What Are Barbiturates? Barbiturate Overdose Risks, Uses, Types, Side Effects & Addiction Treatment
What Are Barbiturates and Its Effects? Addiction, Symptoms, Overdose, Withdrawal, & Treatment. Barbiturates medications cause relaxation and bring on drowsiness. They also stop or prevent convulsions and seizures but come with severe and fatal overdose risks.
By We Level Up NJ Treatment Center | Editor Yamilla Francese | Clinically Reviewed By Lauren Barry, LMFT, MCAP, QS, Director of Quality Assurance | Editorial Policy | Research Policy | Last Updated: March 22, 2023
What Are Barbiturates?
What are barbiturates? They are sedatives. Barbiturates are medicines that make you to feel relaxed and sleepy. They block or prevent convulsions and seizures. Barbiturates boost a brain chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which slows down the brain’s activity. They are synthetic drugs.
What Are Barbiturates Used For Most Often?
Barbiturates are used to treat anxiety, seizures, and insomnia. Barbiturates’ most typical uses are for anesthesia, treating epilepsy and nonepileptic seizures, insomnia, and other similar conditions.
For over 100 years, barbiturates have been used for ailments like seizures, migraines, insomnia, etc. They are rarely used today because of the risk of abuse and their related adverse effects. Nevertheless, they are an infrequent backup treatment when other drugs don’t work.
Physican Barbiturates Use
Barbiturates have a long and complex history in the medical field. Initially, it was common to utilize this type of medication during surgical procedures for deep anesthetic effects. However, today, more effective alternatives are available. Despite the change, barbiturates still remain a viable treatment option for certain conditions. Especially when combined with other medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol® or Paracetamol®).
Conditions Barbiturates Are Used For
Barbiturates are powerful medications used to treat various conditions, from:
- Intractable seizures.
- Intracranial hypertension
- Anesthesia sedation.
While the pre-anesthesia sedative properties and anxiety reduction effects have made them popular in certain countries, newer drugs that can provide similar results without some concerning side effects means that barbiturates may become less common for these uses going forward beyond the United States.
What Are Barbiturates Effects?
Barbiturates’ effects range from mild sedation to coma, with their indications ranging from sedatives (depressants), hypnotics, anticonvulsants, or as part of anesthesia. Some barbiturates are also used to relieve anxiety or tension before surgery. At fairly low doses, barbiturates may make someone seem drunk or intoxicated.
Barbiturates are addictive. Individuals who take barbiturates become physically dependent on them. Stopping barbiturates use, called barbiturate withdrawal, can be life-threatening. Tolerance to the mood-altering effects of barbiturates develops rapidly with repeated use. However, tolerance to the lethal effects develops more slowly, and the risk of severe poisoning increases with continued use.
What are Barbiturates Used for Now That’s Permissible?
Nowadays, barbiturates drugs are typically only used to treat serious and extreme cases of insomnia. These drugs also help control epilepsy seizures and are an adjunct to anesthesia in some cases.
Despite their potential risks, barbiturates such as phenobarbital are still utilized to treat life-threatening conditions. Specifically epileptic seizures that don’t respond to other drugs. This shows how invaluable they can be in managing and controlling severe medical issues.
It should be noted that According to the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) , barbiturates are Schedule II, III, and IV depressants under the Controlled Substances Act.
What Drugs Are Barbiturates? Examples of Barbiturates Drugs.
Are you wondering, “what are barbiturates examples?” or “which drugs are barbiturates?”.
What are barbiturate drugs’ names? Below is a list of 5 common barbiturate drugs:
- Amobarbital barbiturate drugs.
Normally referred to as “sodium amytal,” this barbiturate drug earned its notoriety as a truth serum since it proved effective when given to a person during interrogation. While it doesn’t compel people to tell the truth, amobarbital can slow the central nervous system to make concentration more difficult. The theory was that someone who asked a question while under the influence of amobarbital would be less likely to think of a false answer, which requires more focus than simply telling the truth.
2. Butalbital barbiturate drugs.
This short-acting barbiturate drug is often used to treat headaches and migraines, often combined with aspirin, acetaminophen, and caffeine. It was sold under the brand names Fioricet and Fiorinal. It’s also been used as an anesthetic and as a sedative.
3. Phenobarbital barbiturate drugs.
This barbiturate drug was used to treat seizures in young children due to its effectiveness as an anticonvulsant. It also has been used to treat drug withdrawal (particularly from other barbiturates), anxiety, and sleep aid.
4. Secobarbital barbiturate drugs.
Sold in the U.S. as Seconal, beginning in 1934, this barbiturate drug was a widely-prescribed sleep aid. It’s the most-used drug in doctor-assisted suicides in the U.S.
5. Pentobarbital barbiturate drugs.
Used as an anesthetic in animals, these barbiturate drugs, formerly used to treat convulsions and seizures, have the dubious distinction of being one of the preferred drugs used for state executions in the U.S.
6. Methohexital barbiturate drugs.
Methohexital is an invaluable tool for anesthesia in quick medical exams and treatments. It’s beneficial during electroconvulsive therapy, bringing relief to those undergoing this treatment option.
7. Primidone barbiturate drugs.
Primidone is a powerful medication that effectively prevents convulsions and sudden seizures. Its unwavering efficacy provides peace of mind for at-risk people, offering protection against debilitating episodes.
What are Prescription Barbiturates Used Most Often?
The most commonly prescribed barbiturates are pentobarbital, phenobarbital, and secobarbital. These treat anxiety, seizures, sleep disorders, and pain relief. However, they all have the potential for abuse and addiction, so careful monitoring and regulation by a physician is important for safe use.
