Did you know that millions of people each year struggle with sleep disorders? According to the Cleveland Clinic, 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders annually. Throughout the existence of humans, these disorders have occurred which have always led to individuals seeking out innovative ways to treat them. In the 20th century, for example, scientists started to research methods that could alleviate symptoms of sleep and anxiety disorders.

Many issues begin with an overactive nervous system like anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. The search for medications continues to grow as people continue to find relief.

The class of medicines known as barbiturates is among the oldest forms of treatment for overactive nervous system disorders. Unfortunately, they left destruction in their path and caused chemical dependence and addiction.

Seconal is a barbiturate drug that is less common but is still used in severe cases of sleep disorders. The drug induces sleep and relaxation while offering relief for people that experience overactive nervous systems. Depressants that work on this part of the brain yield euphoria as an unintended side effect which makes the drugs more likely to be abused. For this reason, use must be monitored by a medical professional.

Seconal was a popular medication in the 1960s before benzodiazepines were introduced to the general public. Later on, other drugs like Ambien and Lunesta, known as Z-drugs, were created as an alternative to benzodiazepines. Barbiturates have fallen out of the rotation because of their addictive properties. Individuals that abuse stimulants like cocaine or methamphetamine seek out Seconal for its sedative properties. It helps them counter the effects of the “come down” that is associated with stimulant drugs. Seconal is so powerful that it is used for physician-assisted suicide.

What is Seconal?

Seconal, which contains the active ingredient Secobarbital sodium, is a barbiturate that was first brought into production in 1934. It has anesthetic, anticonvulsant, anxiolytic (anti-anxiety), sedative, and hypnotic effects. Though it is used less frequently today, it is still used in rarer cases of epilepsy and insomnia. In other situations, it can be used as an anesthetic for short medical procedures.

Barbiturates are central nervous system depressants (CNS) that work by slowing down an overactive nervous system. All depressant drugs achieve their effects by increasing the efficiency of the neurotransmitter in our brains known as gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA then binds to receptors and activates them to regulate our nervous system’s excitability. Barbiturates enhance the powers these receptors affect, and when a natural neurotransmitter activates it, the potency is increased.

The reaction results in barbiturates increasing hypnotic, sedative, and anticonvulsant effects of the GABA receptor. Another consequence of consumption is the drugs ability to slow down heart rate, breathing, and reaction times. Some of the more common side effects have the user feeling calm, tired, and often disassociated. Those who are under the influence of Seconal report having trouble with coordination, impaired motor functions, and cognitive ability. Due to these effects, it makes it dangerous to operate heavy machinery like a motor vehicle.

Seconal has been a highly desired drug by recreational user’s due to its ability to produce relaxing, calming, and euphoric effects. Unfortunately, though, using Seconal for an extended period can lead to physical and psychological addiction.

Even when it is used as described for the disorders it is meant to treat; it is only designed to be taken for ten days at the most. Using barbiturates for more than two weeks can directly result in drug dependency, and the initial symptoms it was meant to treat will rebound. Symptoms of insomnia or anxiety will return stronger than before.

Over time, the drugs will allow your brain to adjust to taking them and require continued consumption to maintain normalcy. Abrupt cessation can be dangerous and lead to life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.

What are the Signs of Seconal Addiction?

Addiction to barbiturates is a deadly and progressive disease that is the result of using drugs for too long or using them for recreational purposes not consistent with medical use. The longer Seconal is used, the more likely a dependence or full-blown addiction is to occur. Addiction is a chronic disease that offers warning signs to those familiar with them. If you are using a psychoactive drug for recreational or medicinal purposes, you must let your primary care physician know if you are experiencing any of these signs of addiction.

  • Slow or slurred speech
  • Mood swings
  • Confusion
  • Isolationism
  • Shallow breathing
  • Hiding drugs
  • Lying about drug use
  • Poor judgment
  • Intoxication similar to drunkenness
  • Poor coordination or motor control

Tolerance is the first sign of a developing substance use disorder, and it is comprised of diminishing results from the drug’s initial effects. If you feel like you must take a higher dose to achieve the same impact as when you started using, this is an indicator that you are beginning to develop an addiction. This happens more often from recreational use but is indeed possible from medicinal use as well.

If you continue to use the drug despite the tolerance, you could fall into the next phase of substance use disorder. If you cut down your dose or stop abruptly but feel withdrawal symptoms, this could indicate a chemical dependency. At this stage, you may need to use Seconal to feel normal. You are no longer taking it to get high, but rather taking it to avoid uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

Continued use will result in an addiction, and this is characterized by drug use that continued despite the negative consequences. If drug use leads you to be arrested and you continue to use, this indicates you have become addicted.

How Seconal Addiction Treatment Works

Seconal addiction can be extremely dangerous because of the area in the brain that it affects. While the disease can be chronic, it is treatable with the latest evidence-based therapies. Seconal withdrawal can be deadly without medical supervision, and the safest way to transition back into sobriety is to enter into medical detoxification. Detox is an intensive stage in the continuum of care that aims to rid the drugs from your system while mitigating any potential dangers. You will be under the supervision of clinicians for 24-hour care up to seven days. In some cases, you will be given medications to help taper down so that your body does not react to the overproduction chemicals in your brain.

After completion of detox, a former user will have the option to consider the next levels of care. These can include:

  • Residential Inpatient Services
  • Intensive Outpatient
  • Outpatient Services

During addiction treatment, you will sit down with clinicians that will help get to the root of your addiction. Treatment must be tailored to fit your exact needs. The only way treatment is useful is if you take part in therapies that help you cope with triggers and cravings. During this time, they will help you create a relapse prevention plan to help with long-term sobriety.

Barbiturate Abuse Statistics

  • Barbiturate overdose is fatal 10% of the time, typically when medical help is not available
  • Though they are not commonly used medicinally, barbiturates killed 396 people in 2013
  • Only 12 of 2,500-plus barbiturate medications are used today for medical purposes
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