Lyrica, also known as pregabalin, is most commonly prescribed for adults who are suffering from neuropathic pain or fibromyalgia. Neuropathic pain is pain that results from damaged nerves. Examples of health conditions in which you may be prescribed Lyrica are diabetes, spinal cord injuries, shingles and epilepsy. Doctors typically avoid prescribing it for people under 18 years old because its safety and effectiveness for that age group is uncertain. Lyrica, even for adults, can have dangerous side effects and can lead to an addiction.
Possible Side Effects When You Start Lyrica
When you begin taking Lyrica, you may experience constipation, weight gain, drowsiness, headaches, dry mouth or nausea. These side effects usually aren’t a cause for concern unless they are severe, worsen or last for a long period.
Serious side effects that could occur include:
- Swelling of the hands, ankles or feet
- Vision changes
- Muscle tenderness, pain or weakness
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Unusual tiredness
- Mood changes
- Mental health issues
- Suicidal thoughts
You should contact your doctor if you’re experiencing serious side effects.
When you take your Lyrica prescription, never split the pill. You should swallow it whole to prevent stronger side effects. Side effects should subside shortly after starting the medication. If you’ve been on the medication for a while, and you experience some of these side effects, you might have an addiction.
Because Lyrica causes physical dependence, you’re going to experience withdrawal if you suddenly stop taking it or decrease your dosage on your own. Only a doctor can help you safely taper off of this medication.
- Heart problems
- Suicidal thoughts
Other Lyrica withdrawal effects include:
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Mood changes
- Behavior changes
People have begun misusing Lyrica because it can provide a relaxed or a euphoric feeling. If you have become addicted to Lyrica, you will need to go through detox and rehab to safely cleanse it out of your system and recover from the psychological aspect of the addiction.
The severity of your Lyrica withdrawal symptoms depends on the dose you were taking, how long you’ve been taking the medication and whether or not you mixed it with other substances. Not everyone will experience withdrawal symptoms when they gradually reduce their Lyrica use under a doctor’s guidance.
For those who experience Lyrica withdrawal, the acute phase usually lasts one to two days. Residual symptoms might persist for several weeks after the last dose. In general, taking high doses or being on the medication for a long time results in a longer or more intense withdrawal.
Lyrica stays in your system for around 33 hours. The kidneys typically process the drug quickly. The state of your kidneys influences how long the drug stays in your system. Other factors that play a role in how long the detox takes are your age, body mass, hydration, how long you’ve been taking Lyrica, how much Lyrica you were taking and your urinary pH. Your doctor can give you an estimate of how long the drug will stay in your system.
Harmful Drug Interactions and Overdose
Lyrica shouldn’t be used with marijuana, alcohol, pain relievers, sleep tablets, antihistamines, antidepressants or antipsychotics. You could go into a coma or die if you do. Other harmful effects of mixing these drugs are severe drowsiness, breathing problems and decreased awareness.
Safely Taking Lyrica
Some symptoms of allergic reactions to Lyrica that you should be aware of include:
- Itchy skin
- Swelling of the tongue, lips, face or other parts of the body
- Difficulty breathing
- Shortness of breath
Seek medical care if you’re having an allergic reaction to Lyrica. You should never use expired Lyrica either. Always check the expiration date on your prescription because accidents sometimes happen at the pharmacy. Patients have been given the wrong drug or medicine from an expired batch. Lyrica isn’t safe to take after its expiration date. You should avoid using the medication if the package shows signs of being tampered with or has worn packaging. Return the medication to your pharmacy and ask for a new batch.
You shouldn’t take Lyrica if you plan on becoming pregnant or are currently pregnant. Let your doctor know that you plan on becoming pregnant, so they can prescribe a different medication. If you have epilepsy, your doctor may still keep you on Lyrica if it’s determined safer for you and the baby compared to not being on the medication during the pregnancy.
Similarly, you should let your doctor know if you’re breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed a baby because Lyrica passes into breast milk. The safety of Lyrica for babies is unknown.
Also tell your doctor if you have a history of substance use, depression, hereditary problems with galactose metabolism, kidney problems, diabetes or congestive heart failure. Lyrica may not be the best medication for you in these situations. Make sure to inform your doctor of all vitamins, supplements, herbs and over-the-counter drugs you take or could potentially take. You don’t want to have a bad interaction between the two substances.
If you accidentally take too much Lyrica, you need to inform your doctor to reduce the harmful effects of an overdose. You can also go to the hospital in case the extra Lyrica in your system causes a dangerous reaction.
Symptoms of a Lyrica overdose that you might experience:
- Mood changes
If you forgot your dose of Lyrica, you can take it up to four hours before your next scheduled dose. Taking Lyrica within four hours before your scheduled dose puts you at risk of an overdose.
How Do You Know If You’re Addicted to Lyrica?
Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed and becoming obsessed with finding or taking Lyrica are signs of addiction. If you have been using the drug recreationally, then there’s a high chance you’re addicted or will soon become addicted because of Lyrica’s addictive properties and lack of a doctor’s analysis on what dose is safe for you.
