A Better Today

Substance Abuse

When Barbiturate Abuse Becomes a Serious Addiction

Barbiturates are a class of drugs that act as central nervous system depressants. Today, Barbiturates are seldom prescribed as they have been mostly replaced over the years by Benzodiazepines in medical practice. Barbiturates are classified as sedative-hypnotics and they were most often used as sleeping pills, tranquilizers and sedatives when they were more prevalent in medical practice. Barbiturates are known to slow down bodily functions and help an individual deal with anxiety or insomnia.

Barbiturates have a high potential for abuse because of how they sedate and cause euphoria in the individual using it. Abusing barbiturates can be a way in which a person can simply check out mentally, physically, and emotionally. Unfortunately, if Barbiturates are continually abused or even used for a long period of time in therapeutic treatment, it will result in dependence and tolerance, possibly causing an individual to have to seek out higher doses from their physician or from other illegal sources. Barbiturates are also known for the difficult withdrawal that accompanies anyone who stops taking the drug and symptoms can start as little as 8-16 hours after the last dose.

The length of the withdrawal can last up to 15 days and are more severe in the beginning. If you, or someone you love is struggling with barbiturate abuse, please know that individualized substance abuse treatment can help break the chains of the addiction. A Better Today Recovery Services understands the difficulties that come along with addiction and our clinical staff is here to help first get you through a safe and comfortable medical detox. If you or someone is abusing barbiturates, give us a call today.

Sign, Symptoms & Common Behaviors of Barbiturate Abuse

The Physical signs and symptoms of barbiturate abuse are: calmness, relaxed muscles, slurred speech, lack of coordination and poor judgement. Extreme high doses can lead to unconsciousness and fatal overdose.

For shorter acting barbiturates, these symptoms can last anywhere from 4-6 hours, while longer acting barbiturates can affect an individual for 8-12 hours. An individual may have symptoms that are like alcohol intoxication and they may seem lethargic and expressionless.

Many individuals abuse barbiturates with alcohol and if they do so the signs and symptoms will increase in intensity. The combination of alcohol and barbiturates can potentially be deadly. A person abusing barbiturates for a long period of time may show withdrawal symptoms if they are ever unable to procure the drug.

Commonly Abused Barbiturate Drugs

Amobarbital (Amytal)

Amobarbital goes by the brand name Amytal. It is a sedative-hypnotic drug first created in Germany in 1923. Amobarbital is approved for the treatment of insomnia, epilepsy, and anxiety. Street names for this drug are “blues”, “blue angels”, “blue birds”, and “blue heavens”. Amytal is not commonly prescribed. Amobarbital withdrawal symptoms closely resemble delirium tremens and can potentially deadly if withdrawal is attempted without medical supervision.

Butabarbital (Butisol)

Butabarbital goes by the brand name Butisol and has approved medical use for the treatment of insomnia as well helping patients feel sleepy and before a surgery or medical procedure. Butabarbital is known to cause paranoid or suicidal ideation. Butabarbital can also cause lapses in memory, poor judgement, and poor coordination. Butabarbital is a Schedule III drug in the United States and is not commonly prescribed by doctors today.

Pentobarbital (Nembutal)

Pentobarbital which goes by the brand name Nembutal has approved medical use and is prescribed usually short-term for treating tension, anxiety, nervousness, and insomnia. It can also be used to help a patient relax before a surgery or medical procedure. Alcohol use should be avoided at all costs if take Pentobarbital. Pentobarbital has been used for euthanasia in both humans and animals as it can induce death in high doses.

Secobarbital (Seconal)

Secobarbital which goes by the brand name Seconal is one of the most powerful Barbiturates known today. In the United States, Seconal is often used with physician-assisted suicide as it can induce death in large doses. Secobarbital is medically approved to treat epilepsy, insomnia, and are used as a preoperative drug as anesthesia before short procedures. Seconal is also used in veterinary practice and has a high potential for abuse.


Phenobarbital which is also known as phenobarbitone or phenobarb is a medication that is used in the treat for certain types of epilepsy. In the United States, it is often a medication used to treat seizures in small children. Phenobarbital is sometimes used to treat insomnia, anxiety, and drug withdrawal. The effects of phenobarbital can last up between 4 – 48 hours. Those who use phenobarbital have a high risk of developing suicidal ideations and many experience a significant lowering of consciousness.


What are Barbiturates?

Barbiturates are depressants that affect the central nervous system (CNS). They are used as sedatives (mild to coma-inducing), anesthetics, hypnotics, and anticonvulsants. Barbiturates can be classified as ultrashort, short, intermediate, and long-acting.

What are Barbiturates origins?

Barbiturates were developed for medical uses in the 1900s, but today doctors rely more upon Benzodiazepines.

What are Barbiturates’ common street names?

Christmas Trees, Pinks, Barbs, Yellow Jackets, Block Busters, Red Devils, Goof Balls, Red & Blues

How are Barbiturates abused?

Barbiturates can be swallowed as a pill, or injected in a liquid form. In general, people use Barbiturates decrease inhibitions, reduce anxiety, and treat the unwanted effects of stimulant drugs.

What are Barbiturates effects on the mind?

Barbiturates can cause relief of anxiety, lack of inhibition, sleepiness, mild euphoria, irritability, paranoia, suicidal ideation, and the impairment of memory, coordination, and judgment. The danger of overdose is high, since tolerance develops quickly and larger, more frequent doses are needed to generate the same high.

What are Barbiturates effects on the body?

Barbiturates cause sleepiness and depression of the CNS.

What are Barbiturates overdose effects?

An overdose of Barbiturates can cause dilated pupils, weak/rapid pulse, clammy skin, shallow respiration, respiratory failure, coma, and possibly death.

Which drugs cause similar effects as Barbiturates?

Barbiturates share similar characteristics as Xanax (R), Rohypnol (R), Valium (R), GHB, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, and alcohol.

What are the withdrawal effects of Barbiturates?

When the user stops abusing Barbiturates, he/she could experience withdrawal symptoms such as seizures, restlessness, tremors, insomnia, hallucinations, weakness, psychosis, nausea, anxiety, dizziness, and sweating.

Find A Better Way With
A Better Today Recovery Services

  • Confidential
  • 24/7
  • Financing Available
  • Most Insurance Accepted

ABTRS makes the recovery decision easy

Risk Free

Struggling with addiction is difficult, so why should your rehab be? ABTRS takes the risk out of the equation.


From the first phone consultation, to your rehabilitation and sobriety, ABTRS makes your privacy our number one concern.

ABTRS Guarantee

No one ever said that the journey into recovery would easy, but we have a promise. Complete our 90-day program and receive a 28-day tune up.

Need more help? Give us a call



Get Help Now (888)-906-0952

phone icon

Stop Addiction Call: