(This post is based on Data in the September/October 2015 issue of Scientific American Mind)
I had written a post earlier on a similar topic that was based on my colkection of meta-data and the effects of legal drugs including gabapentin. One reason I speak of gabapentin is it is a drug I currently take for the nerve damage in my legs. However after debating with two different doctors, making one frustrated with me I have refused to take any dose above 600mg per day. Meaning 600mg is the maximum dose I will take. By keeping this low limit I keep my mind clear and do not suffer from its intoxication effects.
Is stating that gabapentin has an intoxicating effect going too far? No. A search on the Internet of the effects of gabapentin will turn up hundreds of complaints by those given it by their doctor. In these complaints the number one stated effect is a feeling of intoxication, some describe it as feeling "drunk". Many of these people told their doctors and their doctor told them they will adjust, but no one ever adjust to being intoxicated. For decades doctors have maintained a chart of dosing, one dose fits all, men and women. But data says otherwise, women require a much, much smaller dose of many medications then men. And some medication for men CAN'T be given to women. So why do doctors maintain the "dosing chart"? It is what they are told to do by the drug manufacturers. Let that sink in, it is the maker of the drug, a company that will never see you, not your hands on doctor that makes the choice. Gabapentin must be tailored to the person, not the person to the drug.
So now the article in Scientific American Mind.
The article is about the similar effects of naturally occurring oxytocin in the brain (not the street or legal prescribed drug) and alcohol. But it is how these two work that brings in GABA. Natural oxytocin when released in the brain (mostly in situations surrounding intense love) binds with the neurotransmitter GABA which causes an intoxicating effect, some call it "love sickness". Remember when you feel in love? Well oxytocin binds with GABA in your brain and made you feel intoxicated for that person.
There is a darkside to love sickness. That same binding causes the person to reduce fear (doing stupid and dangerous things, high risk taking) it also reduces stress and anxiety. It also increases aggression and bias. This works good for falling in love, all of those qualities together can help a man win the girl of his heart.
However alcohol also binds with GABA, when you get buzzed the GABA levels have reached the saturation effect, you're drunk.
So how does gabapentin fit in? Both love and alcohol INCREASE the leves of the GABA neurotransmitter in your brain. Doses above 600mg of gabapentin saturates the brain creating the exact same effect as getting intoxicated.
So in short if your doctor prescribes high doses of gabapentin that person is in effect staying drunk all their waking hours.
The data continues to weigh in on this.