Amytal has an extensive history, but it’s been phased out of regular medical use, due to its highly addictive properties. Amytal was designed to treat an array of ailments, ranging from anxiety to insomnia. Over time, doctors have become aware of its detrimental side effects.
During World War II, Amytal was prescribed to American soldiers to treat “shell shock,” which is now called post-traumatic stress disorder. Unfortunately, Amytal impaired these soldiers’ productivity, so the government put an immediate end to this treatment.
Today, a prescription for barbiturates is extremely rare, due to the large number of adverse side effects (which include a high risk of abuse, addiction, and overdose). According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), only 12 barbiturates are still being prescribed, and one of them is Amytal.
Amytal is strictly used in hospital settings as a pre-surgery sedative. It has many dangers associated with its use, which should only be used under the supervision of highly trained medical professionals. The drug can depress respiratory functions to the point that users can slip into comas and cause irreversible brain damage. In other words, doctors must continually monitor vital signs and breathing when administering Amytal.
Amytal is similar to other barbiturates and depressants such as alcohol.
By increasing the levels of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), your brain can regulate feelings of anxiety, stress, and fear by inhibiting the nerve impulses that carry these feelings to the brain.
Amytal mimics this natural GABA flow, so it binds with receptors in the brain, activates them over and over, and creates an excess flood of GABA.
In its early stages, drug addiction can be difficult to spot. The person using the drug may show no signs of addiction when they start abusing it. However, more outward signs of addiction can be detected as the addiction progresses. Barbiturate drugs often come with more red flags than other medications, due to their potential to create heavy intoxication. Over time, isolated signs will become more recognizable.
If someone is risking their freedom to purchase Amytal on the black market, this illegal activity is a reliable indicator that they’re addicted to the drug. As with any disease, becoming familiar with the symptoms of addiction will reduce any chances of permanent damage imposed by the drug. Amytal addiction is serious, so an addicted person must consider intensive treatment.
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For some users, addictive behaviors have become a normal part of their routine. So if this behavior isn’t eliminated early on, it can lead to obsessive use. When a more extreme level of addiction has been reached, the outward symptoms will start becoming more explicit. Obtaining and consuming Amytal will be the top priority in their life, and they start sacrificing relationships, responsibilities, and hobbies to keep using the drug.
If you’ve personally witnessed any of these behaviors in someone you love, you must take steps to get them into treatment. Seeking out professional addiction treatment can increase the quality of their lives. Due to the strength of Amytal, even a less severe addiction can be fatal, so the decision to enter treatment is pivotal.
Since one of the most dangerous aspects of Amytal is the withdrawal stage, a safe, effective journey to sobriety must begin with medical detoxification. In other words, a medically supervised transition needs to occur as the substance exits the body. After this stage is complete, the client will achieve mental and physical stabilization, which allows them to enter the next phase of care.
After the severe symptoms subside, the next step of care will involve moving into an addiction recovery program. During the assessment phase, the team will determine their course of action.
If the client is given a dual diagnosis, they will suggest a more intensive level of care. If residential treatment is chosen, they will live onsite for up to 90 days and take part in therapy with the goal of finding the root of the addiction.
If the addiction is less severe, the team will release the client to outpatient services. Then the client can commute to therapy sessions.
These therapy sessions are designed to alter the ways the client responds to triggers after they leave treatment.
Is your loved one struggling with substance abuse or addiction? Are you? If so, it’s important for you to treat it with the seriousness it requires and get help before it’s too late.
Laudet, A. B., Savage, R., & Mahmood, D. (2002) from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1852519/