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What are Barbiturates?

Barbiturates addicted woman

Barbiturates are a type of drugs that are sedative and hypnotic. This means that they decrease anxiety and that they induce sleep. They are used in the medical field to treat anxiety, psychosis and depression but they are also becoming increasingly popular on the drug abuse scene, which is a worrying fact.

History of Barbiturates and Barbiturates Abuse
Barbiturates were first used in medicine in the early 20th century.

Some 60 years later, they were incredibly popular to treat insomnia, anxiety and seizures. As they become more widely used by medical professionals, they suddenly started to be abused as well. They were even used to treat the symptoms of using other illicit drugs. The problem is that they are actually very dangerous drugs, particularly because it is very hard to work out the correct dose that should be used. Overdosing on a barbiturate can lead to coma or death. Besides this, they are barbiturates addiction is easily achieved and their withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening.

Since the 1970s, both the use and abuse of barbiturates has declined. This is because benzodiazepines are now prescribed instead, which lead to great deals of barbiturate abuse prevention. It is very rare for people to be addicted to barbiturates now, although it seems that since the 1990s, there has been a steady incline of teenagers abusing the drugs.

Types of Barbiturates – What Are Barbiturates?
There are a lot of different types of barbiturates. They differ mainly in how long they last. Some can last as long as two days, others for just a few minutes. They can be injected but usually come in pill form. There are many street drugs that are barbiturates and they are usually described by the effect and color of the pill. Some common names include blue heavens (amobarbital), Mexican yellows (pentobarbital), good balls (phenobarbital), pinks (secobarbital) and rainbows (tuinal).

Barbiturates Abuse Causes
Unfortunately, barbiturates are still being abused, mainly by younger people. This may be because drugs like meth and cocaine is also on the rise and the downers (barbiturates) counteract these drugs. Also, young people these days were not around to see the amount of people who died due to barbiturates and do not have the instilled fear of them that older generations have. Lastly, they are used very commonly in suicide attempts, often successfully.

Barbiturate Abuse Symptoms
A barbiturate is essentially a brain relaxer, in the same way as alcohol is. Other common medication that works in the same way is a sleeping tablet, paracetamol and antihistamines. However, when it comes to barbiturate abuse, people actually describe a high, like an intoxication. Generally, the barbiturates side effects will make them feel intoxicated, drowsy and they will lose a lot of their inhibitions. If they take too much, their speech will be slurred and they will stagger and feel confused. At an even higher dose, the user will fall into a coma.

The big barbiturate abuse risks are that the difference between drowsiness and a coma or death is incredibly small. Medically, this is referred as a narrow therapeutic-to-toxic range. This is the big danger with these drugs and why they are no longer used in the medical profession. They are also highly addictive and the withdrawal symptoms are incredibly dangerous They include insomnia, tremors, seizures and hallucinations. Babies can be born addicted if the mother took them during pregnancy.

Barbiturate Abuse Treatment
If a person has become addicted to barbiturates, there is no possible treatment at home. If you think someone has taken barbiturates, they should be taken straight to a medical professional for help. It is so easy to overdose on these drugs, particularly for the elderly, the very young and those with underlying medical conditions.

Treatment is usually just supportive. If they can breathe, they will simply be watched and supported until they come out of it. If they have ceased breathing, they will be hooked to a ventilator. They will generally also have to drink a charcoal liquid to bind the drugs inside the body and then have their stomachs pumped. They will usually require careful observation and monitoring for a good number of hours in a hospital.

Outlook of Barbiturate Abuse
Most people survive barbiturate abuse if they have been treated in time. However, it isn’t uncommon for people to die. The outlook depends on whether they have ingested any other drugs and whether they have any other medical problems.The speed with which they were seen is also vital.

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