The wrong dosage is riskier for an individual. In addition, people tend to take more Lyrica to get relief when they have unpleasant withdrawal effects. This only reinforces the grip that the drug has on them. When you want to quit Lyrica, you need to seek the help of medical professionals. They can reduce the severity of your withdrawal symptoms.
Misusing Lyrica can cause depression, restlessness, agitation, fatigue and confusion. If you have gone through unusual mood changes since using Lyrica, then you have probably developed an addiction.
Having cravings for Lyrica is a bad sign because it means your body has become dependent and needs a higher dose. You never want to increase your dose without a doctor’s approval. There is often psychological dependence involved as well when you crave the medication. An addiction consists of physical and mental dependence on the drug.
Rehab for Lyrica
After you detox from Lyrica, you should go through an inpatient, outpatient or partial hospitalization rehab program (PHP). We can treat Lyrica addiction at our treatment centers. Granite Recovery Center offers inpatient, outpatient and gender-specific rehab. We also provide aftercare and alumni programs that increase your chances of staying sober after finishing rehab.
What type of rehab you go to depends on numerous factors, including the severity of your addiction, how much time you can take away from work or school, how safe your environment is at home and your history of traumatic experiences. Moderate to severe addictions to Lyrica are best treated in both inpatient and outpatient rehab. You should start with inpatient rehab and drop down into outpatient rehab. Inpatient rehab lasts 28–90 days. You live at the treatment center under 24/7 care to ease your withdrawal symptoms and help you avoid using drugs again.
Outpatient rehab provides drug addiction treatment 10–12 hours a week, so you can still hold a job while going through outpatient treatment. If you’re interested in inpatient rehab, you can legally take time away from work because it counts as medical leave. Those who have a mild Lyrica addiction don’t necessarily need inpatient addiction treatment. They can overcome the addiction with a good outpatient program and following up with aftercare. Expect to be in outpatient rehab for three to 12 months. It takes time to change behaviors and patterns of thinking.
Aftercare is another step down in time commitment. You meet around once a week to make sure that you’re staying sober and making progress on your goals. When you encounter struggles, you will have help in addressing them during your meeting. Aftercare addresses all areas of life from career, education, searching for employment and improving relationships with others.
Partial hospitalization is between inpatient and outpatient treatment in terms of time commitment. Although you don’t live at the treatment center like you would in an inpatient program, you spend four to six hours a day five days a week in treatment. You can step up or step down into partial hospitalization. If you started with an outpatient program but think you need more time in rehab, you can step up into a PHP. After completing an inpatient program, you could transition into partial hospitalization.
Benefits of Gender-specific Treatment Programs
Men and women can experience greater results from a gender-specific treatment program because it’s catered to the unique struggles they face. Society encourages men to hide their feelings and appear strong, especially when around women. It takes men more time to open up in rehab. More of the time they spend in gender-specific rehab will be on men’s issues as well. They can relate to their peers more easily in a men’s rehab.
Society puts pressure on women to be perfect both in their appearance and their actions, particularly when it comes to raising a family. As a result, mothers who struggle with addiction have deeper layers of guilt and shame to work through when they enroll in rehab. Making the decision to enroll in rehab can be more difficult on mothers too because of the pressure to always be there for their kids and sacrifice themselves for their kids.
Domestic violence and sexual assault are also serious issues that women face. Any woman who has been abused by a man will benefit more from women’s rehab because they will naturally feel safer in a women’s-only environment. It will allow them to focus on healing from those challenging issues. Past trauma plays a role in addiction, which is why it’s important to process it and learn healthier coping mechanisms. You’ll develop these skills in rehab.
Types of Therapy Used in Rehab
What drug addiction treatment methods are used in rehab depends on the specific program. In general, you can expect the psychological side of your Lyrica addiction to be treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy. Other treatments that may be incorporated are a 12-step curriculum and dialectical behavior therapy.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) teaches you how to gain greater control over your behaviors through changing your thinking. Thoughts and feelings influence what actions a person takes or doesn’t take. Negative thoughts tend to create negative feelings, which naturally leads to unhelpful behaviors. In CBT, you will learn about the connection between your thoughts and behaviors, and you consciously choose what kind of person you want to be. You are encouraged to set meaningful goals. Having goals that matter to you will help you resist the temptation to use drugs again.
A 12-step curriculum is centered around letting a higher power help you overcome your addiction. This higher power could be a god, nature, science or your body’s miraculous ability to heal itself. How you interpret it is up to you. Twelve-step treatment was originally developed for treating alcohol use disorder but was found effective in treating all sorts of addictions, including gambling, overeating, hoarding and crime.
Dialectical behavior therapy teaches you how to manage stress better and stay in the present moment rather than ruminating over the past or worrying too much about the future. It also teaches you how to maintain healthy relationships.
Knowing the signs of Lyrica addiction and overdoses helps keep you or your loved one safe. Even when you take Lyrica as directed, you could become addicted. Upon noticing your signs of addiction, enroll in a suitable rehab program to prevent it from becoming severe and wreaking more havoc in your life. Granite Recovery Center has compassionate, knowledgeable professionals to guide you every step of the way in overcoming drug addiction and regaining control over your life.