Breaking the Cycle of Barbiturates Addiction at Vista Taos

Learn more about the consequences of barbiturates addiction and how to find a treatment center near you.
barbiturates addiction


Breaking free from barbiturates addiction can be challenging, but recovery is possible with the right support and strategies.
In this article, we will explore the cycle of addiction and its effects on individuals and their loved ones, and offer insights into the path to recovery.

What are Barbiturates?

Barbiturates are a type of prescription medication that act as central nervous system depressants. 

They are typically prescribed to treat anxiety, insomnia, and seizure disorders. They are also used in anesthesia and surgical settings.1

What Do Barbiturates Do?

Barbiturates increase the activity of a neurotransmitter in the brain called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). 

This slows down the activity of the nervous system, leading to a sense of relaxation and calm.2

Forms of Barbiturates

Barbiturates come in different forms. They can be short-acting, intermediate-acting, or long-acting. 

They can also be highly addictive due to their ability to produce feelings of euphoria and relaxation.

Barbiturates Risk

Barbiturates are associated with a high risk of overdose and addiction. 

This is because the body can quickly develop tolerance to their effects. This leads to the need for higher doses to achieve the desired result.

Barbiturate Classification

Due to the potential for barbiturates addiction, barbiturates are classified as Schedule II or III drugs. 

This classification is by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). It means they are tightly regulated and require a prescription to obtain.

Effects of Barbiturates

Barbiturates can cause a range of physical and psychological side effects, including:3
  • Drowsiness
  • Impaired coordination
  • Slowed breathing
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Addiction

Different Types of Barbiturates

Barbiturates are a class of drugs that act as central nervous system depressants. They produce sedative, hypnotic, and anesthetic effects. They are classified based on the duration of their effects.
They range from ultra-short-acting to long-acting. Here are the different types of barbiturates.4

Ultra-Short-Acting Barbiturates

These are barbiturates with very short durations of action. They usually last less than 30 minutes. Examples include thiopental and methohexital.

Short-Acting Barbiturates

These have 2-4 hours of action. Examples include secobarbital and pentobarbital.

Intermediate-Acting Barbiturates

These have a duration of action of 4-8 hours. Examples include butalbital, amobarbital, and aprobarbital.

Long-Acting Barbiturates

These have a duration of action of more than 8 hours. Examples include phenobarbital and mephobarbital.

Varying Potency and Duration of Action

Each type of barbiturate has a different potency and duration of action. They are used for various medical conditions.
However, all barbiturates have the potential for abuse and addiction. There are also significant side effects. This is why they are strictly controlled and prescribed under close medical supervision.

What Causes Barbiturates Addiction?

Barbiturates addiction is caused by various factors. It includes psychological and physical dependence on the drug.
These drugs are central nervous system depressants. They slow down brain activity and produce a calming effect. The calming effect is what makes barbiturates popular as sedatives and tranquilizers.
Barbiturates produce a feeling of relaxation and euphoria, which can be addictive for some people. This leads to barbiturates addiction.5

Physical Dependence

Using barbiturates for an extended period can lead to physical dependence on the drug. Over time, the body may require more drugs to achieve the same effect. This leads to tolerance.
This can quickly turn into barbiturates addiction if the user continues to increase their dosage to achieve the desired effect.6

Psychological Factors

Psychological factors can also contribute to the development of barbiturates addiction. Some of these factors include:
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Trauma 
Many people turn to these drugs as a form of self-medication to cope with emotional pain or stress. This leads to a cycle of barbiturates addiction.

Genetic Factors

Genetic factors may also contribute to the development of barbiturate addiction.
For example, some people may be more prone to addiction due to their genetic makeup. This makes it easier for them to develop a dependence on barbiturates.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors also increase the likelihood of developing a barbiturates addiction. They include the availability of the drug and peer pressure.

History of Barbiturates

Barbiturates are popular drugs due to their high risk of addiction and overdose. They are less commonly prescribed today than in the past because of their high potential for abuse and dependence.7

Barbiturates as a Hypnotic and Sedative

That dependence drives its popularity among people with barbiturates addiction. 

Barbiturates were once popular as sedative and hypnotic drugs. This was due to their ability to induce relaxation, improve sleep, and reduce anxiety.

However, their popularity has significantly declined, and they are no longer widely prescribed or used.

Barbiturate Side Effects

Over time, it became evident that they could cause severe side effects. Some of their side effects include:
  • Respiratory depression
  • Physical dependence
  • Overdose

Barbiturates Today

Today, barbiturates are rarely prescribed or used in medical practice. They are mostly limited to specific medical situations. 

These situations include:

  • Anesthesia induction in surgical procedures
  • Treatment of certain types of epilepsy that are resistant to other medications
The risks associated with barbiturate use have decreased their popularity in medicine. But, they have increased their prevalence in recreational settings.

Illicit Barbiturate Use

Barbiturates are typically taken orally in pill form. They can also be injected or snorted.
Illicit use of barbiturates often involves taking the drugs in larger doses than prescribed. It also involves taking them more frequently than recommended.

Mixing Barbiturates with Other Substances

Some people may also mix barbiturates with other substances, such as alcohol or opioids. This helps them enhance their effects. Unfortunately, it can also increase the risk of overdose and other negative consequences.
Additionally, some individuals may obtain barbiturates illegally without a prescription. Unfortunately, this can put them at risk for legal consequences. This is in addition to the numerous health risks involved.

How Common is Barbiturates Addiction?

Barbiturate addiction is not as common as it was in the past. Many of these drugs have been replaced by safer and more effective alternatives. 

However, there are still people who become addicted to barbiturates.