Like sleeping pills, barbiturates are defined as “downers.” They work by making your nervous system and the brain less active. This makes the individual feel calm. Barbiturates can affect judgment and memory. Barbiturates can also make individuals angry, depressed, and tired and cause mood swings. Since they’re stronger than most sleeping pills, they are more dangerous when abused. Individuals can develop tolerance to this drug, so they use it more. Using them regularly and for a long time can muscle weakness, cause liver damage, and bone pain.
Combining two types of any drug is never a good idea. It’s hazardous to take Barbiturates with heroin or alcohol. Barbiturates, alcohol, and heroin make the nervous system and the brain less active. The nervous system controls breathing, so if someone combines drugs, a Barbiturates overdose can become more likely, wherein a person is more susceptible to stop breathing and dying.
Barbiturate Overdose Meaning
A barbiturate overdose happens when someone takes more than the average or recommended amount of this medicine. A barbiturate overdose can be by accident or on purpose.
Barbiturates overdose is life-threatening. Therefore, using barbiturates drugs as hypnotics or sedatives to relieve daytime restlessness or insomnia caused by everyday stresses is no longer recommended. As a result of these potentially life-threatening side effects, the use of barbiturates for these purposes has been replaced with safer medications.
Barbiturates Side Effects?
Barbiturates are a class of sedative drugs indicated for treating anxiety, insomnia, and other medical conditions. Barbiturates act on the central nervous system to slow brain activity, and when taken in large doses, they can cause respiratory depression, coma, and even death. Barbiturates are highly addictive and should be used with caution.
What Are Barbiturates Used For Today?
Barbiturates were first introduced for medical use in the 1900s. Today, barbiturates can be found for minimal medical use. Barbiturates used to be regularly prescribed to treat depression, insomnia, and anxiety. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) , Barbiturates are drugs that cause sleepiness and relaxation.
Get Your Life Back
Find Hope & Recovery. Get Safe Comfortable Detox, Addiction Rehab & Mental Health Dual Diagnosis High-Quality Care at the We Level Up Treatment Centers Network.Hotline (877) 378-4154
Popular Barbiturates Drug FAQs
Benzodiazepines and Barbiturates are types of? Barbiturates vs Benzodiazepines (barbiturates vs benzos).
Benzodiazepines and barbiturates are both drugs that impact the central nervous system (CNS) depressants. Benzodiazepines are sedatives that relax muscles and reduce anxiety. Barbiturates, on the other hand, are sedatives that tend to have a stronger calming effect on the body than benzodiazepines.
Barbiturates vs benzodiazepines are, however, different medications. Barbiturates are sedatives known to cause dependence and carry a risk of overdose. Benzodiazepines are used for conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, and seizures but can also cause dependence and potential overdose. Your doctor should determine the use of barbiturates vs benzos prescriptions.
What is a Barbiturate overdose?
Barbiturate overdose is a serious medical condition that can be life-threatening. Symptoms of barbiturate overdose can include confusion, drowsiness, loss of coordination, difficulty breathing, and coma.
How long do barbiturates stay in your system? What is barbiturates on a drug test positive result?
The time barbiturates stay in your system depends on several factors, including the type and amount of barbiturates taken and the individual’s metabolic rate. Generally, barbiturates can remain in your system for up to 72 hours.
Barbiturates will show up on most standard drug tests, and it can take up to a few days for the results to return. The time it takes for the drug to become detectable will vary based on the individual and the amount taken.
Will gabapentin show up as a barbiturate?
No, gabapentin does not show up as a barbiturate in drug tests. Drug tests for barbiturates usually detect barbiturates alone, and gabapentin does not fall into this category.
Are barbiturates addictive?
Wondering, “are barbiturates addictive?”. Barbiturates can be addictive. They can cause physical dependence, and people may experience significant withdrawal symptoms when stopping the drug.
What is Barbiturate Overdose?
Barbiturate overdose is a potentially life-threatening condition caused by using barbiturates at excessive levels. Symptoms can include confusion, slurred speech, slow or shallow breathing, and loss of consciousness. If you believe someone has overdosed on barbiturates, it is important to seek immediate medical attention.
Barbiturates are dangerous drugs. They work by depressing the central nervous system, slowing the body’s activities and processes. Because of this, they can be used medically to treat seizures and sleep troubles, but they can also lead to serious and potentially deadly consequences when misused. Overdosing on barbiturates can cause slowed heart rate, seizures, coma, and even death.
Primary Barbiturate Overdose Symptoms
The symptoms of a barbiturate overdose can include confusion, trouble breathing, dizziness, extreme drowsiness, blurred vision, and loss of consciousness. If an overdose is suspected, medical attention should be sought immediately.
A Barbiturate overdose can have serious, long-term health effects, such as brain damage, liver damage, kidney damage, respiratory failure, and death. It’s important to seek medical help immediately if an overdose is suspected, as treatment can help reduce the risks of serious complications and death.
Barbiturate Overdose Treatment
The treatment for a barbiturate overdose depends on the overdose’s severity and the person affected’s medical condition. Treatment may include supportive care, such as providing oxygen and intravenous (IV) fluids, and medications to reverse the effects of the drug, such as flumazenil or naloxone. Dialysis or hemoperfusion may sometimes remove the drug from the bloodstream.
In extreme cases, where a barbiturate overdose is severe, and an individual has stopped breathing or is having a seizure, it may be necessary to use a machine to temporarily enable breathing for the individual (called mechanical ventilation) or to give the individual electric shocks to stop the seizure, as well as to provide supportive care.
Barbiturate Overdose Death
Barbiturate overdose deaths typically occur due to respiratory depression, which causes the individual to stop breathing. There is also a risk of seizures, cardiac arrest, and coma in severe cases. Immediate medical attention is needed to treat a barbiturate overdose.
