Barbiturate Addiction

What are Barbiturates?

Barbiturates are classified as a hypnotic sedative drug. They’re central nervous system depressants, which can help relax the muscles. Barbiturates are a synthetic medication that can also reduce heart rate and induce sleep, due to the content of barbituric acid in the drug. Typically, they’re used for insomnia, anxiety, and seizures. Barbiturates are often abused and are highly addictive.

Examples of barbiturates include Pentothal, amobarbital (Amytal), butabarbital (Butisol), pentobarbital (Nembutal), secobarbital (Seconal), belladonna and phenobarbital (Donnatal). Barbiturates can also come in a combination of butalbital, acetaminophen, or aspirin, and caffeine, under the brands Esgic, Fioricet, Fiorina, and Fortabs. If you or your loved one has an addiction to barbiturates, we can help.

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How Are Barbiturates Taken?

Barbiturates are taken orally in a pill form, or by injecting a liquid. Pills can also be crushed up and snorted when barbiturates are abused.

What Do Barbiturates Look Like?

Barbiturates usually come in the form of pills. Pills can be white, red, blue, or yellow. Abusers of the drug can inject barbiturates into a vein or muscle.

Why do people use Barbiturates?

People used barbiturates for insomnia, anxiety, and seizures. They are abused to achieve a feeling of relaxation, euphoria, and calamity. The effects of barbiturates can be felt in 15 minutes after taking a pill. People also use barbiturates to lessen the adverse side effects of other drugs.

Slang Terms or Street Names for Barbiturates
  • Barbs
  • Downers
  • Block Busters
  • Bluebirds
  • Tooies
  • Purple Hearts
  • Pink Ladies
  • Yellow Jackets

History of

Barbiturates were used in the 60s and 70s for anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. Today, they are used for sedation before procedures. They are less frequently prescribed because of their highly addictive properties. Barbiturates were created in 1903 by altering a chemical compound found in apples. In 1912, amphetamines were added to the drug so users wouldn’t oversleep when using barbiturates.

Today, benzos are used instead of barbiturates to treat anxiety and sleep disorders. Barbiturates aren’t used as much anymore because there are safer, less addictive drugs available that don’t require a higher dose each time. They aren’t only abused to get “high.” Some barbiturates have been used as date rape drugs for their sedative effects.

What are the Symptoms of Barbiturates Addiction?

It’s easier to get addicted to barbiturates, even unintentionally, than other drugs because users build a tolerance to them. That means that with every dose, a user will need a stronger dose than their last to feel the same effects. It’s easy to become dependent on barbiturates and it’s possible to accidentally overdose on them after users have built a tolerance.

Signs and Symptoms of Barbiturate Abuse
  • Dizziness
  • Sedation or drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Slurred speech
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lack of coordination
  • Being talkative
  • Mood swings
Paraphernalia for using Barbiturates
  • Needles
  • Someone else’s prescription
  • Syringe
  • Rolled dollar bills
  • Pill bottles
  • Cut straws
  • Pill crushers
  • Mirror on a table

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What Are the Effects of Barbiturate Addiction?

People who are addicted to barbiturates may appear more talkative, but they may also slur their speech and have problems with coordination. In addition to seeming drunk with reduced inhibition, addicts may experience mood swings and appear to be nodding off. The drug can change patterns in breathing, menstruation, and blood pressure.

Short-Term Effects of
Barbiturate Addiction
  • Trouble breathing
  • Sexual problems
  • Anxiety
  • Sound sensitivity
  • Panic attacks
  • Pain sensitivity
  • Taking risks
  • Hallucinations
Long Term Effects of
Barbiturate Addiction
  • Neglecting appearance and hygiene
  • Financial stress and job loss
  • Consumed with finding barbiturates
  • Risk of kidney failure
  • Paranoia
  • Bronchitis or pneumonia
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Insomnia

Addiction Statistics


Drug overdose deaths involving prescription opioids rose to 16, 416.

16.1 million

people that admitted to abusing prescriptions in 2020.


high school seniors that abused prescription drugs.

Barbiturate Addiction Treatment

Barbiturate detox needs to happen under the supervision of medical professionals. Because tolerance can build up quickly from barbiturate use and abuse, detox is going to cause withdrawal symptoms. Some of the withdrawal symptoms can be deadly. Withdrawal symptoms include hallucinations, seizures, anxiety, aggression, and increased body temperature. Never try to detox from barbiturates alone if you have been taking them more often than prescribed.

At Gratitude Lodge, we can help you or your loved one with barbiturate addiction treatment. We offer detox programs, individualized counseling, supportive group therapy, a 12-step recovery program, and a pet-friendly environment. With 24/7 access to medical staff, recovering addicts will receive the best inpatient care for barbiturate addiction treatment in Orange County. We set you or your loved one up for success as they continue on their road to recovery

Common Drug Combinations with Barbiturates

Barbiturates are commonly mixed with benzos, which are classified as tranquilizers and are typically used for anti-anxiety. This can be a lethal combination because of the sedative properties in barbiturates. People use barbiturates with other drugs to eliminate the negative side effects they may get from other illegal drugs.

  • Heroin
  • Meth
  • Cocaine
  • Alcohol
  • Marijuana
  • PCP
  • Xanax
  • Ambien

Don’t Let Addiction Control You


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