Commonly Abused Barbiturates | Banyan Treatment Center Boca

Commonly Abused Barbiturates

commonly abused barbituates
 

Many people consider barbiturates to be a drug of the past.

These drugs are still prescribed to many people and are still often abused. First used in the early 1900s, barbiturates peaked in popularity in the 1960s and 1970s to treat anxiety, seizure, and insomnia disorders. Barbiturate abuse became a problem when people began using them to reduce anxiety, inhibitions, and the effects of other illicit drugs. The dangers of these drugs weren't realized until barbiturate addiction became a growing issue. As a result, barbiturates were replaced with a safer group of sedative-hypnotics called benzodiazepines. Despite this change, our drug and alcohol treatment center in Boca is well aware of the commonly abused barbiturates that are still causing problems.


What Kind of Drugs Are Barbiturates?

Barbiturates are a class of drugs known as sedative-hypnotics and are generally prescribed to treat anxiety, seizures, and sleep disorders. They work by increasing the chemical activity in the brain that sends signals to the body called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is also referred to as an inhibitory neurotransmitter because it reduces activity in the brain, which is why they originally prescribed these drugs to treat conditions associated with increased nerve activity in the central nervous system (CNS). Although they effectively treat these conditions, barbiturates are among the most widely used drugs in the United States. In 2015, an estimated 1.5 million people misused sedatives like barbiturates, and 2.7 million people had a prescription drug use disorder in that year.1 Although the use of barbiturates declined in the 1970s when their potential for abuse was discovered, they're still a problem today.


What Are Common Barbiturates?

The side effects of a barbiturate high are what keep users interested in the drug. While these substances promise feelings of euphoria and pleasure, their addictive properties eventually create an addiction so severe that people need residential drug treatment to recover. Below are some commonly abused barbiturates and their side effects.


Phenobarbital

Phenobarbital is one of the most common barbiturate drugs that are still in use today and is a prescription medication mainly used to treat and prevent symptoms of seizures, sedation, insomnia, and status epilepticus. Phenobarbital is also used in a medical detox setting to treat withdrawal symptoms in people who are dependent on other barbiturates; however, the use of barbiturates in a medical setting is rare because they’re so addictive. Instead, more people use it recreationally for the sedative symptoms it produces.


Some common side effects of Phenobarbital include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • “Hangover” feeling
  • Confusion
  • Loss of motor control
  • Loss of coordination and balance
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Aggression
  • Mood swings

Secobarbital

Secobarbital, also called “Pink Ladies,” is commonly used for euthanasia in pets and as an anesthetic for operations on humans. It’s a commonly used medication for presurgical sedation but can create a severe addiction when used outside of a medical setting. Secobarbital is not intended to be used as an anti-anxiety treatment, especially because it can develop tolerance within a couple of weeks. Like Phenobarbital, Secobarbital is also used during medically assisted detox to treat withdrawal symptoms in patients who are already addicted to barbiturates and need help quitting, but misuse or abuse of these drugs should be avoided at all costs.


Common side effects of Secobarbital include:

  • Sleepwalking
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Nightmares
  • Restlessness or difficulties sleeping
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Hallucinations
  • Trouble breathing
  • Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, hands, and feet

Pentobarbital

Pentobarbital is a short-acting barbiturate often sold under the name Nembutal and is also called “Yellow Jackets” or “Nembies.” It’s typically used as a sedative, anesthetic, and to control convulsions in emergencies. Although originally manufactured in the 1930s as a sleep aid, it’s more commonly used in the operating room. Pentobarbital works by binding to nerve receptors in the brain, affecting the level of chemicals like dopamine and serotonin. As a result, a barbiturate high of this kind is characterized by feelings of euphoria and pleasure. Nembutal is another common barbiturate that’s usually only used in the U.S. in the euthanasia of animals.


Truth Behind Psychedelic Brain Damage

Pentobarbital is a short-acting barbiturate often sold under the name Nembutal and is also called “Yellow Jackets” or “Nembies.” It’s typically used as a sedative, anesthetic, and to control convulsions in emergencies. Although originally manufactured in the 1930s as a sleep aid, it’s more commonly used in the operating room. Pentobarbital works by binding to nerve receptors in the brain, affecting the level of chemicals like dopamine and serotonin. As a result, a barbiturate high of this kind is characterized by feelings of euphoria and pleasure. Nembutal is another common barbiturate that’s usually only used in the U.S. in the euthanasia of animals.


Common side effects of Pentobarbital (Nembutal) include:

Some common long-term effects of psychedelic drugs on the brain include:

  • Skin swelling
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Agitation and irritability
  • Central nervous system depression (can lead to respiratory issues)
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness and drowsiness
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nightmares
  • Constant state of drowsiness (somnolence)
  • Fainting
  • Skin rash
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sleep apnea

Amobarbital

Amobarbital, also known as “Amytal,” “Blue Heaven,” “Blue Velvet,” and “Blue Devil,” is a medication primarily used before surgery to reduce anxiety, as an anticonvulsant, or to induce sleep. This drug has not only been known for inhibiting the effectiveness of birth control in women but also in producing complications when taken with other substances like alcohol or with other barbiturates.


Common side effects of Amobarbital abuse include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Slowed thinking
  • Lack of motor control and coordination
  • Confusion
  • Impaired judgment
  • Slowed breathing
  • Problems forming new memories
  • Irregular menstrual cycles in women
  • Erectile dysfunction in men
  • Increased sensitivity to noise and pain
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions

Tuinal

Tuinal is the brand name for a barbiturate made of secobarbital sodium and amobarbital sodium. It was first introduced into the medical field in the 1940s by a pharmaceutical company called Eli Lilly. Tuinal was originally marketed as a sedative medication and has been used to treat insomnia since then. Like other barbiturates, people started using Tuinal for recreational purposes because of the relaxing side effects it produces. While it’s an effective form of treatment for insomnia or anxiety disorders, it also has a high potential for abuse, much like its relatives.


Typical side effects of Tuinal include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Depression symptoms

While the side effects of barbiturates may differ slightly, they all share the dangers of dependence and addiction. Those who have become addicted to barbiturates can find help and solace at Banyan Treatment Centers Boca. Our rehab in Florida offers various levels of care, including detox and inpatient care to help clients recover from the physical repercussions of drug abuse. Our facility also offers a mental health program in addition to other addiction therapies to assist in psychological healing.



Never take prescription drugs unless directly prescribed by your doctor. Any form of substance abuse can result in horrible consequences. To learn more about Banyan Boca and how our prescription pill addiction treatment can help you or a loved one get sober, call us now at 888-280-4763


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Alyssa
Alyssa
Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.