Barbiturate overdose is typically caused by taking an overdose of a barbiturate drug, either accidentally or intentionally. Barbiturates are central nervous system depressants that have a sedative effect, slow down breathing, reduce alertness, and can even cause coma. Symptoms of barbiturate overdose include slow and shallow breathing, slowed reaction time, confusion, slurred speech, drowsiness, and severe coma. Treatment involves immediate medical attention. If the individual cannot be treated promptly,
Accidental Barbiturate Overdose
Accidental barbiturate overdose usually happens when too much of the drug is taken at once, either due to misuse or from taking more than the recommended dosage. Symptoms of accidental barbiturate overdose include confusion, slurred speech, slowed reaction time, slowed breathing, and in severe cases, coma. Treatment for an unintentional barbiturate overdose involves seeking immediate medical attention.
Barbiturate Drug Facts
Barbiturates were first introduced in the early 1900s and became popular as sedatives and sleep aids in the 1940s and 1950s. Popular barbiturates, sedatives, hypnotics, and anticonvulsants include phenobarbital and secobarbital. In the 1940s and 1950s, barbiturates were frequently prescribed for sleep disorders and anxiety and used in general anesthesia. However, as their harmful effects became apparent, barbiturate use declined.
In the late 1960s, reports linking barbiturates to addiction, overdose, and death led to increased regulation and restrictions on their use. By the 1970s, alternative drugs with less risk of dependence, such as benzodiazepines, were introduced, and barbiturate use declined further. Barbiturates are still used in some medical settings, such as anesthesia and the treatment of seizures.
Overdose of barbiturates can cause respiratory depression and death. In the 1960s, barbiturate-related deaths surpassed those from heroin and cocaine abuse combined.
Today, barbiturates are used less frequently due to their high risk of dependence and overdose. However, they are still prescribed in some cases for specific medical conditions, such as epilepsy or anesthesia.
Barbiturates are a class of drugs that depress the central nervous system and produce sedation, hypnotic, muscle relaxant, analgesic, and anticonvulsant effects. Barbiturates drugs are mainly used for medical purposes to alleviate anxiety, insomnia, and seizure disorders. However, barbiturates drugs can be dangerous and addictive when abused.
Class Of Drugs
Chemically, barbituric acid is the source of the depressant drug class known as barbiturates. They are effective when used medically as hypnotics, anticonvulsants, and anxiolytics, but they also have the potential to cause overdose, physical and psychological addiction, and other side effects.
Barbiturates Drug Schedule
What are barbiturates classified as?
According to the Controlled Substances Act, barbiturates are considered Schedule II, III, and IV depressants.
Barbiturates are primarily metabolized by the liver into inactive, water-soluble compounds by oxidation before being excreted via the kidneys or conjugated to glucuronic acid and excreted in bile. The less soluble phenobarbital is an exception to this.
Most Common Uses Of Barbiturates
The most frequent applications involve treating conditions like insomnia, epilepsy, and nonepileptic seizures for anesthesia. Barbiturates are categorized as sedative-hypnotic drugs. Sedatives are drugs that aid in relaxation and calmness.
A class of sedative-hypnotic drugs known as barbiturates treats conditions like seizure disorder, neonatal withdrawal syndrome, insomnia, preoperative anxiety, and induced coma to lower intracranial pressure. They help cause anesthesia as well.
There are many examples of different types of barbiturates, which are organized into three different classes. Barbiturates list – Barbiturates examples include phenobarbital, amobarbital, secobarbital, pentobarbital, and mephobarbital.
Barbiturates Street Names
Common barbiturates street names include “downers,” “blue chicks,” “rainbows,” “reds,” “yellow jackets,” and “goof balls.
Barbiturates overdose occurs when an individual takes too much of the drug, leading to dangerous and potentially life-threatening symptoms.
Because barbiturates are depressants, an overdose can cause serious respiratory depression and lead to a lack of oxygen to the brain and other organs.
Some symptoms of a barbiturate overdose include:
- Shallow or slowed breathing
- Blue lips or fingers
- Cold or clammy skin
- Weak pulse
- Confusion and disorientation
- Seizures and Coma.
If you suspect someone has overdosed on barbiturates, call for emergency medical help immediately. In the meantime, try to keep the person awake and breathing, and do not attempt to induce vomiting.
Treatment for a barbiturate overdose typically involves monitoring and support to maintain vital signs and prevent further complications. In severe cases, medications or mechanical ventilation may be necessary to help the person breathe.
Barbiturates Drug Addiction Statistics
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), in 2018, approximately 1.7 million people in the United States reported misusing prescription sedatives like barbiturates in the past year. Between 1999 and 2017, there was a 68% increase in the number of deaths involving barbiturates in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2017, there were 1,480 deaths involving barbiturates in the United States.
Although the statistics for the barbiturates drug class are not as well known, it is well known that a serious health risk is associated with barbiturates abuse. According to research, 9% of Americans will misuse barbiturates and or barbiturates like medications at some point.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, barbiturate abuse is less common than other abused drugs. However, it is estimated that around 0.7% of Americans aged 12 and up have misused barbiturates within the past year. The drug’s abuse has been linked to a higher risk of a Barbiturate overdose and is especially dangerous if used with alcohol or other drugs.
Around 405,000 Americans, 12 and older, reported using barbiturates in 2018.
Thirty-two thousand of those users—roughly—misused their prescription drugs.
In the previous year, about 251,000 Americans (aged 12 and older) tried a prescription sedative for the first time.
Get Help. Get Better. Get Your Life Back.
Searching for Accredited Drug & Alcohol Rehab Centers Near You? Or Mental Health Support?
