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Free,confidential and impartial advice from a clinician on all aspects of pregabalin addiction,treatment, admission, therapy,counselling, detox, cost and availability.
What is Pregabalin?
Pregabalin is from a class of prescribed medications known as Gabapentinoids. These have been around since the 1970's while researchers were looking to find new ways to treat neurological disorders. Gabapentin was devised through the results of this research as anti convulsant. Pregabalin, while being very similar, is absorbed by the body much more quickly. Furthermore, unlike with Gabapentin, if you increase the dose, it will increase the effect.
What is it used for?
Pregabalin can be prescribed for peripheral and central neuropathic pain and can also be used, as an adjunctive treatment for focal seizures and, more commonly, generalized anxiety disorder. It becomes addictive because of the intense feeling of calmness it provides. Furthermore, when someone stops taking it, withdrawal symptoms can occur. It is never advisable to stop taking Pregabalin suddenly: This can be incredibly dangerous. Where this does occur the following symptoms can present:
* Heightened anxiety
* Excessive sweating
* Seizures (although there is very little clinical research to support this)
Pregabalin has a short half life of about six hours, this means that, six hours after taking it, it's effectiveness is reduced by 50%. As such symptoms will begin to develop within 12 hours.
During the first week of withdrawal the key signs are heightened anxiety and a rapid period of depression: Sometimes suicidal thinking. Also, on the first day it is common to see excessive sweating and the user may report very severe headaches as well as clouded thinking. This can be alongside very poor appetite or an inability to eat anything, at all. Where someone suddenly stops taking Pregabalin, it is not uncommon to for the user to encounter hallucinations, delirium and even a period of psychosis.
Aside from these symptoms there can be some, rather unpleasant, physical symptoms not unlike a bad case of the flu:
Feeling very tired and sleeping excessively
During days one to four the symptoms will worsen but should then level off and reduce. For the remainder of the first week, it is not uncommon for the following symptoms to show:
* Disturbed sleep (excessive sleeping and or lack of sleep)
* Heightened anxiety
* Chronic sudden depression with possible suicidal thinking
* Loss of energy and interest in work/social activities
* High blood pressure
* Fast pulse
* Physical symptoms as above (loose stools,feeling sick,excessive sweating)
* Inability to concentrate
* Feeling angry and irritable
Red flag symptoms:
* Confusion and delirium
* Very strong cravings to take Pregabalin
* Psychosis (very rare )
* Seizures (very rare)
Week two should, ordinarily, be easier than the 1st week. Some acute symptoms may still present themselves but usually are far less acute than days 1-7. As such, the risk of seizures, hallucinations and psychosis, usually, has passed. There may be some continued flu like symptoms but should, by now, be leveling off. There may still be some high blood pressure and fast pulse but this should start to subside. However, while the physical symptoms have started to drop off, the psychological symptoms may not have subsided. Indeed, because the person feels, physically better, they can start to overthink the psychological aspects of withdrawal.
Week two symptoms are characterized by:
* Heightened anxiety
* Low mood (with or without suicidal ideation)
* Excessive tiredness
* Poor appetite
* Disorganized thinking
* Poor experience of pleasurable activities
* Strong cravings for Pregabalin
Week three should allow the user to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Physical symptoms should, by now, have tapered off, if not gone altogether. Psychological discomfort should also start to dissipate.
Days 24 and beyond
For some, there may be some residual symptoms from week four, onwards.
These can include:
* Continued nightmares
* Lingering anxiety
* Continued depression and suicidal thinking
* Being irritable
* Continued cravings for Pregabalin
For some, these symptoms could continue for many months.
As to whether or not someone does experience symptoms, and their intensity can depend on many factors, which can include:
* The amount of Pregabalin used
* Length of time used for
* Underlying physical health conditions (especially those which affect a persons kidney function)
* Mental health challenges
How is pregabalin addiction treated in a residential treatment centre?
As with all effective admissions and successful periods of treatment, a comprehensive , and holistic, per-admission assessment is needed. It may be necessary to share information from the clients GP and/or hospital team.
If the person seeking treatment had been taking Pregabalin for sometime, on a regular basis then a tapering regime is the mainstay of treatment. A reduction rate of around 50-100MG a week is normally recommended but does not have to be set in stone. What is more important is that the person in treatment comes down safely, in a welcoming, therapeutic environment where they receive a high level of medical care and the appropriate therapeutic input.
All centers operate either a twelve step based therapeutic programme, based on the tenants of Narcotics Anonymous or a SMART based model. This is also alongside other adjunctive therapies such as:
* art therapy
* Music therapy
* individual therapy sessions (for those staying more than a week)
Other adjunctive medications may also be offered to help with some of the physical symptoms and sleep issues, but should be on an "as and when" basis and for no longer than two weeks: maximum.
Aside from the medical intervention, a crucial element of going into treatment is to build up a mental toolkit of techniques and resilience so as to prevent relapse. Effective discharge planning starts before admission and links can be made with local support groups , such as NA and SMART, and also locally commissioned statutory services. In addition, all centers offer a minimum of twelve months aftercare.
Same day admission can be arranged, but is not always the most optimal approach. Getting admitted to the right centre where the appropriate level of medical and therapeutic care can be given is the key to getting into recovery.
NB: Rapid detox from Pregabalin is neither safe or recommended.
Call Paul to discuss your situation, in total confidence. He can advise you on a treatment plan and the best place to get the help you need to achieve the abstinence you deserve.
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