Detox From Barbiturates

Safely Detox From Barbiturates: What You Need to Know

What Are Barbiturates?

Barbiturates are commonly used medications prescribed by doctors at the time of anesthesia during surgeries. These are also used to prevent the effects of convulsions and seizures and treat epilepsy or non-epileptic seizures, or insomnia.

Due to their hypnotic or sedative effect, barbiturate addiction has become extremely prevalent worldwide. However, despite their advantages, these medications affect the brain’s normal function by increasing a brain chemical known as Gamma-Amino-Butyric Acid (GABA).

Some popularly abused barbiturates include:

  • Generic amobarbital, which is blue (Also known as Blue Haven, Blue Velvet, or Blue Devils)
  • Pentobarbital, which is yellow (Also known as Yellow Jackets or Mexican Yellows)
  • Phenobarbital, which is purple (Also known as Purple Hearts)
  • Secobarbital (Seconal), which is red (Also known as Red Birds or Red Devils)

These substances are often misused to counteract the effects of other drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamines. They are also misused for their calming and euphoric effects and have a high risk of addiction and overdose.

What Are Barbiturates Used For?

Historically, barbiturates were introduced in the early 1900s and became widely popular due to their effectiveness in treating anxiety, insomnia, and seizure disorders. They were one of the first classes of drugs used for these conditions and were favored for their potent sedative and hypnotic effects.

However, by the mid-20th century, it became apparent that barbiturates had a high potential for abuse and addiction. The margin between a therapeutic dose and a toxic dose was very narrow, leading to a high risk of overdose. Due to these safety concerns and the development of safer alternatives, such as benzodiazepines, the medical community gradually reduced the prescription of barbiturates.

Despite this, barbiturates remain a substance that is widely abused today, as their sedative effects can lead to physical and psychological dependence.

What Are the Symptoms of Barbiturates Addiction?

Barbiturates addiction gained popularity among young adults for its effect as “brain relaxers” like alcohol. Not only this, but the effect of this medication is also quite similar to opioids, sleeping pills, painkillers, and antihistamines.

Some of the prominent symptoms of barbiturates addiction that affect one’s behavior and physical and emotional quotient are listed below:

  • Difficulty in concentrating or focusing
  • Improper speech or slurred voice
  • Showing aggression or violence
  • Relaxation or feeling of euphoria
  • Feeling high and experiencing mood swings
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Breathlessness or shallow breathing
  • Severe effects like coma and death
  • Memory loss or changes in thinking patterns

In addition to the effects mentioned above, there are a plethora of symptoms when the barbiturates addiction level increases. This addiction enhances the high risk of other detrimental diseases that not only affects the one with the addiction but their loved ones as well.

Timeline for Barbiturate Withdrawal

The timeline for barbiturate withdrawal can vary significantly from person to person, depending on factors such as the duration and intensity of use, individual metabolism, and overall health. Generally, withdrawal symptoms may begin within 6 to 12 hours after the last dose and peak within 2 to 3 days. However, some symptoms, particularly psychological ones, may persist for weeks or even months.

Here is a general barbiturate withdrawal timeline:

1-3 hours: Mild withdrawal symptoms begin to appear, including anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia.

2-3 days: Symptoms intensify, often including nausea and vomiting, rapid heart rate, anxiety, seizures, and hallucinations. This period is critical, and medical supervision is highly recommended to manage severe symptoms safely.

4-10 days: Withdrawal symptoms start to subside, but individuals may still experience physical discomfort and psychological challenges. Continued support and medical care are crucial during this phase to ensure a safe recovery and prevent relapse.

11-17 days: Most physical withdrawal symptoms should be gone, but some mild symptoms, such as anxiety, insomnia, and mood swings, may persist. Excessive fatigue and feelings of depression are often experienced during this timeframe as well.

18+ days: By the time individuals reach this stage, the most severe withdrawal symptoms are typically behind them. Any remaining symptoms will gradually diminish over time. However, some people may continue to experience emotional and psychological symptoms, such as anxiety and depression, for weeks or even months after ceasing barbiturate use. Long-term psychological support and treatment are often necessary to address any lingering effects and support sustained recovery.

Withdrawal from barbiturates can be particularly challenging and potentially dangerous, making professional support and treatment essential. Medical supervision can help manage symptoms, prevent complications, and provide emotional and psychological support throughout the process.

What Happens During the Barbiturate Withdrawal Process

During the barbiturate withdrawal process, individuals may experience a range of physical and psychological symptoms as their body adjusts to functioning without the drug. Medical professionals will closely monitor these symptoms and provide appropriate interventions to alleviate discomfort and prevent complications.

Providing a safe and calming space that fosters a healing environment for patients is vital to the recovery process. Below are a few essential treatment services that will help you recover from barbiturate withdrawal.


If someone continues to abuse barbiturates, serious side effects are likely to occur if they stop taking the drug. This is why a medically supervised detox is the essential first step towards sobriety. This process involves the removal of harmful toxins from the body under the care of licensed professionals. While you may experience serious and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, clinicians will administer medications to ease your discomfort and monitor you throughout the process.

Inpatient/Residential Treatment

Following detox, individuals with severe barbiturate addiction will continue in a residential treatment program. During this stay, patients learn healthy habits and coping strategies to support long-term recovery. Inpatient treatment is ideal for those with more serious substance use disorders, offering comprehensive support throughout the healing process.

Therapy sessions and support groups will be incorporated to address the underlying issues contributing to substance use disorder and facilitate long-term recovery.

Get Treatment for Barbiturate Withdrawal Symptoms Today

Having a caring and compassionate team to support you during this challenging time is essential. Since treatment methods can vary in effectiveness from one person to another, creating a personalized drug treatment plan for each individual leads to healthier long-term outcomes.

True Life Recovery provides different levels of care to ensure that you stop using barbiturates for good, even years after you’ve quit. If you or someone you care about is struggling with barbiturate addiction, reach out to True Life Recovery today. With our personalized treatment approach and evidence-based practices, we can help you break free from addiction and embark on the path to lasting recovery.

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Stephen White - True Life Recovery

Thank you for reading our latest article. My name is Stephen White, Director of Business Development for True Life Recovery. If you or your loved one needs help with addiction recovery, please don’t hesitate to call me directly. I am passionate about what I do, and here to answer any questions, support you, and guide you on your journey towards recovery. Let’s take the first step to a brighter future together. Call me at 714-909-2337 now!

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