Luminal Withdrawal

Luminal, which is the brand name of phenobarbital, is a barbiturate used to treat seizures in both pets and humans. While it can be very useful as a treatment for epilepsy or as a short-term remedy for insomnia, it has a serious downside. Like other barbiturates, Luminal can be very dangerous because it is highly addictive and the difference between a prescribed dose and overdose is slim.

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Barbiturates are not commonly prescribed anymore because they are so risky. For those who abuse or develop a dependence on the drug, Luminal withdrawal can be difficult. The withdrawal symptoms are severe and can be deadly. Because of this, it’s important to participate in a professional addiction treatment program during the detox and recovery process.

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Addiction is hard, but recovery doesn’t have to be. Let us do the work, request a call now!

What Are the Luminal Withdrawal Symptoms?

Luminal is a central nervous system depressant that binds to the GABA neurotransmitters in the brain. GABA causes feelings of calm. Luminal tricks the brain into thinking that it is GABA and this is how it causes the sensations of deep relaxation and sleep.

The difference between a prescribed dose of Luminal and overdose is small. Because Luminal has such powerful sedative effects, it can also be easy to develop a dependence on or addiction to this drug. Once you are dependent on Luminal, trying to stop taking it can be difficult and you will experience Luminal withdrawal symptoms.

Luminal withdrawal can be very dangerous, and even deadly. In fact, up to 75 percent of people withdrawing from barbiturates experience seizures. Up to 66 percent may experience delirium that lasts a few days. Symptoms of Luminal withdrawal include:

  • Tremors
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Hallucinations
  • High temperature
  • Seizures
  • Heart failure
  • Death

What Are the Stages in the Luminal Withdrawal Timeline?

Minor Luminal withdrawal symptoms usually begin around eight to 12 hours after the last dose. These symptoms may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Muscle twitching
  • Hand tremors
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Distorted vision
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Low blood pressure

Major Luminal withdrawal symptoms usually occur about 16 hours after the last dose. These symptoms last for about five days and include:

  • Convulsions
  • Delirium

Some barbiturate withdrawal symptoms—particularly mental and emotional symptoms—may last for several months or years.

Why Should I Detox?

It can be difficult and painful to try to quit taking drugs cold turkey. It can even be deadly in some cases—such as with barbiturates like Luminal.

It can be difficult to go through withdrawal on your own, whether you go cold turkey or not, given the difficult physical and psychological symptoms. This is why it’s key to find a professional, medically-assisted detox program to support you during Luminal withdrawal. A professional treatment program ensures that you will be carefully monitored by a medical team in a safe environment while your body goes through the detoxification process. Participating in an addiction treatment program also gives you a better chance at lasting recovery because of the structured medical and emotional support provided.

What Is the Next Treatment Step?

It’s best to follow a full continuum of treatment to ensure the best opportunity for a successful recovery because withdrawal from barbiturates like Luminal can be dangerous and even deadly. A full continuum treatment plan includes starting with the medical detox process, then progressing in stages from an inpatient status to an outpatient level of treatment:

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Detox is the first stage of withdrawal treatment. During this stage, the goal is medical stabilization. The detox stage usually lasts from a few days up to a week. Your medical team, which includes doctors, nurses, and support staff, will give you a complete medical assessment to determine your level of addiction, plus any additional medical needs you may have. The assessment will include a medical exam and urine or blood tests to screen for drugs.

The medical team will monitor you 24/7 to help manage uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and prevent dangerous sedative withdrawal symptoms.

Many people also experience anxiety, depression, and other emotional and psychological challenges as they detox. Because of this, your treatment plan will also include emotional support. Once you are medically stabilized, your doctor will develop a longer-term treatment plan for you.


If you require further medical treatment, you might continue with the next stage of treatment on a residential basis. Your doctor may recommend further residential treatment if you have co-occurring medical conditions or if you are experiencing further post-acute withdrawal symptoms. This level of treatment is rigorous and includes 24/7 medical monitoring. You will also begin seeing a therapist on a regular basis at this stage.


Partial-hospitalization (PHP) is the next stage, either after detox or after further inpatient care.  PHP is like a cross between inpatient care and outpatient treatment. You’ll reside at a transitional living facility while undergoing a supportive, intensive, and structured treatment program five days a week for six hours each day. You will be able to participate in individual, group, and family therapy programs to address your emotional and mental health needs. The focus at this stage will be on learning positive life skills, coping mechanisms, and techniques to help prevent relapse and help you to be better prepared for long-term recovery.


The next stage after PHP is the intensive outpatient program or IOP. This level of treatment allows you to live at home while still participating in counseling and programs designed to help support you in your recovery process.

Depending on your treatment plan, you will participate in about nine or more hours of clinical therapy each week. These sessions are scheduled several times over the course of each week. You will continue to learn strategies and tools to cope with cravings, stress, and other issues that may come up as you move back into regular day-to-day living.


After you have completed the formal treatment program, you will have the opportunity to get to know other treatment center alumni. Aftercare programming such as weekly support groups and social events provide opportunities to meet other program graduates and develop new friendships.

Building a social support system with others who understand the recovery process can help you grow and stay focused on your recovery as you continue to adjust to life after the treatment program. It can be a great way to share relapse prevention strategies, new experiences, techniques to manage stress and frustration. And it simply can be a way to enjoy spending time with new friends.

Start Your Journey to Recovery Today

If you need help with Luminal withdrawal, contact the admissions specialists at Ocean Breeze Recovery today for free and confidential help. Our specialists are available 24/7 to provide guidance and support as they discuss the treatment process with you and answer any questions you may have.

After you speak with a specialist, you will know what to expect from our evidence-based services. You will feel prepared to make an informed decision about your treatment plans. Our specialists can also check with your private health insurance to see if your treatment costs will be fully covered. Remember, there is help, and you don’t have to go through this alone. Call us today at 844-554-9279 and let us help you start your journey to recovery.