Pregabalin is an anti-convulsant prescription medication that doctors use to treat partial epilepsy, nerve pain, and general anxiety disorder. Brand names of pregabalin include Lyrica, Alzain, Lecaent, and Rewisca. Pregabalin can slow down impulses in the brain that cause seizures, relieve nerve pain and make you feel more relaxed.
Some people abuse Lyrica to experience its pleasurable effects. When taken at high doses, Lyrica can produce a euphoric “high” in the user alongside feelings of relaxation. In April 2019, the UK government classified Lyrica as a Class C controlled substance.
Pregabalin abuse may increase the risk of developing pregabalin addiction, a condition where you compulsively seek and use pregabalin despite any negative consequences. Pregabalin addiction is a serious condition that can damage your mental and physical health and interfere with your ability to perform at work.
Th Revoke Programme offers bespoke and innovative addiction treatment programmes to get you back on track. We help you fit recovery around your work and home responsibilities so you can continue to fulfil everyday commitments as you move towards recovery. Our evidence-based treatment approaches promote meaningful lifestyle changes with long-term results.
How Does Pregabalin Affect the Body?
Pregabalin works by interfering with chemical messengers in the brain and spinal cord. It acts in a similar way to the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), decreasing the production of certain excitatory neurotransmitters and slowing down central nervous system activity.
What Conditions Can Pregabalin Treat?
Pregabalin can be an effective treatment for a variety of medical conditions, including:
- diabetic neuropathy – a type of nerve pain that results from high blood pressure
- nerve pain after shingles
- nerve pain from spinal cord injuries
- fibromyalgia – a condition that causes pain all over the body
- partial-onset seizures – a type of seizure that involves only one part of the brain
- general anxiety disorder
What Is Pregabalin Addiction?
Pregabalin addiction is when you compulsively seek or use a substance despite the negative consequences. It is characterised by physical changes in the brain that can persist even after periods of abstinence. These changes produce urges to use pregabalin that can be difficult to resist without proper treatment and support.
How Does Pregabalin Addiction Develop?
Pregabalin affects chemical balances in an area of the brain called the nucleus accumbens. The nucleus accumbens acts as an interface between intention and action, regulating functions like motivation and reward.
Pregabalin inhibits the production of a neurotransmitter called glutamate. Studies have found that inbalances in glutamate levels in the nucleus accumbens can interfere with our reward pathways, causing drug-seeking behaviours and chronic drug use.
In 2019, an animal study found that mice receiving high doses of pregabalin over several days had increased preferences towards the drug, suggesting the addictive potential of pregabalin.
It is unlikely that you would develop an addiction if you are taking Lyrica for medicinal purposes. However, abusing Lyrica by repeatedly taking high doses over time increases your risk of developing an addiction.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Pregabalin Addiction?
Several signs and symptoms can help you identify pregabalin addiction in yourself or someone you know. An individual may exhibit these signs for reasons other than addiction; however, if you recognise one or more of the following signs, you may want to contact an addiction treatment specialist or professional healthcare provider for advice and support.
Behavioural Signs of Pregabalin Addiction
Behavioural signs of pregabalin addiction may include:
- Seeking or using pregabalin becoming the priority in everyday life
- Isolation from loved ones
- Lying or stealing to acquire pregabalin
- Secretive behaviour
- Unexplained financial difficulties
- Continuing to take pregabalin despite negative consequences
Psychological Signs of Pregabalin Addiction
Psychological symptoms of pregabalin addiction may include:
- Seeking or using pregabalin dominating your thoughts
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Dramatic mood swings
- Feeling impulsive, irritable, and hostile to others
- Suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harm
Physical Signs of Pregabalin Addiction
Physical symptoms of pregabalin addiction may include:
- Rapid weight gain
- Swelling of hands and feet
- Easy bleeding or bruising
- Heart palpitations
- Loss of concentration
- Difficulty speaking
- Experiencing uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms if you try to stop taking Lyrica
Physical Dependence and Lyrica Withdrawal
Physical dependence is when your body becomes dependent on a substance to function normally. When you repeatedly take Lyrica in high doses over some time, your body gets used to the presence of the drug. It begins to adjust its production of chemicals in response so it can maintain its usual functions.
If you stop taking Lyrica, you may experience withdrawal symptoms as your body readjusts. In some cases, these symptoms can be life-threatening. You must seek professional medical support before beginning the withdrawal process.
Some people only experience mild withdrawal symptoms. Lyrica’s withdrawal symptoms are both psychological and physical and may include:
- Mood changes
- Nausea and diarrhoea
- Increased heart rate
Some people experience more severe symptoms, including:
- Potentially life-threatening seizures
- Suicidal thoughts
Acute withdrawal symptoms typically last from 1-2 weeks. Residual symptoms of withdrawal may last up to 12 weeks.
Lyrica Abuse, Dependence and Addiction
Lyrica dependence often goes hand in hand with Lyrica addiction, but they are distinct concepts. It’s possible to be dependent on Lyrica without being addicted. Sustained Lyrica abuse increases the chances of both dependence and addiction.
Pregabalin Addiction Treatment
Living with addiction is tough. Addiction and substance abuse can be barriers to success and fulfilment across all areas of life.
The good news is scientific research has uncovered a range of evidence-based treatment options that help people recover from drug and alcohol abuse. Individual therapies, support groups, and medication can help you cope with and overcome the causes of addiction so you can maintain long-term sobriety.
Seeking addiction treatment is the first step towards recovery. You may enrol in a formal addiction treatment programme or join an addiction treatment community that offers support and advice for the journey ahead.
The Revoke Programme
The Revoke Programme is an innovative drug treatment programme that empowers you to overcome addiction. We offer a range of evidence-based treatment options that foster meaningful behavioural and psychological changes in real time. Our recovery experience is individualised from beginning to end to ensure you receive the best treatment for your needs.
Our treatment options include:
- Cognitive-behavioural therapy with a specialised therapist
- Guided group therapy sessions
- Dual diagnosis and mental health services
- Targeted trauma treatment
- Ongoing aftercare
- Access to a range of sober social events and activities
At The Revoke Programme, we understand that you may not be able to take a break from your life to recover from addiction. Our programme offers an outpatient treatment experience so you can fit treatment sessions around your daily schedule. Clients can practice skills they learn between sessions and work through any difficulties they encounter in real-time with their therapist.
Recovery can be tough, but we’re here to make the process as easy and smooth as possible. We pride ourselves in our precision and efficiency throughout your recovery experience.
If you are living with addiction or drug abuse, contact us today for an assessment. You deserve to be your best self – and we’re here to support you.