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Anxiety and sleep disorders are some of the most common health issues that American’s deal with each year. Tens of millions of Americans struggle with some form of sleep disorder every year. Similarly, anxiety disorders affect millions each year as well. These conditions take a significant toll on a person’s physical and mental health over time. Plus, stress and a lack of sleep are associated with a wide variety of serious long-term health problems. To treat these common disorders, doctors and researchers have turned to central nervous system depressants since the late 1800s. Among them are barbiturates. However, these medications can be abused, leading to a dependency requiring help from a barbiturates addiction treatment program like that offered at Harmony Hills.

silhouettes of person needing Barbiturates Addiction Treatment ProgramWhat Are Barbiturates?

Barbiturates are a class of psychoactive substances that were once widely used to treat insomnia, anxiety, and seizures. They are in the broader category of drugs called central nervous system depressants, which suppress excitability. Barbiturates work in a way that’s similar to other depressants. They primarily affect a chemical messenger in your brain called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), responsible for regulating excitability. In people with insomnia or anxiety disorder, GABA may be inefficient, or it may not be enough to counteract problems with overexcitability in the nervous system.

This results in racing thoughts, alertness, paranoia, an inability to sleep, waking up in the middle of the night, and even seizures. Barbiturates can bind to GABA receptors and make the chemical more efficient. The drug can make GABA so efficient it causes sedation, hypnosis, a release of anxiety, lowered inhibitions, and even euphoria. 

Because they can cause an alcohol-like intoxication, barbiturates have been abused as recreational drugs since they first entered the market. When abused, they are more likely to lead to negative symptoms like heavy sedation, drowsiness, dependence, and overdose.

What Are the Signs of Barbiturate Addiction?

Barbiturate addiction is a chronic and progressive disease that can get worse over time. If you are worried, you might be developing a substance use disorder involving barbiturates. You need to learn to recognize the signs as soon as possible. Addressing a substance use disorder early can help you avoid some of the most severe consequences of the disease. At Harmony Hills, we offer several treatment programs to address barbiturate addiction, such as:

You may be able to recognize a substance use disorder when the nature of your drug use starts to change. Many start using barbiturates to treat symptoms or even for recreation, but dependency may change your motivation. For example, some use it to feel normal or to avoid uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. You may start to use the drug in higher doses as your tolerance grows. You may also use it yourself apart from social settings, especially in the morning or in secret.

The Stages in the Barbiturate Withdrawal Timeline

Withdrawal syndrome is going to affect everyone differently and will vary from one situation to another. In most cases, people can get through barbiturate withdrawals in one or two weeks. Heavy users, however, may experience the symptoms for three to four weeks. Mild users will get through the process much faster.

A general barbiturate withdrawal timeline consists of:

  • Days 1-3: You will start to experience withdrawal effects within the first or second day of the process. You are likely to experience nausea, anxiety, and vomiting. Sleep will become difficult to achieve, and you’ll feel tired or agitated. These symptoms should peak around days two or three, and you must place yourself in the care of medical professionals to monitor you for more severe symptoms.
  • Days 4-7: Around day five, you should start to feel better. Physically, your body has released most of the toxins that have built up from barbiturates. The body is now able to balance itself out, which will help you experience some relief. You will still experience cravings, issues with sleep, anxiety, and mood swings. Continued support throughout detox is key.
  • Week 2 and Beyond: Someone that is severely addicted to barbiturates will still experience symptoms during week two. You may even have a craving for the drug. Continued support is necessary to avoid a relapse.

The detox process is often unpredictable, and doing so under specialists’ supervision will allow you to mitigate those risks. If you try to stop using it by yourself, you are at a higher risk of death. When someone attempts to stop all at once, it can become severe enough that someone succumbs to their symptoms.

What Is Involved in Barbiturate Addiction Treatment?

Because barbiturates can cause potentially dangerous symptoms during withdrawal, it’s usually recommended that you start with medical detox. If you’ve developed a chemical dependence on a barbiturate, medical detox can help make sure you get through withdrawal safely and as comfortably as possible.

A detox may involve medication to help wean you off the drug slowly to help avoid symptoms like seizures and delirium tremens. You may also be treated with other medications to help control symptoms. Detox can also help treat other medical conditions or complications you have alongside withdrawal.

Barbiturates stopped being used as the go-to anxiety and insomnia drugs due to their relative dangers. When they are used for too long or abused, they may lead to chemical dependency or addiction. Chemical dependency can occur even with normal, regular use that lasts longer than recommended. Abuse is also likely to lead to dependence and addiction. High doses can also lead to potentially deadly overdoses.

Discover How Harmony Hills Can Help

Once the barbiturates have exited your system, you must consider the next step of your journey. Detox alone is not enough to overcome addiction, and entering into a program will allow you to see where you are with your addiction. You will also go through a psychological evaluation to determine if you have a mental health condition contributing to your drug use.

Once a specialist determines you are ready to move on, you will have the option to further your treatment at an addiction center. Detox will not provide you with the tools to overcome addiction – it is simply a step in the right direction. To address the underlying causes of addiction, you need to go to a residential or outpatient facility. Reach out to Harmony Hills today by calling 855.494.0357.