Seconal is a medication prescribed to treat insomnia. It is in the class of drugs called barbiturates. Barbiturates are the oldest of modern treatment methods for anxiety and insomnia. Seconal and its generic equivalent, secobarbital, is commonly known as a sedative-hypnotic. These types of drugs are also called tranquilizers or benzodiazepines. Many medications of this type will either calm a person down or promote sleep.

Seconal and drugs like it can be very addictive and are among the most commonly abused drugs. If taken in high doses and misused, it can cause unconsciousness or death. Withdrawal from Seconal can be life-threatening if not medically monitored.

How Does Seconal Work?

Seconal works to slow down the activity in the brain and central nervous system (CNS). It convinces the brain into believing it has enough gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) to function. However, there is only a tiny difference between a prescribed dose and an overdose. Barbiturates increase the efficiency of GABA, which then binds to receptors in the brain and CNS and activates them. This helps to regulate the CNS’s excitability response. Seconal increases those regulatory responses.

The result is an increase in sedative, hypnotic, and anticonvulsant effects on the GABA receptor. Also, Seconal can slow down breathing, heart rate, and reaction time.

Seconal Has Some Side Effects In Which To Be Aware:

  • Feeling tired or drowsy
  • Drowsiness the day after taking a dose
  • Dizziness, headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Upset stomach
  • Memory problems
  • Feeling restless or excited (more so in children than adults)

Some people who are on Seconal report trouble with coordination, trouble with cognitive ability, and impaired motor functions. Due to these adverse effects, it is dangerous to drive a vehicle while taking the drug.

Dependence, as defined by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is “when the body adapts to the drug, requiring more of it to achieve a certain effect.” Dependence on Seconal can produce withdrawal symptoms if an individual stops taking the drug.

What To Expect From Seconal Withdrawal

As mentioned, Seconal is a very powerful medication that should be respected, and its prescription followed to the letter. Although it is less prescribed than the newer benzodiazepines and Z-drugs, it is still used in certain circumstances.

If tolerance or dependence on the drug is suspected, please contact the doctor that prescribed it as soon as possible. If an individual abruptly stops taking Seconal, some of the withdrawal symptoms they may feel could result in death.

Here Are The Most Common Withdrawal Symptoms From Seconal:

  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach cramps
  • High fever
  • Tremors
  • Hallucinations
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Heart failure
  • Seizures
  • Death

Seconal Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms affect people differently based on factors that are individual to each person. How severe a person experiences Seconal’s withdrawal symptoms depends on:

  • Age of the person and their overall health
  • If they have a co-occurring mental disorder
  • What their drug tolerance level is
  • How much and how long Seconal was used
  • When they took the last dose of Seconal before quitting

Below Are Minor Withdrawal Symptoms Most Common With Seconal:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Restlessness
  • Weakness
  • Muscle twitching
  • Low blood pressure
  • Tremors
  • Distorted vision

More Severe Seconal Withdrawal Symptoms Are:

  • Convulsions
  • Seizures
  • Delirium tremens (DTs)

Seconal Withdrawal Timeline

In most cases, minor withdrawal symptoms might appear around eight to 12 hours after a dose was taken. The more significant signs or symptoms can present about 16 hours after the last dose is taken. Some people may experience symptoms for up to five days or more after stopping Seconal use.

When a person is 15 days sober from Seconal, the withdrawal symptoms will slowly begin to fade. However, the psychological symptoms could remain for months or years. It depends on the above-mentioned personal factors.

Seconal Detox Timeline And Symptoms

  • Days 1-3: Nausea, anxiety, fatigue, sweating, and an elevated heart rate are reported during this time. The peak of symptoms is usually felt by the third day. This is when seizures are more likely to be experienced, and medical help, at this time, would help to lower the risk of having seizures.
  • Days 4-7: It is at this time when the psychological symptoms start to improve. Some emotional symptoms are still present, which can make it challenging to eat, sleep, and keep the mood stable.
  • Weeks 1 & 2: Generally, physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms begin to fade, and the person can start to focus on life after Seconal use. Some emotional symptoms may hang on as the body continues to stabilize without the drug.

Seconal Overdose: What To Know

Some people who are taking Seconal may feel they are building a tolerance to the drug quickly. This means they may begin to take more of the drug to feel the same effects as when they first started it. Higher doses of Seconal can cause poisoning or an overdose. It is imperative to recognize the signs or symptoms of a Seconal overdose.

  • Clammy skin
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Fainting
  • Weak and shallow breathing
  • Death

It is crucial to call emergency services if any of these signs or symptoms are felt. Doing so could save the person’s life.

Treatment Steps For Barbiturate Withdrawal

Barbiturate withdrawal can be very dangerous and even life-threatening. There is no home-based withdrawal treatment for Seconal withdrawal. It is essential that it is conducted under medical supervision. Those who have misused Seconal will need addiction treatment and therapies to find the reason for misusing the drug, learn new methods of coping with stress, anxiety, and other co-occurring problems creating and utilizing a relapse prevention plan, and sharpening life skills to survive.

Medical detox is the first step in addiction treatment. This is a medically-monitored process where Seconal and other toxins are removed from the body. Medical stabilization is the focus of this step. Medical personnel oversee the person going through withdrawal and are immediately available to assist and support the individual. Emotional support is also given as many people become depressed during this process.

Residential treatment is the next step in what is known as the continuum of care. Further medical and psychological care is provided as the individual stays on-site or is moved to a treatment center. Therapy sessions with licensed therapists in addiction treatment help the individual work through some of their toughest problems. Outpatient treatment allows the person who has completed detox and residential treatment the opportunity to reside at home while attending therapy sessions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Is Seconal Used For?

Seconal is a barbiturate used for insomnia, anxiety, and in some cases, used before surgery. It is a very potent medication that is one of the most commonly abused drugs today. It makes people feel drowsy, so they can get to sleep and stay asleep.

What Happens If Someone Overdoses On Seconal?

A person who is overdosing on Seconal will have clammy skin, a severely lowered breathing rate, may be extremely sleepy, or may faint. It is vital to call emergency services if these signs are noticed in someone taking Seconal.

How Long Does Seconal Last?

Seconal is a short-acting prescription medicine that starts to work in 10 to 15 minutes and lasts for about three to four hours. This is why it is necessary to take the medicine right before going to bed when treating insomnia.

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