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Is Phenibut a Safe Supplement in Addiction Recovery?

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Phenibut is a neuropsychotropic drug developed and discovered in Russia in the 1960s. It was first given to astronauts in the Soviet Union to attain focus and relaxation but is now widely prescribed throughout Eastern European countries like Ukraine, Latvia, Russia, and Kazakhstan. Also commonly used to treat anxiety, Phenibut is found under brand names such as Noofen, Fenibut, and Anvifen. Is Phenibut a Safe Supplement in Addiction Recovery?

How Does Phenibut Work?

Phenibut is a GABA-B agonist. It is a synthetic form of GABA, one of the brain’s inhibitory neurotransmitters. GABA is a brain chemical that depresses the central nervous system and has the effect of causing relaxation or a calm feeling. It will decrease anxiety and nervousness in social situations and may help a person have more control over their thoughts and feelings. Phenibut can help people who tend to be overly self-conscious or over-think things. It can also reduce negativity and cause sedative-like effects.

What is Phenibut Used For?

Phenibut is primarily used for its anti-anxiety effects. It is commonly prescribed to treat general and social anxiety disorders, insomnia, depression, as pre-and post-op medication, asthenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, stuttering, balance or vestibular disorders, alcohol withdrawal, alcoholism, vertigo, or motion sickness, and Meniere’s disease.

How Does Phenibut Make You Feel?

The effects of Phenibut are tranquilizers. It eases sleep, reduces stress, and boosts mood. Higher doses can create an increased sense of well-being and euphoria, which can lead to an addiction similar to a benzodiazepine addiction.

Is Phenibut an Addictive Drug?

Phenibut is found in several nootropics. Nootropics claim to improve memory, creativity, and motivation. Today, Phenibut is sold online as a nootropic and marketed as a mood enhancer, sleep aid, exercise recovery booster, and even a “smart drug.” At low doses, Phenibut does increase dopamine levels, so it is commonly sought for its euphoric effects, mood enhancement, and greater perceived sociability. Some say that you can get addicted to phenibut although research in this area is scarce.

Is Phenibut a Legal Substance?

Phenibut is a legally prescribed tranquilizer in Russia and other Eastern European Countries. It may also be used recreationally in Russia, but the drug may be unsafe. It is not scheduled or regulated, medically prescribed, or prohibited by law in the US. Phenibut is essentially a chain of amino acids in the US context, so the FDA classifies it as a dietary supplement like vitamins and minerals. Therefore, it can be sold online legally without regulations. However, this doesn’t mean it’s safe.

Is Phenibut Safe to Take While Sober?

There have been reports of individuals using Phenibut to self-medicate to control withdrawal symptoms from substances like alcohol and benzodiazepines. Although Phenibut is considered to have low and rare addiction potential, like most substances that can be abused, it carries a risk of physical and psychological dependence, tolerance, and withdrawal. In fact, with chronic use, Phenibut has been identified as a drug of abuse with numerous clinical effects in overdose and withdrawal syndrome. In certain severe cases, a physical dependence can even be life-threatening due to the possibility of hallucinations, psychosis, and seizures. Due to these safety concerns, this drug has not been peer-reviewed, clinically tested, or approved by the FDA in the United States for use as a supplement in addiction recovery.

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