What are the Barbiturates?

Barbiturates are a group of drugs known as sedative and hypnotic, that helps individuals struggling with sleep and anxiety problems. These drugs produce sleep-inducing and anxiety-decreasing effects.

While barbiturates may be helping some patients with their sleeping and anxiety disorders, they can also be harmful if taken in higher dosages. A misuse of barbiturates may have fatal results or can cause a coma. Once an individual becomes addicted to barbiturates, they may endure painful side effects of cravings and withdrawal. In today’s modern medicine world, barbiturates are commonly used for seizures and in pre-op procedures for sedation. In more severe cases, and quite infrequently it is used to treat headaches, insomnia and anxiety.  The use of barbiturates has been substituted with more safe alternatives to treat multiple conditions and disorders.

Barbiturates are considered a controlled substance due to their proven harmful effects, risks of abuse and addiction.

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What are the types of Barbiturates?

There are several types of barbiturates, that produce different effects. The main distinction is the lasting effects, that vary between longer ones, that take up to two days, and the shorter one that may take several hours.

Barbiturates may be administered intravenously, but most commonly are ingested in the form of a tablet.

Here are some commonly known Barbiturates

Historically, barbiturates were first used in 1900s but became generally recognized in 1960 and 1970, and were used to treat insomnia, anxiety and seizure disorders. Unfortunately,  they were transformed into recreational drugs people used to overcome their social impediments, anxiety and depression, as well as reducing the adverse effects of illicit drugs.

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Statistically, barbiturate use and abuse has decreased largely due to the fact that safer alternative of sedatives and hypnotics were introduced, known as benzodiazepines. Medical professionals are opting from prescribing barbiturates, except in some rare cases. The illegal use of barbiturates has declined as well, however, barbiturate abuse among teens is growing at an alarming rate compare to the 1990s.

What are the Barbiturate abuse symptoms?

Barbiturates are commonly used as relaxers, that have a powerful effect on brain function. They are always compared to the similar effects of alcohol. However, if these two are mixed together, they may result in death.

Individuals abusing barbiturates, commonly seek to get high or offset the effects of stimulants. These symptoms may be:

  • Drowsiness, intoxication and disinhibiting (used in small dosages)
  • Confusion, slur speech, loss of balance (used in higher dosages)
  • Breathing problems, coma or even death (used in super high dosages)

What makes barbiturates are so dangerous is , that there is a minor difference between drowsiness and lethal dosages. Medical experts referred to it as the therapeutic index, which indicates the ratio between therapeutic and toxic dose. Another detrimental side effect of using barbiturates is developing an addiction.  An individual taking this drug on a daily basis during a period of thirty days may develop dependence in the brain, which forces a person to take more drugs to avoid harmful and painful withdrawal symptoms.

What are the symptoms of barbiturate withdrawal?

If an individual stops taking this drug abruptly, it may cause multiple withdrawal symptoms, and some of them may become life-threatening :

  • Tremors
  • Sleeping problems
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • High fever
  • Seizures

When to seek medical intervention?

The first step in helping someone with a barbiturate addiction problem is taking them to the hospital, or emergency room if it becomes urgent. A medical professional will examine you and render appropriate evaluation to determine immediate medical care, and reduce the dangers of potential medical emergency, and to sustain a stable conditions.  The next step will be to undergo a comprehensive drug rehab treatment.  There is no home remedy to overcome this disorder. The first step is commonly known as the detox process, and is the best conduit to flush toxins from one’s body.

Following medical treatment, comes counseling and behavioral therapy, that are utilized to treat barbiturate addiction.  Addicted individuals learn how to cope with everyday life situations without using drugs. And are thought the skills to avoid the triggers that lead to relapse.

With an intensive treatment approach both in and outpatient settings, there is a potential to overcome addiction and maintain a drug-free life.