Who is at Risk for Developing Barbiturates Addiction?

Those most at risk of developing a barbiturates addiction have been prescribed these drugs for a medical condition. As a result, they often misuse or take them in larger doses than recommended.
Those who abuse barbiturates recreationally are also at risk of developing an addiction.
It is important to note that barbiturate addiction can occur after just a few weeks of use. Anyone who is taking these drugs should be monitored closely by a healthcare provider.

Long-term Effects of Barbiturate Misuse

Barbiturates are a class of drugs that depress the central nervous system. They produce sedative and hypnotic effects. 

When misused or for an extended period, barbiturates can cause a range of long-term effects on the body and mind.

Physical Dependence and Withdrawal

One of the most significant long-term effects of barbiturates addiction is the development of physical dependence. Over time, the body becomes accustomed to the presence of the drug.

Barbiturate Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms can occur when the drug is stopped, or the dose is reduced. These symptoms can include:
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Hallucinations

Cognitive Impairment

In addition to physical dependence, long-term barbiturates addiction can lead to cognitive impairment. Chronic use can cause symptoms like:
  • Memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty concentrating

Liver and Kidney Damage

Long-term barbiturates addiction can also damage the liver and kidneys. As a result, it increases the risk of liver failure, kidney disease, and other related health conditions.

Mood Changes and Mental Health Issues

Barbiturate abuse can also lead to mood changes and mental health issues. The drug’s sedative effects can cause:
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts 

The long-term effects of barbiturates addiction can be severe and potentially life-threatening. 

However, with proper treatment and support, it is possible to recover from barbiturates addiction. You can minimize the risk of long-term damage to the body and mind.

What is The Most Effective Treatment for Barbiturate Addiction?

Barbiturates addiction can be treated effectively with a comprehensive and individualized treatment plan. This plan includes both medical and psychological interventions. 

The specific approach to treatment will depend on the following:

  • The severity of the addiction
  • The individual’s needs
  • Co-occurring mental health or medical conditions


In general, the first step in treating barbiturates addiction is detoxification. This is the process of safely and gradually removing the drug from the body. This may require medical supervision in a hospital or inpatient rehab setting.

Behavioral Therapy

After detoxification, the individual will typically participate in behavioral therapies. Some of these include cognitive-behavioral therapy or contingency management.

They address the psychological aspects of addiction. They also help to develop coping skills to prevent relapse.
Family therapy may also be included to address any family dynamics contributing to the addiction.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) may be used to manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings. 

Medications such as benzodiazepines or anticonvulsants may be used during the detoxification process.

Medications such as naltrexone or acamprosate may be used during the maintenance phase of treatment. They reduce the risk of relapse.

Comprehensive and Individualized Approach

The most effective treatment for barbiturate addiction is a comprehensive and individualized approach. That addresses the physical, psychological, and social factors contributing to addiction.
This may include a combination of the following:
  • Detoxification
  • Behavioral therapies
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Ongoing support and aftercare

How Can Loved Ones be Supportive of Barbiturate Addiction Treatment?

Support from family and friends can play a critical role in the recovery process for individuals living with barbiturates addiction. Here are some ways that family and friends can be supportive.

Encouraging Treatment

Family and friends can encourage their loved ones to seek treatment for their addiction. 

This can include providing information about treatment options and helping to schedule appointments. You can even accompany the individual to treatment sessions.

Creating a Supportive Environment

It’s essential to create a supportive environment for individuals in recovery. This can include removing any triggers or temptations from the home. It also involves emotional support and avoiding enabling behaviors such as providing money for drugs or alcohol.

Attending Support Groups

Family and friends can attend support groups such as Al-Anon, Nar-Anon, or Families Anonymous. These groups offer support and guidance to the loved ones of individuals struggling with addiction.

Educating Themselves

Family and friends must educate themselves about addiction and recovery. This can help them understand what their loved one is going through.
In addition, they can provide them with the tools to offer the most effective support.

Practicing Self-Care

Family and friends need to take care of themselves. This can include seeking support from their own network of friends and family.
They should engage in self-care activities and set boundaries to protect their mental and emotional health.
barbiturates addiction

What Does Vista Taos Offer in Terms of Barbiturates Addiction?

Vista Taos Renewal Center is a rehabilitation facility that offers comprehensive treatment for barbiturates addiction. 

Our program is designed to provide personalized care that addresses the unique needs of each individual.


The first step in our treatment program is a thorough assessment. This allows our team of experienced professionals to determine the most appropriate course of action.
We offer both residential and outpatient treatment options. These depend on the severity of the addiction and the individual’s needs.

Residential Treatment

Our residential program provides a safe and supportive environment for individuals to focus on their recovery. It includes:

  • Individual and group therapy sessions
  • Family therapy
  • Educational classes
  • Holistic therapies such as yoga and meditation

Outpatient Treatment

Our outpatient program is designed for those who have completed the residential program or for those with less severe addiction. It offers similar services as the residential program.

It allows individuals to continue living at home while receiving treatment.


We also provide aftercare services to support individuals after they complete a barbiturates addiction program. This includes ongoing therapy, support groups, and relapse prevention planning.
We aim to provide individuals with the tools and support they need to achieve and maintain long-term sobriety after barbiturates addiction.

Contact Vista Taos Today

Reach out to us today for more information about our treatment programs. We’re here to guide you on your journey toward sustainable recovery.

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Reach out to Vista Taos Renewal Center today and let us guide you toward sustainable recovery. We will help you heal from the addictions and substance use challenges that hinder you from leading your most fulfilled life through personalized, whole-person treatment.