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Lyrica Addiction: Side Effects, Detox, Withdrawal, and Treatment

lyrica pills

What is Lyrica?

Lyrica is a prescription drug and an anticonvulsant that is used to treat diabetic nerve pain, generalized anxiety disorder, and fibromyalgia. In fact, it was the very first medication approved by the FDA to treat fibromyalgia.

It is not an opioid drug, but its active ingredient, pregabalin, is an anti-seizure drug.  Researchers aren’t sure how it works in the body, except that it calms hyperactive neurons.

Lyrica comes in the form of a tablet that may be taken orally once or several times a day, depending on the type of pain a person is experiencing and how their doctor prescribes it. When it is abused, its side effects are intensified, which can lead to serious medical problems like abnormal bleeding, bruising, muscle weakness, fever, or swelling of the extremities.

Lyrica is a Schedule V drug and a controlled substance because some people may experience feelings of euphoria when they take it. It also creates feelings of calmness and euphoria that are said to be similar to the effects of diazepam (Valium) or alcohol, which may increase the likelihood of abuse, dependence, and addiction.

Some people may also experience serious side effects like depression or suicidal thoughts while taking Lyrica, so it’s very important to only take this drug under the direct supervision of your doctor. Although it is only legally available with a prescription, some people may get it elsewhere and abuse Lyrica for the euphoric and calming feelings it provides.

Slang for Lyrica

The following terms are street names or slang for Lyrica:

  • Gabbies
  • Budweisers
  • Bud Light

About Lyrica Abuse and Addiction

In 2013, Lyrica was ranking 19th among all prescription drugs and earning more than $3 billion annually in profits. Although Lyrica is a commonly prescribed and effective medication for treating nerve pain, it can also be habit-forming for some people if it is taken as directed or in the wrong way.

Lyrica is designed to be taken orally and the tablets should not be crushed, chewed, snorted, or injected. However, some people do abuse Lyrica in these ways, purely to achieve a high or to enhance the effects of another prescription drug or illegal substance. Additionally, some people may cut Lyrica tablets and snort the powder.

Other forms of Lyrica abuse may include:

  • Taking someone else’s Lyrica tablets
  • Taking Lyrica longer than recommended
  • Taking Lyrica with alcohol or other drugs to enhance its effects

Side Effects of Lyrica Abuse

Short-term side effects of Lyrica abuse may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Blurry vision
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Memory problems
  • Tremors
  • Irritability
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Dangerous blood pressure changes

Long-term side effects of Lyrica abuse may include:

  • Pancreatitis
  • Tolerance
  • Dependence
  • Addiction

Signs and Symptoms of Lyrica Abuse and Addiction

If a person is addicted to Lyrica, he or she may experience some of the following signs and symptoms of addiction:

  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when Lyrica use is stopped
  • Trying to quit Lyrica but failing
  • Believing that Lyrica has stopped working
  • Taking Lyrica with alcohol or other drugs to cope with emotional pain or life circumstances
  • Continuing to take Lyrica despite unpleasant physical side effects, relationship problems, or issues at school or work

People with a history of drug and alcohol abuse may be more likely to abuse Lyrica for its euphoric and sedating effects. If you believe you or a loved one is addicted to Lyrica, it’s important to seek help right away.

Lyrica Detox and Withdrawal

If a person suddenly stops using Lyrica, they may experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Lyrica withdrawal symptoms typically include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Excessive sweating
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Diarrhea

A medical detox program can help to alleviate the uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal with medication-assisted treatment and 24/7 professional care. An inpatient detox program can provide effective and safe care without the client suffering from the physical symptoms of withdrawal.

Additionally, detoxing from Lyrica at a detox center provides a supportive environment in which to recover, which reduces the likelihood of relapse or a medical emergency. Clinical and medical staff can also provide recommendations for ongoing treatment after detox, which ensures additional treatment to address co-occurring disorders and the root causes of the addictive behavior.

Lyrica Withdrawal Timeline

Lyrica withdrawal symptoms typically last from one to two days but some withdrawal symptoms may linger for several weeks following the cessation of Lyrica use. Generally speaking, the intensity of Lyrica withdrawal symptoms may be more severe for those who have taken Lyrica for a long time or who took extremely large doses.

