLY!

    i was getting disturbing intrusive thoughts. didnt want to live anymore.

    but i wanna tell you now IT DOES GET BETTER!! 10000%

    i went through the worst of it & its been a year since stopping the gabapentin, things are back to normal, except the pain has come back. But aslong as my mind is peacefull i dont care.

    Just PLEASE hang in there! I promise things will get better, it will take time, but stay strong & everytime you feel bad remind yourself this is NOT forever okay! All these symptoms will subside over time.

    Please stay strong. Everything will be ok!

    inbox me if you need someone to talk to i am always by my phone & will get email come through straight away.

    Take care & stay calm! x

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    • Posted

      I'm glad you go thru it TY, you're a strong person. It helps to hear it from someone who was at that point. I was never quite to it, I found a therapist, but at the same time, the serious depression just lifted, and hasn't come back. I've been down and discouraged, but not at that level, which was almost exactly a year ago. Every month I taper, the pain increases, but it's not "real" pain, it's caused by the brain. Of course it still hurts like hell, the it's NOT the underlying condition that put me on gab. But worse for me, like you, was the mental and emotional problems. Some seem to get more physical problems, other mental problems.

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    • Posted

      Thankyou babs, i dont think many good about myself but after coming off of gabapentin i now believe i am a strong minded person. The gabapentin took my pain away completely but the problems it caused me mentally was definately not worthit.

      Once i started suffering mentally i was saying to all my family "i just wish i had the pain back rather than feeling like this" It was terrible. I was certain that i was on the verge of losing my mind.

      Now i realise what an awful drug like that can do to a human mind.

      Some people are lucky & dont get all the horrible symptoms being on it.. but i dont think that will last long in my opinion. like you said about what it does to synapses. Ruins them in my opinion.

      im glad you got through it!

      its a tough journey but definately not perminant, it took a year for me to feel human again. But im so glad i got through it & hope we can help others going through it.

      Thankyou for your comment x

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  • Posted

    There is no judgment here. But I will ask if the statement 8 grams is correct, the capsules are in milligrams, so 4200 milligrams is considered a very high dose. Most people are on between 300 mg to 3000 mg per day. Yes, it's possible, I supposed, but you'd literally have to be taking a large bottle of these every day.

    Beyond that, everything you're dealing with are side effects of withdrawal from gab. Few doctors understand how the drug works, as they've been prescribing it for years and didn't know. Only in the last few years have patients started to figure out what's going. What you're experiencing has several names, all similar, but it's PAWS Prolonged Acute Withdrawal Symptoms. Your brain and body has been affected by the high doses and sudden drop of discontinuation of the drug. Memory loss, confusion, vision problems, increased pain, numbness, tinnitus, are all found in varying degrees. The drug damages the synapses and neurons on the brain. They can heal, but it's hard to say how long it will take. Taking other drugs and using alcohol can prolong or even worsen these problems. Understanding why it's happening, what gab does to the brain, making healthy choices will help you deal with this. Educating yourself is very important. Almost ALL of us who have had problems with gab had had serious depression, anxiety or even suicidal ideation, but it DOES get better. TRULY! I've been there. It's not you, it's the drug and few knew it could be caused by this drug. Education, positive self-care, time and patience are the keys.

    Research support groups for benzo withdrawal or PAWS. Inner Compass is good too. There are no easy fixes, but you find thousands of other people who are going through what you are too. It helps to reach out to others. Take care.

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    • Posted

      yes, you read correctly. 8 grams. I was prescribed 2400mg a day, 600mg x4. so while i wasnt taking full bottles, I was taking 3x my daily dose, just every other day. I know its stupid, but addiction is not rational. I'm currently kinda freaking out because i was at the end of my rope and looked into alternative routes of care and found neurofeedback. my first treatment was yesterday, and I'm now fearing ive made a grave mistake. before this i actually had 2 days of some clarity, stable mental state and reduced physical symptoms. since my neurofeedback ive had a headache for 2 days and feel dizzy and just out of it again. ive read horror stories online about it saying its not for everyone, it can cause side effects, and its permanent! I'm scared outta my mind that I just made things even worse! my anxiety is killing me! ugh my life is a mess!

