Amytal (generic name amobarbital) is a sedative-hypnotic barbiturate used for the short-term treatment of insomnia, per RxList. It is also a central nervous system depressant that relaxes muscles as it stimulates the chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. The medication causes drowsiness. Because it induces sleep, hospitals use it for anesthesia purposes. Medical professionals are authorized to administer the drug as an injection, but it is illegal for anyone to use the medication for their personal use.

People who use Amytal illegally on the street may do so by crushing up the pill form of the drug into a powder to snort or mix with water or another liquid in order to inject it themselves. Amytal is a barbiturate, a potent class of drugs that have a short therapeutic window. The drugs were in widespread use long ago until it was realized the drugs were addictive and could cause users to overdose on a small amount. Barbiturates are still dangerous in this way, which is why if they are used, they are generally used in restricted and clinical settings.

Side effects of Amytal Use

Amytal has numerous side effects, including sleepiness, confusion, nervousness, nausea, vomiting, agitation, and more. Using the drug outside of a doctor’s prescription is considered abuse, and one can become addicted to them through improper use. People who develop a strong physical and/or psychological dependence on Amytal could experience memory loss and life-threatening symptoms. If you are experiencing any of these, you are advised to get professional help as soon as possible.

What Are the Symptoms of Amytal Withdrawal?

If you have been using Amytal for some time, you may find it hard to stop using it, especially if you notice that you started to feel different if you stopped taking it. This is likely to be the case if you are a chronic or frequent Amytal user. The changes you are experiencing is drug withdrawal, and it happens because the body is attempting to adjust to the change in the Amytal doses it is used to.

Drug withdrawal from Amytal is a dangerous period that could lead to a permanent or fatal injury, depending on the situation. Many people require medical treatment to get through it safely with as minimal complications as possible. Symptoms range in severity, so not all Amytal withdrawal periods are the same. However, common symptoms are present during withdrawal from this drug. Among them are:


  • Tremors, shaking 
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle twitching
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Weakness and tiredness
  • Hypertension
  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Vision distortion
  • Hypertension


These symptoms characterize extreme Amytal withdrawal:

  • Convulsion
  • Tremors
  • Psychosis
  • Seizures
  • Delirium
  • Hypothermia


Extreme Amytal withdrawal symptoms require professional medical treatment. Getting through this dark period without medical monitoring could result in a coma or death.

How Long Is the Amytal Withdrawal Timeline?

Knowing what to expect during the timeline of Amytal withdrawal is helpful in preparing for what’s to come. One key thing to remember is that withdrawal will not look the same for every person going through it. Amytal withdrawal symptoms vary according to the person based on:

  • Your last dose of Amytal
  • How long you’ve been using Amytal 
  • How frequently you use the drug
  • If you mixed the drug with other drugs, alcohol
  • Age, weight, gender
  • Overall medical history and mental health history
  • Substance use history

Withdrawal symptoms usually happen in stages that can start off mild and increase gradually, becoming worse. Below is a general timeline for Amytal withdrawal. For specifics, you are advised to speak with your physician about your situation. They will be better able to tell you how to manage your situation.

24 hours: Within 24 hours of your last dose, you may feel increasingly anxious. You may notice an increase in your blood pressure. You may experience aches all over your body and muscles. There could be some headaches along with nausea and vomiting. 

2-4 days: During this phase, symptoms have increased in intensity and have peaked. If you are a heavy or frequent user of Amytal, you may have tremors (shakiness), seizures, and psychosis. These are all highly dangerous, life-threatening symptoms. You are advised to enter a facility where medical professionals can monitor you and help you manage your symptoms. You may be given medication to make these conditions more manageable. 

5+ days: By this stage, severe physical withdrawal symptoms should have eased with the person in recovery regaining stability. Still, some symptoms may linger for a week or two. While one’s physical health has improved by this stage, they still may contend with challenging psychological conditions for several months up to a year, depending on various factors. It is possible for recovering users to still have cravings for Amytal or other drugs, and symptoms of anxiety and depression may also continue. 

Is Detox Necessary for Amytal Dependence or Addiction?

Some attempt to take on drug withdrawal at home and without medical professionals’ help, which could be a grave mistake, especially in situations where people attempting to detox are in a severe stage of this process. Those who want to end their chemical dependency on Amytal are strongly advised to do a medical detox at an accredited facility that can help them taper off the barbiturate safely. 

At-home detox often involves quitting a drug “cold turkey” or abruptly and toughing out the results of that decision, which is unwise. Discontinuing a drug that the body has gotten used to can send the system into shock, causing life-threatening symptoms, such as seizures, psychosis, and extremely low blood pressure. 

Medical detox ensures a person gets the medical monitoring they need to ensure their detox stays on track. If complications arise, medical staff will be on hand to address them properly with the proper response and level of care. You may be guided through a tapering process that ensures the drug exits the body safely while you receive care while sobering up.

Another benefit of medical detox is those who are recovering from drug withdrawal will receive assessments that determine the state of their general overall physical and mental health and how far along their addiction is. Based on this information, a person will learn what treatment setting they should consider being placed in once the medical detox period ends.

Getting Treatment After Amytal Withdrawal and Detox

Detox alone will not address drug dependence or addiction. The process is the first step in a long road to recovery from a substance use disorder. Addiction alters how the brain works, in many cases permanently. A person will likely spend the rest of their lives managing their recovery to ensure they do not return to drug and/or alcohol use. Detox involves more than removing addictive substances out of the body. It also involves finding the right level of treatment to address the psychological and emotional causes of someone’s substance use.

After you receive the results of your assessment, you will learn which placement is recommended for you. You may be placed in an inpatient or residential setting, which requires a long-term stay at a facility, or outpatient care, which will require you to meet a set number of hours of treatment a week before you return home. Many people enter either a residential program or an outpatient program, but a partial hospitalization program could be recommended for you. This setting often serves as a bridge between residential and outpatient treatment.

Treatment Helps People in Recovery Avoid Relapse

The goal of all treatment is to help a person live in full-time sobriety and manage their triggers and other matters to avoid relapse. If you are recommended to attend residential treatment, you will be on-site in a structured, monitored facility for up to 90 days or longer. You will be able to access medical staff around the clock and focus solely on your recovery. You will attend therapies and participate in activities that give you the tools you need to live healthily.

If you enter a partial hospitalization program, you will follow a moderately structured program for substance use recovery. You will not have 24-hour medical care, but you will have weekly commitments for therapy and counseling that you are required to meet while you manage your medications.

The option that offers the most flexibility is the outpatient program, which is also the most affordable option for many people since they can live at home. You will also be required to attend a set number of weekly sessions in an outpatient program. You also would be responsible for keeping any distractions and outside influences at bay while you follow the program and focus on your sobriety goals.

After treatment, you can join and participate in a recovery community and receive additional support services through an aftercare program.

End Amytal Dependence Today

The Palm Beach Institute can help you or your loved one end your dependence on Amytal. One phone call can be a new beginning. Call us today or reach out online to learn how we can help you address your Amytal misuse the right way. We have been changing lives and helping people recover from substance use disorders for more than 50 years. Let us help you.

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