Even if you have failed previously, relapsed, or are in a difficult crisis, we stand ready to support you. Our trusted behavioral health specialists will not give up on you. Call us when you feel ready or want someone to speak to about therapy alternatives to change your life. Even if we cannot assist you, we will lead you wherever you can get support. There is no obligation. Call our hotline today.FREE Addiction Hotline – Call 24/7
Barbiturate Drug Street Names
Many different names frequently refer to barbiturates. Some barbiturates street names are used to refer to specific barbituates include:
- Amobarbital: Blue Heavens, Blue Velvet, Blue devils, Downers
- Pentobarbital: Abbots, Nembies, Yellow jackets, Mexican yellows
- Phenobarbital: Goof balls, Purple hearts
- Secobarbital: Red birds, Reds, Red devils, Lilly, F-40s, Pinks, Pink ladies, Seggy
- Tuinal: Rainbows, Reds and blues, Tooies, Double trouble, Gorilla pills, F-66s
Other common street names for barbiturates drugs are:
- Blue Bullets
- Blue Birds
- Blue Angels
- Blue Tips
- Pink Ladies
- Red Bullets
- Blue Dolls
- Green Frog
- Green Dragons
- Marshmallow Reds
Effects Of Barbiturates Drugs
What are some of the effects of barbiturates? Barbiturates slow down the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) similarly to alcohol. Depending on how fast they produce effects and the duration of those effects, they may be classified as ultra-short, short, intermediate, or long-acting.
In the case of long-acting barbital and phenobarbital, their effects may last up to 1 day. Usually, these long-acting barbiturates are used with other medications to prevent convulsions in epilepsy.
The effects of intermediate-acting barbiturates, like butabarbital sodium, last between six and twelve hours, and these are used to treat people who have insomnia. Pentobarbital is an example of a short-acting barbiturate used to help someone suffering from insomnia fall asleep.
The ultra-short-acting barbiturate thiamylal is administered as an injection to cause unconsciousness in patients about to undergo surgery. Gaseous anesthetics maintain the patient’s unconsciousness throughout the surgical procedure.
Small doses of barbiturates can make individuals feel uninhibited, relaxed, mildly euphoric, free of anxiety, and sleepy. Larger amounts can cause stress, hostility, body ataxia, paranoia, slurred speech, and suicidal thoughts. The risk of falling over or having an accident increases as the dose of barbiturates grows.
With prolonged use, tolerance can quickly develop. To this end, tolerance happens when larger doses than the original are needed to produce the same effects. This can increase the risk of overdose, signs of which include rapid and weak pulse, shallow breathing, dilated pupils, clammy skin, coma, and even death as a result of the severe depression of both the respiratory and the central nervous system .
What Do Barbiturates Drugs Feel Like?
Drugs called barbiturates induce relaxation and sleep. When a patient consumes more barbiturates than is typical or advised, an overdose of these drugs results, either by chance or by purpose, this may occur. A drug overdose poses a risk to life.
Barbiturates might make you appear drunk or intoxicated at relatively low doses.
Addiction to barbiturates exists. They cause physical dependence in their users. Withdrawing from them (stopping them) can be fatal. Barbiturates’ ability to modify mood quickly leads to tolerance with continued use. However, tolerance to the deadly effects spreads more slowly, and continuing usage raises the danger of severe poisoning.
Short-Term Effects of Barbiturates Drugs
Barbiturates are efficient short-term painkillers that can provide:
- Presurgical sedation.
- Anticonvulsant effects for people with seizure disorders.
- Relief from insomnia and anxiety symptoms.
Barbiturates Side Effects
When used as a short-term medication, barbiturates can effectively relieve symptoms of anxiety and insomnia, provide pre-surgical sedation, and act as anticonvulsants for those with seizure disorders. Like most drugs, barbiturates drugs have side effect profiles. Chronic abuse of these drugs can produce several dangerous effects, such as:
- Increased sensitivity to sound
- Increased sensitivity to pain
- Increased perspiration
- Hallucinations or psychosis (rare)
- Memory and attention impairments
- Emotional instability
- Suicidal ideation
- Incoordination and impaired balance
- Slurred speech
High doses or barbiturates overdose can result in coma, significant brain and other organ damage, or death due to respiratory suppression .
Most Common Prescribed Barbiturates Drug
If you are wondering, “what are prescription barbiturates?”, “What pills are barbiturates?”, “What medications are barbiturates?” or “what drugs are considered barbiturates” below is a list of common examples of barbiturates and their side effects:
It is one of the most well-known and commonly used barbiturates still in use today. Phenobarbital’s purpose is to maintain insomnia, seizures, and anxiety.
The side effects of Phenobarbital are:
- Drowsiness and Dizziness
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Irritability and Aggression
- Headaches and a “hangover” effect
- Loss of motor control and coordination
Secobarbital barbiturates drug.
The Secobarbital barbiturate is more commonly known by its street name, “Pink Ladies,” In the medical setting, it is most frequently used for anesthesia in humans and euthanasia in pets. It is a widespread medication in presurgical sedation but has very high addiction rates when used recreationally.
Secobarbital is not an anti-anxiety medication, as it is reported to develop a tolerance in as little as two weeks. Outside of the surgery setting, it is used in hospitals or detox facilities on a short-term basis only to treat people with insomnia who are already addicted to barbiturates. Other than that, it is one of the most common drugs used in a “death with dignity” situation. This demonstrates how potentially harmful this drug can be when abused.
The side effects of secobarbital are:
- Headaches and Nightmares
- Restlessness and Agitation
- Nausea, Vomiting, Constipation, and Diarrhea
- Hallucinations, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the face, lips, tongue, and extremities
Amobarbital barbiturates drug.
Commonly known as Amytal, this medication is used pre-surgery to calm anxiety, as a sleep aid, or as an anticonvulsant. Individuals taking Amytal for any reason are advised not to take any other sedative medications, not to drink alcohol, and to only take other medications after speaking with a doctor. This barbiturate has also been revealed to lower the effectiveness of birth control contraceptives in women.
The side effects of Amobarbital are:
- Low mood and thoughts of suicide
- Irritability and aggression
- Intense mood swings
- Fatigue and Dizziness
- Infection from the injection site
Pentobarbital barbiturates drug
With the brand Nembutal, Pentobarbital was originally manufactured in the 1930s as a sleep aid. In low doses, as a medication, it can also help reduce anxiety and control seizures and is commonly used in the surgery room.
