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Barbiturates Addiction

What Are Barbiturates? 

Barbiturates belong to a class of drugs known as sedative-hypnotics. Since the 1960s and 1970s, they had been used extensively to treat the symptoms of insomnia, seizures, anxiety, and headaches.

As the drug is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, barbiturates mechanism of action involves enhancing the action of GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid), a neurotransmitter, in inhibiting the nerve cell activity in the brain. They are available as capsules, oral solutions, and powder form for injections.

Drugs like amobarbital, pentobarbital, and phenobarbital fall under the same category. These days, barbiturates are limited because of the high risk of overdose dangers. They are still used as anesthesia for preoperative sedation in hospital settings.

Barbiturate Intoxication

The relaxation effects and sleepiness caused in patients after intaking barbiturates have earned the drug the street name of “downers” because they offset the feeling of exhilaration produced by consuming stimulant drugs like cocaine and methamphetamines.

However, the use of barbiturates can also cause a high in the patients and they may get intoxicated with a slight rise in the dosage of the drug. This makes it difficult even for experienced doctors to calculate the right dose that is deemed safe for a person, and a slight miscalculation may result in a barbiturate overdose and lead to coma or death.

This is also one of the primary reasons that many barbiturates in the U.S. are now classified as scheduled II, III, and IV drugs. Some of the common barbiturates that are easily available in the American market are Butisol, Seconal, and Nembutal. Based on their form, color, shape, and use, they are known by common names like blue devils, yellow jackets, purple hearts, red birds, gorilla pills, goofballs, and more. 

Barbiturates Addiction Symptoms

The drug is being replaced by benzodiazepines, which are relatively safer, yet possess a similar risk of addiction, but a less abuse potential. Among the ultra-short-acting, long-acting, and intermediate-acting forms, barbiturates abusers prefer short-acting drugs or intermediate pills. 

For the barbituates effects on the body, brain, behavior to subside, it takes up to six hours for short or intermediate-acting types and up to two days for long-acting barbiturates variants. The narrow difference between a medication’s toxic and therapeutic dose is termed as a Therapeutic Index. 

Most of the barbiturates overdose cases occur due to self-medication by individuals. Abusers mostly start the habit to reduce anxiety or mitigate the long-term side effects of barbituates or other drugs, or to lessen their inhibitions. 

Barbiturates Addiction Issues Show Symptoms Such As: 

These are some barbituates drugs side effects:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness and sedative effects
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Inability to think clearly
  • Kidney dysfunction
  • Reduced heart rate and breathing 
  • Seizures and coma

Furthermore, mixing barbiturates and alcohol or any other stimulant drugs can cause extremely intoxicated or drowsy, impaired thinking, blackouts, and loss of memory.



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