Brevital (methohexital) is a prescription drug that falls in the barbiturate class of drugs. It slows down activity in the brain and central nervous system (CNS). It helps you fall asleep before surgery or other medical procedures, per Drugs.com.
Barbiturates were once prescribed to treat people with anxiety and sleep problems, but these drugs came with distressing side effects and were replaced with benzodiazepines, which were considered a safer choice.
Barbiturates, like Brevital, can result in chemical dependence and addiction if they are taken for an extended time, taken in higher doses than prescribed, or abused. Brevital withdrawal is a result of dependence and can occur when you stop taking the drug abruptly. Withdrawal from Brevtial can cause dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
Read on to find out what to expect from Brevital withdrawal and how it should be managed.
How Brevital Works
Like other CNS depressants, Brevital works on gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), a chemical messenger in the CNS that is tasked with regulating the excitability of the nervous system. GABA works to relax and calm you down and to fall asleep. Brevital increases the effects of GABA, causing drowsiness. Most people who take CNS depressants will likely feel sleepy and uncoordinated for a few days until your body gets used to these side effects, as the National Institute on Drug Abuse states.
Brevital is mostly used in hospitals as an anesthetic. However, if it is misused or abused, it can cause a fatal overdose due to slowing down the CNS to the point that you will stop breathing. Misuse or abuse can result in chemical dependence and severe withdrawal symptoms that could be deadly.
Brevital Withdrawal: What To Expect
Withdrawal from drugs or alcohol happens when you stop taking the substance suddenly. It causes a combination of physical and psychological effects you will experience, some of which can be very distressing.
Brevital is a very strong CNS depressant. It requires medical detox to ensure your safety when undergoing withdrawal from it. Medical detox is the highest level of treatment in addiction treatment. You will be monitored 24-7 while in detox as you go through withdrawal to ensure your safety as your body rids itself of the drug and any other toxins.
Professional medical personnel are present to tend to any medical issues that arise when in detox. Before starting detox, you will be given an assessment by the substance use treatment team to determine if you need medical detox.
If you have been misusing or abusing Brevital, the potential for dependency is high. If you reduce the dosage you are taking or stop taking it without tapering off, you will likely feel a variety of withdrawal symptoms. How intensely you experience them depends on several factors:
- Your biological makeup
- How much Brevital you use
- The last dose of Brevital you took
- How often you take it
Brevital is a short-acting drug, which means its effects are felt almost immediately after taking it, and the effects do not last long. When used for anesthesia, effects begin within a minute, and the patient wakes up in about seven to 10 minutes. People who misuse the drug could have a higher chance of overdose if taking multiple doses or a very large dose to feel “high.”
Withdrawal from Brevital can be very difficult and dangerous if you are addicted to it. If you stop taking it suddenly, you should expect to feel withdrawal symptoms in about one to three days after the last dose is taken. Most of the withdrawal symptoms you might feel between one to two weeks are:
- Elevated heart rate
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sudden extreme confusion
- Delirium tremens (DTs)
If these symptoms are not treated by medical professionals, the possibility of the following medical issues may occur:
- Circulatory failure
Some withdrawal symptoms can last up to a year or longer. These include depression, cognitive impairment, anxiety, and insomnia.
What Is the Brevital Withdrawal Timeline?
Let’s take a look at what the potential withdrawal timeline could be:
First 24 hours: The medication is cut to half its original concentration in the blood, which is faster than other CNS depressants. It takes only a few minutes for Brevital to be quite reduced, and its effects might begin to wear off in about five minutes. If you only have been taking Brevital, you could feel the first withdrawal symptoms in a few hours. Most likely, though, they will begin within the first day after you took the drug.
Day 3: The withdrawal symptoms will begin to worsen once they have begun. The most intense of them might be experienced within day three and could peak then. If you have been taking high doses of Brevital or have taken it for an extended time, the peak of feeling symptoms may happen earlier. Some peak symptoms you could experience are heart-related problems and seizures. These will need medical attention.
Week 1: This is the time when peak withdrawal symptoms will probably be felt. The most intense of them will go away first, and then the others will dissipate.
30 Days: Withdrawal symptoms will keep fading throughout time. After about a month, the symptoms you could be experiencing will be depression, anxiety, and cravings for the drug. The cravings can be very difficult to endure unless you have support to handle them. Addiction treatment is a good way of learning how to manage cravings. If not, relapse on Brevital could cause a fatal overdose.
What’s Next After Detox?
After the drug and other toxins are gone from your body, you should consider what the next step for you will be. Residential treatment, sometimes called inpatient treatment, might be an option. Here, you will spend time with a therapist to talk about any underlying mental health problems you have and work to find out where the root of your addiction started. You will learn new and positive ways in handling the aspects of your life that brought you to Brevital addiction.
There are different therapy types you will participate in, such as individual, group, and family therapy. In addition, you will most likely engage in behavioral therapies. As you progress in addiction treatment, you may “graduate” from inpatient treatment to intensive outpatient or outpatient therapy. These involve time committed to treatment every week and may involve modalities that will bolster you on your path to end Brevital addiction.
Relapse prevention is one such modality that you could find very beneficial. You will have the opportunity to create your own relapse prevention plan. You may also learn and practice everyday activities that can prevent relapse, like finding and using effective ways to fall asleep, healthy eating, and getting enough exercise.
Exercises such as meditation and yoga are known to reduce the possibility of using drugs again. These exercises reroute the brain chemistry, opening new pathways, so you might find a new sense of pleasure that does not include Brevital.
You will also be introduced to the 12-step programs near to you, which will provide you with strong support as you work day-by-day to stay drug-free. You are never alone in quitting substances at The Palm Beach Institute. Once you have completed addiction treatment, the Alumni program is there for you to reach out to and make new connections. These new friends have gone through what you have just gone through and will be there for you when you need them.
Brevital detox and withdrawal can be very challenging. It is never safe to go through it alone or even at home. As a potent barbiturate, withdrawing from this drug could cost you your life if it is not medically overseen. The risk of having seizures is possible, and having one could compel you to start taking Brevital again, which itself is life-threatening.