Pentobarbital works by binding to the nerve receptors in the brain that are in control of relaxation. Due to this, people either taking or abusing Nembutal can often experience complications with their heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing, which forms a hazardous condition if someone combines them with other drugs.
Nembutal is another barbiturate commonly used as an “end-of-life” medication and is primarily legal in countries where euthanasia is legal. In the United States and Europe, it is one of the most common drugs used in the euthanasia of animals.
The side effects of Nembutal in humans are:
- Slurred speech
- Poor motor control and loss of coordination
- Mood swings
- Slowed thinking and trouble concentrating
In many countries, getting most of these barbiturates can be extremely difficult, but there are still hundreds of cases of overdoses every year due to barbiturate abuse.
Suppose you take a prescribed amount of a barbiturate for sleep, anxiety, or epilepsy. Before taking or experimenting with other medications or drugs, you must speak with a medical provider. It is also highly suggested that the user does not drink alcohol.
Another common side effect of these barbiturates is that they reduce the effectiveness of female birth control contraceptive methods. Women not ready to get pregnant are highly recommended to use an additional contraception, such as a condom.
Barbiturates are common drugs of abuse; as a result, many medical professionals prefer to prescribe benzodiazepines. While benzos are still addictive abuse drugs, they have slightly fewer abuse risks than barbiturates.
Individuals who abuse barbiturates tend to choose short-acting or intermediate pills, such as Amytal and Seconal. Such specific drugs typically produce effects within 15-40 minutes, and it can take up to six hours for effects to diminish. Long-acting barbiturates can bring effects that last up to two days, but abuse rates for these types of barbiturates are lower.
The most common method of abuse is oral ingestion in pill form, but some who abuse the drugs have been known to inject the substance in liquid form to speed up delivery to the system. Barbiturates abuse is usually motivated by a desire to reduce anxiety, mitigate the effects of other drugs, and lessen a person’s inhibitions.
Misuse of barbiturates usually arises from attempts to self-medicate. Unfortunately, misuse can frequently lead to abuse and possibly addiction, as it’s always a slippery slope when dealing with addictive substances.
Barbiturate use is a major addiction problem for a lot of people. Most individuals who take these medicines for pain syndromes or seizure disorders do not abuse them. Those hooked on the drug usually begin using a medication prescribed for them or other family members.
Most barbiturates overdose involves a combination of drugs, often alcohol, and barbiturates, or opiates such as heroin, oxycodone, fentanyl, and barbiturates.
Those who use such combinations tend to be:
- New users who do not know these combinations can lead to coma or death
- Experienced users who use them on purpose to alter their consciousness
First-class Facilities & Amenities
World-class High-Quality Addiction & Mental Health Rehabilitation TreatmentRehab Centers Tour
Renowned Addiction Centers. Serene Private Facilities. Inpatient rehab programs vary.Addiction Helpline (877) 378-4154
Proven recovery success experience, backed by a Team w/ History of:
- 15+ Years Experience
- 100s of 5-Star Reviews
- 10K+ Recovery Successes
- Low Patient to Therapist Ratio
- Onsite Medical Detox Center
- Comprehensive Dual-Diagnosis Treatment
- Complimentary Family & Alumni Programs
- Coaching, Recovery & Personal Development Events
What Are Barbiturates? What are Barbiturate Abuse Symptoms?
Symptoms of barbiturate intoxication and overdose include:
- Altered level of consciousness
- Difficulty in thinking
- Drowsiness or coma
- Faulty judgment
- Lack of coordination
- Shallow breathing
- Slow, slurred speech
Excessive and long-term use of barbiturates, such as phenobarbital, may produce the following chronic symptoms:
- Changes in alertness
- Decreased functioning
- Memory loss
Symptoms of Barbiturate Overdose
Barbiturate intoxication and overdose symptoms include:
- The changed state of consciousness
- Thinking difficulty
- Sleepiness or coma
- Poor decision-making
- Coordination failure
- Breathing is shallow.
- Slurred, slow speech
- Staggering, balance difficulties
Excessive and long-term use of barbiturates, such as phenobarbital, may result in the chronic symptoms listed below:
- Changes in vigilance
- Reduced performance
- Memory lapses
Barbiturates Withdrawal Symptoms
Since physical dependence and tolerance can develop with continued use, barbiturates withdrawal symptoms from regular use can lead to various problems, including:
Barbiturate withdrawal symptoms in cases where an individual stops regular use of very high doses of these drugs; Barbiturate withdrawal symptoms can be much more severe and might include:
- Low blood pressure
Abrupt withdrawal from the regular use of high barbiturates can be life-threatening. People who have become addicted to these drugs must seek the care of trained rehabilitation professionals to help them withdraw safely and effectively from these drugs.
Barbiturates List Street Name
- Block Busters
- Christmas Trees
- Goof Ball
- Red Devils
- Reds & Blues
- Yellow Jackets
World-class, Accredited, 5-Star Reviewed, Effective Addiction & Mental Health Programs. Complete Behavioral Health Inpatient Rehab, Detox plus Co-occuring Disorders Therapy.CALL (877) 378-4154
End the Addiction Pain. End the Emotional Rollercoaster. Get Your Life Back. Start Drug, Alcohol & Dual Diagnosis Mental Health Treatment Now. Get Free No-obligation Guidance by Substance Abuse Specialists Who Understand Addiction & Mental Health Recovery & Know How to Help.
Barbiturate Overdose Risks
Barbiturates have a low therapeutic index—meaning there’s a relatively thin line between the dose needed to achieve therapeutic effects and one that will result in harmful consequences. Overdose can be a hazardous side effect of barbiturate abuse, especially when polydrug use involves substances like heroin and alcohol.
