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Amytal Withdrawal

Barbiturate drugs are an important piece of our history in the world of drugs. They were originally designed to alleviate some of the most common ailments that affect human beings. Insomnia and anxiety are among the most significant problems humans battle with today, and they have persisted for hundreds of years. Chemists have been working for centuries to perfect medications that bring relief, and barbiturates are first of their kind in a long line of drugs. Farbwerke Fr Bayer and Co introduced barbiturates in 1904, which brought significant changes to how neurological and psychiatric disorders are treated today.

A massive portion of the population started gaining access to these types of medications and changed their lives. Some for the better, while others were not so lucky. The more studies that looked into the behavior of barbiturates yielded adverse results. While barbiturates are the reason behind intravenous anesthesia, their effects were still subjected to extensive testing. 

The 20th century was a time where scientists explored various drugs. During this span, more than 2,500 barbiturates were synthesized. While only 50 were approved for mass production, they became popular among doctors and users. Once they were pumped into society, the use of barbiturates became widespread. Barbiturates are not common today, but some doctors will use the medication in extreme cases. 

One of the drugs available today is known as Amytal. It has a long history of medical use, but doctors began phasing the substance out due to its addictive properties. It helped to treat anxiety and insomnia until doctors realized its dangers.

Barbiturate use is not a common practice, but some physicians still implement them in more extreme cases. There are only 12 barbiturates left in rotation, and Amytal is one such drug. It is restricted, however, to hospital use only. It is used as a sedative before surgery. Many dangers still exist when using Amytal, but it is much safer when you are monitored by a professional. 

The drug should only be used under the supervision of a medical staff due to its potency. Due to this, a doctor will never prescribe Amytal outside of the hospital. Unfortunately, it can be purchased on the black market, which can have deadly outcomes. Amytal withdrawal is equivalent to alcohol or benzo withdrawal.

How Amytal Affects the Brain

Depressant drugs all work in a similar fashion, and Amytal is not an exception to that rule. Once the medication enters your body, it goes travels to your brain and binds with a neurotransmitter known as GABA. The purpose of GABA in our body is to slow down activity in our central nervous system (CNS) and calm nerves. Amytal is used to give our GABA an extra boost and reduce anxiety, calm nerves, and relieve stress. Amytal inhibits nerve impulses that cause these feelings to occur.

When Amytal is active in your body, it mimics that naturally produced GABA and binds to receptors to produce anxiolytic feelings. When the receptors are stimulated, they produce excess amounts of this feel-good chemical, which floods the brain and nervous system. Those who consume Amytal over a long period are prone to developing a chemical dependency, or worse, an addiction to the drug. If you try to stop using Amytal without assistance, you will likely experience adverse effects due to how GABA is affected.

What to Expect From Amytal Withdrawal

Amytal withdrawal is more than uncomfortable; it can produce scenarios that kill the person that stops using the drug. When the body is unable to provide GABA on its own from Amytal abuse, it puts the body into overdrive, which causes seizures. 

A study released showed that 75 percent of individuals withdrawing from barbiturates suffered seizures, while 66 percent experience delirium tremens (DTs). These can last several days. You must enter treatment if you fear you are addicted to Amytal.

Other symptoms linked to Amytal withdrawal include:

  • Sleep problems
  • Tremors
  • Irritability
  • Feeling restless
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased body temperature
  • Stomach cramping
  • Hallucinations
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Heart failure
  • Seizures
  • Delirium Tremens (DTs)
  • Death

What Are the Stages of Amytal Withdrawal Timeline?

Depending on the severity of your Amytal addiction, the symptoms should dissipate around two weeks. You may experience some lingering symptoms, such as cravings or anxiety that can last for six months or more. Other symptoms include depression, and insomnia, which is a sign you have developed Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). If you experience these symptoms long after you’ve finished detoxing, you must reach out to your primary care physician for assistance immediately. 

Amytal Withdrawal Timeline

  • Days 1-3: The first set of symptoms will include mood swings, insomnia, nausea, and vomiting. You will experience the peak of your symptoms around the three-day mark, and this is when delirium tremens can develop. Seizures are also common at this stage.
  • Days 4-7: When you reach day five, the physical and psychological aspects of withdrawal will start to improve. The emotional portion, however, such as depression or anxiety, will continue for some time. Cravings may be prevalent, and it may be hard to sleep.
  • Weeks one and two: When you’ve reached one week clean, the symptoms will be noticeably improved. As your body begins to achieve homeostasis, you will continue to feel emotional.

Should I Detox?

Since death is a possible scenario during barbiturate withdrawal, you should always consider a supervised medical detox. By placing yourself in a treatment center, you provide yourself with the best chance of long-term sobriety. When you stop using Amytal, you must never do so in a way that is detrimental to your health. Detox will help you combat any adverse symptoms you may be facing. 

What Is the Next Treatment Step?

Detox is a crucial piece of the puzzle in the continuum of care, but it cannot help you overcome the disease of addiction. You need to commit yourself to care that gets to the root of these behaviors. Therapy will provide you with a safe space and help you build a relapse prevention plan for the future. Speak with a professional immediately to help determine your next step.

Sources

López-Muñoz, F., Ucha-Udabe, R., & Alamo, C. (2005, December). The history of barbiturates a century after their clinical introduction. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2424120/

Amytal Sodium (Amobarbital Sodium Injection): Side Effects, Interactions, Warning, Dosage & Uses. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.rxlist.com/amytal-sodium-drug.htm

Boonstra, E., de Kleijn, R., Colzato, L. S., Alkemade, A., Forstmann, B. U., & Nieuwenhuis, S. (2015, October 6). Neurotransmitters as food supplements: the effects of GABA on brain and behavior. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4594160/

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). 8: Medical detoxification. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction/section-iii/7-medical-detoxification

Evashwick, C. (1989). Creating the continuum of care. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10293297

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