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Barbiturates Addiction Treatment

Nowadays it is hard to turn on the television and not see an advertisement for a “cure-all” medicine. It seems the more advanced our society becomes, the more people rely on different medications to help get them through the day. Barbiturates1 are no exception to this fact. With the stresses of the job, the family and life in general, sometimes we may think we need medication to slow the pace. But what starts out as a pill here and there may turn into a fast, downward spiral into addiction.

Examples of barbiturates include:

  • Seconal ®
  • Nembutal®
  • Amytal ®
  • Tuina®

More commonly know slang terms for barbiturates are:

  • “Reds”
  • “Red Devils”
  • “Yellow Jackets”
  • “Blue Heavens”
  • “Christmas Trees”
  • “Rainbows”

Barbiturates were first introduced to the medical world in the early 1900s. Doctors used them to treat patients who had trouble sleeping at night as well as before performing surgical operations to sedate patients. Currently, this drug is also used for sedation, hypnosis, anesthetics and anticonvulsants. Because of their tranquil nature, barbiturates can be accurately described as a “downer” as they literally constrict the activity of the central nervous system. Though this drug has a tranquil effect, it should not be confused with a tranquilizer as a barbiturate is actually much stronger than a tranquilizer. As this type of drug is normally used by prescription only, the patient is sometimes not even aware of the addicting toll it takes after extended use. Like many drugs, barbiturates can be extremely beneficial when taken properly, however, with excessive use over time, the effects can be permanently damaging.

Mental Effects

Barbiturates have damaging short and long-term effects, therefore it is imperative to notate that there are both physical and mental side effects to this addiction. Those who become addicted to a barbiturate may experience mood swings, anger, depression, poor judgment, lapses in memory and fatigue. Although these are simply short term, they are damaging all the same as not only do they affect the person who is addicted to the drug, but everyone surrounding them including family and friends.

Physical Effects

The physical effects associated with this drug addiction can be quite severe. Those taking barbiturates improperly can suffer from a range of blood problems and liver disease. When barbiturates are mixed with alcoholic beverages, they can even lead to death2.

It is important to note that if you attempt to quit using the drug cold turkey, you will suffer withdrawal effects including sleeplessness, irritability, restlessness, seizures or most extreme, death.

It is important to recognize that it is rare that the person who is suffering from the addiction will actively seek help on their own. Therefore, it is extremely important that if you know someone who is battling an addiction to barbiturates to find help immediately. Find a local drug rehabilitation center that specializes in barbiturate treatment. The first step in curing addiction is recognizing that there is a problem.


1Recovery Connection
 Provides vital information to recovery from addiction to barbiturates
 View Resource

2Pharmacological Reviews
 Provides general barbiturate facts and stats
 View Resource

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