Find Support for Barbiturate Addition Treatment

Addiction comes in many forms and continues to devastate thousands of lives in the UK alone. Drug and alcohol addiction are amongst the most common addictions that impact the lives of people across England, and barbiturates are becoming an increasingly abused prescription drug.

These are a group of medications that are used for numerous medical reasons, with around 2,500 variations created, although medical professionals now prescribe only around 10 variants.

Barbiturates are known by generic brand names such as Phenobarbital (Luminal), Mephobarbital (Mebaral), Pentobarbital (Nembutal), Seconal (Secobarbital), and Butisol (Butabarbital). They’re also recognised under slang terms like blockbusters, Christmas trees, barbs, goof balls, red & blues, pinks, red devils, and yellow jackets.

When sold and used illegally, people usually do so for the sedative and hypnotic effects of the drugs. Barbiturates can reduce anxiety symptoms or counter the impact of other drugs, such as stimulants. Most commonly delivered in pill or tablet form, some people crush the pills or tablets to snort or dissolve the powder in water to make a solution to inject.

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What are Barbiturates Used for?

Barbiturates were once widely prescribed as sedative drugs for their sleep-inducing, anticonvulsant, and anxiolytic effects. These drugs were known to be effective in treating anxiety and helping to manage seizures; however, because of their potential to become extremely addictive paired with the increased risk of overdose, prescriptions for barbiturates have dramatically declined.

These drugs were also increasingly dangerous to the user as they have such a narrow therapeutic range meaning the window between the amount needed to relieve any symptoms and the amount is taken that could result in a coma or even death is very narrow and difficult to manage. Because of this, other drugs were prescribed as safer and more effective options; these include sleep medications such as Ambien and benzodiazepines.

Benzodiazepines such as Valium or Xanax have similar effects to barbiturates, so they have largely replaced them in prescriptions. Barbiturates are sometimes used to treat anxiety and tension, severe sleep problems, an anaesthetic for surgeries, and seizure disorders as they inhibit certain brain processes like any other central nervous system (CNS) depressant.

Available in pill and tablet form, barbiturates are typically grouped into four categories known as ultrashort acting, short-acting, intermediate-acting, and long-acting. Barbiturate addiction can easily develop, so it is important to spot the signs of prescription drug abuse as soon as possible.

Signs and Symptoms of Barbiturate Abuse

Due to the nature of barbiturates being depressants, they can cause calmness, relaxation, and euphoria, which is why many people are drawn to take them to relieve symptoms of anxiety, help them sleep, and reduce seizures. However, because there is such a small difference between the correct dosage for relieving these symptoms and a potentially lethal dosage, many people fall victim to barbiturates overdose.

The signs and symptoms of barbiturate abuse are seen in the many side effects that these drugs can cause, including:

  • Shallow breathing
  • Slurring of speech
  • Drowsiness
  • Emotional instability
  • Mood swings
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Confusion
  • Lack of coordination
  • Vomiting
  • Impaired motor control
  • Headaches

These are some of the most common short-term side effects, whereas if you become addicted to barbiturates and are exposed to these drugs over a long period of time, the impact can be much more severe and long-term.

These include paranoia, memory impairment, judgement impairment, coordination changes, suicidal thoughts, and coma or death, all of which can be extremely detrimental to your physical and psychological health and potentially life-threatening. Identifying when someone is abusing prescribed medication can be much more difficult than noticing a drug addiction to illegal drugs such as heroin.

The abuse of prescribed medication tends to be more subtle as they begin by using the drug more often than intended, using higher doses than what’s prescribed, consuming the drug in other forms such as crushing and snorting the pills and combining the prescribed medication with other drugs or alcohol to intensify or alter the overall effects.

What Treatment Options are Available for Barbiturate Addiction?

When an addiction to barbiturates has been identified, seeking professional treatment is the only way to overcome your drug addiction. The first step is to contact a drug rehab centre; they can discuss the various treatment options available, which will usually include counselling, self-help groups, and prescription drug detoxification.

