What is Amytal Addiction?
Amytal is the brand name for amobarbital — a sedative-hypnotic barbiturate drug used to treat health conditions including insomnia, anxiety, and epilepsy. Commonly prescribed as a sleeping pill, Amytal produces powerful sedative effects comparable to those produced by large amounts of alcohol and is sometimes used as an anesthetic before surgery. Barbiturates like Amytal are used less commonly today since the drugs are highly potent, but remain popular among the club and party scene due to the drug’s ability to produce an intense, short-lasting high.
The barbiturate belongs to a class of drugs known as central nervous system depressants, which work by slowing down the central nervous system to produce feelings of relaxation and mild sedation. People who abuse Amytal often do so to experience euphoria, and to benefit from other effects including pain relief and empathy.
Risks of Amytal Addiction
Amytal is a Schedule II drug that carries a high risk for dependence and addiction and is only available as an injection in controlled medical settings. Amytal produces effects including extreme relaxation, sedation, and euphoria, and is only intended for short-term use. Abusing Amytal in any way or using the drug outside of a medical environment can increase the risk for dependence and addiction, as well as the risk for a deadly overdose.
Combining Amytal with other addictive substances like alcohol can even worsen the risk of addiction and overdose, and point to a strong need for rehab treatment. If someone is mixing prescriptions, or drinking while on Amytal, they are putting their health in danger.
Side Effects of Amytal Addiction
Many side effects of Amytal abuse are similar to those of alcohol abuse, such as slurred speech and loss of coordination. People who abuse the drug and take high doses may appear to be intoxicated by alcohol, and exhibit unusual, uncharacteristic behavior.
Common side effects of Amytal abuse:
- Loss of inhibitions, or inappropriate behavior
- Slowed breathing
- Apparent intoxication with no signs of drinking (i.e., alcohol smells, empty bottles)
Signs of Amytal Addiction
Using Amytal in high doses, in ways other than directed, outside of a medical setting, or without a legitimate medical reason all point to Amytal abuse, which can lead to tolerance and dependence. Those who become physically dependent on Amytal may experience withdrawal symptoms similar to those associated with delirium tremens — a severe form of withdrawal that can lead to complications like seizures and death. Knowing common signs and symptoms of Amytal abuse can signal whether you or a loved one needs help recovering from this highly addictive sedative.
Common signs of Amytal abuse:
- Drug paraphernalia
- Using higher doses than prescribed
- Doctor shopping for prescriptions
- Using a loved one’s prescription
- Lying about how frequent they are using
- Hiding Amytal, or being secretive
- Changes in behavior
- Loss of interest in activities
- Missing deadlines at work or obligations at home
- Issues with relationships
What to do if Someone You Love is Abusing Amytal?
Suddenly stopping Amytal after becoming dependent on the drug is extremely dangerous, and can cause complications including death. If you think a loved one may be abusing Amytal, look for behaviors that seem out of place or uncharacteristic. Symptoms such as fever, sweating, and restlessness are common with many other illnesses and health conditions but slowed breathing, drunken behavior, and psychosis are often more telling symptoms that can indicate you or a loved may need help recovering from Amytal dependence.
Using barbiturates like Amytal regularly may also lead to mood disturbances, along with tolerance and dependence. People who become dependent on Amytal and who abruptly stop using the drug can experience withdrawal symptoms between days two and four of quitting.
Amytal withdrawal symptoms:
- High body temperature
- Psychosis, or thoughts and emotions that are disconnected from reality
Treatment Options Available for Amytal Addiction
Amytal addiction can be safely treated as a whole using a medically supervised detox and therapy. These treatments will be administered by experienced doctors and nurses at an inpatient or outpatient drug rehab center.
A medically supervised detox allows patients to withdraw from Amytal under the care and supervision of doctors who can reduce discomfort and minimize complications like seizures. An Amytal detox usually involves tapering, which is when doctors reduce one’s doses of Amytal slowly and gradually over the course of several weeks until patients are no longer using the drug. This detox method is safer than quitting cold turkey since it allows the brain and body to gradually adjust to lower doses of Amytal without going into severe withdrawal.
It is highly recommended that anyone suffering from Amytal dependence or addiction seek treatment at an inpatient rehab facility. Amytal addiction can change the brain in ways that make it difficult for people to stop using the drug despite attempts to quit. People who try quitting Amytal on their cold turkey face a high risk for an overdose since urges to use the drug can lead to a relapse. Withdrawal symptoms like seizures can increase the risk for death, and overdose can occur if the individual relapses after reducing their tolerance. An inpatient treatment facility will provide 24/7 medical oversight, easing withdrawal symptoms, and removing the chance of relapse while in treatment.
After getting sober, and treating the withdrawal symptoms, a long-term care program is recommended. There are various types of therapy treatment available for addiction, including:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Contingency management therapy
- Community reinforcement therapy
- Group therapy
Each of these programs will help treat the underlying cause of addiction while identifying triggers, and strategies for preventing relapse. These programs are heavily recommended for anyone suffering from a co-occurring disorder, such as a mental illness, as many people will rely on a drug to self-medicate for mood disorders. By treating mental illness in addition to addiction, chances at long-term sobriety are greatly improved.