Successfully withdrawing from pregabalin
When you hear the word ‘withdrawal’ you may immediately associate it with someone who abuses illicit drugs.
However, withdrawal actually refers to the combination of physical and mental effects that a person experiences after they stop using or reduce their intake of any substance such as alcohol and prescription or recreational drugs.
What are the withdrawal symptoms with Pregabalin?
In theory, anyone taking Pregabalin has the potential to develop a physical or psychological dependence on it.
This means that once you stop taking Pregabalin it’s very likely that you’ll experience withdrawal symptoms, especially if you’ve been using the drug for an extended period.
Those abusing this medication should slowly taper off it to prevent the more severe side effects of withdrawal, which can be quite uncomfortable both physically and mentally.
In most cases, Pregabalin withdrawal is thought to be relatively mild when taken on its own.
However, in many cases where Pregabalin is being used in conjunction with another substance, the withdrawal phase may be extremely unpleasant and, in some circumstances, life-threatening.
As mentioned above, the symptoms of Pregabalin withdrawal can vary from mild to severe based on your length of use.
These symptoms will manifest psychologically as well as physically, with acute withdrawal symptoms beginning around 24 hours after your last dose and continuing for at least two days.
Residual Pregabalin withdrawal symptoms can last up to several weeks.
Some of the most common Pregabalin withdrawal symptoms include:
- Headaches, Restlessness, Vomiting
- Mood changes, Agitation
- Depression, Anxiety, Confusion
- Suicidal thoughts
- Nausea, Sweating, Diarrhoea
- Increased heart rate, Cravings for the medication
- Insomnia, Seizures
Why does Pregabalin cause withdrawal symptoms?
To understand how drug withdrawal affects your brain, it’s helpful to know just how drug use can alter your brain function, to begin with.
Your brain is responsible for naturally producing certain chemicals, such as dopamine and serotonin.
After prolonged drug use, your brain rewires itself to generate sensations of pleasure in response to whichever substance you’re taking.
The regular day-to-day activities that used to bring you joy, eventually lose all appeal. Meanwhile, as your brain adapts to the drug, in this case, Pregabalin, you’ll need more of it to achieve the same high.
Withdrawal is your body’s way of responding when a regularly used drug is suddenly removed from its system.
Effects on the brain
The process of withdrawal on the brain is the same as it would be for any other substance, whether it’s Pregabalin, heroin or caffeine. The reason Pregabalin withdrawal might cause unpleasant cognitive and phycological symptoms is that your body is working hard to restore balance to compensate for the removal of the medication and the high serotonin levels it had become accustomed to.
An alteration in the production of these chemicals will temporarily affect the way you think, feel and perceive the world around you.
What happens when I come off Pregabalin?
If you stop taking Pregabalin suddenly, you may begin to experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
For this reason, it is recommended that you lessen the dose gradually.
Your doctor will prescribe you the appropriate amount, which should allow your body to slowly wean itself off the substance without any adverse effects.
Medication such as Pregabalin that works in brain is especially dangerous if stopped altogether and have been linked to suicidal tenancies in those who do not slowly taper their intake.
Addiction to Pregabalin is characterised by a physical and psychological dependence on the drug that results in the obsession to take it time and time again.
Side effects of drug abuse
Pregabalin may stimulate feelings of pleasure, calm and euphoria while you’re taking it, whereas withdrawal will bring about the opposite. For instance, diarrhoea, which is a common withdrawal symptom, is the opposite of constipation which is a side effect of Pregabalin abuse.
One of the main reasons people find it hard to stop taking Pregabalin, and most other drugs is because they cannot cope with the unpleasant feelings that come with withdrawal.
These symptoms kick in when you stop taking the drug as your body tries to cope without it. Your brain sends a psychological signal to let you know that you’ll begin to feel uncomfortable without Pregabalin, which results in you seeking out the drug to prevent this from happening.
Everyone’s experiences of withdrawal will differ and there are a variety of factors to consider, such as the severity of your addiction and your overall health.
Seeking the right help
It is very important that you seek help before starting a detox of any kind so that a medical professional in a rehab environment like Castle Craig can examine your condition and prescribe the best course of action.