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    • Posted

      I'm not sure what neurofeedback is, but it may not be the cause for your increased symptoms. The side effects can vary from day to day. As I taper, I've had various other problems, some for only a few seconds, others that lasted month. It's rare for the problems to be permanent. But it can take weeks, months or longer to recover. Some symptoms may linger beyond that. The fact that you've been on other, similar drugs there may be residual problems from those too. The taper schedules and symptoms are very similar for gab as benzoids. 10% or less over 4 weeks or more.

      I strongly urge you to find a good therapist. You need more support than can be offered in groups like this. You can recover, but you need additional help beyond just an online group.

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  • Posted

    I understand your pain. About 15 months ago, I abused gabapentin for two weeks and stopped cold turkey. I had withdrawal symptoms for about 3 1/2 months it completely resolved. I had some of the symptoms you described, but my worst symptom was burning skin and nerve pain. Dont listen to doctors telling you gabapentin doesn't cause withdrawal. It most certainly does. I was suicidal every day as well. What helped me was completely abstaining from all drugs and alcohol. Exercise and diet also helped a great deal. I ended up entering into a 6 month in patient rehab facility. I was also struggling with heroin use during my withdrawal, just to numb the pain. I really do believe this will get better with time. Everything you are experiencing is withdrawal related. It does get better, I dont know how long it will take but it will eventually resolve. At least it did in my case. Today, I am fine and it all seems like a distant memory, a glimpse into hell. If you hold on and have hope, I believe you will get better too. You have to have hope though. Good luck and message me it you need to talk.

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  • Posted

    Well, I just woke up. had the usual crazy intense vivid dreams all night and kept waking every hour or two. when I finally woke the last time I was literally crying my eyes out the second I woke up. ive been thinking of going to a detox/rehab a few hundred miles from me, but i dont know how much good that would do. at least at home i feel comfortable and can do as I please and dont have to live on a constant schedule of meetings and therapy and live with other miserable ppl.

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    • Posted

      i was helping a lady who was doing 12 grams of gabbapentin and she said it was rough, i have a facebook group fpr people withdrawing, its called drug withdrawal if youer interested

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    • Posted

      I have no experience with drug rehab, but I do know that some use MAT, but for gab withdrawal (tho technically, it's not WD, it's "discontinuation syndrome" what I've read makes me agree Lukas; don't add any other substance to your regimen. There's something called kindling, the theory that like how a small amount of wood can start a fire, using other drugs while withdrawing from gab can start a cascade of new problems. I don't really drink. Maybe 1/8 to 1/4 glass of wine a few times a year. Twice in the last year, I had a small mouthful, a taste, of my husband's wine. I had increased dizziness and "weird" feelings. Others have this set off by taking cold meds. If you go to rehab, do with knowing that you won't take any other meds to help taper.

      There are multiple good support groups on FB or other websites. A good CBT, Cognitive Behavior Therapist can do wonders also.

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    • Posted

      a few new symptoms today. my heart has been beating irregularly very often, and my back has been aching so bad I cant take it! it wakes me up and I cant get back to sleep. it even hurts when I stand, it seems like sitting upright helps for a while until it comes back and I'll have to constantly switch between sitting, standing and laying down. i just went to the chiropractor and i swear i feel worse. ive had back problems for years, but i havent had any flare ups like this in a LONG time. I was really planning on quitting my suboxone in the next week but I'm WAY to afraid to now, since back pain is one of the worst wd symptoms i get from subs.

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    • Posted

      Hang in there Pahn, I'll keep you in my prayers. One thing that helped me was to track my symptoms on a daily basis so that I can see from day to day what changed. Track all of your symptoms and rate them on a scale of 1-10. Over time you will see improvement even if your brain is telling you "its still just as bad nothing is getting better." I heard someone describe the intrusive thoughts at night and the sensation of losing your mind as a "dirty acid trip". I thought that was actually pretty accurate. It is super scary. Luckily for me I was also prescribed ADHD meds at the time and for some odd reason, taking them in the morning made the side effects go away like 80-90% so each morning I looked forward to that little mini break. I really feel terrible you and others are going through this. Please know it gets better!

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    • Posted

      Benjamin, that's a terrific suggestion. I do that too. It's easy to lose track that a few weeks ago XYZ hurt to do, and now it hurts less. I FINALLY don't have pain when I get out of bed in the morning, but the act of flossing my teeth, still comes and goes. It's not the pain, it's the force exerted to move the floss. It may seem like nothing to anyone else, but my nerves sure feel it.

      Celebrate even tiny or temporary improvements, write them down and eventually you'll see progress. I say that it's measured in weeks or months, not days.

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