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Lyrica Withdrawal: Signs, Timeline and Detox Process

Authored by Granite Recovery Centers    Reviewed by James Gamache    Last Updated: August 27th, 2021


James Gamache Medical Reviewer
Jim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) and Licensed Masters Level Addictions Counselor (MLADC). He has been working in the field of mental health/addiction treatment since 1995. Jim earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services from Springfield College in 2000, and a Masters Degree in Social Work from Boston University in 2002. In 2002 Jim was hired by the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester holding the position of Clinical Case Manager. From 2004-2019, Jim was employed at WestBridge Inc. During his time at WestBridge, Jim held the following positions; Clinician, Team Leader, Director, & Chief Operations Officer. In 2019 Jim transitioned employment to GateHouse Treatment Center as the Clinical Director for 10 months. In October of 2020 Jim transitioned to Granite Recovery Centers and is currently serving as the Senior VP of Clinical Services and Quality Assurance.

Lyrica is an oral medication that is used to treat pain due to nerve damage from spinal cord injuries, diabetes, and infections, as well as pain associated with fibromyalgia. When combined with other medications, it is also used to treat focal seizures. The drug can be taken in tablet or liquid form.

Lyrica works by helping the patient to relax, which indirectly assists with pain control. It is a good weapon for those who live with chronic pain but choose not to use opioids. If you live with chronic pain, an opioid-free alternative like Lyrica can lessen your risk for addiction. Using the drug as prescribed is typically safe and can help you avoid some of the negative side effects associated with more powerful opioid medications.

Even though Lyrica is not an opioid, however, it’s important to note that it can still be addictive, especially if used in doses larger than prescribed. The drug can create feelings of euphoria, calm, and relaxation, which are the effects that lead to addiction. If at any time you feel like you might be addicted to Lyrica, it’s important to talk to your doctor about your concerns and to make a plan for reducing your intake.

Those with an addiction to Lyrica also have access to safe and effective treatments. The sooner you make the decision to face the addiction and enter into a treatment program, the easier it will be to put an end to the substance use.

How to Start and Stop Taking Lyrica

When you start taking Lyrica, it is likely that your doctor will start you at a low dose and gradually work you up to the dose that is needed to effectively treat your pain. Follow this schedule and then take Lyrica exactly as prescribed to reduce the chances of addiction. If you already have a substance use disorder, your chances of becoming addicted to Lyrica are higher. In this case, it is important to take Lyrica exactly as prescribed.

If you think you have become addicted to Lyrica, ask your doctor for a schedule that will allow you to gradually stop taking the drug. It is very important to note that you should not stop taking Lyrica suddenly because doing so could lead to serious side effects. Symptoms vary, but the severity of them is based on how long you have used Lyrica, the dose that you have been taking, and if you were taking Lyrica in combination with any other drugs.

Signs and Symptoms Associated with Lyrica Withdrawal

As mentioned, Lyrica withdrawal symptoms vary based on several factors. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Sweating
  • Changes in behavior
  • Depression
  • Inability to fall asleep or stay asleep
  • Confusion

If you suddenly stop taking Lyrica and experience any of these symptoms, see your doctor right away. More serious symptoms include:

  • Dehydration
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Heart palpitations
  • Seizures

Other effects that have been associated with Lyrica use and withdrawal include blurry vision and changes in mood.

Timeline of Lyrica Withdrawal

The more severe symptoms of Lyrica withdrawal will typically last one to two days, but the less severe symptoms listed above can last much longer. In fact, some studies have shown that residual withdrawal symptoms can occur for several weeks.

Typically, Lyrica withdrawal symptoms are worse if you’ve been taking a large dose for a long time. Always consult your doctor if you no longer want to take Lyrica to get help reducing your dosage. Don’t try to reduce the dosage on your own, and don’t try to stop suddenly on your own. If your body is accustomed to taking Lyrica, it will demand the drug, and it can be next to impossible to resist it. Help is available, so don’t be afraid to ask.

It is important to remember that addiction is not a failure on your part; it is a chemical reaction that happens within your body, just like any other disease. There is no shame in seeking help for a substance use disorder involving Lyrica.

A Detox Program for Lyrica Withdrawal

If you find yourself addicted to Lyrica and you want to stop taking it, there are some different treatment options available. Professional detox facilities are available to help you safely detox from the drug. At Granite Recovery Centers, we have detox programs that will help you to go through the withdrawal process as quickly and as comfortably as possible. Granite Recovery Centers provides medical detoxification for people who do not need immediate medical intervention, are not a danger to themselves, and are capable of self-evacuation in the event of an emergency.

