What Is the Withdrawal Process and Timeline for Amobarbital (Amytal)?

Amobarbital is a barbiturate, a type of drug that has a sedative effect on users. Also known as sodium amytal or amylobarbitone, amobarbital is sometimes prescribed for the treatment of insomnia but only for the short-term due to the highly addictive nature of the drug and the loss of efficacy that occurs after this period.

When used beyond a couple of weeks, the risk of developing a psychological dependence on the drug in addition to building a physical tolerance and addiction increases significantly, and with it, the risk of experiencing a withdrawal syndrome when amobarbital use is stopped. In this article, you’ll learn about the amobarbital withdrawal process and timeline.

Withdrawal Process

What is amytal and sodium withdrawal process

Though everyone’s experience in addiction and in detox is unique, in general, there is a rough timeline that unfolds after the cessation of chronic use of amobarbital. This withdrawal syndrome can be broken down into steps, including:

Step 1: Substance Use Stops, Under Medical Supervision

Sometimes this can be an active choice, such as enrolling in a drug detox and addiction treatment program, or it can occur when the person runs out of amobarbital. No matter what the reason, when a physical dependence on any barbiturate is in evidence, withdrawal symptoms will follow cessation of use.

Psychological dependence will exacerbate the issue as well. Professional treatment that includes medical detox can provide a safer and more comfortable withdrawal experience for anyone who is dependent on or addicted to amobarbital and ready to stop using the drug.

Step 2: Manage Initial Symptoms

For some, initial withdrawal symptoms can begin within 8-12 hours after taking the last dose of amobarbital. These may be mild to severe depending on the dose of amobarbital taken regularly at the time of cessation of use, and they may be complicated by other issues experienced by the individual, including:

  • Co-occurring mental health disorders.
  • Medications taken for any reason.
  • Underlying medical issues.

First symptoms of withdrawal may include:

  • Agitation.
  • Headache.
  • Difficulty falling asleep.
  • Shakiness.
  • Twitching.
  • Nausea and/or vomiting.

Symptoms may last for anywhere from 24 hours to 4 days, building in intensity until it becomes a full-blown withdrawal syndrome. Medical professionals can effectively manage these symptoms during detox.

Step 3: Manage the Withdrawal Syndrome as it Develops

A full-blown withdrawal syndrome caused by high-dose, long-term use of amobarbital can begin 2-4 days after the cessation of use of the drug. The withdrawal symptoms can be psychological as well as physical in nature and may include any combination of the following:

  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Psychosis

Many describe the withdrawal syndrome triggered by barbiturate detox as similar to the delirium tremens experienced by some in detox from alcohol addiction. It is critical that medical care be sought in the event of a withdrawal syndrome. If not treated immediately and comprehensively, a failure of the circulatory system, hyperthermia, and death are all possible. It is never safe to attempt to treat barbiturate withdrawal syndrome at home.

With proper treatment, the withdrawal syndrome will continue at its peak for 5-15 days until symptoms begin to fade.

Step 4: Symptoms Start to Fade

Depending on the individual person’s experience and the type of treatment provided, symptoms related to intense withdrawal syndrome will fade slowly over time. Detox can and should continue, however, to a lesser degree over the next year as the body continues to flush out the toxins that built up over long-term use of amobarbital and begins the process of repairing the damage done by the drug.

Detox Can Be An Important First Step

It is important to note that detox alone may not be sufficient treatment for long-term recovery from barbiturate addiction or addiction to any drug. Relapse can be deadly, especially in the case of barbiturate use, and it may be necessary for patients to follow medical detox with intensive therapy that addresses the issues underlying addiction. This process will be different for each person.

There are various reasons why people develop an addiction to amobarbital. Some may use the drug as a coping mechanism for different issues, such as attempts to:

  • Manage co-occurring mental health disorders.
  • Address insomnia.
  • Heal headaches.
  • Escape boredom or other uncomfortable feelings.

During addiction treatment, patients can dig into the why and how of their personal journey with addiction. This can help them better understand their substance use disorder and discover a specific treatment plan to help them achieve sustained recovery.

At Sunrise House, we offer medical detox and inpatient rehab in New Jersey. You don’t have to battle addiction alone. Call one of our caring admissions navigators at and get admitted today.

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