Seconal Abuse and Addiction


Seconal Abuse and Addiction

Seconal, more commonly known by its generic name Secobarbital sodium, belongs to a class of drugs called barbiturate hypnotics. It should only be prescribed for short term use.

The use of this prescription drug is commonly prescribed for treatment of insomnia as well as an anti-anxiety medication for patients who are about to have surgery.


Seconal works because it affects certain parts of the brain that calms you down and makes you drowsy. Seconal possesses anesthetic, anti-convulsant, sedative and hypnotic properties and for these reasons can be linked to addiction and abuse.

Why is Seconal Prescribed?

Seconal is a prescription medication most commonly prescribed to treat patients with certain sleep disorders' including (and not limited to) insomnia. It is also used to relieve anxiety before surgery. Seconal will help a person who is very nervous about having their surgery done by causing sedation and thus decreasing the patient's anxiety. Seconal is also prescribed as an anti-convulsant therapy to treat patients with epilepsy.

Statistics Relating To Seconal

Seconal is a Barbiturate drug (Barbiturate drugs are respiratory depressants). The degree of depression on the respiratory system is dependent on how high of a dose the person is prescribed. In high doses Seconal will increase the hypnotic effect and respiratory depression will be similar to that of physiologic sleep with a slight decrease in blood pressure and heart rate.

Barbiturates such as Seconal will cause the central nervous system to produce mood altering effects. These include mild sedation, hypnosis and coma. An overdose from Seconal can be deadly. In extremely high doses, Seconal can induce anesthesia. When prescribed for sleep disorders like insomnia, Seconal reduces the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep. This is also known as the dream stage. When a person stops taking Seconal to help them sleep, they may experience a significant increase in dreaming, nightmares and insomnia. Being that Seconal is a sedative/hypnotic, it is considered a federally controlled substance. This is because the use of this drug may lead to abuse and dependence.

How Is Seconal Abused?

Seconal may be abused by a person who was never legitimately prescribed this drug to get "high." The "high" achieved with Seconal is very similar to alcohol intoxication. Individuals may also use the drug to counteract or to come down from stimulant drugs. Abusers who create a cocktail of drugs can be faced with life-threatening results such as a drug overdose.

A Seconal abuser will take much more than the recommended dose to achieve the desired "high" they seek. Over time, the brain develops a need for Seconal making it very difficult for the user to function without it. Seconal was widely abused in the late 1960's and the early 1970's.

Street Names for Seconal

  • Reds
  • Red Devils
  • Red Dillies
  • Seccies
  • Dolls

This drug may be habit-forming for a person who was prescribed it by a doctor as well. They may develop a tolerance or psychological dependence to this drug with continued use. These abusers may increase their dosage without the recommendation of their physician and will develop a physical dependence to the drug as well. The abrupt cessation after prolonged use in a person who is dependent on this drug may result in withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms include delirium, convulsions, and possibly death. A doctor will recommend tapering off this drug for patients who want to discontinue use of Seconal.

Seconal will produce certain side effects. Some of the less serious side effects include:

  • Unwanted Sleepiness
  • Trouble Waking Up
  • Dizziness
  • Excitation
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Nausea and Vomiting

left quoteIf any of these effects persist or worsen an individual must seek medical attention.right quote


More serious side effects include mental or mood changes such as agitation, confusion, depression, hallucinations, thoughts of suicide, nightmares, slurred speech, staggering walk, memory problems and double vision.

Seconal Abuse Treatment Options

A doctor will recommend slowly tapering off this drug as the first treatment option followed by therapy at a behavioral health facility. A person may or may not choose in-patient addiction rehabilitation as their treatment option (this is usually the best option for treatment for addicts and drug abusers). At a rehabilitation facility, a person will receive all they help they need to withdraw from the use Seconal safely.

The process of detoxification from Seconal will be medically supervised. Combined with psychological counseling and therapy, abusers will have everything they need in order to accomplish a successful recovery.

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