Barbiturates are one of the few drugs that date back to the 1800s. Though scientists discovered the drug during that time period, it wasn’t until the 20th century that researchers realized how the drug would affect the human body. Doctors originally prescribed the drug for animals before prescribing the medication for human use. As use of the drug spread, doctors quickly realized that some patients developed a dependence on the drug. In the 1970s, the United States government banned the use of several barbiturates and identified others as scheduled narcotics. Though doctors do not typically prescribe the drug today, as recreational use of the drug grew, people found themselves addicted to the substance.
The effects of taking barbiturates are similar to the effects of using alcohol. Doctors originally used the medication to help patients sleep better, and some medical practitioners prescribed the drug to patients recovering from surgery. It typically causes euphoric thoughts and feelings that users describe as an intense high. Users can also suffer from sleepiness, trouble concentrating, dizziness, anger, and irritable thoughts. Other symptoms include difficulty walking and talking, impaired motor skills, depression, and a reduction in inhibitions. People taking barbiturates often have a hard time making decision and might do and say unusual things when taking the drug.
The effects that users feel after taking barbiturates depend on the type of drug they take. Unless you used barbiturates in the past, you probably don’t know that doctors place the drug into two categories: short-acting and intermediate-acting. Short-acting barbiturates refer to sleeping pills and medications prescribed for those suffering from anxiety disorders, while intermediate-acting barbiturates are similar to the drugs doctors give animals. A larger dose of an intermediate-acting drug can lead to death in someone inexperienced with the drug. It usually takes 15 minutes for the user to feel the effects of the drug, but it can take up to 40 minutes before the person feels any effects. Many users find that the effects of the drug begin wearing off after six hours.
As soon as you notice someone experiencing any of the symptoms of addiction to barbiturates, you should seek help. The risks of barbiturates include dependence or addition to the drug. According to statistics, those over the age of 65 have an increased risk of suffering from addiction, but anyone who uses the drug is at risk of developing a dependence on the drug. Those who regularly abuse barbiturates also risk suffering from an accidental overdose of the drug.
A drug overdose occurs when a person takes a high dose of the medication. Those who develop a tolerance to the drug are more likely to suffer an overdose. Whenever you take any type of medication on a regular basis, you develop a tolerance to that drug. You might notice that two over-the-counter medications no longer help you relieve pain because your body developed a tolerance. Tolerance essentially means that you need to take a higher dose to feel any effects. Those who regularly take barbiturates often find that they need to take a slightly higher dose each time to feel the same effects they did the first time they took the drug.
Identifying the signs of an overdose is tricky because many of those symptoms are similar to the typical effects of taking the drug. Someone going through an overdose will often have problems thinking, concentrating, moving, or reacting. The individual will also suffer from poor decision making skills, and some people will even lose consciousness. If you think that someone you care about is in the middle of a drug overdose, call 911 or seek help immediately. Doctors can pump the person’s stomach or use activated charcoal to remove all traces of the drug from the individual’s system.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the number of prescriptions written by doctors for barbiturates increased by more than 30 percent in a five-year span in the United States. Though doctors stopped writing prescriptions for the drug for several years, that statistic shows that the number of people with access to the medication increased in recent years. The same study also found that both men and women use the drug in equal numbers. Those with prescriptions can obtain the drug from any pharmacy, but many pharmacies now have regulations in place that monitor the number of drugs given to patients. Those who have difficulty obtaining the drug from a doctor can purchase the medication on the street where they are known as Bluebirds, Sleepers, Downers and Dolls.
Learning that someone in your life suffers from a drug addiction is a scary experience, but many people never pick up on the signs of addiction until it is too late. When you notice personality changes in someone you care about, you should look for other signs of addition. Those addicted to barbiturates will often experience dramatic mood swings that cause the person to feel tired and lethargic and angry one moment and irritated the next. Those taking barbiturates will often sleep for long periods of time and have trouble concentrating on simple tasks. You might also notice that the person suffers from a decreased heart rate or pulse.
Those with an addiction to barbiturates will often experience other signs of addiction, and one of the more common signs is doctor shopping. When a doctor determines that a patient has a problem with a specific drug, the doctor will stop prescribing that medication. Doctor shopping is when an individual frequently changes doctors or visits more than one doctor at a time. Addicts often claim that they lost pills in the hopes of obtaining a second prescription, and some addicts visit local emergency rooms and clinics with phantom pains and odd symptoms to get more prescriptions. You might also notice that a loved one uses more than one pharmacy. Addicts often spread prescriptions around town to reduce the chances of someone learning of their abuse.
The sooner that you seek help for someone suffering from an addiction to barbiturates, the greater the chances are that the person will recover from that addiction. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of people using prescription drugs increased by more than 48 percent in a single year in the United States. Those addicted to prescription drugs won’t often seek help on their own, but you can get the help that your loved one desperately needs. Overdosing on a drug is a wake up call, but many addicts will never reach that point in their lives. If you notice any changes in someone you care about, seek help for that person.
Many people think that inpatient treatment is the only way that a person can recover from an addiction. Living at home is potentially dangerous for someone with an addiction to barbiturates. As much as you want to help the addict in your life, you cannot watch over that person every day. The person might feel tempted to use the drug again because they see the same people they abused the drug with every day, and they feel like the only way they can go through life is with the drug. With inpatient treatment, the addict has the chance to live away from home and all of the distractions that home provides. Think about your own life and the things that you do every day. Between running errands, dealing with issues at work and finding time to cook and clean, you might find yourself feeling stressed every day. Barbiturate addicts experience the same type of stress at home, which might cause the person to start using drugs again.
Inpatient treatment gives an addict the chance to focus on recovering from the addiction in a comfortable environment. Doctors and counselors on staff can help the addict stop using the drug and find ways to avoid using the drug in the future. The process begins with an inventory that asks when the person started using the drug, any other substances the person uses and the patient’s family history. Patients will work with their counselors and others in the facility until they’re ready to go home again.
According to SAMHSA, more than 23 million people in the country seek treatment for drug addiction and alcoholism, and more than 40,000 of those people seek help for an addiction to sedatives like barbiturates. More than 40 percent of those who attend inpatient rehab centers successfully complete their programs, and a large number of those people remain drug-free for the rest of their lives. Before you immediately decide that inpatient treatment is the best choice for your loved one, you need to think about the types of programs available.
The first thing you should look at is the length of the program. While some programs only cover a single weekend in the facility, patients can attend programs that last for several months or up to one year. A weekend-long program is a good option for someone who has limited free time. Those who need to work a full-time job or have other obligations can complete the program in a few days. Others will find that they need to spend one month or longer in the facility. A longer rehab stay can help addicts cope with issues that they face at home.
Learning that a loved one suffers from an addiction to barbiturates might leave you feeling frustrated and confused, but you should know that you are not alone. Whether you realize that you are the one addicted to barbiturates, or you are concerned that a loved one has an addiction, today is the day that you take a step in the right direction. After identifying the signs of addiction, find an inpatient treatment facility that offers the help and support that you or a loved one needs.
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