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Barbiturates are sedatives; they depress the central nervous system and are used to treat insomnia, seizures such as epilepsy, and headaches, or as a pre-operative sedative at the hospital. 

These medications are classed as a schedule II, meaning they have an explicit possibility for physical and psychological dependence and abuse. This is especially true if they are taken at high doses for a long period of time. 

Which barbiturate prescriptions get abused

The prescriptions of barbiturates that get abused the most are:

  •     Amobarbital (Amytal)
  •     Pentobarbital (Nembutal)
  •     Phenobarbital
  •     Secobarbital (Seconal)
  •     Tuinal

These medications are prescribed for insomnia, seizures, anxiety, and headaches. Phenobarbital is also used to help treat withdrawal symptoms during detox. 

Doctors do not like to prescribe these medications as it is hard to get the dose just right, people build up a tolerance to them over time, and people can abuse the drug. 

Side effects and interactions

The problem with these medications is there is a strong danger when mixing them with other sedative drugs like benzos, opiates, or alcohol. 

Barbiturates are also dangerous because of withdrawal syndrome which results in the following problems:

  •     Shakes
  •     Convulsions
  •     Neurosis
  •     Hyperthermia
  •     Circulatory breakdown
  •     Agitation
  •     Stomach cramping
  •     Retching
  •     Thoughts of suicide 
  •     Death

The side effects

There are several side effects; which are broke down into common, serious, and rare. We will look at the common and serious side effects. 

The common side effects include:

  •     Sleepiness
  •     Headache
  •     Low blood pressure 
  •     Upset stomach
  •     Calm
  •     Skin rash

Serious side effects include:

  •     Reduced breathing
  •     Coma
  •     Perplexity
  •     Passing out
  •     Delusions
  •     Temporary stoppage of breathing  

How do you know if someone is abusing barbiturates? In small doses, you will notice the person is drowsy, disinhibited, and acts intoxicated. Larger doses you will see the person stumble as if drunk, have garbled speech, and is muddled disorganized. 

Do not despair if you have a loved one who is abusing this medication; there is help available. 

Seeking recovery

Before speaking to your loved one about recovery, check into the programs available. Know what therapies are offered and ask about their detox program. You want to make sure that your loved one will be safe. 

When you do talk to them about recovery do it from a patient loving place, do not attack, call names, or be judgmental. Even if your loved one is not ready to listen yet, keep the information for them for when they are ready to seek recovery. 

Make sure they know that you are willing to support their effort in recovery. That you will join them for any counseling for the family that is part of the program since most recovery programs have counseling for the family. 

At 449 Recovery we offer a safe inviting space that will help you reach and maintain recovery. We have a constantly monitored detox program and offer several different therapies. Call us (855) 435-7449 today to find out more about or recovery and detox programs. It is our goal to help each person achieve and maintain recovery. 

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