Substance Use

What Are the Side Effects of Barbiturate Abuse?

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yellow and white capsule pills barbiturates

What Are the Side Effects of Barbiturate Abuse?

Barbiturates are considered downers, a type of drug that slows the nervous system. They were first used medicinally in the late 1800s to treat anxiety and seizure disorders. However, the use of barbiturates has declined since the mid-20th century because safer drugs have replaced them. Nowadays, barbiturates are only used in specific medical situations, such as to help control seizures during surgery or epilepsy.

Despite their declining medical use, barbiturates are common drugs of abuse for their sedative and relaxant effects. When taken in large doses, barbiturates can cause profound sedation, slurred speech, and impaired judgment. These effects make them attractive to people struggling with anxiety or insomnia and those who want to get high. However, barbiturate abuse comes with a host of risks and side effects. In this blog post, we’ll explore the side effects of barbiturate abuse.

Those who misuse barbiturates may find it difficult to quit without help, as withdrawal symptoms can include seizures, hallucinations, and intense anxiety. Inpatient and outpatient treatment programs can provide the support and care necessary to help people safely detox from barbiturates and rebuild their lives.

Zinnia Healing specializes in helping people heal from substance abuse. To learn more about your addiction treatment options, call our helpline 24/7 at (855) 430-9439.

What Are Common Side Effects Of Barbiturates?

Barbiturates are central nervous system depressants, which means they slow down the nervous system. When taken in large doses, they can lead to shallow breathing, clammy skin, dilated pupils, and a weak and rapid pulse. In extreme cases, an overdose can cause coma or even death. Tolerance to barbiturates develops quickly, which means that larger doses are needed each time to achieve the same effect. For this reason, it is easy to accidentally overdose on barbiturates.

Other common side effects include:

  • Drowsiness 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Headache 
  • Dizziness 
  • Loss of inhibitions

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Barbiturate Toxicity?

Barbiturate toxicity can occur when someone takes too much of a barbiturate, overdoses on a barbiturate, or mixes barbiturates with other drugs or alcohol. The signs and symptoms of barbiturate toxicity include:

  • Drowsiness 
  • Confusion 
  • Slurred speech 
  • Slow reflexes 
  • Impaired coordination 
  • Respiratory depression
  • Coma 
  • Death 

What Are the Short-term Side Effects of Barbiturates?

Short-term side effects of abusing barbiturates can include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired coordination
  • Difficulty thinking
  • Slow reflexes
  • Poor decision-making
  • Euphoria
  • Drowsiness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

What Is the Lethal Dose of Barbiturates?

The lethal dose of barbiturates will vary depending on the individual and their tolerance for the drug. In addition, other factors such as body weight and metabolism can also affect the lethal dose. As a result, it is difficult to give a definitive answer when it comes to the deadly dose of barbiturates.

When someone abuses barbiturates, they are at risk of developing tolerance, which means they will need to take higher doses of the drug to achieve the desired effect. This can lead to overdose and potentially death. Additionally, barbiturate abuse can cause memory loss, impaired judgment, and problems with coordination. It is important to seek treatment for barbiturate abuse as soon as possible to avoid these potentially deadly consequences.

If you or someone you know is abusing barbiturates, there is help available. Treatment for barbiturate addiction typically involves detoxification and behavioral therapy. For support, contact Zinnia Healing or call (855) 430-9439.

What Are the Long-term Side Effects of Barbiturates?

Long-term side effects of barbiturate addiction can include:

  • Tolerance and dependence
  • Depression
  • Feeling achy
  • Liver damage (this is rare)
  • Loss of appetite

Barbiturates work by depressing the central nervous system, which can produce a sedative-hypnotic effect. However, they are also highly addictive, and people who use them regularly can develop a physical dependence. Stopping use suddenly can be dangerous, as it could lead to life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, tolerance to the mood-altering effects of barbiturate drug use develops rapidly with repeated use. But, tolerance to the lethal effects develops more slowly, and the risk of severe poisoning increases with continued use.

What Are the Side Effects of Barbiturate Withdrawal?

Barbiturate withdrawal can be both physically and psychologically uncomfortable. The symptoms of barbiturate withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety 
  • Insomnia 
  • Irritability 
  • Muscle pain 
  • Headache 
  • Sweating 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Seizures 
  • Hallucinations 

Do Barbiturates Affect Your Personality?

Yes. One of the most dangerous aspects of abusing barbiturates is that they can cause changes in your personality. People who abuse these drugs often become more irritable, anxious, and paranoid over time. They may also suffer from delusions and hallucinations.

What Are Commonly Abused Barbiturates?

Commonly abused barbiturates include phenobarbital, secobarbital, and pentobarbital. Phenobarbital is a long-acting barbiturate that is often used to treat seizures. Secobarbital is a short-acting barbiturate that is used to treat insomnia. Pentobarbital is a short-acting barbiturate that is often used as a sedative.

Why do People Abuse Barbiturates?

There are a number of reasons why people might start abusing barbiturates. Some may be trying to self-medicate for underlying mental health conditions or anxiety disorders. Others may seek out the euphoric effects of the drug. Others may simply be trying to cope with the stresses of day-to-day life. 

What Drugs, Substances, or Supplements Interact With Barbiturates?

Taking barbiturates with other drugs or substances can be extremely dangerous — even life-threatening. Overdoses involving barbiturates are most often caused by a combination of drugs, such as:

  • Barbiturates and alcohol
  • Barbiturates and opiates, such as heroin, oxycodone, or fentanyl

Experienced users who use these drugs together on purpose may be:

  • Seeking a new experience
  • Chasing a more intense high
  • Numbing themselves to emotional or physical pain
  • Trying to boost the effects of another drug

Some people believe that using multiple drugs together (for example, barbiturates with stimulants like methamphetamines or benzodiazepines like Valium) is safe because they are “counteracting” each other’s effects. However, this is not the case. Combining drugs can intensify their effects and make them more unpredictable, leading to life-threatening consequences.

Zinnia Healing Can Help

Barbiturate abuse comes with various risks and side effects that can be dangerous, even deadly. Because of the risks associated with barbiturate abuse, it is important to seek professional help if you or a loved one is struggling with addiction. Zinnia Healing can help. To find the nearest treatment center to you, call our helpline 24/7 at (855) 430-9439.