Other factors may also affect the duration and intensity of withdrawal symptoms, including:

Treatment for Lyrica Addiction

After detox, people who are recovering from Lyrica addiction may also choose to enroll in a drug rehab program to receive continued treatment. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the efficacy of addiction treatment is contingent on adequate treatment length, and most people need at least 90 days of treatment to experience positive and lasting results. Of course, the addiction treatment process is highly individualized and results will vary greatly depending on the person.

A rehab program for Lyrica addiction may include:

Inpatient Drug Rehab vs. Outpatient Drug Rehab for Lyrica Addiction

The most common types of drug rehab programs are inpatient rehab programs and outpatient rehab programs. Neither is better than the other, but each type of program provides certain benefits for people with varying levels of addiction and specific treatment needs.

  • Inpatient drug rehab: An inpatient drug rehab program, also referred to as residential drug rehab, provides gender-specific group housing for people in recovery. Clients who are enrolled in an inpatient program live onsite at the rehab center for the duration of their program. Their daily schedules are very structured and consist of individual and group sessions, specialized therapy, a daily exercise regimen, meal time, study time, and personal free time. Clients must adhere to the rules and standards of the program to remain enrolled and family members are often a part of the process, as many inpatient drug rehab centers also offer family programs as a part of treatment.
  • Outpatient drug rehab: Outpatient treatment or an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), provides outpatient care for people who are in recovery. Clients attend co-ed group sessions at a clinical facility three times a week for an eight-week period. Each session is designed to address personal issues in recovery and provide education on chemical dependency, relapse prevention, and life skills. Clients enrolled in outpatient drug rehab also have the flexibility to continue working, attend school, or care for young children at home while they complete their rehab program.

If you are recovering from Lyrica addiction and you have already completed detox, you may want to consider the following factors when choosing a rehab program:

  • Your treatment needs
  • Treatment services
  • Financial ability/insurance
  • Location
  • Facility accreditation and staff credentials
  • Amenities
  • Comfort and care

Depending on the rehab center’s location, amenities, and the treatment services provided, the cost will vary. However, clients have several different payment options, such as health insurance benefits, scholarships, Employee Assistance Program benefits (if your employer offers this), privately financed healthcare loans, or out-of-pocket payments.

Continued Care Options for Lyrica Addiction Treatment

Continued care is essential for full recovery from Lyrica addiction. Fortunately, there are several options that provide continued support for men and women in recovery. Sober living programs and aftercare programs both offer unique benefits of their own that can help people achieve long-lasting sobriety.

Sober Living Programs

A sober living program is a recovery support program that provides safe, clean, and sober housing for people in recovery. Sober living homes are gender-specific and typically offer group housing with shared room options, private room options, and shared living areas like a kitchen, dining room, and living room. Many sober living homes also offer pet-friendly room options, for people who want to bring their pet with them.

Many high-quality sober living homes also provide recovery support services to help clients achieve their recovery goals, maintain abstinence from drugs and alcohol, and establish a support system of sober peers and mentors. Common recovery support services offered for sober living clients include:

  • Regular drug and alcohol testing
  • Tiered recovery program
  • Personal monitoring
  • Individual sober coaches
  • Employment/education/volunteer assistance
  • IOP
  • Therapeutic services

The cost of a sober living home will vary depending on the recovery support services offered, the amenities, the room options, and the location.

Aftercare Programs

Aftercare programs are specifically designed for alumni of rehab programs and aim to provide a safe, supportive place where people in recovery can feel accepted, discuss issues in recovery, and work to improve coping strategies and relapse prevention.

Aftercare programs are comprised of regular group meetings at an outpatient location. Each meeting is facilitated by an addiction treatment specialist and conversation often revolves around current sobriety challenges, successes, and ongoing personal growth.

People in recovery are encouraged to enroll in aftercare to receive extended support and additional opportunities to connect with peers in recovery. Aftercare also provides a way for rehab alumni to check in with their peers and treatment team regularly while maintaining a sense of accountability in recovery.

Overcoming Lyrica addiction for good is possible with the right treatment and aftercare. Contact Nova Recovery Center today for more information about our addiction treatment programs and continued care services.

References:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/is-lyrica-a-narcotic#side-effects
  2. https://www.drugaddictiontreatment.com/types-of-addiction/prescription-drug-addiction/lyrica-addiction/
  3. https://emj.bmj.com/content/30/10/874.2
  4. https://www.verywellhealth.com/lyrica-10-things-you-should-know-190248
  5. https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-93965/lyrica-oral/details
  6. https://www.webmd.com/fibromyalgia/guide/lyrica-for-fibromyalgia-treatment#1

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