Concerned about entering detox? Knowing about the Butalbital withdrawal timeline and treatments can ease your fears

If concerns about withdrawal symptoms are keeping you from entering rehab for Butalbital addiction, knowing more about the Butalbital withdrawal timeline and available treatments may ease your fears. Butalbital is a barbiturate medication that is highly addictive. Individuals are sometimes reluctant to enter treatment because withdrawal symptoms from Butalbital can be unpleasant and there is no way to avoid detox.  Fortunately, there are medications that can help. Knowing how long you will experience Butalbital withdrawal symptoms and what can be done to manage your comfort may relive your concerns and make it easier for you to enter rehab and achieve long term recovery.

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Butalbital addiction       

Butalbital is often combined with caffeine and another analgesic, such as aspirin, acetaminophen, or codeine, and prescribed under the names Fiorinal or Fioricet. This combination of medications is effective at treating migraines, but Butalbital addiction can develop quickly in anyone who takes this medication, particularly if the medication is taken for longer than two weeks or on a regular basis. Many people mistakenly believe that the addition of caffeine and an over-the-counter analgesic means Butalbital is not addictive, but the opposite is actually true. Butalbital is addictive on its own, and adding caffeine to it heightens the effect.

Once individuals begin taking Fiorinal or Fioricet, their bodies quickly adjust and need the drug simply to function. Addiction can occur within just two weeks, particularly if the medication is taken daily or in high doses.

Signs of Butalbital addiction

One of the first signs of Butalbital addiction is an intense headache whenever the medication begins to wear off. Since headaches are generally the reason Butalbital is prescribed, this initial warning sign of addiction is often mistaken for a return of symptoms. Patients take more of the medication, which increases their addiction.  As individuals become addicted to Butalbital and their bodies begin to need the drug to function normally, the medication becomes less effective at treating headaches so patients need higher doses. In a very short amount of time, patients can end up taking extremely high doses of Butalbital simply to avoid debilitating headaches and pain.

Butalbital withdrawal symptoms timeline

The Butalbital withdrawal timeline generally takes about 15 days from start to finish. Withdrawal typically goes through three stages.

  • Early stage of withdrawal: Butalbital withdrawal symptoms start within twelve to twenty four hours after the last dose of the medication is taken. Individuals will develop a severe headache, often worse than the initial headaches that led them to take the drug. Tremors of eyelids, tongue, and hands can occur, along with anxiety, insomnia, and elevated blood pressure, pulse and temperature.
  • Acute stage of withdrawal: As soon as sixteen hours after the last dose, Butalbital withdrawal symptoms may become severe, and sometimes even life-threatening. Many individuals will experience seizures and extreme disorientation complicated by hallucinations and delirium. Hallucinations may be tactile, auditory, and visual in nature.
  • Post-acute stage of withdrawal: Over the course of 10 to 14 days, severe cravings occur along with depression and suicidal thoughts. Withdrawal symptoms gradually diminish, although some cravings will remain.

Butalbital withdrawal treatment

Because Butalbital withdrawal symptoms are so severe, trying to quit without medical intervention is not recommended. Medically managed detox is the safest and most comfortable way to detox from Butalbital. Patients are given a gradually reduced dosage of Butalbital, along with other medications to manage symptoms. This can reduce or even prevent the incidence of seizures from withdrawal and make other symptoms more bearable.

Once detox is complete, psychological cravings for Butalbital will still exist. Individuals can attend rehab on an inpatient or outpatient basis to learn relapse prevention strategies. Through a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy, group and individual therapy, and other therapies, patients are given tools to help them withstand cravings so they can achieve long-term recovery.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.