If a barbiturate overdose is suspected, it is important to contact medical professionals instantly by calling 911. Upon arrival, experts will take and monitor an individual’s vital signs and screen them for substances. Overdose can result in severe injury due to reduced motor function and the possible results of a fall. Such injuries can include head and neck injuries, which can have long-term health effects on a person.
Kidney injury and muscle damage are also possible due to a lack of awareness of surroundings and an individual’s ability to lie on a hard surface for a prolonged period. Aspiration of the lungs is also possible, and the most extreme cases can result in coma and death.
Top Barbiturates Frequently Asked Questions
Is Xanax a Barbiturate? Xanax barbiturates examined.
Alprazolam, the active ingredient in Xanax, is not barbiturate. Instead, Xanax belongs to the benzodiazepine drug family (benzos). Both benzodiazepines and barbiturates are central nervous system (CNS) depressants with similar action; they both cause drowsiness and are used to treat seizures and insomnia. Thus, Xanax barbiturates are distinctly different, where Xanax is benzo vs. a barbiturate drug.
Barbiturate Overdose Meaning
A barbiturate overdose occurs when a person consumes more of this medication than is usual or recommended. This can happen by chance or on purpose. An overdose is potentially fatal.
What is Barbiturates Meaning or Barbiturates Def?
Barbiturates are synthetic medicines that depress the central nervous system (CNS). Barbiturates’ effects range from mild sedation to coma, with their indications ranging from sedatives (depressants), hypnotics, anticonvulsants, or as part of anesthesia. Some barbiturates are also used to relieve anxiety or tension before surgery. At fairly low doses, barbiturates may make someone seem drunk or intoxicated.
Simply put, barbiturates are drugs that act as central nervous system depressants. They can cause drowsiness, confusion, and an increased risk of overdose.
What Are Barbiturates Depressants?
To define barbiturates, their usage as depressants of the central nervous system can lead to coma to mild sedation or, in severe cases, barbiturates overdose. Barbiturates depressants have additionally been utilized as hypnotics, anesthetics, sedatives, and anticonvulsants.
Is Valium a Benzo or Barbiturate? What about Xanax barbiturates?
Valium is a benzodiazepine, one of the most common benzodiazepine prescription drugs.
What about Xanax barbiturates? Xanax is not a barbiturate. It is a benzodiazepine, which is a different class of medication. It is similarly used for anxiety and insomnia, but the side effects and risks differ. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions when taking any medication.
Is Alcohol A Barbiturate?
Barbiturates can be thought of as so-called brain relaxers. Alcohol is also a brain relaxer. The effects of barbiturates and alcohol are similar but not the same.
Is Ambien A Barbiturate?
Not at all, no. Even though zolpidem and barbiturates fall under sedative-hypnotic medicines, their chemical structures are unrelated. Ambien (zolpidem) is a non-benzodiazepine, non-barbiturate hypnotic that slows down brain activity by acting on specific receptors. Due to its lower risk of addiction and overdose, Ambien is preferable to barbiturates.
Is Cocaine A Barbiturate?
Cocaine is not a barbiturate; it is a stimulant substance derived from the South American coca plant leaves.
What type of drugs are barbiturates? What are barbiturates used for?
Barbiturates are central nervous system depressants that can cause various symptoms, ranging from mild sedation to coma. They have also been employed as hypnotics, anesthetics, sedatives, and anticonvulsants.
Barbiturates Withdrawal Treatment
There is no home antidote for barbiturate addiction treatment. If you believe someone has taken barbiturates inappropriately, take them to the hospital for evaluation by a doctor, or consult a barbiturates addiction specialist.
Withdrawing from barbiturates can be severe and potentially fatal and should not be done alone. The help of a medically-supervised withdrawal management program will ease the more uncomfortable symptoms and ensure safety from the more severe and possibly life-threatening symptoms. Medically supervised detox can also boost the chance of a successful recovery from barbiturate dependence and addiction.
The detoxification program for barbiturates normally uses a tapering program such that the clients are given subsequent decreasing doses of either a long-acting barbiturate or benzodiazepine. This incremental process allows the body to adapt to lower levels of barbiturates and slowly normalize its functioning without experiencing the severe effects of withdrawal.
Other medicines may also be employed to control specific symptoms that the tapering process does not effectively address. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) may prolong the withdrawal process; however, it also decreases the symptoms and effectively eliminates the possibility of risky symptoms, such as seizures. A medically assisted detox program will be administered under the supervision of an addiction medicine physician or a psychiatrist specializing in addiction.
Find The Right Addiction Treatment At We Level Up NJ
Why have you or your loved one become addicted to barbiturates? What help is available, is it safe, and does it work? Contact us at the We Level Up NJ treatment facility to answer all your questions. We provide the utmost care with doctors and medical staff available 24/7 for life-changing and lasting recovery. We provide enhanced therapy to return to a fulfilling and productive life.
What Are Barbiturates? Barbiturate Overdose Risks, Use, Effects, Withdrawal & Addiction Treatment Video
What Are Barbiturates? Barbiturate Overdose Risks, Use, Effects, Withdrawal & Addiction Treatment Video Script
Welcome to the We Level Up treatment center video series. In today’s video, we will discuss What are Barbiturate Overdose Risks, Use, Effects, Withdrawal & Addiction Treatment Options?
What are barbiturates? Barbiturates are drugs used to treat anxiety, epilepsy, and sleeplessness. They are a type of central nervous system depressant that can potentially establish habits and be addictive. Overdosing on barbiturates can lead to respiratory depression, overdose, and even death.
Synthetic barbiturates drugs slow down the central nervous system. Barbiturates are used as sedatives or depressants, hypnotics, anticonvulsants, and as a component of anesthesia. Their effects range from mild sleepiness to coma. Barbiturates can also be used to relax patients before surgery. Barbiturates can make someone appear inebriated or drunk at relatively low doses.
