With changing times and increasing demands of work and school, there’s an opportunity within the dietary supplements industry to capitalize on products that offer brain boosts. It seems everyone is after the newest supplement that can potentially optimize physical or cognitive abilities. In recent years, American’s are more frequently searching for powders and tablets that claim to elevate cognition. Some of them carry the names “Alpha Brain” or “Neuro Peak,” and are classified as nootropics. Nootropics that claim to improve memory, creativity, or motivation largely go unregulated. As a result, efficacy is not fully determined and, more recently, studies have found that many of them contain dangerous drugs, one popularly known as Phenibut. Is Phenibut safe?
A study published in Neurology Clinical Practice so far identified that there are five unapproved drugs found in nootropics with Phenibut among them. While prescription medications are heavily regulated by the FDA, the supplements market tends to operate somewhat autonomously. Phenibut is actually an anti-anxiety medication prescribed in countries like Russia and can carry serious health risks. It’s not currently tested nor approved for use in the United States.
Risks of Phenibut
Is Phenibut safe? Here’s what’s known about this foreign prescription medication. Coaches, athletes, and business people are all looking for an edge, and Phenibut asserts its performance-enhancing benefits. Unfortunately, there is a serious lack of evidence on this front.
Here’s what’s known. This Russian anti-anxiety medication was created for cosmonauts in the space program to reduce stress and promote healthy sleep. Indeed, the drug has been clinically used to relieve tension, fear, anxiety, PTSD, depression, and insomnia. It’s also used to enhance intellectual function in mental health disorders. Recreationally, it earned the nickname “the happy drug” and is said to induce euphoria.
People all over the world are looking to perform better, faster, and stronger than ever. However, supplements with Phenibut contain unknown doses making them extremely dangerous to ingest. Not to mention that higher dosage can quickly lead to a building of tolerance levels. Due to Phenibut’s euphoric side effects, it’s more prone to abuse and even addiction. Dosage should be well monitored and prescribed by a practicing physician. While Phenibut is technically legal (for now), it has not been clinically tested in the United States and therefore is not administered by doctors.
Phenibut Composition, Side Effects, and Dangers
Phenibut is not intended for daily use given its side effects. Unlike other nootropics that recommend a daily dosage, those containing Phenibut recommend only taking it for 2-3 days in a row and then taking 3-4 days off. Is Phenibut safe? This planned detox may be an indication it poses some health concerns.
The product itself comes in powder form. Phenibut is a psychoactive drug because of how it chemically modifies GABA. Scientists have observed that it can easily penetrate the blood-brain barrier, which should serve as a warning. People have used it to increase their attention span and concentration in a variety of settings. Furthermore, the substance has a half-life of 5.3 hours, yet its effects can last all day.
Recreationally, Phenibut is used for social anxiety and for cognition. It can act as a study aid without the effects of uppers. Overall, users describe the feeling of phenibut as happy and clear-headed with low anxiety. In clinical trials, phenibut appeared to improve attention, memory, and emotional intelligence in 72% of cases. However, due to its extreme potential for abuse, this nootropic comes with a clear warning label: addiction is likely to occur.
Even though it is sold like a supplement or contained within certain nootropics, Phenibut abuse is a serious matter. Potent effects of Phenibut can lead to chemical dependency, which can create a highly addictive environment. For online support and addiction treatment, contact us directly at 833-90-REACH.
When used in combination with alcohol or other substances, phenibut was linked to three deaths and over 80 people in comas. In cases where phenibut was used alone, 10% resulted in serious effects including one death. While these numbers are not astronomical, the fact that it’s legal and becoming more accessible is a cause for concern.
Phenibut supplements for sale, along with other abused nootropics are becoming a big problem in the U.S. Supplements and nootropics are one of the least regulated industries. The Journal of Substance Abuse mentions that phenibut can cause withdrawal symptoms that make addiction treatment necessary.
Is Phenibut Safe?
The ultimate question, of course, is whether Phenibut is safe. According to ABC in Australia, a high phenibut dosage is to blame for the overdose of seven teenagers. The students purchased the supplement online and each took varying amounts. In February 2018, possession, use, sale, and manufacturing is now banned in Australia. Other countries are starting to take a stand against the phenibut supplement. In Europe, you can obtain a prescription for therapeutic purposes and sleep aids, but not is considered a controlled substance. Phenibut powder also has two other notable bans are GNC, a local health food chain and online store, Pure Nootropics, on the basis that it’s a ‘risky smart drug.’ GNC removing the risk from their stores is a clear indication of a possible ban coming in the United States.