There are common physical withdrawal symptoms that you will likely face when you quit or reduce your intake of Pregabalin after long-term use. However, you should keep in mind that you may experience these symptoms differently as there are individual variations associated with withdrawal.
If you’re someone who has been taking Pregabalin as prescribed and has either finished your prescription or have had your dosage reduced, you may begin to feel uncomfortable as your body gets used to being without it.
At this point, the idea of taking more Pregabalin will seem very appealing to you, however, it’s important to remember that obtaining and taking Pregabalin illegally will lead to further dependence and eventually addiction.
While completing your detox and rehabilitation will feel extremely rewarding, it’s important to consider how the reality of going back to your normal life, without drugs, might affect your sobriety. To avoid the risk of relapse, it’s a good idea to put together a plan to help you navigate those first few days and weeks.
Each person’s experience of addiction and substance misuse will vary, and therefore each individual will have their own set of strengths and pitfalls to address, as they commit to a life free from drugs, alcohol or other addictive behaviours.
However, everyone can expect to face cravings from time to time following treatment, and it should be noted that it is not uncommon for individuals in addiction recovery to experience a form of relapse at some point.
How can you cope with Pregabalin withdrawal?
When you start your detox and the withdrawal symptoms begin to set in, wanting to give in to the temptation is completely normal at this stage.
You’ll be desperate to know how long these symptoms are going to last and at what point you’ll start to feel like yourself again.
The fact is, the amount of time it takes for you to fully get through the acute phase of withdrawal depends, once again, on other factors. For example, the amount of Pregabalin you took and how long you were taking it for, other medical conditions and your age and gender.
Pregabalin withdrawal symptoms can feel unpleasant both mentally and physically, but it’s important to stay focused on the fact that this will not last forever.
If you’re coming off your Pregabalin prescription or have stopped using it recreationally, it’s a good idea to prepare for possible withdrawal symptoms. Below are some ideas to help you deal with Pregabalin withdrawal.
Try and keep active
Exercise has been clinically proven to help release endorphins, which interact with the receptors in your brain to reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, so doing a bit of light exercise – even if it’s just a short walk – will help your brain restore chemical balance.
Keeping in touch with those closest to you is a great way to keep your spirits up during what might be an unpleasant and uncomfortable time.
Many people forget that the opposite of addiction is connection, so don’t underestimate the impact that support will have on your state of mind during the withdrawal period.
This might also be a good time to speak to a counsellor or therapist about your experience.
Talking to someone is a form of therapy and can help to alleviate a lot of the emotional stress that comes with recovery.
The withdrawal stage is both physically and mentally taxing, so you mustn’t bottle up your thoughts and emotions.
What if you can’t cope with Pregabalin withdrawal?
- Pregabalin withdrawal can be particularly difficult if you’re going it alone.
- Having support around you during this time is vital for maintaining sobriety.
- In many cases where the symptoms are too overwhelming, those without a good support system will relapse. Taking Pregabalin whilst going through detox can be a dangerous shock to your system.
If you’re experiencing a particularly difficult and unpleasant Pregabalin withdrawal phase, then it’s important to keep supportive people around you, and if you’re undergoing a medically assisted detox, you might be given certain medication to help with the discomfort.
If you feel you require more supervision during your detox, you may prefer to go to a residential rehab where you can ensure round-the-clock care as well as additional therapies to help you deal with any lasting phycological or physical effects that you may be experiencing.
- Can Pregabalin withdrawal be fatal? If you’re tapering off Pregabalin correctly as part of a medically supervised detox programme, then you should not experience any serious effects. However, stopping the use of Pregabalin suddenly, especially if you’ve been abusing high doses, can put you at great risk of complications.
- How long will Pregabalin withdrawal last? Your withdrawal timeline will depend on a few different factors such as your overall health, the severity of your addiction and your age and weight. The acute symptoms of Pregabalin withdrawal are reported to last for at least a couple of days, while residual symptoms can go on for weeks.
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Page last reviewed and clinically fact-checked | June 21, 2021