Treatment For Barbiturate Addiction

When their high potential for abuse and overdose became apparent in the 1970s, barbiturates began being replaced by benzodiazepines. However, these medications are still prescribed in rare cases, and studies show that their misuse has increased in recent years.

Barbiturates are a class of central nervous system (CNS) depressant drugs that are also sometimes referred to as sedative-hypnotics.

It isn’t easy for doctors to determine a safe dose of barbiturates, which is one reason why these medications haven’t been prescribed as much in recent decades.

Their use can also lead to tolerance, dependence, misuse, and addiction. If you are living with a barbiturate addiction, treatment at ORC can help you stop using these drugs safely and achieve lasting recovery. 

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Addiction Treatment At Ohio Recovery Center

Addiction is a complex mental health condition that affects each person differently. This is why we offer a client-centered, personalized approach to recovery, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.

For people with barbiturate addictions, this includes withdrawal management services to keep you safe and more comfortable while going through withdrawal.

Your particular detox needs, and other care needs, will be determined through a full evaluation and assessment provided shortly after your arrival at ORC.

Our peaceful campus, set on 55 acres of forested countryside, offers gender-specific cottages, 24/7 medical and clinical care with the latest and best evidence-based treatments, and beautiful grounds to explore, including hiking trails, a pond, and more.

Medical Detoxification

If you experience tremors, agitation, insomnia, or other withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop using barbiturates, or when unable to obtain them, you can benefit from ORC’s medical detox program.

Medical detox is especially important for people whose addictions involve barbiturates or other drugs that can cause potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms like seizures and hallucinations.

Our around-the-clock medical care and supervision can help you safely and confidently stop using barbiturates, while treatment following withdrawal can help you understand the cause of your substance use disorder for long-term recovery.

Evidence-Based Therapy

Evidence-based addiction treatment options are those that have been proven through numerous rigorous scientific studies to help people recover from addiction.

Specific therapies have also earned this distinction, such as the ones offered at Ohio Recovery Center. These include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), motivational interviewing (MI), and more.

Individual therapy sessions give you the space to delve into personal factors with your therapist, while group therapy provides a broader perspective and addresses common concerns. Family therapy can help heal relationships that have been strained.

Other Treatments & Support

Among the many offerings at ORC to support your recovery, you will also find peer support groups, case management services to help with time off work and other needs, wellness activities, and aftercare services.

You’ll also receive three home-cooked meals each day and have plenty of opportunities to explore our beautiful grounds and take part in social opportunities like karaoke, movie and game nights, sports, and more.

To learn more about our barbiturate addiction treatment options, please reach out to Ohio Recovery Center today. 

Learn More About Barbiturates 

Barbiturates are prescription drugs that act as central nervous system (CNS) depressants, causing relaxation and drowsiness by increasing the activity of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA.

There are four main types of barbiturates: ultra-short-acting barbiturates, short-acting barbiturates, intermediate-acting barbiturates, and long-acting barbiturates.

Ultra-Short-Acting Barbiturates

The effects of ultra-short-acting barbiturates last about 15 minutes when used intravenously and between 45 and 60 minutes when used in rectal suppository form. 

These drugs include:

  • methohexital (sold under the brand names Brevital and Brietal)
  • thiamylal (Surital)
  • thiopental (Pentothal)

Short-Acting Barbiturates

The effects of short-acting barbiturates last about three to four hours. 

These drugs include:

  • pentobarbital (Nembutal) 
  • secobarbital (Seconal) 

Intermediate-Acting Barbiturates

The effects of intermediate-acting barbiturates last about four to six hours.

These drugs include:

Long-Acting Barbiturates

The effects of long-acting barbiturates last up to 12 hours, though the drugs may stay in your system for up to a few days. 

They include:

What Are Barbiturates Used For?

In the 1960s, barbiturates became a well-known treatment option for anxiety, insomnia, and epilepsy (seizure disorder). However, their popularity faded in the 1970s when benzodiazepines were introduced as a safer alternative. 

Today, barbiturates are only prescribed in rare cases. 

For example, they may be used to treat severe cases of insomnia or epilepsy that have not responded to other, safer treatments. They are also sometimes used as general anesthetics before surgery or other medical procedures. 

Side Effects Of Barbiturates

Barbiturates can have a number of adverse effects, both physical and psychological.

The most common physical side effects of barbiturates include:

  • headache
  • slurred speech
  • vision problems
  • poor coordination
  • nausea and vomiting

The most common psychological side effects of barbiturates include:

  • poor concentration
  • poor judgment
  • lowered inhibitions
  • memory problems
  • confusion
  • low blood pressure

Barbiturate Misuse And Addiction

Like alcohol, barbiturates can make you feel calm and happy. People may misuse them for these effects.

Barbiturate misuse occurs when people use the drugs in a manner not prescribed. For example, they might use barbiturates more often than prescribed, at higher doses than prescribed, or without a prescription. They may also mix barbiturates with alcohol or other drugs. 

Many people who misuse barbiturates buy them on the illegal drug market, where they’re sold under street names like “barbs,” “goof balls,” and “yellow jackets.”

Misuse can quickly lead to an addiction, since tolerance can develop quickly for barbiturates, meaning that a person will need to take more of the drug to achieve the same effects. Physical dependence can also happen, producing uncomfortable and at times life-threatening withdrawal symptoms when the person no longer takes the drug. This can make stopping drug use very difficult.

Barbiturate Overdose

When you abuse barbiturates, you’re more likely to experience serious side effects. You also face a high risk of overdose.

Common signs of barbiturate overdose include:

  • dizziness
  • muscle weakness
  • trouble breathing
  • extreme thirst
  • change in pupil size
  • bluish lips and/or fingernails
  • low body temperature
  • loss of consciousness

If you or someone you know experiences these symptoms, call 911 right away. When left untreated, a barbiturate overdose can be fatal.

Seek Addiction Treatment At Ohio Recovery Center

If you or a loved one are suffering from barbiturate abuse or another form of addiction, contact us today. Our treatment specialists are available to help you begin your recovery journey.

  1. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
  2. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus
  3. National Library of Medicine: StatPearls

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

Updated on: May 3, 2024

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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