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Barbiturate Dependence – Signs of Barbiturate Use Vs. Abuse, Tolerance

Barbiturates are central nervous system depressants, so they cause relaxation and sleepiness in people who use them. Barbiturates are sometimes called downers or reds. Barbiturates can be used legitimately to relieve anxiety or tension, as anticonvulsants, as sedatives used prior to surgery, and in the treatment of insomnia. They can be injected into a muscle, taken orally, or taken as a rectal suppository. Barbiturates are available through a doctor’s prescription, and any use beyond the dose prescribed is considered abuse. The dose depends on the specific type of barbiturate.

Is Barbiturate Addictive?

How addictive is barbiturate use? Barbiturates are highly addictive, but not everyone who takes them becomes addicted. Most people who become addicted do so after taking barbiturates for a legitimate reason. Other addicts begin as family members or friends of a person with a barbiturate prescription who try the legitimate patient’s medication and become addicted to it. Barbiturates may also be purchased on the black market and used as a recreational drug, which is another possible route to addiction. Barbiturate abuse is becoming less common because many conditions once treated with barbiturates are now treated with other drugs. Those who are dependent on barbiturates may experience work, home, or school problems as a result of the addiction. If you need more information about barbiturate addiction or want to learn how to reduce your dependence, contact us at 1-888-803-9961 Who Answers? or fill out our simple contact form.

Understanding Barbiturate Dependency and Tolerance

Barbiturate dependence develops when a person starts to crave the barbiturate. Dependence may be physical or psychological. Physical barbiturate dependence is indicated by extreme cravings for the drug and withdrawal symptoms when drug use is halted. Psychological addiction often stems from a feeling that normal life is too overwhelming without the drug. The user may become dependent on barbiturates to relieve feelings of anxiety, loneliness, tension, or stress. Some people develop a tolerance to barbiturates, requiring larger or more frequent doses to get the same effect.

Effects/Side Effects

Some varieties of barbiturates are long-acting, with effects that last for up to two days. Others are short-acting, with effects that last for only a few minutes. Barbiturates typically cause feelings of well-being, calmness, and contentedness in users. High doses of barbiturates can result in effects similar to being drunk, including staggering, slurred speech, and mental confusion. Barbiturates make the user drowsy, and they can impair the ability to drive. In some cases, the effects can be long-lasting, and someone who takes barbiturates at night may still feel drowsy the next morning. Coming down from barbiturates does not produce the kind of drastic crash that coming down from stimulant drugs does. In people who use barbiturates for long periods of time, memory loss, irritability, and changes in alertness can occur. In some cases, an overdose of barbiturates can lead to coma and death. These drugs often have a narrow margin of safety, and even a small amount over the prescribed dose can lead to severe complications. Barbiturate use is especially dangerous when these drugs are used in combination with other depressants, such as alcohol or opiates.

Withdrawal and Detoxification

Withdrawal from barbiturates is typically accomplished with the aid of other medications that ease withdrawal symptoms. The detoxification process should only be done under the guidance of a physician who can determine how much medication is required. Withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, trembling, nausea, seizures, and vomiting. Barbiturates can be detected in the urine for up to five days after use, indicating that they remain in the body for at least that long. In some cases, withdrawal symptoms may last up to 15 days after stopping barbiturate use, especially if the patient took the drugs for a long period of time or in high doses.

Treatment for Barbiturate Addiction

Barbiturate abuse treatment can be done on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Recovery from barbiturate addiction may be difficult to accomplish without help, but a full recovery is possible with professional assistance. After detoxification, the psychological aspects of the addiction must be addressed. Cognitive behavioral therapy, in which the patient learns how to control his or her behavior to avoid relapses, is an important part of addiction treatment for barbiturate use. Motivational enhancement therapy, which offers rewards for good behavior, is another technique used in barbiturate abuse treatment. Some people also find success through participation in a 12-step program. Call 1-888-803-9961 Who Answers? or fill out our contact form to get more information about barbiturate abuse and learn how you can successfully recover from dependence on barbiturates.