Generally, a medical detox lasts anywhere from a few days to a week. How long the detox takes is dependent on how long you’ve taken Lyrica, how often the drug was used, and how much was consumed. During this time, it is important to practice good hygiene for your comfort and stay hydrated and nourished to keep your strength up. You may not feel hungry, but it is important to eat nourishing food to support your body.

The process of detoxing is not always comfortable or easy, but our staff members at Granite Recovery Centers are experienced and highly qualified; we will do everything we can to help you through the detox. Our detox center is a licensed medical facility specifically designed to treat sub-acute medical detox patients.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

In some cases, the symptoms of withdrawal can be addressed with certain medications. At Granite Recovery Centers, we also provide a medication-assisted treatment program that uses only FDA-approved medications. The drugs are administered by medical specialists in a safe and supportive treatment environment.

Generally, there are two different medications used to help treat Lyrica withdrawal: clonidine and dexmedetomidine. Clonidine is typically used to treat high blood pressure, but it also has a calming effect that can help with withdrawal symptoms. Dexmedetomidine has similar effects to those of clonidine. After our detox facility knows your health history and the specific details about your addiction, such as how long you’ve been taking the drug and how much your dosage was, we will determine the best course of treatment to help.

What to Expect When Entering the Detox Program at Granite Recovery Centers

The Green Mountain Treatment Center is the licensed medical facility at Granite Recovery Centers. For the first 24 hours, each new client is monitored around the clock. Then, you are assessed in order to find the best spot in one of our multiple programs. You will be kept in detox or moved to rehab, depending on the results of the assessment.

Green Mountain Treatment Center is a certified Level 3.7 sub-acute medical facility. What does this mean? Treatment centers are rated from Level 4.0, which is full hospitalization, to Level 0.5, which is for patients with no withdrawal risk. Our center can treat patients who need 24-hour medical monitoring and a structured setting. It is also appropriate for patients who may not have much interest in treatment and need some motivation and/or who may be experiencing a difficult time controlling their use of substances. Not every patient will need this level of treatment, but it is there if needed.

The need to enter a detox program carries with it a stigma of shame, but this should not be the case. Do not fall for the lie that you are weak if you can’t quit Lyrica on your own — nobody can. The fact is that if you enter a detox program, you are strong for taking such a decisive and positive step. Don’t allow fear to keep you from detoxing, recovering, and going on to achieve your life’s goals.

Support Programs Following Detox

For many with a substance use disorder, detox is just the beginning of their treatment journey. For the best chance at lasting sobriety, other therapies and treatments are needed. Our inpatient program at Granite Recovery Centers provides a structured environment where you can focus on recovery. We use therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy.

During your time in the program, you will work with a counselor and a therapist who can help you to uncover the root causes of your addiction. Once those causes are discovered, we can help you find healthy ways to address them. You will learn what your triggers are and how to avoid them. Counseling and therapy will increase your chances of success and your ability to reach goals.

Sometimes, your loved ones may need family counseling, and Granite Recovery Centers offers that, too. Addictions do not just affect the individual; they also affect spouses, parents, and children, as well as extended family and friends. These family members may need help just as much as you do. Counseling can help your family members move from being concerned and worried to being a powerful support system for you. Success in overcoming addiction depends on you, but it also requires a strong support system at home.

If you do not need inpatient treatment, or you have completed an inpatient program and need additional support, Granite Recovery Centers also offers an outpatient program. Outpatient care comprises ongoing therapies and other forms of support, including 12-step meetings and workshops. We also offer skill-building sessions and holistic therapies such as yoga and meditation. During group therapy sessions, you will also have the opportunity to share your story and hear those of others going through a similar experience.

Choose a Recovery Center to Get Help Today

When choosing a recovery center, it is important to find one that offers a full continuum of addiction treatment. If you live in a rural area, you may need to travel to a treatment center, but don’t let that discourage you from seeking the help you need.

The team at Granite Recovery Centers is all about helping those with substance use disorders find a new life free of addiction. We take the best therapies available and combine them into a holistic treatment that serves your specific needs. Many members of our highly trained staff are recovered addicts themselves. We have a special understanding of where you are coming from because we have been there, and we have come through it to lead a successful life. We want to pass that on to you!

Granite Recovery Centers is available by phone to answer your questions and to give you guidance on what to do next. Do not give up, and do not stop trying to rid yourself of addiction to Lyrica. If you are ready to break free from your addiction, or you have a loved one who is struggling, contact us today. Our team is ready to get you the help you need to find a new life.

At Granite Recovery Centers, we want to provide accurate information about health and addiction so that our readers can make informed decisions.

We have credentialed medical doctors & clinicians who specialize in addiction treatment review the information on our website before it is published. We use credible sources such as government websites and journal articles when citing statistics or other medically related topics.