When thinking about drug abuse, people often assume that the substance used is illegal. However, that is not always true. The abuse of prescription drugs has increased dramatically in the past years, especially when it comes to barbiturates. Before taking barbiturates (regardless if this is done legally or illegally), it is important to know what effects they have. Personal health and safety should always be a serious matter of concern.
Barbiturates are the first version of the widely used benzodiazepines and are categorised as ‘central nervous system depressants’, having similar effects to anaesthesia or sedation. The most common use of barbiturates is for surgical procedures; however, this type of barbiturates cannot be abused, because it causes immediate loss of consciousness. Nevertheless, some forms of barbiturates are prescribed as treatment for anxiety and seizure disorders, but also for epilepsy and delirium.
Barbiturates have dangerous effects, even when prescribed by doctors. Despite the fact that they create a peaceful feeling and low tension, tolerance to the substance is easily created. Even doctors increase the dose of barbiturates for patients, so that the same effect is maintained. Consequently, a physical and psychological dependence to the substance is created, which can cause worse consequences than the disorders the drugs were prescribed for in the first place.
The physical dependence on the barbiturates combined with a high tolerance to the drug will often lead to a bigger dose being consumed. The biggest danger of increasing the dose is the high probability of overdosing. When abusing the substance, the users do not only feel calm and peaceful, but also have impaired judgement and low pressure or fever. Other side-effects likely to occur are respiratory problems, fatigue, or sensation of being sedated.
The major cause of death when it comes to barbiturates abusers is respiratory arrest. When overdosing, the symptoms that might occur are drowsiness, confusion, inability to speak fluently, tiredness and might even lead to coma or death.
People that stop using barbiturates experience painful withdrawal symptoms, making abstinence really hard. Due to the psychological effects barbiturates have, giving up their use can be extremely difficult. Adding to that the uncomfortable physical withdrawal symptoms makes the process of trying to give up the addiction very hard. Going through such an experience alone is highly unadvisable, mainly because depression often overcomes the good intentions of abstinence and relapse or even suicidal thoughts can occur.
The use of barbiturates in medicine is quite controversial, due to the fact that patients often develop addiction to the prescription drugs. Like many drugs, barbiturates do not heal the actual disease: they just shut down the capability to feel the symptoms. In some cases, this can be beneficial. However, it is very important to consider the following things before starting using these very powerful and addictive drugs (even if prescribed): does the drug have for the personal situation more positive effects rather than negative? Is there another alternative treatment that can be used for the existing condition? And is it possible to remain strong throughout the process without getting addicted?
Studies show that the psychological attitude towards drug use makes the difference between an addict and an abstinent person. Even though there is no medical explanation for it, the personal determination is the only thing that can keep a person from becoming a substance abuser.