Seconal is a prescription drug categorized under the class of drugs called barbiturates. Barbiturates are drugs called central nervous system (CNS) depressants because they can cause drowsiness. They work in the brain and CNS to slow activity down, as noted by GoodRx. They can be given before surgery to calm you. They are also used to relieve tension and anxiety and also for people who have seizures. They are to be used on a short-term basis for insomnia.

Barbiturates are in the group of medicines called central nervous system (CNS) depressants. They cause drowsiness. These medicines work in the brain and CNS to produce effects that are beneficial for some people.

How Long Does Seconal Last?

Several different factors affect how long Seconal lasts. These are:

  • Body mass index (BMA)
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Your hydration level
  • How much you have consumed
  • Your metabolism
  • How many Seconal doses you have taken
  • How often you take Seconal

According to RxList, Seconal starts to work within 10 to 15 minutes and can last from three to four hours.

Seconal and the Brain: How It Works

Seconal and other barbiturates increase the activity of a chemical in the brain that works to transmit signals. This chemical is called gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). In doing so, it enhances GABA activity, which is the brain’s main inhibitory neurotransmitter. GABA then inhibits the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate, which reduces anxiety and calms brain activity. Seconal use can be habit-forming for some people, which may lead to chemical dependence.

It is essential to know the differences between drug tolerance, chemical dependence, and addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines tolerance as when a “person no longer responds to the drug in the way they first did.” When this occurs, you may feel you need to take a higher dose to feel the same effects as when you took the first dose.

Dependence occurs when you stop using a drug and experience withdrawal symptoms. Dependence can happen if you take a drug as prescribed for a prolonged time. However, this does not mean that you are addicted to the drug.

Addiction is when a person using a drug cannot stop, despite negative consequences. Addiction is also called a substance use disorder. Nonetheless, you can be dependent on a drug or have a high tolerance for it and not be addicted to it.

Seconal Withdrawal Symptoms


If you have been taking Seconal for a long time and suddenly stop taking it or reduce the dose greatly, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. We remind you that it is never wise to reduce the dose or stop taking Seconal without guidance from the prescribing doctor.

Some of the withdrawal symptoms from Seconal and other barbiturates are:

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Tremors or shaking
  • Fast heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations

How Long Does Seconal Withdrawal Last?

Seconal is a short-acting medication. The first withdrawal symptoms could be felt within 12 to 24 hours after the last dose you consumed. Symptoms may peak at around 24 to 72 hours (1 to 3 days) after the last dose.

Minor withdrawal symptoms might be felt within 8 to 12 hours after the last dose, which includes:

  • Anxiety
  • Muscle twitching
  • Tremor (shaking) of hands and fingers
  • Begin feeling weaker and weaker
  • Dizziness
  • Distortion in visual perception
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Low blood pressure when standing up

Major withdrawal symptoms may be felt within 16 hours of the last dose taken and last up to five days. Convulsions and delirium are the two primary symptoms. It might take up to 15 days for the intensity of withdrawal symptoms to fade. It is best to be under medical observation at an addiction treatment center when going through Seconal withdrawal where your safety and comfort are tended to.

What Does a Seconal Overdose Look Like?

It may seem like a good idea to take your Seconal dose again to stop feeling the withdrawal symptoms. This is not a good idea as it can cause you to take a higher dose, which could cause an accidental overdose.

First, let’s look at the symptoms of Seconal addiction. These are:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Goosebumps
  • Bone and muscle pain
  • Uncontrollable leg movements

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact your doctor right away.

These are the overdose symptoms to be aware of:

  • Low body temperature
  • Shallow breathing
  • Dilated pupils
  • Weak or rapid pulse
  • Clammy skin
  • Coma
  • Death

Seconal FAQs

Can Seconal cause “sleep-driving” and other odd behaviors?

Seconal is a sedative-hypnotic medication. Medications with that classification can produce complex behaviors, such as sleep-driving, sleep-cooking, sleepwalking, and other behaviors done while not fully awake followed by amnesia afterward, says HealthGrades. Consuming alcohol with Seconal may increase the risk of these not fully awake behaviors.

What does Seconal feel like?

Seconal can make you feel like you are less inhibited, more talkative, and relaxed. However, the more Seconal you take, the less you will feel this way, and the higher risk of overdose you might face.

Does Seconal come in generic form?

Seconal is not made in the generic form today. Its generic name is secobarbital. It is no longer available. In fact, the drug is used only rarely today.

Why Should I Detox?

Detox can be the difference between life or death for you if you are addicted to Seconal. As a CNS depressant, withdrawal from Seconal can cause distressing and life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. It can send your body into overdrive, possibly causing delirium tremens, which is a potentially fatal symptom.

When you first enter the Desert View Recovery center, you will talk with clinicians as they get an assessment of your needs and level of addiction. Then, they will find the right level of care for you.

Medical detox may be needed if you are still taking Seconal or any other substances. There are three different steps in detox: medical evaluation, medically managed detox, and clinical care. The medical evaluation will determine what your needs are and will determine the best course of treatment for you. The evaluation will lead to an individualized treatment plan.

Detox is the process your body undergoes when it is ridding itself of all toxins and fighting to stabilize. Our on-staff medical professionals are there to evaluate your medical condition and provide any medications needed to ease you through withdrawal. If any medical complications arise, they are right there to handle them. Your safety and comfort are important during detox.

Another reason to consider detox is the real possibility of relapse. Many people think they can detox at home with the help of family and friends. However, the intensity of withdrawal symptoms may cause you to take the drug again (relapse). Addiction is a chronic brain disease that affects the brain’s reward center. This may cause an uncontrollable compulsion to use the drug again.

Your specific needs will determine how long you need to be in detox. Generally, it takes from five to 10 days because your body is adapting to not having the chemical in it to rely on. Once the medical team determines your detox is complete, you will move on to the next level of care.

What’s Next?

Detox alone is never enough to overcome addiction. Once complete, you will move onto the next level of care that best fits your personal needs. After detox is complete, you may be put in a partial hospitalization program that is a high level of outpatient care. 

PHP includes more than 20 hours per week of addiction treatment. It is a program that treats people with different needs, which include medical, psychological, and social needs. PHP is not a 24-hour per day overseen program. It is a higher level of treatment for those who need regular medical checkups and psychological evaluations, along with mental health and substance use disorder therapies.

You may engage in different behavioral therapies, life skills classes, relapse prevention education, and holistic therapy. Your treatment plan will include what is needed and is developed with your input. As you progress in treatment, your plan will change to reflect your improvement.

How Can I Afford Addiction Treatment?

There are many ways in which to afford addiction treatment. Your insurance plan may cover it. Many plans under the Affordable Care Act specify mental health and substance use disorder treatment be covered. You are welcome to verify your insurance with us at Desert View Recovery. If your insurance doesn’t cover all of what you need in addiction treatment, we can help you find ways to pay for the rest. The cost of treatment should never be an obstacle to getting treatment.

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