Nembutal is a brand name for a drug called pentobarbital, which is in a class of drugs called barbiturates. Barbiturates were once more widely used in the United States as sedative-hypnotic drugs. Nembutal was used as a short term treatment for insomnia and sleep disorders, but it was discontinued in 1999. Barbiturates were primarily replaced by benzodiazepines, which were introduced in the 1960s. Benzodiazepines were seen to have fewer adverse effects when used as prescription insomnia and anxiety treatments. Barbiturates have a high addiction liability, and they can lead to chemical dependency after using it for too long or in high doses. 

Nembutal works by interacting with a chemical in the brain called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is responsible for calming you down. GABA regulates excitability in the nervous system by activating GABA receptors. In high doses, Nembutal can slow down the nervous system to the point of slowing your heart rate and breathing. In cases of overdose, breathing slows to the point of oxygen deprivation, brain damage, coma, or death. Nembutal can be used as a recreational drug to induce and intoxication that’s similar to alcohol. However, abuse can lead to addiction, dangerous withdrawal, or overdose. 

Signs and Symptoms of Nembutal Addiction

Addiction is diagnosed as a severe substance use disorder that’s characterized by compulsive use of a drug despite consequences. Nembutal can cause euphoria and other chemical changes in the brain that affects the reward center of your brain, which is the part of the brain that’s linked to addiction. A substance use disorder can develop over time without your realizing it. 

However, there are some signs. Withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop or cut back indicate a chemical dependence. Strong compulsions to use even when the drug has caused health problems, or strained relationships can indicate a severe substance use disorder. Other signs can include:

  • Isolation
  • Hiding drugs around the house
  • Taking more than you intended
  • Increasing your dose over time
  • Trying and failing to cut back
  • Loss of interest in usual activities
  • Mood swings
  • Impaired judgment
  • Alcohol like intoxication
  • Hypersomnia
  • Strange sleep schedules

What Is Involved in Nembutal Addiction Treatment?

Addiction is a chronic disease that can be difficult to get over on your own, but it is treatable. Addiction treatment is a personalized process that addresses physical, psychological, and social. Since Nembutal is a depressant that can cause potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms, you may start with medical detox, which involves 24-hour medical care each day for about a week to ten days. If you don’t need detox, but you have high-level medical or psychological needs, you may go through inpatient or residential treatment, which involves 24-hour medically or clinically monitored treatment. When you can live on your own, you may go through an intensive outpatient or outpatient treatment program. 

How Dangerous is Nembutal?

Nembutal is a potent central nervous system depressant that can be deadly when it’s abused.

Barbiturates were linked to several high profile overdose deaths throughout the 20th century, including celebrities like Judy Garland, Jimmi Hendrix, and Marilyn Monroe. Barbiturates aren’t as common today as they were before the 1970s.

However, if you do use them as a recreational drug, it can be dangerous.

Nembutal is even more deadly when it’s used alongside other depressants like benzodiazepines, alcohol, or opioids. The combination can lead to what’s called potentiation, which is when the effects of two or more drugs combine to become more potent.

A row of vials


Nembutal can also cause potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms that lead to seizures and delirium tremens.

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