Prescription medication abuse is common today. From opioids to anti-anxiety medication to stimulants, more people are becoming dependent on drugs than ever before.
While you may not hear much about gabapentin or Lyrica addiction, it does occur. Those that struggle with chronic neurological pain can become addicted to these medications and not even know it. These anticonvulsant meds do help minimize pain, but they also have a higher potential for abuse and addiction.
In fact, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the number of people taking gabapentinoids tripled from the years of 2002 to 2015.
What Does Gabapentin Treat?
Gabapentin is an anti-seizure medication that is commonly prescribed to treat chronic nerve pain, restless leg syndrome, and epilepsy. It’s also used to treat fibromyalgia.
What Does Pregabalin Treat?
Pregabalin, or Lyrica, is a medication that is also prescribed to treat chronic nerve pain, epilepsy, and fibromyalgia.
Gabapentin Vs Lyrica
Gabapentin and Lyrica are both gabapentinoids that treat neuropathic pain and some forms of epilepsy. However, even though they are similar, they are not supposed to be used interchangeably. If you’re taking one medication and want to try the other, you should talk with your doctor.
Both medications have the potential for abuse and dependence, leading to withdrawal symptoms when you stop using them. Both also affect the GABA neuronal systems in the brain, ultimately helping reduce nerve pain due to things like diabetes, shingles, spinal cord injury, and more.
One of the biggest differences between gabapentin and Lyrica is that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) labels Lyrica a controlled substance. This means it has a higher potential for dependence and addiction.
Gabapentin And Pregabalin Side Effects
Both gabapentin and pregabalin have various side effects. Some are the same, but there are some differences. If you’re taking gabapentin, you may experience the following side effects that are not common with pregabalin:
- Trouble with speech
- Viral infection
- Body jerks
If you’re taking pregabalin, you may experience the following side effects that are not common with gabapentin:
- Dry mouth
- Enlargement of breasts
Both gabapentin and pregabalin share the following side effects:
- Feeling dizzy
- Trouble concentrating
- Shaking muscles
- Blurry vision
- Feeling off balance
Is Gabapentin Addictive?
Many people think that gabapentin or Lyrica can’t be addictive since their doctor prescribed it to them. However, both drugs have the potential for abuse and addiction.
The main difference between becoming addicted to an opioid pain medication and nerve pain medications like gabapentin is that with opioids, you’re more apt to experience more intense feelings of relaxation or euphoria.
Nerve pain pills like gabapentin and Lyrica provide a mild sense of relaxation. Those that become addicted to this type of medication aren’t usually abusing it for the “high” they feel. It’s more likely due to developing a higher tolerance over time.
Symptoms of Gabapentin Addiction
If you’re wondering if you are addicted to gabapentin or pregabalin, the following are some signs of addiction:
- Your tolerance has increased. You have to take more of the drug to get the desired effect.
- You experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to cut back on your medication.
- You exaggerate your symptoms to your doctor so that they will prescribe higher doses or increase the frequency.
- You refuse to stop taking the drug, despite negative consequences.
- You’re obsessing about the medication. You think about it all the time and fear running out.
- You hide from your family the fact that you’re using or abusing the medication.
- You know you’re addicted, but put it in the back of your mind. You figure you’ll do something about it some day in the future.
Gabapentin And Pregabalin Withdrawal Symptoms
If you’re struggling with an addiction to gabapentin or pregabalin, know that treatment is available to help you get free. There are residential and outpatient addiction recovery facilities that can help you fully recover from prescription medication addiction. There you will be able to be under the care of addiction specialists who will help you get through the detox process, and go on to build a strong recovery foundation.
The first step to coming off any drug is going through the detox process. As you stop using gabapentin or pregabalin, you may find yourself feeling detox symptoms as your body tries to adjust to life without the medication.
Common symptoms include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Feeling dizzy
- Trouble sleeping
- Feeling agitated
- Nightmares or vivid dreams
For those that take these medications to control their seizures, the most severe withdrawal symptom when stopping the drug abruptly is the increased risk of more severe seizures.
Within about a week, your body should be through detoxing. You can then continue treatment with substance abuse professionals at a treatment facility. They can help you understand addiction better, as well as how to avoid it from happening in the future.
