Barbiturate Overdose Symptoms
Learn more about barbiturates, the risk factors of a barbiturate overdose, and how to seek care for overdose symptoms.
What Are Barbiturates?
Barbiturates are sedative-hypnotic drugs generally used to induce a sense of calmness and relaxation in the central nervous system. Ordinarily, barbiturates can be safely used in clinical treatments. Still, when abused or taken in excess, they can quickly lead to barbiturate overdose or acute barbiturate poisoning.
How Do Barbiturates Work?
Barbiturates work by suppressing nerve impulses in the central nervous system. This happens due to an increase in the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) induced by the ingestion of barbiturate drugs.
GABA is a brain chemical with sedative effects. When its activity is increased, it causes an overwhelming sedative and depressive impact on the brain. Therefore, when taken in considerable amounts, barbiturate drugs would place a person in a state of barbiturate intoxication.
What Are Barbiturates Used For?
Barbiturate uses generally relate to neurological and psychological treatments. Some common barbiturate uses include:
How Long Do Barbiturates Stay in Your System?
Barbiturates medications are classified based on their duration. This varies between very short-acting, short-acting, and intermediate-acting durations. Barbiturates such as thiamylal (Surital), Pentobarbital (Nembutal), and Secobarbital (Amytal) may last anywhere between a few hours to up to seventy hours in your system. Other long-acting barbiturates may last for up to over one hundred hours. 3
What Do Barbiturates Do?
Once barbiturates enter the system’s circulation, it creates an increase in the activities of GABA, which reduces the neurons' efficiency. Therefore, depending on the barbiturate drugs consumed, people may feel barbiturates’ effects in anywhere from fifteen to thirty minutes.
Most Common Types of Barbiturates
Are Barbiturates Safe?
Barbiturate prescription drugs are generally safe when considerate dosages are taken. Although some barbiturates have short-term effects, these effects are usually mild when the drugs are consumed based on a doctor's prescription. However, where there has been barbiturate abuse, side effects can be more severe, sometimes even leading to a barbiturate overdose and death.
Are Barbiturates Controlled Substances?
Most barbiturates fall under Schedule II, III, and IV depressants under the Controlled Substance Act. Consequently, several restrictions are put in place to limit their accessibility, reducing the risk of barbiturate abuse and barbiturate overdose. 6
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Signs and Symptoms of a Barbiturate Overdose
During the use of any drug, there is the likelihood of the onset of certain signs and symptoms. The same happens with barbiturate use, even when used as prescribed. However, there are certain signs and symptoms of barbiturate use that may be indicative of an overdose. These include:
Risk Factors for a Barbiturate Overdose
Barbiturates are generally administered under medical supervision or with a doctor's prescription. This allows medical personnel to closely monitor their patients and ensure there are no risk factors present that may lead to barbiturate complications or overdose. If this critical step is ignored, it exposes patients to the dangers of a potential overdose. 7
Using the Drug for Nonmedical Purposes
Barbiturates are highly addictive drugs that patients should not take without a medical prescription. When barbiturates are introduced into the body outside medical use (i.e., for fun, self-prescription, or used in a way unintended by the prescriber), there is an increased risk of having a barbiturate overdose.
Using the Drug in Larger Amounts or More Frequently Than Prescribed
When barbiturates are taken in unprescribed amounts, a barbiturate substance abuse disorder may begin to set in through barbiturate dependence. A larger than normal intake of barbiturates can eventually lead to acute barbiturate poisoning and an overdose. To prevent this, patients are advised to take only the amount prescribed by their doctors.
Using the Drug Over Longer Periods Than Intended
Over an extended period, many long-term barbiturates effects on the brain and other parts of the body (i.e., sexual dysfunction, slow reflex, cardiac issues, liver problem, etc.) become visible. In extreme cases, the effects of long-term barbiturate use may lead to systemic buildup and increase the likelihood of a barbiturate overdose.
Mixing Barbiturates with Alcohol, Opioids, or Other Drugs
Barbiturates, when misused alone, can lead to varying degrees of toxicity. When combined with alcohol, opioids, and other drugs, the barbiturate toxicity reaches an alarming level, thereby increasing the possibility of a barbiturate overdose. Other dangers of barbiturates include suppressed breathing, respiratory depression, coma, and even death.
Over the years, these risk factors have helped scientists and medical researchers formulate specific facts about barbiturates while ensuring patient safety.
Symptoms of Barbiturate Withdrawal
Barbiturates withdrawal symptoms during treatments for addiction can take a heavy toll on an individual's recovery and overall quality of life. Withdrawal symptoms present after dependence on the substance sets in, and the individual involved tries to stop using barbiturates. Depending on the duration of abuse and the different types of barbiturates involved, individuals can experience withdrawal symptoms ranging from mild to highly debilitating.
Indications of Withdrawal
It's best to undergo withdrawal at a professional treatment or medical facility, as some of these symptoms can be life-threatening. Some common symptoms of barbiturate withdrawal include:
Get Help for Barbiturate Overdose at Ripple Ranch
The best way to prevent a barbiturate overdose is to use barbiturates in the exact manner they were prescribed. In instances of barbiturate addiction or abuse, it is essential to start barbiturates treatment early. One way to do this is to visit Ripple Ranch for help managing barbiturate overdose symptoms.
Ripple Ranch is located in Comal County, Texas. We are dedicated to helping people get the appropriate care needed to overcome substance abuse. Ripple Ranch has helped thousands of individuals overcome barbiturate intoxication and addiction through effective barbiturate reversal and rehab.
Reach Out Today
Our team of experts carries out detoxification and barbiturate treatment with care. At the same time, providing support on how to properly stop barbiturate use. For more information on barbiturate overdose symptoms or essential care needed in overcoming barbiturate addiction, please contact us today!
- https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-20/assisted-dying-what-is-need-from-drugs-for-voluntary euthanasia/9069896