Amytal is a drug that people use for sleep disorders, in medical settings, or other health needs. It is a barbiturate sedative that works on the central nervous system as a depressant. GABA is increased in the brain, which calms the nerves, relaxes muscles, and slows down the central nervous system. In higher doses, Amytal is also an anesthetic. Barbiturates were frequently abused up until 1990 when the United States began regulating its use. How and why people become addicted to Amytal varies from person to person, but it is important to know the risks of use and how to help a loved one who needs support.

Dangers and Risks

One of the reasons Amobarbital is dangerous is because people may increase the amount even just a tiny bit and risk overdose or death. The drug is no longer prescribed to people outside of a medical setting. It has been reported that a fatal dose of Amytal can be between only two to six grams, although some have died from as little as one gram. Overdoses are frequently fatal. Higher risk populations, including the elderly and children, may experience heart failure, kidney failure, or other issues as a result of overdose that impacts them the rest of their lives.

Drug Abuse

A Schedule II drug means it is medically designed for certain purposes, but it runs a high risk of dependence and abuse. It is impossible to legally obtain a prescription as it is not prescribed for personal use any longer. It is illegal to obtain it outside these guidelines. Abuse comes from the sedative properties which can induce drowsiness, euphoria, and other effects. Some people stagger, have poor coordination, or other signs of abuse. Those who take this drug often drink alcohol, as well, which doubles the risk of overdose. Individuals who abuse alcohol tend to abuse barbiturates for similar effects but not realizing they are putting themselves at grave risk. Some of the signs of abuse may include:

  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fear
  • Euphoria
  • Staggering
  • Sluggish walk
  • Shallow breathing

Amytal can easily cause overdose, but it depresses brain function to the point a person forgets to breathe. This is where the serious issues come in for people who use it while at work, driving, or operating heavy machinery. Abuse of this drug is serious and requires immediate medical attention. 


Barbiturates like Amytal are risky to quit ‘cold turkey’ because of the chemical changes that occur in the brain. Stopping Amytal use can shock the body into withdrawal. Withdrawal can be long and difficult for some people. Withdrawal may include hallucinations, delirium, seizures, and death. Although addiction is less common than other drugs, assisted detox is the safest way to get it out of the body and not put the body through intense withdrawal experiences. Recovery is about finding a place to be vulnerable, ask for help, and deal with the psychiatric and physical health needs in a setting that provides constant care through the first few weeks and months of rehab. Inpatient care is the best choice for this reason, but it helps to discuss it with potential providers to find out what level of care is best.

A Step in the Right Direction provides quality care for clients seeking support for addiction recovery. Amytal addiction is a serious business. We are here to focus on your healing journey and support your detox and rehab experience with trained, experienced professionals who know what you need and how to provide it. For more information on sober living programs for men and women as well as recovery programs, call (877) 377-3702