Barbiturate Addiction: Symptoms & Treatment for Barbiturate Abuse

Barbiturates are a class of central nervous system depressant drugs. Barbiturate use inhibits the firing of neurons in the central nervous system and the activities of nerves. This group of drugs boosts the effectiveness of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), the principal inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. Originally, these drugs were given to treat anxiety disorders, alcohol withdrawal, seizure disorders, sleep disorders, and to control issues with rigidity or muscle spasms.

Barbiturates are common drugs of abuse and have a risk of overdose. Many of their medicinal uses have been replaced by other classes of drugs, such as benzodiazepines, which are also central nervous system depressants. Barbiturates may only be legally obtained by a doctor’s prescription. Depending on the specific barbiturate, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies them as Schedule II, Schedule III, or Schedule IV controlled substances due to the risk of dependency, abuse, and overdose.

One in three American families had at least one bottle of barbiturates as a prescription medication for medical conditions, according to a recent study. According to a poll in 2001, 2.8 percent of high school students took barbiturates for recreational purposes, just like other sedative-hypnotics.

Treatment Services for Barbiturate Abuse

People dependent on barbiturates may need medically supervised detoxification and the care of a rehab center. In detox, you will get medical attention to monitor your body functions, such as heart rate and breathing, and to guarantee your safety as your body eliminates the dangerous toxins gained during drug use.

The Haven Detox-New Jersey offers professionally supervised detox treatment, providing medications to alleviate unpleasant or uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Once you have completed detox, you can enroll in an inpatient treatment program along with traditional forms of therapy, such as group and individual therapy, counseling sessions, or any alternative or holistic recovery.

Barbiturates promote both mental addiction and physical dependence; therefore, treatment for these conditions must address all aspects of health. If you are looking for barbiturate addiction treatment, The Haven Detox uses a medically integrated, holistic approach to addiction recovery. Learn more about our services by calling (856) 565-3102.

Symptoms of Barbiturate Addiction

The common side effects of barbiturate use include an increase in talkativeness, reduced inhibition, and poor judgment.

If you or someone you care about is facing barbiturate addiction and need medical assistance, here are some of the warning signs to watch for:

Mood Signs

  • Unusual excitement
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Lowered anxiety
  • Severe agitation

Behavior Signs

  • Lack of coordination
  • Feelings of sluggishness
  • Decreased motor control
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • High drug tolerance

Physical Signs

  • Inability to urinate
  • Vision changes
  • Respiratory depression
  • Dizziness
  • Sleeplessness
  • Hypotension
  • Fatigue
  • Pupil dilation

Psychological Signs

  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Faulty judgments
  • Irrational thinking
  • Delusions
  • Slow cognition

By recognizing the signs of barbiturate addiction, you can get the professional help you need. An expert in substance abuse can also help you and your family manage the stress caused by drug use and addiction in the household.

When to Seek Treatment...

The following are some “red flags” that indicate you need to seek professional treatment for barbiturate addiction:

  • Disinterest in eating
  • Increased hostility
  • Depression
  • Open denial when addiction is suggested
  • Withdrawal from non-using friends and family
  • Poor hygiene
  • Absences from work
  • Resentment when asked about health and life
If a Loved One Needs Help...

It is difficult to help a loved one who is struggling with any type of addiction. A direct conversation can sometimes be the first step toward recovery. But when it comes to addiction, the individual with the addiction often struggles to recognize and accept it. Often, a more targeted strategy is required. You may need to collaborate with others and engage in formal intervention.

People with barbiturate addiction are often in denial about their condition and resistant to seeking help. They may be unaware of their actions’ detrimental effects on themselves and others. An intervention offers your loved one an organized chance to make adjustments before things worsen, which might drive him or her to seek or accept help. Contact our rehab facilities for support at (856) 565-3102.

Causes of Barbiturate Addiction

People of all backgrounds and beliefs can experience barbiturate addiction. It might be difficult to comprehend why some people are more susceptible to it than others. Many factors can increase your chances of being addicted to barbiturates, regardless of your background or moral code. Family history, environment, medical history, and age all play a role.

Family History

Genes can significantly impact addiction and may account for 40 to 60 percent of addiction risk. Researchers are still exploring the link between genetics and addiction. Being in the presence of drug-using family members might raise the risk of acquiring a substance use disorder (SUD) later in life.

Addictive Potential

Some substances are more addictive than others, despite the fact that many substances have the potential to cause addiction. According to several studies, barbiturates are among the most addictive drugs because of their effect on brain activity and the chance of physiological dependence. This is the result of the euphoric reaction that occurs along the reward pathway and its ability to bind to the receptors in our brain that deliver the most pleasure and relief from pain.

