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Barbiturate - Depressant Drug Abuse

Barbiturate - Depressant Drug Abuse

It should first be noted here that depressant drugs are different than drugs that are considered anti-depressants.

The latter are used to treat depression and anxiety disorders, and are totally different. Depressant drugs are those which can be classified in the barbiturate family. Barbiturates generally have a sedating or anesthetic effect.


Further, many barbiturates also act as short-term amnesiacs (they usually cause a person to forget what happened immediately before or during administration or use of the drug).

Barbiturates are also often used in the treatment of epilepsy, a disease in which a person may suffer seizures, sometimes leading to convulsions (strong, involuntary twitching and contracting of muscles, sometimes accompanied by loss of consciousness).

Barbiturate and Depressive Drug Information

Barbiturate or depressive drugs include those such as Nembutal, Seconal, Tuinal, and Phenobarbital. The first three are considered as short-acting drugs; Phenobarbital can have longer-lasting effects.

Nembutal - This drug's full name is Nembutal Sodium. As mentioned earlier, it is a short-acting drug. This drug is used to treat insomnia (sleepiness), as a relaxing medication before anesthesia, and in some instances for the treatment of seizures.

As a seizure treatment, this drug is particularly effective on those seizures that are caused by conditions other than epilepsy, although it does work on this disease. Other diseases and conditions, however, can cause seizures; these include cholera, tetanus (lockjaw) and eclampsia (a condition that occurs in pregnant women as a result of dangerously elevated high blood pressure), as well as others.

Nembutal is rarely prescribed as treatment for insomnia because of its highly addictive properties as well as the prevalence of overdose which has occurred with its use. In the '50s and '60s, in the United States, this was the "drug of choice" for treating insomnia; however, incidences of blatant abuse as well as ever-increasing reports of overdose episodes occurring led to an intense decline in its being prescribed, especially as other medications which worked just as well but were not as dangerous became available.

Seconal - Seconal is another type of barbiturate drug. It, too, can be used for treating insomnia and epilepsy. It is also used as a pre-anesthetic. Like Nembutal, Seconal was another popular drug in the US at different times. It, too, however, had the propensity for easy addictiveness and the tendency for overdose to occur in heightened numbers. Like Nembutal, Seconal is not patient-prescribed that much; rather, its use is fairly limited to more controlled hospital and clinical situations.

Tuinal - This barbiturate medication is similar to Seconal in its composition. This medication is used to treat severe insomnia in those patients who have developed a high tolerance to other barbiturate and non-barbiturate medications. It, too, has the propensity for being highly addictive.

Why Are Barbiturates So Prone To Abuse?

Anyone who has ever been "put to sleep" or anesthetized, even for a short period of time, will readily tell you that it is by far the deepest and best sleep they have ever had, even though the effects may linger for a few days. As with other prescription drugs that tend to lend themselves to high incidences of abuse, the people who abuse them will usually readily admit they enjoy the sensation that the drug gives them; therefore, they try to take it as often as possible.

The problem with this is that as more of a barbiturate drug is used, and the drug is used longer, the less effective it becomes. This leads to a person taking more of the drug more frequently in an effort to maintain the drug's effectiveness.

Another factor of barbiturates is that like some other drugs, both prescription and non-prescription, addiction can occur very quickly, perhaps even after only one or two uses. This was one of the main reasons drugs such as Nembutal and Seconal "fell out of favor" so strongly and so quickly with physicians, especially as other, safer, drugs became available. It was almost impossible to prescribe the drug in a dosage low enough to prevent addiction but still achieve the desired results.

As mentioned earlier, currently, these drugs are usually only prescribed when it has been determined that nothing will work as well, especially where seizure control is concerned. This is a good thing, as it demonstrates that physicians and other health care professionals are aware of its addictive properties, and would rather substitute something else whenever it is possible.

If a patient is not prescribed a depressant drug/barbiturate, that person should not make efforts to obtain the drug through other means, such as online suppliers. This can be both dangerous and illegal.

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