Brevital is a drug that is commonly used to induce sedation before major medical procedures. It is also a medication that can be abused for recreational purposes. You can learn about addiction to Brevital symptoms, what rehab would be like if you are seeking treatment.

What Is Brevital?

Brevital is a barbiturate primarily used to induce sleep before surgery or some medical procedures. The very short-acting drug is usually given intravenously, with results occurring within 30 seconds. It also can be given with other types of anesthesia. The drug can also be given rectally in pediatric cases or via muscle.

Other names for Brevital include methohexital or methohexitone (generics) and Brietal. It is a federally controlled substance on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) under Schedule IV, which pertains to substances that have some potential for abuse.

How Brevital Works

Once Brevital is administered, it takes 30 seconds for it to reach its peak in the brain. The medication produces its effect by increasing the inhibitory actions of gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) on the GABA (A) receptor. When higher amounts are given, it directly stimulates and activates the receptor, keeping it open. As it binds to the receptor, it increases the amount of time the receptor is open, thus, producing rapid sedation.

Brevital is also a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, meaning that it works to slow down excitability in the nervous system. As such, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cautions that it is dangerous to use with other CNS depressants, such as alcohol.

Brevital, like any other CNS depressant, can be habit-forming. It is also one of the drugs listed on the DEA’s 2020 Drugs of Abuse list. This medicine is almost always given in a hospital or outpatient setting. However, contraband Brevital or its generic equivalents may be found and obtained by illegal sellers.

What Are the Signs of Brevital Addiction?

As a barbiturate, using Brevital can result in tolerance and dependence on the drug. Tolerance means your system has become used to the medicine’s effects. This means you won’t feel its effects as you did when first taken. Dependence is marked by experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you are not taking it.

Possible withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sleep issues
  • Tremors
  • Hallucinations
  • Extremely high and dangerous fever
  • Seizures

Often, individuals who misuse or abuse Brevital and barbiturates will take the drug again when they begin to feel some of the above-mentioned withdrawal symptoms. Addiction to this medicine is marked by compulsively seeking and using it despite the negative consequences, per the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). This includes seeking and obtaining it from unlicensed or illegal drug sellers and fake pharmacies.

The signs or symptoms of Brevital addiction that you might observe or experience are:

  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Feeling less anxious
  • Slurred speech
  • Poor concentration
  • Lack of coordination
  • Sluggishness
  • Sleepiness
  • Decreased motor control
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Dizziness (especially when rising from sitting to standing)
  • Slower-than-normal heart rate (bradycardia)
  • Slowed pulse
  • Respiratory depression

Brevital addiction can not only cost you an exorbitant amount of money, but it can also cost you your life. It takes only a tiny amount of the drug to produce an overdose. Fortunately, there is treatment for Brevital addiction readily available at Summit Behavioral Health.

What Is Involved in Brevital Addiction Treatment?

Brevital addiction treatment is needed when you cannot stop taking this substance, no matter how hard you try to stop. Relapse rates for it are between 40 to 60 percent, which is similar to those of other chronic diseases, according to NIDA. However, addiction is a treatable disease, and that includes Brevital addiction.

We believe there is no cookie-cutter approach to rehab and that each person that comes to us is an individual with specific needs. Our treatment plans are developed with your input to give you the best possible chance of becoming free from Brevital abuse and maintaining long-term sobriety.

A full assessment of all your needs will be taken upon being admitted to Summit Behavioral Health rehab. Together, we will review and work on any aspect of your life that needs attention, including psychological, financial, or legal aspects. We are committed to healing and recovery for the whole you, and not just your addiction.

This substance you are addicted to is a potent barbiturate known to induce sedation within 30 seconds. If you have been abusing it recently, you will need medical detox before you can move ahead in addiction treatment.


Addiction rehab cannot start without sobriety. You will need to be fully focused and committed to your drug rehab without the effects of the substance skewing your thoughts and actions.

Medical detox is where you will start because your body must rid all of the toxins in it, and your brain will be fighting to regain normal function after Brevital rewired it. While you are in detox, licensed medical personnel will observe and monitor you, and any emergencies will be tended to immediately. Our goal is to ensure you are medically stable and comfortable during this process. To ease any discomfort from withdrawal symptoms, we may give you other medications. When the psychological symptoms arise, our caring addiction specialists will work through them with you.