Barbiturates are addictive. Those who take them develop a physical dependence on them. It may be fatal to stop using them (barbiturate withdrawal). Barbiturates’ ability to modify mood quickly leads to tolerance with continued use. Repeated usage increases the likelihood of developing severe poisoning as resistance to the fatal effects takes longer.
What Are Barbiturates Used For?
Few substances are used in medicine today compared to the 1900s when barbiturates were first made available. In the past, barbiturates were frequently given to treat anxiety, sleeplessness, and depression. The National Institute of Health claims that Barbiturates are drugs that cause sleepiness and relaxation. A barbiturate overdose occurs when a patient consumes more of this medication than is typical or advised. Either by chance or by purpose, this may occur.
A barbiturate overdose poses a serious health risk. Therefore, it is no longer advised to use barbiturates as hypnotics or sedatives to ease daytime restlessness or insomnia brought on by everyday pressures. Due to these potentially fatal adverse effects, safer drugs have replaced barbiturates in many applications.
Barbiturates are mostly used today to treat severe and extreme cases of insomnia. These medications occasionally function as an adjuvant to anesthesia and aid in controlling epilepsy episodes. Barbiturates are classified as Schedule II, III, and IV depressants under the Controlled Substances Act, according to the US Drug Enforcement Agency.
What Is the definition of Barbiturates?
Like sleeping pills, barbiturates are defined as “downers.” They function by reducing the activity of your nervous system and brain. The individual feels at ease as a result. Barbiturates can impair memory and judgment. Barbiturates can also produce mood changes and make users furious, despondent, and exhausted. They are more harmful when misused because they are stronger than most sleeping pills. This medicine can cause tolerance in users, who then use it more frequently. They might weaken muscles, harm the liver, and damage bones when used frequently and for an extended time.
Never mix two different medication types. Taking barbiturates along with heroin or alcohol is extremely risky. Alcohol, heroin, and barbiturates all reduce brain and nervous system activity. Because the neurological system regulates respiration, combining these medicines increases the risk of a barbiturate overdose, which increases the likelihood that the user will cease breathing and pass away.
The Effects of Barbiturates Drugs
What are some of the effects of barbiturates? Barbiturates are classified as ultra-short, short, intermediate, or long-acting drugs depending on how quickly they generate their effects and how long they last. They slow down the central nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord, faster than alcohol.
The effects of phenobarbital and long-acting barbiturates can linger for up to a day. These long-acting barbiturates are typically taken with other drugs to treat epilepsy and avoid convulsions.
Intermediate-acting barbiturates, such as butobarbital sodium, have effects that last six to twelve hours and are used to treat insomnia. One example of a short-acting barbiturate used to aid in sleep for those with insomnia is pentobarbital.
Patients preparing for surgery are given an injection of the ultra-quick-acting barbiturate thiamylal to make them unconscious. The patient is kept asleep during the surgical operation using gaseous anesthetics.
Barbiturates can make people feel liberated, calm, somewhat euphoric, anxiety-free, and sleepy in little dosages. Stress, aggression, physical ataxia, psychosis, slurred speech, and suicidal thoughts can all be brought on by higher doses. As the dosage of barbiturates rises, the likelihood of tripping or getting into trouble increases.
Tolerance to Barbiturates might emerge quickly with repeated use. Most often, Barbiturates tolerance develops when higher doses than necessary to elicit the same effects are required. When the respiratory and central nervous systems are severely depressed, overdose symptoms such as a quick and weak pulse, shallow breathing, dilated pupils, clammy skin, and even death may follow.
What are the short-term effects of barbiturates?
Barbiturates are effective painkillers for short-term use that can:
o Pre-surgical sedation.
o Anticonvulsant effects for people with seizure disorders.
o Relief from insomnia and anxiety symptoms.
Learn about barbiturate side effects before taking them
Barbiturates are short-term medications that can effectively treat anxiety and sleeplessness symptoms, offer sedation before surgery, and act as anticonvulsants for people with seizure disorders. Barbiturates have side effect profiles, just as most drugs do. Chronic drug usage can result in several harmful outcomes, including:
o Increased sensitivity to sound
o Increased sensitivity to pain
o Increased perspiration
o Hallucinations or psychosis (rare)
o Memory and attention impairments
o Emotional instability
o Suicidal ideation
o Incoordination and impaired balance
o Slurred speech
Overdosing on barbiturates can cause respiratory suppression, coma, severe brain and other organ damage, and even death.
Warning: Barbiturate Abuse Can Be Fatal
Since barbiturates are frequently abused, many medical experts prefer to prescribe benzodiazepines or benzos instead. Although benzos still have misuse potential, they are less dangerous than barbiturates.
Barbiturate abusers frequently select short-acting or intermediate medications like Seconal and Amytal. These particular medications normally take 15 to 40 minutes to take effect, and it might take up to six hours for those effects to wear off. Although the effects of long-acting barbiturates can continue for up to two days, their abuse potential is lower.
The most popular way to abuse medications is by taking pills orally. However, some users have been known to inject the drug in liquid form to hasten absorption. Using barbiturates is typically done to alleviate anxiety, lessen the effects of other drugs, and lower inhibitions.
Barbiturates are frequently misused when people try to self-medicate. Unfortunately, because addictive substances are always on a slippery slope, misuse typically results in abuse and possibly addiction.
Many people struggle with a serious addiction to barbiturates. Most people who use these medications to treat seizure disorders or pain syndromes do not abuse them. Those who do typically abuse barbiturates start by first taking a medication prescribed for them or a family member.
Most barbiturate overdoses involve a mix of substances, frequently opiates like heroin, oxycodone, or fentanyl and barbiturates.
Those who use barbiturate combinations tend to be:
o New users who do not know these combinations can lead to coma or death.
o Experienced users who use them on purpose to alter their consciousness.
