Chloral Hydrate a Hypnotic Drug and Sedative
Chloral Hydrate was first marketed in 1832. This was the first hypnotic depressant (induces sleep) ever marketed and only takes about 30 minutes to start working and in an hour a person will be asleep.
Chloral Hydrate was marketed in syrup or soft gelatin capsule form but is now taken orally or rectally. This drug is a sedative and the effects of chloral hydrate are that of central nervous system depressants.
You may have heard of 'knockout drops' or 'Mickey Finn', which is a combination of alcohol and chloral hydrate. When taken as directed chloral hydrate is safe and doesn't really have an effect on a person's respiration and blood pressure. Combining chloral hydrate with alcohol is extremely dangerous and could be deadly. A Mickey Finn refers to an alcohol beverage that's been laced and most of the time the drink is laced with chloral hydrate. Slipping a Mickie was popular in the late 18 hundreds and early 19 hundreds with the intention of robbing the person after they passed out. This took place usually at bars or saloons.
During the 19th century alcoholics many times would use chloral hydrate because they had problems sleeping due to their alcohol use. Mixing alcohol and chloral hydrate is a dangerously potent mixture and both substances are highly addictive. In a short time, alcoholics in the 19th century soon found out they now had two substance addictions to deal with.
There are some doctors that still choose to use chloral hydrate for sedating their patients (children) before dental, diagnostic procedures, or medical procedures but the general use of chloral hydrate as a hypnotic has drastically decreased.
Even when chloral hydrate is given under the care of physicians there can still be dangerous effects. Watch this news report about a child that died after being administered chloral hydrate during his visit to the dentist.
Toxic High Doses of Chloral Hydrate
If Chloral hydrate is taken in large toxic doses it will produce respiratory depression severely and cause blood pressure to decrease to extremely low levels. If an individual chronically abuses chloral hydrate they can face liver damage as well as severe withdrawal syndromes. Because chloral hydrate has potential for abuse and dependence, it should only be used on a short term basis. 2 to 7 days is about the safest amount of time this drug should be used because prolonged use can lead to physical and psychological dependence.
Chloral Hydrate Withdrawal
If chloral hydrate is used for a prolonged period of time and then suddenly stopped, there are withdrawal symptoms the user will probably experience. Hallucinations along with symptoms that are similar to delirium tremens could be experienced but it's important to understand that the delirium tremens are fatal sometimes. It's very important that chloral hydrate is not abused.
Chloral Hydrate overdose Symptoms
An overdose of chloral hydrate is quite similar to overdosing on barbiturates. These symptoms include:
- Cardiac arrhythmias
- Respiratory depression
Miosis (severe eye pupil contraction), vomiting, areflexia (nerve problems) and muscle flaccidity (bad muscle tone) could occur also. Due to the result of respiratory failure or hypertension an overdose of chloral hydrate could result in death.
Today there are warning labels explaining the dangers associated with mixing this type of sedative with alcohol or any other depressant. There is still people abusing chloral hydrate but the numbers have drastically decreased. When chloral hydrate is used for the right reasons it is a very effective and safe sedative but when mixed with alcohol or other depressants it is very dangerous. One of the reasons abuse of chloral hydrate has declined in numbers today is because barbiturates are more sought after.