Brevital (methohexital) is a barbiturate prescribed to treat insomnia and anxiety. It was once used in hospitals to put patients to sleep before surgery. It has since been found to be very physically and psychologically addictive and was replaced with benzodiazepines.

While barbiturates can still be prescribed for the treatment of seizure disorders, some people use them for nonmedical purposes.

Brevital, and drugs like them, can be gained through illegal means. They are dangerous to use, and addiction can occur quickly and be fatal. Medication such as Brevital is very potent, which is why it was used as anesthesia.

What Is Brevital?

Brevital is a barbiturate that is meant to be used only for anesthetic purposes in a hospital or clinical setting by injection. It can be prescribed to patients outside of a medical facility in the form of Brevital Sodium. It is very easy to go from prescribed Brevital use to misuse and abuse.

Some of the ways how people participate in Brevital abuse include:

  • Taking Brevital with another central nervous system (CNS) depressants, like alcohol, to boost its effects
  • Taking Brevital with Xanax or Klonopin to self-medicate to cope with anxiety disorder
  • Taking Brevital to come down from or smooth the edge of stimulants like cocaine

How Does Brevital Work?

Brevital works by entering the body and binding with a neurotransmitter called gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA regulates how the body responds to stress, anxiety, and fear, which is also called the fight-or-flight response. It also prevents the nerve signals responsible for producing the effects to calm the body down.

Brevital binds to the brain’s GABA receptors. This activates and stimulates them into overproduction. It increases the levels of GABA and anti-anxiety effects substantially, which generates drowsiness and feelings of relaxation when taken.

Brevital is a fast-acting barbiturate with a noticeably short half-life. Patients who get it for anesthesia generally lose consciousness in about seven minutes of it being administered and recover in roughly half an hour. When someone takes Brevital in a nonmedical situation, they could accidentally overdose by taking too much to get high.

If misused or abused for an extended time, an individual can become psychologically and physically dependent on it.

What Are the Effects of Brevital?

When someone is abusing Brevital, the intoxication from it appears similar to heavy alcohol use. Symptoms or signs of Brevital abuse may include:

  • Euphoria
  • Impaired judgment
  • Talkativeness
  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness
  • Emotions fluctuating quickly
  • Confusion
  • Impaired coordination

Higher doses can produce effects such as:

  • Aggression
  • Paranoia
  • Depression, suicidal thoughts, and behavior
  • Extreme mood swings

Long-term abuse of Brevital can create the effects of:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Blood pressure irregularities
  • Breathing trouble
  • Heightened sensitivity to sound and pain
  • Memory loss
  • Depression
  • Impaired sexual performance
  • Hallucinations
  • Higher risk of kidney failure
  • Impaired cognitive abilities
  • Heightened risk of pneumonia or bronchitis

Regular Brevital use needs careful monitoring, as it has contraindications with many other medications. These can sometimes cause extremely adverse allergic reactions, including:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Shivering uncontrollably
  • Skeletal muscle twitching

What Are the Signs of Brevital Addiction?

Addiction is defined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine as “a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences.” If you can recognize and identify the behaviors that indicate a growing dependence on Brevital, it could mean the difference between life and death for the person abusing it.

When getting and using Brevital becomes a top priority in someone’s life, it overshadows work or school responsibilities and spending time with loved ones.

Some of the signs of Brevital addiction include:

  • Using it recreationally (nonmedical purposes)
  • “Doctor-shopping” and/or forging multiple prescriptions for Brevital Sodium
  • Growing tolerance for the drug
  • Feeling unable to stop using it
  • Not being able to manage daily tasks without Brevital
  • Hiding use of the drug from others
  • Experiencing Brevital’s withdrawal symptoms when not using it
  • Stealing money and/or selling valuables to pay for more Brevital

If you have noticed these symptoms of Brevital addiction in someone or yourself, it is crucial to seek professional addiction treatment. Addiction treatment starts with medical detoxification, as it helps stop the physical and psychological damage that  Brevital abuse may have caused.

What Is Involved In Brevital Addiction Treatment?

Brevital addiction treatment may start with a carefully monitored medical detox in an accredited addiction treatment facility.

Withdrawal from it is not a life-threatening situation. However, it is still incredibly uncomfortable and tough to deal with on one’s own. Detox involves 24-hour medically managed care in a facility.

If you don’t need detox, you may go through an intensive outpatient program.

An inpatient or residential program might be better for individuals who are diagnosed with a severe substance use disorder. This involves 24/7 medically monitored or clinically managed care.

Addiction treatment should be personalized at every level, depending on the needs of the individual.

How Dangerous Is Brevital?

Brevital is very dangerous as it consists of a long list of adverse effects and contraindications with other drugs and substances. It is very easy to overdose inadvertently on Brevital, which can have fatal consequences.

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