Regularly taking the anxiety medication, pregabalin, can lead to dependence and addiction. Here’s how Delamere can help.
Pregabalin, known by the brand name Lyrica, is a medicine often used to treat epilepsy, anxiety and neuropathic pain. Available only on prescription, this schedule 3 controlled drug requires care and must be taken as directed. While not considered to be among the most addictive prescription drugs, people who take Lyrica over a long period of time can develop a psychological dependence. In the UK, pregabalin addiction is currently on the rise.
Originally designed as an anticonvulsant to prevent seizures, pregabalin’s calming effect on the central nervous system can be helpful for people who struggle with anxiety. Growing evidence suggests that long-term use can increase tolerance, leading to a desire to take pregabalin in increasing amounts. If a dose is suddenly missed or stopped, this can cause the user to experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
Delamere’s holistic therapists offer expert help for all types of prescription drug addiction at our specialist wellness retreat in Cheshire. We have extensive experience in treating mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, which may be the precursor to, or result of, taking medications such as Lyrica, or pregabalin. Here, we outline some of the signs of pregabalin addiction and the treatments available.
If you think your pregabalin addiction is out of control, contact our team today and learn more about the different programmes we offer here at Delamere.
Whether taken as a capsule, liquid or in its slow-release tablet form, pregabalin can cause some common side effects. These include headaches, constipation, nausea, insomnia and weight gain. However, when used in high doses, snorted or injected, pregabalin is associated with euphoric effects that give it a high potential for abuse (1).
People who regularly take prescription drugs to treat a genuine medical condition might develop a pregabalin dependence without even realising it. Over time, the body adapts to functioning with pregabalin and the user may begin to crave more to achieve the same desired effect. Pregabalin addiction can make people become secretive about their actions and lie about the amount they take.
Signs of pregabalin dependence:
Taking higher doses than prescribed
‘Doctor shopping’ for pregabalin
Needing more pregabalin for the same effect
Feeling unwell when not taking pregabalin
Obsessively thinking about pregabalin
Symptoms of pregabalin addiction:
Mood and personality changes
Poor sleeping and eating patterns
Being forgetful or unable to concentrate
Anxiety and depression
Lethargy and heart palpitations
In recent years, pregabalin has gained popularity among people who already suffer from a substance use disorder and with those who abuse other prescription drugs and opioids. Mixing pregabalin with other substances, including alcohol, is dangerous as it increases the risk of overdose and death. This is because pregabalin and alcohol both work by slowing down the central nervous system, intensifying sedation, making breathing more laboured and slowing the heart rate.
Chemically similar to gabapentin, pregabalin is approved for the treatment of Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) by the European Medicines Agency. However, it’s thought that pregabalin has a higher potential for abuse due to rapid rate of absorption (2). While taking an anticonvulsant like Lyrica is a way of coping with anxiety, for some people who develop a pregabalin dependence, it can actually make mental health symptoms worse.
Substance abuse is common among people with mood disorders which can intensify the physical and mental side effects of pregabalin. People who have a history of mental health conditions should take extra care as they are more susceptible to developing negative thought patterns and having suicidal tendencies. As well as causing depression, long-term use of pregabalin can also result in heart problems, liver and kidney disease.
Most people will experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking pregabalin which can be managed with a medically supervised detox. At this time, you may also need support for any coexisting substance use disorders and your health will need to be carefully monitored to avoid any dangerous side effects.
When people come to us with a pregabalin dependence, it’s important to find out the root cause. This is often related to the reason for the prescription in the first place. For instance, if you’re taking pregabalin to overcome anxiety, we can help you to manage those unwanted feelings with intensive psychotherapy and calming techniques.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is especially useful to work through your problems and develop coping mechanisms. A combination of one-to-one counselling and group therapy sessions provides a non-judgemental environment to make sense of your addiction. Each residential rehab programme can be tailored to your exact needs, ensuring you get individualised pregabalin treatment that promotes lasting recovery.
Worried about pregabalin addiction? Talk to us today
We know every addiction is fuelled by daily stressors and triggers. In the calming environment of our woodland retreat you will have the space and time you need to overcome your pregabalin addiction. Following a clinical detox overseen by our dedicated medical team, we will get to work developing the best plan for your full recovery.
Our holistic therapists use a range of psychotherapies, include Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), to understand what is driving your addiction and put strategies in place to help avoid a relapse. We offer a wide range of evidence-based pregabalin treatment options, from equine therapy to meditation, and will find what works best for you.
At Delamere, we use a three-stage approach which treats every aspect of your pregabalin addiction holistically. Helping to overcome physical cravings, learn new ways to heal emotionally and ultimately enjoy a life without a reliance on prescription drugs.
Settle into your new environment
and remove yourself from
Spend time with our therapists to discover what led you to this behaviour in the first placeDelamere treatment model
Set healthy boundaries,
exciting new goals and prepare for
life after Delamere
We believe that prescription drug addiction, whether stemming from a need to manage pain or overcome anxiety – stems from somewhere. Rather than adhering to the conventional step-based programmes, we look at underlying factors that drive your behaviour. Only by recognising how you arrived at this point can you begin to positively shape your future.
Stopping the cycle of addiction safely and comfortably
pain is causing
Instilling tools to help facilitate change and encourage continued growth
Martin Preston, Founder & CEO at Delamere
If yourself, or a friend, family member or work colleague is struggling with pregabalin addiction, it’s important they get help.
Our admissions team is on hand 24/7 to help answer any questions about our clinical detox programmes and make sure your loved one gets the support they need.
Call the team today on 0330 111 2015 to discuss the different options available.
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