Because the euphoric impact and drug concentration of barbiturates on first-time users are so potent, it is likely that they will try it again. Because of this potency, barbiturates are more likely to become an addiction than alcohol.

Mental Health

If you suffer from a mental health disorder such as depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you are more prone to develop an addiction to drugs such as barbiturates. Using barbiturates as a coping mechanism for uncomfortable feelings such as anxiety, despair, and loneliness might exacerbate symptoms of your condition.

Peer Pressures

During teen years, the influence of friends and peers can have an impact on whether or not a person uses barbiturates. Many people without additional risk factors experiment with barbiturates for the first time to fit in with their friends.

Children and adolescents who struggle with schoolwork or who feel socially ostracized may be more likely to experiment with barbiturates and develop a substance use disorder into adulthood, including polydrug use with other high doses of “downers.”

Lack of Supervision

Lack of parental supervision and engagement is one of the leading reasons for barbiturate dependence in young adults. Teenagers with no close relationship with their parents or minimal monitoring or supervision are at a greater risk for barbiturate addiction. High levels of family conflict, unreasonable parental expectations, and inconsistent or severe punishment are related risk factors.

Effects of Barbiturate Use

Drug addiction causes more deaths, diseases, and impairments than other preventable health problems. Almost every organ in the human body is compromised by prolonged drug dependency. Barbiturate addiction is not a sign of moral failure or lack of willpower; it is a complicated disease that, like any other chronic condition, requires long-term, intensive treatment.

Barbiturate use can lead to various side effects, such as:

Common Side Effects

  • Drowsiness
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Skin rash
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Sedation

Serious Side Effects

  • Hallucinations
  • Abnormally slow breathing
  • Confusion
  • Coma
  • Temporarily stopping breathing
  • Fainting

Rare Side Effects

  • Megaloblastic anemia
  • Erythroderma
  • Agranulocytosis
  • Liver injury
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome

Barbiturates have a very narrow therapeutic index, which means that small differences in dosage can result in significant differences in the drug’s effects, and patients can easily develop adverse effects. Combining barbiturates with opioids, benzodiazepines, antidepressants, or over-the-counter (OTC) medications like antihistamines could be fatal.

The following are additional consequences barbiturates can have on different aspects of a person’s life, with moderate to heavy barbiturate use with psychological, behavioral, and physiological dependency.

Effects on Safety

Barbiturate abuse can impair your judgment and lessen your inhibitions, leading to poor choices and harmful behaviors or situations:

  • Increased risk of suicide
  • Relationship issues
  • Poor performance at work or school
  • Increased chances of committing violent crimes
  • Car accidents and other types of accidental injury, such as drowning
  • Legal problems
  • Problems with other substance use
  • Engaging in risky behaviors
Effects on Relationships

Addiction to barbiturates may ruthlessly take control and destroy all aspects of a person’s life, including their relationships with friends and family as well as ordinary interactions with strangers. Specific relationships may be more dynamic for some people struggling with addiction, where people play cause-and-effect roles. This makes it extremely difficult to escape the cycle of addiction, as it alters everything around the individual, including their loved ones. When barbiturates take control of the brain’s primary pleasure center, relationships often suffer.

Here are a few side effects of barbiturate addiction on relationships:

  • Deception and lies
  • Loss of trust
  • Violence and abuse
Effects on Employment

Due to the negative effects of barbiturates, many employees struggle to function to their fullest capacity. Employees with barbiturate dependency issues are less productive, take more sick days, are more prone to injuries on the job, and are more likely to file workers’ compensation claims. Additionally, they are more likely to perceive their jobs negatively, have conflicts with managers, and make mistakes. Other effects of barbiturate addiction on employment include:

  • Displaying extreme mood swings
  • Missing appointments and deadlines
  • Frequently making mistakes
  • Displaying a sudden lack of personal hygiene
  • Taking a long time to complete easy, common tasks
  • Falling asleep at work
  • Facing trouble concentrating or recalling instructions or details
Effects on Health

Barbiturate abuse can alter brain chemistry. Barbiturates are depressants of the central nervous system (CNS), which may promote euphoria, serenity, and relaxation. However, in addition to their sedative effects, barbiturates may cause a variety of severe, short-term, and long-term side effects.

Short-Term Side Effects

  • Headaches
  • Slurred speech
  • Frequent and sudden mood swings
  • Shallow breathing
  • Slowed reflexes or lack of coordination
  • Trouble concentrating or mental confusion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Excessive drowsiness
  • Feelings of agitation or irritation

Long-Term Side Effects

  • Paranoia
  • Impaired judgment
  • Short- and long-term memory loss
  • Noticeable changes in coordination
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Overdose