What are the risks of barbiturate overdose?
Barbiturates have a low therapeutic index, which means that the threshold between a dose required to provide therapeutic effects and one that will have negative effects is relatively thin. Abusing barbiturates can have dangerous negative effects, particularly if heroin and alcohol are used.
Calling 911 immediately is crucial if a suspected barbiturate overdose victim needs medical attention. Upon arrival, professionals will track a person’s vital signs and conduct a drug test. As a result of impaired motor function and the potential for a fall, an overdose can cause serious harm. These injuries, including head and neck traumas, can affect a person’s health in the long run.
Due to a lack of awareness of surroundings and a person’s capacity to lie on a hard surface for an extended period, kidney injury and muscular damage are also potential negative effects. Lung aspiration is another possibility; it might lead to unconsciousness and death in the worst scenarios.
What to do if you suspect someone is overdosing on barbiturates
There is no home antidote for barbiturate addiction treatment. If you believe someone has taken barbiturates inappropriately, take them to the hospital for evaluation by a doctor, or consult a barbiturates addiction specialist.
Barbiturates Withdrawal / Barbiturates Detox
Barbiturate withdrawal can be a dangerous process, and it is important to seek medical detox assistance if you or someone you know is experiencing withdrawal symptoms from Barbiturate drugs. Symptoms may include confusion, changes in mood, agitation, insomnia, tremors, and seizures. When abruptly stopping barbiturates, medical interventions may be necessary to manage the withdrawal process safely.
Withdrawing from barbiturates can also be severe and potentially fatal and should not be done alone. The assistance of a Barbiturates Detox program for managing withdrawal under medical supervision will lessen the more unpleasant symptoms and offer protection from the more severe and potentially fatal ones. The likelihood of a successful recovery from barbiturate addiction dependence can also be increased by medically supervised detox.
The detoxification program for barbiturates normally uses a tapering program such that the clients are given subsequent decreasing doses of either a long-acting barbiturate or benzodiazepine. This gradual procedure enables the body to adjust to lower barbiturate dosages and gradually return to normal operation without suffering from unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
Additional medications may be used to control particular symptoms that the tapering process does not sufficiently address. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can lengthen withdrawal, reducing symptoms and effectively removing dangerous symptoms like seizures. A medically assisted detox program will be run under the direction of a psychiatrist specializing in addiction or a doctor practicing addiction medicine.
Barbiturates Addiction Treatment Protocols
Treatment for barbiturate addiction typically includes psychiatric counseling, individual and group psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, group support, and involvement in social organizations focused on addiction recovery. Medications such as antidepressants may also be prescribed to help address underlying mental health issues that may have contributed to the addiction. Additionally, support from family and friends is a powerful factor in recovery.
That’s it for today. If you like our video, please let us know. Have a great day.
Start a New Life
Begin with a free call to an addiction & behavioral health treatment advisor. Learn more about our dual-diagnosis programs. The We Level Up treatment center network delivers recovery programs that vary by each treatment facility. Call to learn more.
- Personalized Care
- Caring Accountable Staff
- World-class Amenities
- Licensed & Accredited
- Renowned w/ 100s 5-Star Reviews
We’ll Call You
Search We Level Up NJ Barbiturates Addiction Resources
  NIH – https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000951.htm. What are barbiturates effects? They are gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) boosting drugs.
 DEA – https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/Barbiturates-2020_0.pdf
 NIDA – https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-cns-depressants
 NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499875/
 United States Drug Enforcement Administration. (N. D.). Drug scheduling.
 Doweiko, H. (2011). Concepts of chemical dependency. Stanford, CT: Nelson Education.
 Ingersoll, R. E., & Rak, C. (2015). Psychopharmacology for mental health professionals: An integrative approach. Stanford, CT: Nelson Education.
 American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders – fifth edition. Washington, DC: Author.
 Albertson TE. Barbiturates. In: Olson KR, Smollin CG, Anderson IB, Benowitz NL, Blanc PD, Kim-Katz SY, Lewis JC, Wu AB, eds. Poisoning & Drug Overdose, 8e. McGraw Hill; 2022. Accessed 6/14/2022.
 Anxiolytic and Hypnotic Drugs. In: Stringer JL. eds. Basic Concepts in Pharmacology: What You Need to Know for Each Drug Class, 5e. McGraw Hill; 2017. Accessed 6/14/2022.
 European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction | emcdda.europa.eu. Barbiturates drug profile. (https://www.emcdda.europa.eu/publications/drug-profiles/barbiturates_en) Accessed 6/14/2022.
 Gresham C, LoVecchio F. Barbiturates. In: Tintinalli JE, Ma O, Yealy DM, Meckler GD, Stapczynski J, Cline DM, Thomas SH, eds. Tintinalli’s Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide, 9e. McGraw Hill; 2020. Accessed 6/14/2022.
 National Library of Medicine | dailymed.nlm.nih.gov. DailyMed. (https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/index.cfm) Accessed 6/14/2022.
 Neurophysiology & Anesthesia. In: Butterworth IV JF, Mackey DC, Wasnick JD, eds. Morgan & Mikhail’s Clinical Anesthesiology, 7e. McGraw Hill; 2022. Accessed 6/14/2022.
 Nichols JH, Rutherford NJ, Laposata M. Toxicology. In: Laposata M, eds. Laposata’s Laboratory Medicine: Diagnosis of Disease in the Clinical Laboratory, 3e. McGraw Hill; 2019. Accessed 6/14/2022.
 Skibiski J, Abdijadid S. Barbiturates. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK539731/) [Updated 2021 Nov 14]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Accessed 6/14/2022.
 Suddock JT, Cain MD. Barbiturate Toxicity. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499875/) [Updated 2021 Jul 5]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Accessed 6/14/2022.
 MedlinePlus – Zolpidem https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a693025.html