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Seconal is the brand name for a drug called secobarbital that’s used for the treatment of epilepsy and insomnia. It’s in a category of drugs called barbiturates, which became less popular in the second half of the 20th century because of their addiction and overdose potential.
Seconal can cause chemical dependence and addiction if it’s used for too long or abused as a recreational drug. Like other barbiturates, it was widely used as a recreational drug from 1960 to 1980 until prescription use of the drug declined, and with it, the drug’s availability.
Seconal is a central nervous system depressant like alcohol or other sleep aids. That means it works on the brain by interacting with a chemical messenger called gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is responsible for regulating excitability.
Seconal can make GABA more efficient, which is why it’s useful in treating problems that are linked with an overactive nervous system like insomnia. However, it also causes intoxication and euphoria, which influences “feel-good chemicals” like dopamine. These chemicals are linked to addiction and can rewrite the reward center of the brain.
Drug addiction is characterized by compulsive use of a psychoactive substance despite consequences. If you have become addicted to Seconal, you may struggle to cut back or stop using the drug, even if you realize it’s causing problems in your life. However, it’s also possible to be addicted to the drug without realizing you have a problem. Still, there are signs and symptoms that may reveal a substance use disorder (SUD). One of the clearest signs is physical side effects.
If you find that you are spending a large part of the day intoxicated or experiencing uncomfortable side effects of Seconal use, such as hypersomnia, agitation, nausea, headaches, and impaired motor function, you may have an SUD. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has a list of 11 criteria for addiction. These signs include physical symptoms such as tolerance and withdrawal, and psychological factors such as anxiety and depression. Critical signs and symptoms to look out for are:
Seconal addiction is a chronic disease that can get worse if it’s ignored. However, it’s treatable with the right help. Addiction treatment is tailored to your individual needs, and it addresses physical, psychological, and social issues that may be related to your substance use disorder.
When you first enter a treatment program, you will go through a medical and clinical evaluation, where professionals will help find the best treatment options for you.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine outlines the four major levels of care in addiction treatment, which include medical detox, inpatient programs, intensive outpatient services, and outpatient services.
The level of care you go through will depend on your physical, psychological, and social needs.
Seconal abuse and addiction can be dangerous and even life-threatening. Seconal addiction can increase your risk of experiencing an accidental overdose, which can be deadly. Barbiturates can cause respiratory depression in high doses.
In fatal cases, slowed or stopped breathing causes brain damage or other consequences of oxygen deprivation. It can also slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure, which can cause other dangerous complications.
Withdrawal symptoms can also create dangerous nervous system overactivity that can be fatal. If you notice signs of Seconal addiction or dependence, seek medical attention as soon as possible.