You can choose between inpatient or outpatient treatment to undergo your rehabilitation; inpatient treatment requires you to stay overnight at the rehab centre until you’ve completed your rehab programme, whereas outpatient treatment just requires you to visit the rehab centre each day to receive your treatment, you can remain to stay overnight at home.

Barbiturate Detox Treatment

Medical drug detoxification is a highly recommended treatment for any barbiturate rehab programme. As your body becomes dependent on the drugs, suddenly stopping this use can cause shock to your brain and central nervous system, which has the potential to be very dangerous. You’ll likely experience withdrawal symptoms during your detox, some of which can be extremely severe or even fatal.

Barbiturate withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Insomnia
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Increased sweating
  • Increased heart rate and breathing rate
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Hallucinations
  • Panic and anxiety
  • Increased body temperature
  • Seizures

Because of this, medical professionals must monitor your detox 24/7 to ensure that you’re comfortable and safe as you gradually reduce your consumption of barbiturates. This medical team will be on hand to ease any pain experienced throughout your withdrawal and can administer prescribed medication when necessary.

Barbiturate Rehab Programmes

Addiction treatments for prescription drug addiction are key to recovering from substance abuse for good. Therapies in private rehab include group therapy, art therapy, individual talking therapies, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and more.

We’d also recommend taking advantage of an aftercare plan that will be offered to you following your addiction treatment plan. These aftercare plans are often personalised and are the most effective way to continue your rehabilitation at home and avoid a potential relapse with the ongoing support of your rehab centre.

Seek Out Help Today

If you have any concerns about yourself or a loved one suffering from barbiturates addiction, there’s no time to waste when seeking professional treatment. We’re here to help you create a future to look forward to, free from addiction. Contact us online or alternatively call on 01908 489 421.


Frequently Asked Questions

How long does rehab last?

The duration of a rehabilitation programme can vary quite widely. Some rehab centres offer detox-only plans but a more complete programme with various therapies is much more likely to be successful in the long-term. The typical length of stay is generally 28 days, although this can vary depending on your individual requirements and circumstances.

How much does rehab cost?

The cost of rehab greatly varies and often depends on the treatment administered and the length of time that an individual stays in rehab. The type of rehab attended will also determine how much rehab costs. For example, attending an outpatient NHS drug and alcohol rehab in West Derby is free of charge. In contrast, attending our private residential rehab does come at a cost. To determine how much attending rehab will cost you, we recommended contacting us directly. In doing so, we can understand your addiction and provide you with a no-obligation quote.

Is mental health support included?

Certainly. It’s crucial that your mental health is always taken care of, particularly when you’re going through rehabilitation from alcohol and drugs. We regularly see people who are suffering from a drug addiction or alcohol addiction also suffering from mental health problems; it’s more common than you probably realise. Our fantastic team are expertly trained and well experienced in delivering treatment for addiction and also for mental health issues including dual diagnosis treatment.


John Gillen - Author - Last Updated: 19 June 2023

John has travelled extensively around the world, culminating in 19 years’ experience looking at different models. He is the European pioneer of Nad+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) treatment to Europe in 2010; and recently back from the USA bringing state of the art Virtual Reality Relapse Prevention and stress reduction therapy. his passion extends to other metabolic disturbances and neurodegenerative diseases.

The journey continues, in recent times john has travelled to Russia to study and research into a new therapy photobiomudulation or systemic laser therapy working with Nad+ scientists and the very best of the medical profession in the UK and the USA, together with Nadcell, Bionad Clinics own select Doctors, nurses, dieticians and therapists, Johns’ passion continues to endeavour to bring to the UK and Europe new developments with Nad+ therapy in preventive and restorative medicine and Wellness. In 2017 John Gillen was made a visiting Professor at the John Naisbitt university in Belgrade Serbia.