Amytal Sodium Abuse, Addiction and Your Treatment Options in WA State

Amytal sodium abuse and addiction continue to be major problems all across Washington State.

It is extremely dangerous to misuse this drug in any way, and yet, people still do it every day. Fortunately, there are ways for people to get treatment, but so few get the help they need to stop.

Amytal sodium is not prescribed today as widely as it once was. The dangers of barbiturate drugs are well known, and they have largely been replaced by other medications. But this drug does have a reputation for producing a strong sense of euphoria. That alone can cause drug seekers to flock to it.

Anyone who uses this drug habitually runs the risk of becoming addicted to it. All over Washington State, addiction rates are increasing. Getting help can be life-changing. But first, we want to talk about everything a person needs to know who is currently addicted to amytal sodium.

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What is Amytal Sodium?

Amytal sodium is a central nervous system depressant that is also a barbiturate. It works as a sedative, and in certain doses, it can also be used as an anticonvulsant. This drug is not prescribed in tablet form. It is only available in IV form, or it can be given as a shot. It is typically given only in hospital settings, but those who abuse it can purchase it illegally on the street, or even online.

This drug also goes by the names, Amobarbital and Amylobarbitone. It is a white powder that has no odor and a slightly bitter taste.

What is it Used to Treat?

Doctors use Amytal sodium to treat a few different conditions. It is most commonly used to treat insomnia and other sleep disturbances. It works well when it is prescribed to help with severe anxiety. It may also be given as a pre-anesthetic prior to surgical procedures.

This drug can also be used to treat other conditions off-label. For example, some doctors will use it to treat various seizure disorders, and it has been used in psychiatric analyses.

When this drug was first made available, on the streets, it was known as Blue Heavens. Over the years, it has earned many other street names as well, such as:

  • Blues
  • Blue Birds
  • Blue Devils
  • Blue Angels
  • Downers
  • Blue Velvets
  • Red
  • Red Birds

Amytal sodium was first synthesized in Germany in 1923. It was once manufactured by Eli Lilly and Company in the United States and it came as a bright blue, bullet-shaped capsule. When it was first released, it quickly became a drug of abuse. That is why the tablet form of the drug was discontinued by the company in the early 1980s.

When Amytal sodium is administered slowly through an IV, it has the ability to act as a truth serum. When someone is on this drug, they will provide information that they would otherwise block. This is generally because people lose their inhibitions when they are taking it. It is no longer used in this way because of the fact that people can be coerced into remembering things that never happened.

During World War II, this drug was used by the U.S. Armed Forces as a way to treat shell shock. Once the soldiers were treated, they were able to return to their duties at the front line. But since then, the use of the drug during war has been discontinued. This is primarily because the way it affected soldiers’ abilities in battle.

This drug is highly addictive, which is why it is only mean to be given in small doses. It is listed as a Schedule II substance under the Controlled Substances Act. That means that the potential for abuse and the risk of addiction are quite high.

This drug should only ever be used under the care of a medical doctor, and only in certain situations. It is not something that should be taken long-term, and yet, many people do.

When people first start abusing Amytal sodium, they do it because of the euphoric high they experience. What they are really feeling is the sensation of increased dopamine levels in the brain. After some time passes, they get used to that feeling, and their brains are no longer able to make dopamine without the drug. At that point, they have become addicted.


Barbiturate Abuse Statistics

The number of people abusing barbiturate drugs like Amytal sodium is staggering. Statistics tell us that:

  • In 2013, there were close to 400 deaths in the United States because of barbiturates.
  • Some of these deaths were because of people using the drug alone. Others were because they were using them in combination with other drugs.
  • Among those who overdose on these drugs, about 10% of them die as a result, usually from either heart or lung problems.
  • Around 9% of high school students have used these drugs for non-medical purposes at least one time.
  • Barbiturates lead to close to 1,500 visits to the emergency room each year.

Amytal sodium does not get as much media attention as other drugs of abuse. But that does not mean that its misuse is not a real problem in our country. It is, and that could be in part because people do not realize how dangerous it is. They know that it is available by prescription, which gives a false perception of safety.

Are People Still Abusing Barbiturates in WA State?

For the most part, barbiturates have been mostly phased out in Washington State. Most of them have been replaced by drugs like benzodiazepines. They are much more likely to be prescribed medically and abused recreationally.

But it is possible for people to still get their hands on barbiturates like Amytal. As we mentioned earlier, some doctors may still be prescribing them. This is especially true for people who have been using them for a long time. Their doctors may not be willing to take them off of them. It is also possible for people to purchase barbiturates online. There are overseas companies who will ship them to the United States.

The Effects of Continued Abuse

The use of this drug for any extended period of time carries significant risks. But whether a person is using it short-term or long-term, they should understand what those risks are.