Products containing unapproved drugs are not legally supposed to be sold as supplements. And some of the particular pharmaceutical drugs found in the new study have been associated with serious effects, including increased and decreased blood pressure, insomnia, agitation, dependence, sedation, and hospitalization. Indeed, side effects of phenibut are generally linked to its central nervous system depressant effects, such as sedation and problems with breathing.
Users of phenibut can also develop tolerance within days, needing more of the drug to feel the same effects. This can increase the risk of adverse effects. Users may develop withdrawal effects, such as severe rebound anxiety and insomnia, when they stop taking the drug.
How does it work?
The Phenibut high begins when it binds to the GABA receptors in the brain to reduce anxiety, promote relaxation, social ease, and pain relief by reducing the signals from the central nervous system to the brain. It does this without lowering the performance of the body. It’s essentially relaxation without the drowsiness of sleep.
Combing high dosages of phenibut and alcohol heightens the side effects because they both bind to the GABA receptors. Alcohol lowers the acuteness of motor skills and causes the user to become belligerent. This is what makes a Phenibut high so attractive. The fact you can take a substance that completely relaxes you in stressful situations, but doesn’t slow your functionality is truly the coveted feeling nootropic addicts seek. In high doses, phenibut can be toxic.
Side effects of phenibut include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Sedation and sleepiness
- Excessive muscle relaxation or tremors
- Serotonin syndrome
Signs of phenibut overdose include:
- Shallow, irregular breathing
- Drowsiness and lethargy
- Increased sweating
- Decrease in blood pressure
- Nausea and vomiting
- Lowering body temperature
Phenibut Withdrawal Symptoms
Most people do not experience Phenibut withdrawal symptoms if they use the recommended dosage, according to the Liftmode website. Problems occur when people believe ‘more is better,’ and take more than the recommended dosages without proper cycling. Phenibut side effects are no laughing matter. It’s not like cocaine or heroin, but it’s very powerful. Many users experience extreme headaches, depression, and heightened symptoms of mental disorders and rebound anxiety. The Phenibut high will make you feel amazing until you develop a tolerance.
Phenibut Abuse & Treatment
Is phenibut safe? First and foremost, consumers should not assume that dietary supplements are “safe.” The FDA has sent warnings to a number of U.S. companies that market tianeptine or phenibut supplements. However, the products are still widely available and still just as addictive. Fact remains that there have been steep rises in calls to poison control centers between 2009 and 2019. One in eight of these cases reported side effects that were life-threatening or resulted in significant disability. Ingesting unregulated, synthetic medications can be extremely risky.
As with any drug, the ongoing use of phenibut can lead to abuse. The absence of a standard dosage also complicates these types of medications, as well. If you or someone you love is experiencing signs of addiction, it’s important to consider treatment options immediately. Those who are potentially addicted will also show other classic signs. Signs include hiding phenibut abuse or denying it. Users might be visibly concerned about drug use or even try to quit, but fail, repeatedly. They could use other drugs to seek relief from withdrawal. Over time, they could take even higher dosages to get the same effect, or even combine phenibut with other drugs in dangerous combinations.
Treatment approaches should include tapering or supervised detox. Integrative rehab is also highly recommended. Substance abuse should consider psychiatric services as well as treatment for underlying disorders like PTSD, anxiety, depression, and more. Managing these things can help individuals discover sobriety away from phenibut, as well as help prevent relapse.
The internet has made accessing unregulated drugs easier, including phenibut. However, in other ways, the internet has made substance abuse treatment flexible, yet still highly effective. Fortunately, addiction can be treated with the assistance of online drug rehabilitation services. AspenRidge REACH offers intensive outpatient care and outpatient care, administered via secure video conferencing. Participate in group and individual therapy. Work with our licensed therapists to address underlying conditions such as anxiety and depression. These things can be effectively managed using established medical and therapeutic protocols.
Shame from addiction can be isolating causing feelings of self-doubt and unworthiness. With online treatment, individuals can find relief from substance dependency in the comfort of their living room. Online or virtual addiction treatment makes it easier for those experiencing shame and trauma to receive support and therapy based on individual needs. By integrating telehealth strategies with existing evidence-based treatment modalities of in-person outpatient programs, the outcomes appear favorable.
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At AspenRidge REACH, we understand that every situation is unique. Your therapist will work with you to create an individualized treatment plan specific to your needs. Don’t wait, and contact our 24/7 support center directly at 720-650-8055.