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Is Pregabalin Addictive? Understanding Pregabalin Withdrawal Symptoms

Pregabalin abuse is becoming more common – especially in Arabic speaking nations. Recent reports suggest that in Saudi Arabia, college students are misusing the drug to feel more relaxed and experience a euphoric high.

Many people are not aware of pregabalin’s addictive properties or its dangerous withdrawal process, increasing instances of abuse. This blog lays out some important information about the risks of abusing pregabalin and how to seek help.

What Is Pregabalin?

Pregabalin is a prescription medication that doctors use to treat epilepsy, neuropathic pain, and anxiety disorders. Pregabalin is an anticonvulsant drug that works by slowing down impulses in the brain that cause seizures and by interfering with pain signals.

You can find pregabalin under the brand names Lyrica, Alzain, Lecaent, and Rewisca.

How Do People Abuse Lyrica?

Some people misuse Lyrica by taking it for recreational purposes. This may be because:

  • Lyrica helps them to feel calmer and more relaxed
  • they experience a “high” when they take high doses of Lyrica

People may take Lyrica with other drugs, including alcohol, to enhance their experience. Taking Lyrica with any substance that may slow your breathing is extremely dangerous and may lead to serious side effects or even death.

While Lyrica prescriptions are in tablet form, people abusing Lyrica may cut and snort the substance. Snorting Lyrica makes it reach the brain faster and increases the intensity of the high.

Understanding Pregabalin Addiction

While you’re unlikely to become addicted to pregabalin by taking it as your doctor prescribes, misusing the substance puts you at risk of addiction. Pregabalin addiction is when you compulsively seek or use pregabalin, despite any negative consequences. Addiction is a chronic disease characterised by physical changes in the brain that can reinforce drug-seeking behaviour even after periods of abstinence.

How Does Pregabalin Addiction Develop?

Pregabalin acts on an area of the brain called the nucleus accumbens. The nucleus accumbens liaises between our intentions and our actions, affecting functions like motivation and reward.

Taking pregabalin decreases the availability of the chemical messenger glutamate in the nucleus accumbens. These imbalances can interfere with our reward system, reinforcing drug-seeking behaviours and chronic Lyrica abuse. Animal studies on mice have found that those receiving high doses of pregabalin developed increased preferences for the drug, pointing to the addictive nature of pregabalin.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Lyrica Addiction?

If you’re concerned that you or someone you know has developed a Lyrica addiction, you may like to read through the signs and symptoms below. Remember, though, while Lyrica addiction is a severe form of substance use disorder, Lyrica abuse can still be extremely harmful without the presence of addiction.

Signs of Lyrica addiction may include:

  • Lyrica becoming the priority in your life
  • Lying and acting secretively to hide Lyrica’s use
  • Neglecting responsibilities and losing interest in everyday activities
  • Strained relationships with friends and family members

Understanding Pregabalin Dependence and Withdrawal

When you repeatedly take pregabalin, your body gets used to the substance being present in your system and begins to adjust its functions in response. You may need to take higher and higher doses of pregabalin to experience the same effects. With time, you can become dependent on pregabalin just to feel normal.

If you suddenly stop taking pregabalin, you may experience withdrawal symptoms as your body readjusts. While uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms are temporary, they can make it more difficult for someone to quit pregabalin abuse.

What Is the Difference Between Physical Dependence and Addiction?

Physical dependence is a biological adaptation of the body involving short-term changes to brain chemicals and functions. Addiction, on the other hand, is a complex psychological and behavioural condition characterised by long-term changes in the reward pathway of our brains.

While it is possible to be dependent on Lyrica without being addicted, physical dependence makes the chance of developing an addiction more likely.

What Are Some Common Lyrica Withdrawal Symptoms?

Lyrical withdrawal symptoms can be mild or severe. The withdrawal process is different for everyone, and it’s difficult to predict exactly which symptoms you will experience. The severity of withdrawal symptoms depends on factors such as:

  • your history of drug use
  • co-occurring mental health disorders
  • physical health
  • your body’s metabolism

Some people only experience mild symptoms of Lyrica withdrawal. These may include:

  • Headaches
  • Mood changes
  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Nausea and/or diarrhoea
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sleeping difficulties

 Other people experience more severe symptoms, such as:

  • Suicidal ideation
  • Potentially life-threatening seizures

Remember: Lyrica withdrawal symptoms can be severe – even life-threatening – and you should never try to detox from Lyrica by yourself. It’s essential to seek the advice of a medical professional before quitting Lyrica.

is pregabalin addictive

What Is a Medical Detox?

Medical detox is when you detox from a substance under the supervision of medical professionals. Licensed medics and other staff work with you to manage acute withdrawal symptoms and Lyrica cravings, ensuring your safety at all times.

In a medically assisted withdrawal protocol, you will receive an individualised detox plan based on your medical history and drug use. This typically involves gradually tapering off Lyrica use and may be adapted as you progress through detox. You can go through medical detox as an inpatient (where you are in a professional detox facility or hospital) or an outpatient (involving regular visits to a detox centre or healthcare professional).

Lyrica Withdrawal Timeline

Acute pregabalin withdrawal symptoms usually last between one and three weeks. While protracted withdrawal symptoms can continue for several months, these tend to be mild.

Lyrica Addiction Treatment

Lyrica’s addiction and dependence can be scary – but there is a way out. Drug addiction treatment programmes can support anyone to overcome addictive behaviours and rebuild a fulfilling, sober life.

You can attend addiction treatment as part of a formal addiction treatment program or on an outpatient basis with an addiction treatment community. Addiction treatment centers usually offer a variety of evidence-based treatment options, combined with an individualised programme tailored to suit your unique needs.

Your treatment provider may offer:

  • cognitive-behaviour therapy
  • group programming
  • support groups
  • yoga and mindfulness
  • experiential therapy
  • life-skills development
  • family therapy

Addiction treatment programmes aim to identify and overcome the underlying causes of addiction to promote long-term recovery. In many cases, this involves treating mental health conditions that may be driving addictive behaviour alongside addiction. Holistic and comprehensive treatment helps prevent relapse, equipping you with the skills you need to face any challenges that come your way.

AddCounsel

AddCounsel is the UK’s leading provider of “one-client-at-a-time” addiction recovery services. Our exclusive and luxurious programmes draw on expertise from around the world, pulling together professionals at the top of their fields. We offer an unrivalled range of treatment modalities so we can offer you the best treatment programme for your needs – and we will go over and above to do what’s right for you.

Our “one-client-at-a-time” ethos ensures that you have the privacy and confidentiality you require and are supported with the full individualisation of our programmes. We stay by your side from the beginning to the end of treatment and offer ongoing support when you leave our centre. For Arabic speakers, we offer our services in your mother tongue to enable in-depth understanding and effective communication between you and our staff.

We offer absolute discretion and medical excellence from Central London locations. If you are seeking addiction treatment, contact us today.

 

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