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Luminal Withdrawal | Timeline, Symptoms, Detox

Luminal, (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 tiny. 

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.

What Are the Luminal Withdrawal Symptoms?

Luminal is a central nervous system depressant that binds to the GABA receptors in the brain, which causes the sensations of deep relaxation and sedation.

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

Why Should I Detox?

Quitting drugs cold turkey may sound like a good idea, but it can be difficult, painful, and dangerous. In some cases, it can be dangerous and even deadly.

Given the difficult physical symptoms, withdrawing on your own without professional medical help can be very challenging. It’s important to find a professional, medically assisted detox program to support you during the process of Luminal withdrawal.

Doing this will ensure that you are carefully monitored in a safe environment while your body goes through the difficult detoxification process. Participating in an addiction treatment program also gives you a better chance at lasting recovery as a result of the structured medical and emotional support you will receive.

What Is the Next Treatment Step?

A full continuum of treatment ensures the best opportunity for a successful recovery. Following a full continuum of treatment means starting with the medical detox process and then progressing gradually from an inpatient status to outpatient treatment. You will then have the opportunity to participate in an alumni program after the formal treatment program is completed. The stages of addiction treatment include:


The primary goal is medical stabilization during the first stage of withdrawal treatment, which is known as detox. Expect the detox stage to last from a few days up to a week. When you arrive, your medical team—which will include doctors, nurses, and support staff— will complete your comprehensive medical assessment, which will help determine your level of addiction and additional medical needs you may have. The assessment includes a medical exam plus a urine screening for drugs.

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

Many people also experience anxiety, depression, and other emotional and psychological challenges during the detox period. Your treatment plan will also include comprehensive support to help you with these symptoms. A longer-term treatment plan will be put into place for you once you are medically stabilized.


If you and the treatment team determine that you need further medical treatment, you may continue the next stage of treatment on an inpatient basis, which might be because of co-occurring medical conditions or post-acute withdrawal symptoms. Inpatient treatment is intensive and includes 24/7 clinical monitoring. At this stage, you will start seeing a therapist regularly to help you process the emotional and psychological aspects of addiction and recovery.


Partial hospitalization (PHP) is in-between outpatient treatment and inpatient care. The goal of PHP is to stabilize your mental status and better prepare you for success once you return to independent living after you leave the treatment center. During this stage, you’ll live at a transitional living facility while undergoing a supportive and rigorous treatment program. This program will be five days a week for six hours each day. You will be able to participate in individual, group, and family therapy programs to help you address emotional and mental health needs.

Learning positive life skills, coping mechanisms, and techniques to help prevent relapse so that you will be prepared for long-term recovery will be the primary focus during PHP.

Intensive Outpatient

The next stage is the intensive outpatient program (IOP). An IOP allows you to live at home while also attending counseling and programs to help support your recovery. Depending on your treatment plan, you will participate in about nine or more hours of clinical therapy several times each week.

Intensive outpatient therapy will help you to continue learning new ways to manage cravings, stress, and other challenging issues that may arise once you live on your own again. After you complete the IOP stage, you will transition into the Outpatient and Alumni programs, which is also known as aftercare.

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You will have the opportunity to meet other treatment center alumni during weekly support groups and social events after you complete the formal treatment program. These aftercare opportunities spent with other alumni members can help you develop new friendships and build social support with others who understand the recovery process.

Being a part of this supportive network can help you grow while focusing on your recovery and adjusting to life after the treatment program. It can also be a safe space to share relapse prevention strategies, new experiences, and techniques for stress management. Most of all, it can be a way to enjoy 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.

Sources (2020, February 1) Luminal. Retrieved from

MedicalNewsToday. (2018, June 25) Everything you need to know about barbiturates. Withdrawal Symptoms. Davis, K. Retrieved from

NIDA. (2020, June 3). Types of Treatment Programs. Retrieved from

RxList. (2017, January 17) Phenobarbital. Retrieved from

Psychology Today. (2010, January 13) Alcohol, Benzos, and Opiates — Withdrawal That Might Kill You. Jaffe, A. Retrieved from

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