Getting Help For Pregabalin Or Gabapentin Addiction
It can be somewhat of a challenge when dealing with pregabalin or gabapentin addiction. The reason is because those that are prescribed these medications are usually dealing with intense, chronic nerve pain. They usually become addicted to the drugs because they’re in a lot of pain – not because they are intentionally abusing them.
Stopping the use of such medications leaves the person dealing with the chronic pain, which can be quite debilitating. Therefore, it’s essential to seek help from a substance abuse expert who understands how to work with those struggling with chronic nerve pain or fibromyalgia. They can direct you to other forms of pain management so you don’t have to suffer.
If you or someone you know is addicted or going through withdrawal from gabapentin or pregabalin, please contact one of our addiction specialists at (866) 578-7471. We are standing by to address your questions and concerns, and help you get on the path to pregabalin or gabapentin addiction recovery.
is gabapentin addictive, yes this is very addictive even if it was prexcribed by the doctor it is advisable not to abuse it.
Though this is the first time I heard of lyrica addiction, In any case one should never take medications without doctor approval. Even more so for drugs that are uncommon like these ones. Always follow dosage and do not overdo it. Doing so may lead to addiction or perhaps worse.
It can be somewhat of a challenge when dealing with pregabalin or gabapentin addiction. The reason is because those that are prescribed these medications are usually dealing with intense, chronic nerve pain
Such as meth and cocaine, lyrica addiction is also an issued that needs to be tackled with. It is not common for people to be addicted to lyrica but we need to emphasize that lyrica is a drug that sometimes taken inconsiderably.
Although the use is recommended, lyrica can lead to lyrica addiction. Proper use of the drug and the other should be well prescribed.
I think when patients have to take Lyrica as part of their treatment they should be supervised by family members and doctors to help them complete the treatment without getting addiction problems. Also, they should know about the side effects that could generate lyrica addiction, as a way to help patients to be aware of not taking more than necessary to complete their treatment.
Seriously I think gabapentin addiction is when patient sees that the pain does not reduce, he or she increases the dosage. I think this is little hard to curb
The rate of dependency of this drugs are becoming high. The lyrica addiction is common but people won’t know because they are prescribed drugs.
Amazing article you have written. I learned a lot reading it and I can’t believe that gabapentin is addictive. Thank you for sharing this informative article with us!
Wow, I’ve been researching why why is lyrica addictive and this article really opened eyes. I sure didn’t know that people who suffer chronic neurological pain were the main ones to become addicted to. The scary thing is that they may not even know it!
As to the question of ‘is gabapentin addictive’, the answer is a big yes. It does depend on how regularly it is used though.
It is rare to hear of people with lyrica addiction. It does however occur much often than we’d expect.
It’s tempting to wonder why is lyrica addictive even though it is prescribed by a doctor. The truth is a lot of drugs can become addictive if used too much.
I like how you’ve covered the lyrica vs gabapentin section. I have learnt so much that I was never aware of.
Personally I have never heard of anyone with a gabapentin addiction. It must be very rare.
There’s nothing as bad as lyrica addiction. It is a very difficult addiction to kick as the patient is also dependent on the drug for pain relief.
My question of is gabapentin addictive has been well answered here. One would think that being a prescription drug it is not addictive.
Cases of lyrica addiction are on the rise. It is very shocking that they have tripled since 2002
I was among the group of people that wondered why is lyrica addictive. Thanks a lot for explaining everything in such good detail.
Thank you for pointing out under lyrica vs gabapentin that the two drugs shouldn’t be used interchangeably even though they are similar. That’s something many patients are likely to overlook.
I feel like gabapentin addiction is even worse than being addicted to the usual drugs. This is mostly because the affected would not even know they are addicted until it’s probably too late.
Look ,it’s like this I was addicted to heroin & methadone for 25 years , after a 7 month stint in hospital I finally losts interest in heroin and I’m confident I will never touch it again I now still take just 8 ml methadone daily and reduce 1 ml each month but do take gabbapentin or pregablin around twice a week ,I also drink everyday but not really for a buzz just out of boredom my main worry is after a 2 or 3 days without gabbies or pregabs I struggle with sleep and tend to get an awful feeling in my tummy especially in a morning. This could just my lifestyle but I fear its the tablets but whatever I have to disagree with someone on this thread claiming gabs are the worst withdrawal to kop for . I sware opiates and benzos are 10 times worst. Believe me on this and kids don’t do drugs it’s not worth it