Warning Signs and Symptoms of Barbiturate Abuse

Published On: October 19, 20233.3 min read668 wordsCategories: Barbiturates

If you were given a drug that had the ability to minimize physical pain and reduce mental anxiety, how often do you think you’d take that pill?

Before going to work, so that you’re less anxious on the drive there. Throughout your day, whenever anxiety or stress starts to creep in. In the evenings as well, when you find yourself struggling to sleep. In other words, all day long.

This high potential for abuse, dependence and overdose is exactly why barbiturates, drugs that belong to the sedative-hypnotic class, are no longer a go-to medication for common issues. 

However, barbiturates are still prescribed to plenty of individuals, and that’s why we’re going to take a closer look at these drugs in this article; what they are, their effects and their symptoms.

What are barbiturates?

Barbiturates are drugs that belong to the sedative class of prescription medications. In other words, barbiturates are designed to sedate and relax you, though the extremity of the effects on a person’s body and mind will vary per individual.

These central nervous system depressants are known for inducing a calming effect, commonly prescribed for sleep and anxiety disorders. They were also once widely used for hypnotism and anesthesia, but the emergence of safer and less harsh-on-the-body medications has steadily edged out the frequent clinical use of this drug.

Some barbiturates are, however, still prescribed for certain ailments and conditions. Due to the serious risks associated with barbiturates (in all forms), these circumstances are rare.

What are common barbiturates?

A few of the most common barbiturates are phenobarbital, secobarbital (seconal), amobarbital (amytal), pentobarbital (nembutal) and butalbital. These drugs are fairly fast-acting in producing sedative-hypnotic effects in the person, but each one has a slightly different use.

  • Phenobarbital is used as an anticonvulsant for individuals struggling with seizures
  • Secobarbital (Seconal) is a short-term solution for treating insomnia
  • Amobarbital (Amytal) is also used to treat sleep problems but also can be used to induce sedation before a procedure
  • Pentobarbital (Nembutal) is a particularly potent barbiturate derivative that’s often used to euthanize animals; its use for humans was to manage seizures
  • Butalbital is often combined with other prescription medications in order to relieve migraines and tension headaches

The modern use of barbiturates has dramatically decreased in recent decades due to their high potential for abuse and the ready availability of safer, more sustainable medications. 

Barbiturate signs and symptoms

Because there are always other factors at play, the exact signs and symptoms that manifest in one individual can be difficult or more extreme in someone else.

The effects of barbiturates are sedative and relaxing (even euphoric), but they can also go to the other side of the spectrum and produce unpleasant symptoms in an individual like agitation, irritability and violent behaviors or outbursts.

The most common behavioral symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Drowsiness or dizziness
  • Confusion, disorientation or difficulty concentrating
  • Slowed or shallow breathing
  • Slurred or jumbled speech patterns
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Erratic heart rate
  • Tremors, seizures or unconsciousness

Barbiturate abuse can quickly turn to addiction, and overdose can be fatal. If you or someone you love is struggling with a substance use disorder, take the first step towards recovery and send our team a message.

Reach out for help

Here at Freedom Detox, our mission is to make your detoxification process as smooth and comfortable as possible. We specialize in providing inpatient detoxification treatment to men and women of all ages struggling with substance use disorders.

Following your professional evaluation, a physician will craft a comprehensive, fully customized treatment plan that’s been designed to fulfill your unique personal and clinical needs. The detoxing process looks a little bit different for everyone, but we’ll be there every step of the way to support you and keep your mental and physical health balanced.

Send us a message or give us a call to speak with a member of our team and learn more about how you can begin reclaiming your health today.

Related articles