Your time in detox may last from three to five days; however, it may be shorter or longer depending on how long you have been abusing Brevital, how much of it you took before arriving at Summit Behavioral Health, and any other medical issues you have.


Inpatient/residential treatment is often needed once you are through detox. We provide this treatment at our sister facilities and will transport you there and back to us when you progress through the program.

Residential treatment consists of behavioral and alternative therapies. Addiction often consists of underlying factors and co-occurring health problems that should be addressed at the same time. Mental health disorders, such as depression or anxiety, are often intertwined with substance abuse and should be treated together.

Your treatment plan will include different therapies, educational sessions, along with group and family therapy meetings. We practice evidence-based and scientifically proven behavioral modalities that are known to be effective in substance use disorder treatment and treatment for other disorders.

Some of the therapies we offer include:

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on how your thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes affect your feelings and behavior. Problems often arise from the meanings you give to events, which can affect how you handle them. CBT provides many benefits, including:

  • Being able to identify problems more clearly
  • Changing underlying assumptions that are wrong
  • Being able to distinguish between facts and irrational thoughts
  • Seeing an event or situation from a different perspective
  • Stop fearing the worst and taking blame for everything

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a psychotherapy that can help you learn how to tolerate and accept your emotions. Much of it is based on mindfulness principles. The term dialectical basically means acting through opposing forces or ideas. The first one is accepting the reality of your life and behaviors. The opposing one is changing your situations and dysfunctional behavior. There are four stages involved:

Stage 1: Crisis intervention, which focuses on stabilization and gaining control of your behavior. It may sound ominous, but it is meant to keep you safe from self-harm and addiction issues.

Stage 2: Working on emotional pain or traumatic experiences, identify unhelpful thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors.

Stage 3: Work on solving issues you may have with everyday life, setting reachable goals, and learning to take responsibility for your life.

Stage 4: Working toward moving forward in your life and achieving spiritual fulfillment.

Dual diagnosis is a therapy designed to treat both mental health disorders and substance use disorders at the same time. Brevital addiction can cause impaired cognitive functioning, and dual diagnosis treatment is geared toward changing the lifestyle choices made that include drug abuse. These can be anything from interpersonal communication, sleep issues, coping strategies, and learning new life skills, such as money management.

Intensive Outpatient

Intensive outpatient (IOP) is usually the next step in rehab after residential treatment is completed or if you cannot afford to take time off from your obligations to attend inpatient programs. It is most beneficial if:

You do not require hospitalization or medical attention as part of your treatment plan.

You have a strong support network that includes family and friends.

You might be in IOP for a minimum of nine hours a week for three to five days per week. Therapy sessions can be either in group or individual and are usually smaller in size than inpatient group therapy sessions. This gives you more personal attention from the clinician in addressing your needs. You are expected to be responsible for being on time and attending all sessions and will be working on the new strategies, and coping skills learned to bolster your sobriety for the long term.

Outpatient treatment

Outpatient treatment (OP) is the most flexible type of addiction treatment. It involves meeting with your clinician and/or attending educational sessions about substance use, complementary therapies, like yoga or meditation. Session schedules can be arranged around your pressing responsibilities, such as work, school, or family obligations. OP generally lasts for about 10 weeks.

In addition to the above, Summit Behavioral Health provides several highly respected programs for adolescents and LGBTQ+ individuals.

Brevital Overdose

Brevital is a very strong and extremely quick-acting barbiturate medication. There is a very thin line between taking enough of it to cause sedation or too much resulting in an overdose.

The RxList mentions what you should be aware of in case of a Brevital overdose:

  • Central nervous system depression
  • Respiratory depression
  • Twitching
  • Convulsive movement
  • Cardiac arrest

While no drug is a good drug to abuse, Brevital abuse should be avoided completely, and if not, addiction treatment should be strongly encouraged and supported.

Brevital Abuse Statistics

Brevital abuse is not just an issue for adults, but for young people also. The 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, as published by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), recently released data with the below:

  • 2.2 million people misused sedatives in the past year (2020)
  • Adults aged between 18 to 25 misused sedatives at a rate higher than other age groups
  • Alarmingly, 226,000 children between ages 12 to 17 misused sedatives in the past year.
  • 343,000 people tried sedatives for the first time in the last year, of which 18,000 were adolescents, as reported in the Initiation of Prescription Sedative Misuse section of the above-mentioned survey.
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