For over a hundred years, barbiturates have been widely used in medicine and recreationally in developed countries. Medical use is not as common today as it was owing to controversy about its side effects, but patients are still occasionally prescribed this drug when strong sedatives are required. It is also bought on the street and abused considerably by people from their teens to the retirement years.

What Are Barbiturates?

A barbiturate would have been prescribed as a sedative to treat one of many conditions which causes hyperactivity or nervousness such as insomnia or anxiety. Doctors also had other reasons for prescribing the drug but there are too many dangers involved and it is not as acceptable with the newer, safer options available.

Names for barbiturates include Phenobarbital, Pentobarbital, and Amobarbital among others. Those are pharmaceutical names. Street labels are a lot less clinical sounding. You have probably heard of barbiturates when overhearing a locker-room conversation but didn’t know that’s what the subject was.

What Do Barbiturates Do?

When someone takes a sedative of this kind, which is available as a pill, he feels sleepy, uninhibited, and relaxed. If he is taking cocaine, for example, and this drug is making him hyper, barbiturates reduce that symptom, potentially leaving just the high feeling without excess energy to burn. On their own, barbiturates relax a person so much she might become vulnerable to sexual predation and not even realize what is happening or has happened to her.

Barbiturates also kill and they do so more often than many other drugs. The problem is choosing a dose: this is hard to do. Drug abusers do not know when they are taking too much of this substance and can end up in a hospital or could overdose without any trouble. The medical community is very wary of this substance.

Addictive Drug

Not enough can be said about the addictive nature of these and other drugs associated with both legitimate and illegal usage such as narcotics and sedatives. Barbiturates should never be taken by anyone without medical supervision. They should always be supplied by a pharmacist with a prescription. The pills appear pretty but are deadly, even more so if there are any additives in an illegal source such as toxins or other drugs known to interact with the sedative and make them even more dangerous.

Addiction is a clinical state in which one physically needs drug and without it he goes into what is known as withdrawal. This is not a psychological condition but a bodily one marked by nausea, headaches, general pain, anxiety, and even psychosis.

Individuals going through withdrawal from barbiturates should be hospitalized and monitored because the stress can cause death. Certainly, without intervention from an empathetic health care team and a loving group of friends and/or family, the temptation to cut through this pain by taking more drugs is too much to bear and the individual returns to barbiturates.

During withdrawal could be the worst time to take them because, in his desperation, the substance abuser is at greatest risk of overdosing. Detox is terrible for addicts and should be treated as an emergency. People already suffering conditions like asthma or a disease affecting one of their organs could be at greater risk than the general public.

Recovery at Rehab

There is help for addicts who abuse barbiturates. Counselors at in- and out-patient facilities ask consumers why they felt they needed sedatives, and conversation opens up wounds that never healed. Often, clients struggle with anxiety or insomnia and both parties realize it is time to find out why.

The root could be PTSD, an ongoing stressor in daily life, or some other event from one’s past. Clinical anxiety could be the cause in which case a client would need to learn how to cope with the help of both medication and counseling.

Jake Hansen


Jake is a marijuana advocate and voice of the people who are for the legalization of marijuana. As the webmaster, all views, opinions, and reviews on this website are based on his personal experiences. He hopes to educate people as well as help them find the best methods to pass drug tests.