Barbiturates first came into the scene in 1903. This drug class was primarily used for the management of insomnia and to induce sedation. Barbiturates are derived from the inactive form, barbituric acid. There are over 50 kinds of clinically approved barbiturates but only a few are prescribed in the medical community. This is due to the substantial adverse effects of the drugs and because benzodiazepines are a more favorable alternative, brought about by their proven efficacy.
The Science Behind Barbiturates
A barbiturate is classified as a central nervous system depressant. To be specific, these drugs target the brainstem. Now, it is important to note that the vital functions of our body such as breathing, blood pressure, heart rate, swallowing, and our sleep-wake sensations are all governed by the brainstem. Barbiturates act by inhibiting nerve impulse transmission that travels to this area of the brain, thereby producing sedative and hypnotic effects.
The Uses Of Barbiturates
Nowadays, barbiturates are no longer recommended for sleep induction because of the associated risk of drug abuse and it has a low therapeutic index, which means the dosage at which it is effective is extremely narrow. A slight increase in the dose of this drug class can lead to lethal toxic effects. The three major uses of barbiturates are sedatives, hypnotics, and anticonvulsants; to an extent, also as an anesthetic agent during surgery. Some of the conditions that warrant the use of barbiturates are epilepsy, migraines, anxiety, and brain injuries.
How Prolonged Barbiturate Use Leads To Dependence
Barbiturates belong to the drug class called CNS depressants. Because it reduces the functional activity of the central nervous system, drowsiness, sluggishness, and dizziness may occur. That is why it is inadvisable to operate machinery and to go behind the wheel when you are taking barbiturates. Additionally, it is also prohibited to drink alcoholic beverages so as not to compound the depressant effect of barbiturates. However, the most notable negative effect of barbiturates is its high risk for tolerance and in turn, dependency.
The use of barbiturates is habit-forming, as people who take this drug often misuse it to achieve euphoria. The continued abuse leads to tolerance, meaning the euphoric effects they once felt at a lower dosage are diminished and they need to up the dose to feel the same level of high. This opens up a slew of more serious problems. Overdose from barbiturates, if not managed instantly, will lead to respiratory depression, coma, and eventually death. Another thing, dependence can rapidly develop into and the individual might begin experimenting with other drugs similar to barbiturates such as morphine and heroin.
If you or someone you know is having a hard time with barbiturate addiction or abuse, The Arden Centre can help you explore treatment choices. We can design a custom therapy plan that is bespoke to your individual needs. Our approach to addiction recovery is comprehensive and holistic in nature.
We provide a luxurious, but reasonably priced, wellness retreat for substance abuse care. Enjoy superior standards of compassionate and understanding care and support from the moment you arrive at the Centre.
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I am an energetic and committed Senior Health Care Manager with a passion for developing staff through education and mentoring.