At one point in time, Brevital was a drug used to treat symptoms of anxiety and insomnia. It was primarily administered in a hospital setting for a patient to fall asleep. However, the drug was considered far too addictive psychologically and physically to continue justifying its use. In the past several decades, barbiturates have been mostly phased out by benzodiazepine alternatives but can still be found on the illicit drug market. 

Brevital, also known as methohexital, has been used for several decades. For the millions of people globally who use barbiturates in small doses, Brevital is considered safe as a short-term solution to treat seizures or insomnia. However, in more significant doses, Brevital may cause brain activity to slow to the point the body no longer receives messages to alert the respiratory system to continue working. 

Barbiturates like Brevital were popular in the 1940s and 1950s when concerns about morphine, opium, and heroin were sweeping the nation. As they say, history tends to repeat itself, and we’re facing similar issues with the current opioid crisis affecting the country, allowing other drugs like barbiturates to take center stage. 

Although barbiturates are harder to come by today, Brevital is one of the few that remains used today.  It’s less widespread than its counterpart pentobarbital or phenobarbital, but it is still responsible for the same damage as it once caused. 

How Does Brevital Work?

Brevital is a short-acting barbiturate that boasts a rapid onset. It’s part of a group of medications the medical community has blacklisted. However, Brevital remains in existence today. The substance was first synthesized in 1903 when barbiturates were touted to treat various significant ailments.

Barbiturates targeted specific conditions, and long-acting barbiturates were used to treat epilepsy. Intermediate-acting barbiturates are beneficial for insomnia, while shorter-acting barbiturates like Brevital are routinely administered for surgical procedures. It typically lasts for two to six hours. 

Brevital is infused into the vein or injected into the muscle in adults. It binds to gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is responsible for depressing the central nervous system (CNS). It achieves the same effect as benzodiazepines, although it’s structured differently. 

When Brevital is administered in large doses, it can produce euphoria and cause a lack of inhibition in a fashion similar to alcohol intoxication. Unfortunately, those who become dependent on or addicted to Brevital are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop using the substance. 

What is Brevital Withdrawal?


As you’ll find with other barbiturates, Brevital provides anesthetic qualities by binding to GABA receptors located in the CNS. Those who become dependent on Brevital will experience a disruption in pain messages transmitted to the brain. By doing this, the drug also blocks nerve cells that regulate our moods. When neurotransmitters like dopamine flood the blocked reward pathways, our bodies start to experience euphoric feelings, as well as diminished feelings of fear or stress. 

Barbiturate tolerance develops quickly as the brain acclimates to repeated doses by completely shutting down the overloaded pathways. At this stage, those in active addiction won’t experience euphoria but rather feelings of anxiety, sadness, and depression. When cravings for Brevital aren’t satisfied, withdrawal symptoms will start to surface. Without the right help, barbiturate withdrawal can be extremely dangerous, and in some cases, deadly.

What are the Brevital Withdrawal Symptoms?

Not only is Brevital withdrawal uncomfortable, but it can be dangerous without the right supervision. Once a person who becomes addicted to the drug tries to stop or reduce their dose, they can expect withdrawal symptoms to pop up one to three days after the last dose. In some cases, seizures will occur. Anywhere from seven to 14 days after the previous dose, users can experience the following symptoms: 

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Weakness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Tremors or shaking
  • Hallucinations
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Seizures

If the above-listed symptoms aren’t correctly identified or appropriately treated, circulatory failure or hyperthermia may occur. In some instances, other withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, depression, insomnia, or cognitive impairment may persist for up to a year or more. 

What are the Stages of the Brevital Withdrawal Timeline?

The stages of Brevital withdrawal and timeline are hard to predict because they’ll vary from one person to another. Various factors influence the withdrawal length, including frequency of use and dosage, genetics, age, and if other drugs were used in conjunction with Brevital. However, to get a better understanding of the stages, this includes:

  • First stage: The individual will experience the first stage of withdrawals around one to three days, which will be mild to start and begin to progress with time. 
  • Second stage: Once a person reaches the second stage, they’ll experience sweating, delirium, anxiety, and depression, which can persist for the duration of withdrawals and beyond.
  • Third stage: By this stage, your body will start adjusting to its newly established sobriety and will continue getting stronger over the next several weeks. 
  • Fourth stage: At this point, physical symptoms should subside completely. However, psychological cravings like irritability, depression, anxiety, and unusual sleep patterns will persist. 

Since Brevital dissolves easily and attaches itself to body fat deposits fast, a person who abuses the narcotic will experience symptoms for longer. Again, the above stages are a general timeline, and they will vary from one person to another. 

Treatment for Brevital Withdrawal

Without adequate medical care, withdrawal symptoms can extend beyond average complications that include depression or dehydration. Withdrawal symptoms, especially pertaining to barbiturates, can be deadly. It’s not uncommon for a person to experience seizures. 

The most common treatment is a tapering process, which requires detoxification or hospitalization at a certified residential treatment facility. At this point, doctors could prescribe sedatives like diazepam to combat the symptoms.

Why Should I Detox?

Fortunately, if you don’t want to feel like you’re trapped in addiction anymore, you have the power to change your life. The longer you’re in active addiction, the higher the odds are of you potentially overdosing or having something bad happen to you. 

Brevital addiction is a vicious cycle. Fortunately, there’s a safe jumping-off point, which is at a medical detoxification facility where certified medical professionals and addiction specialists will assist you in managing the physical symptoms caused by Brevital withdrawal. All of this will take place in a peaceful and serene environment. 

These facilities are residential treatment centers and hospitals where doctors can prescribe medications to reduce the discomfort you’ll experience from withdrawal symptoms. Medical staff is also present around-the-clock to monitor your pulse, body temperature, breathing, and blood pressure. If you’re ready to get your life back in order, medical detox is the first and among the most critical steps to get you on the path toward recovery.

What is the Next Treatment Step?

Once you complete detox, your journey has just begun. While detox is considered the most challenging and essential step in the process, it doesn’t do enough to address the reasons that made you abuse Brevital in the first place. Detox is a week of monitoring to ensure your safety, but what follows is where the work begins. 

Once the drug exits your system, it’ll be hard to fight off the cravings that will persist without therapy and guidance. Without the next treatment step, you severely diminish your chances of sustained sobriety, meaning the discomfort you experienced during withdrawal a complete waste. During detox, clinicians will create a roadmap, which might consist of either inpatient or outpatient treatment. 

Depending on the severity of your addiction, you may find yourself on-site for an undetermined period with peers on the same journey toward sobriety as you. Each situation is different and will be treated as such. 

Each week, clinicians will update your treatment plan as you show progress. When you’re living on-site, you’ll attend individual therapy, group therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and a whole host of other activities to keep your mind occupied and find peace within on their journey toward sobriety.

Those without a history of relapsing or less severe addiction can opt for outpatient treatment. If this is your situation, this means you’ll attend the same therapies you would as though you were living on-site. However, you’ll be able to go home once therapy sessions conclude. This option is ideal for those who use work, school, or other obligations as a barrier to getting the help they need.

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