Barbiturates are central nervous system depressants. In low doses, a person may feel like he or she is intoxicated with alcohol. Larger doses can induce sleep. Barbiturates can be addictive and may require a person to seek out the assistance of a prescription drug addiction treatment program through a drug and alcohol rehab center.
The History and Effects of a Depressant
Barbiturates are prescription drugs currently used to treat seizure disorders, although they were popular in the 1960s and 1970s for handling cases of insomnia and anxiety, as stated by Keith A. Lafferty, M.D., in the article titled “Barbiturate Toxicity.” Eventually, the benzodiazepine class of drugs replaced barbiturates as the main course of treatment for many disorders due to lower toxicity. A majority of people who take barbiturates do not abuse them, but some addicted individuals were originally prescribed the drug by a medical professional. The people who use barbiturates as directed rarely require a drug treatment program through a drug and alcohol rehab center.
A person intoxicated from barbiturates may experience an altered level of consciousness. He or she may have difficulty thinking, possess faulty judgment or deal with incoordination, as researched by Jacob L. Heller, M.D., a contributor with MedlinePlus. Shallow breathing and slurred and/or slowed speech may occur as well. These symptoms tend to be the first symptoms of an overdose.
When barbiturates are taken for a prolonged period of time, the user may have chronic symptoms such as a change in alertness, irritability, memory loss and a general decrease in function, Heller wrote.
Conflicting and Compounding Mixtures
Mixing barbiturates with other drugs is common but dangerous, as reported by experts from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. One reason for mixing this substance with others is to boost the effect of each chemical consumed, such as alcohol or another depressant. Another strategy is using barbiturates to counteract the undesirable effects of stimulants, such as cocaine or amphetamines.
Other extreme problems with barbiturate abuse involve a quick but high tolerance to the drug. Users of the substance may eventually need 10 times the original dose to achieve the same high. Consumption of barbiturates is especially dangerous for depression patients, as they can experience increased suicidal ideation. George Washington University also points out that use of this drug can lower the effectiveness of birth control pills containing estrogen, possibly leading to unwanted pregnancies.
Examples of Barbiturates and Treatments
Examples of barbiturates include phenobarbital, butalbital and thiamylal. All of them can cause a serious addiction and numerous side effects described above. The withdrawal from these depressants often requires addiction treatment centers that have a prescription drug addiction treatment program to intervene and monitor the patient while he or she detoxes from barbiturates.
Barbiturate use and addiction are serious. It’s best for a person to seek the assistance of an addiction treatment center when trying to quit this or any other kind of drug. A drug and alcohol rehab center can help patients not only safely detox from barbiturates and other dangerous drugs but treat the underlying mental illness for a complete and lasting recovery.