The Short-Term Effects

Someone who is taking Amytal sodium for a short time period is likely to experience many of the above-mentioned side effects. They may be abusing it for its euphoria, but there are other short-term effects they are likely to experience as well. They include:

  • Slower and slurred speech
  • Slow thinking processes
  • Slow reasoning processes
  • Problems with coordination and balance
  • Very slow reflexes
  • Extreme sedation
  • Lethargy

The Long-Term Effects

The long-term effects are much more serious, and they are why this drug should never be used for a long period of time. Still, people do it, and they are likely to experience the following:

  • Problems at school, work or in their social lives
  • Relationship problems
  • Physical health problems, including heart and liver issues
  • Emotional health problems
  • Addiction and dependence
  • A growing tolerance (needing more of the drug to get high)
  • Withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped

Recovering From Amytal Addiction

Even though it may be challenging to recover from an addiction to Amytal sodium, it is possible. But it is important to know what to expect once the recovery process begins.

Common Withdrawal Symptoms

When a person suddenly stops taking Amytal sodium, they are likely to go through withdrawal. The symptoms can become very severe, and they can even mimic delirium tremens, which is only typically seen in alcoholics.

Some of the more common signs of Amytal sodium withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • The onset of seizures
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Psychosis
  • Rhythmic intention tremors

Drug Detox

Going through a quality drug detox program is essential for anyone who is addicted to Amytal sodium. They usually begin by tapering off the drug slowly, according to a doctor’s instructions. The goal is to minimize the impact of withdrawal so that they can come off the drug completely as safely as possible.

In addition to tapering, there are other withdrawal treatments that may be used as well.

Medical Detox

Medical detox has become the norm for anyone who has the desire to stop taking certain types of drugs. For those who are addicted to Amytal sodium, this might mean taking medications to help with specific withdrawal symptoms. For instance, because of the risk of seizures, a patient might be placed on Gabapentin to help with withdrawals.

Medical detox is not intended to be a long-term solution. The medications are typically given on a short-term basis, and only while they are absolutely necessary. Otherwise, it is possible to form secondary addictions, in many cases.

Holistic Detox

Holistic detoxification treatments refer to the use of diet and exercise (among other methods). This is a way to treat the person as a whole and improve their overall physical fitness. In doing so, the body is better equipped to rid itself of toxins that lead to withdrawal.

Finding a Drug Rehab in Washington State That Treats Amytal Sodium Addiction

Because amytal sodium is a pretty outdated drug, a lot of addicts worry about finding a treatment facility that can help them. But there is no need to be concerned. Addiction recovery programs can treat any type of addiction; even one that is less common.

While not every addiction is the same, the overall impact it has on the body is the same. Many of the treatments that work well for opioid and alcohol addiction will also work for an amytal addiction.

The first step would be to detox, which involves removing toxins from the body that are related to the substance abuse. As we mentioned earlier, this is often done through medical detox. The next step is to find a quality addiction treatment program. The best ones offer:

  • A smaller staff to patient ratio to ensure that clients get the attention and help they need.
  • Accreditation through the Joint Commission to ensure high quality care.
  • Targeted treatment plans that are specifically designed for every client.
  • A personalized program that speaks to each clients’ unique needs.
  • Follow-up recommendations so that clients know how to get continuing care.

Drug Treatment Facilities in Washington State

People who live in the State of WA should have no trouble finding a quality addiction treatment program. There are hundreds of them located all over the state, according to the SAMHSA treatment locator tool.

Every person in need of treatment should carefully consider what type of care they think they need. There are both inpatient and outpatient programs in Washington.

Our Outpatient Addiction Treatment Centers at Northpoint the Evergreen in WA

At Northpoint the Evergreen, we have two locations for our outpatient program. They are in Seattle and Bellevue. Our clients are placed into one of three different levels of care. We offer the following:

Some of the people who contact us for help will need to begin by going through an inpatient program; at least for detoxing. Once that is completed, they can move on to our outpatient treatment center, if they choose.

During their outpatient rehab, our clients undergo many different types of treatment. We offer one-on-one sessions with a therapist, which are very important for recovery. We also offer group therapy, family therapy and many other services.

For many of the clients we work with, a step-down approach is the most effective way for them to recover. For example, a client may begin recovering in our partial hospitalization program. From there, they will transition into our IOP, and then eventually, into our outpatient rehab.

Concerns about the cost of rehab are what keep many people from getting the help they need to recover. But that does not have to be a worry at all. At Northpoint the Evergreen, we made it a priority to partner with as many health insurance companies as possible. We are also always adding more.

When the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010, it made it illegal to refuse to cover addiction treatment. All health insurance companies are required by law to provide these services to their customers.

As far as what types of care are covered, insurance companies offer benefits to help cover the cost of both detox and rehab. Inpatient programs may end up costing people more out of pocket in the long-term. But many insurance plans will cover outpatient treatment in full.

Get Help for Amytal Sodium Addiction in Washington State Today

Recovering from an amytal sodium addiction is difficult, but it is not impossible. At Northpoint the Evergreen, our program is designed to help you be successful in your recovery. We know how hard it is to ask for help, and we want you to know that we are here to support you every step of the way.

Do you have questions about amytal sodium abuse or addiction? Would you like to learn more about our treatment program? Please contact us right away.

All of the information presented on this website is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to take the place of medical advice from a doctor, and it should be substituted for medical advice, a diagnosis or treatment. Relying upon anything discussed here is done at your own risk. Do not disregard medical advice you have received or put off getting help because of something you have read on this website. Please call 911 in the event of a medical emergency right away.