Barbiturates Addiction


Like most other sedatives, barbiturates have a high potential for addiction. Users can start to crave the relaxing effects they produce, and this can lead to a deadly cycle that leaves you dependent and in need of help. Even though the use of barbiturates has declined since the 1970s, the need for barbiturates rehab is still very real. Harmony Ridge Recovery Center WV recognizes and continues to offer comprehensive and highly effective barbiturate addiction treatment. If you find yourself in need of such treatment, contact us – we are available 24/7 to help you start the admissions process.

Understanding barbiturate addiction


Barbiturates come in a variety of forms with varying levels of addiction potential. They can be a Schedule II, III, or IV controlled substance, meaning the potential for abuse ranges from low to very high. However, they all do have legitimate medical use. Because they are prescription medications, it can be hard to notice when you or a loved one go from simply regularly using the medication to abusing it to the point of needing drug addiction treatment in WV. So how will you know when the time comes for barbiturates rehab? The answer is simple: the better you understand your addiction, the sooner you can recognize it and seek help.

Woman in a field of flowers.
With barbiturates rehab, freedom from addiction is possible.

What are barbiturates?

Barbiturates are a form of depressant classified as sedative-hypnotics. These are known for slowing down brain activity, resulting in a decrease in anxiety and sleep-inducing drowsiness. As such, they’re most commonly used to treat:

  • insomnia
  • headaches, anxiety, and tension
  • seizure disorders

Barbiturates became popular in the 1960s and 1970s as painkillers. People eventually started using them as recreational drugs for their calming and relaxing effects. At one point, there were more than 2,500 variations of barbiturates in circulation – so widespread was their use.

A bottle of pills.
While there are many different types of barbiturates, most come in pill form.

The potential for misuse combined with the dangers of abuse led to the development of barbiturate alternatives intended to be less addictive. Today, there are only about 10 different varieties of barbiturates still being prescribed. Benzodiazepines have replaced them almost entirely. However, this has caused other problems – benzodiazepines are actually more addictive than most barbiturates, and benzo rehab centers in WV have a lot more patients today than barbiturate treatment facilities.

Types of barbiturates

Although all barbiturates virtually serve the same purpose, there are still slight differences. For example, a barbiturate can be ultrashort, short, intermediate, or long-acting. This will also determine what it is used for. Some of the most common varieties abused by people in barbiturates rehab include:

  • Amobarbital (also known as blue heaven, downers, blue devils, and blue velvet): A white crystalline powder also available as an injection, it has a slightly bitter taste and no smell. Sodium amobarbital has also been used as a truth serum.
  • Mephobarbital: This barbiturate comes in a tablet form and is an anticonvulsant used for seizures.
  • Pentobarbital (yellow jackets, Mexican yellows, nembies, abbots): Discontinued in 1999, this drug was available in the US as Nembutal. Its main use has been for executing convicted criminals. You can easily overdose on pentobarbital since it causes respiratory arrest.
  • Phenobarbital (goof balls, purple hearts): Created in 1912, this is the oldest anti-seizure medication that’s still used today. It is commonly used as an injection or tablet for controlling seizures in young children. However, it’s also known to increase the risk of suicide in users.
  • Secobarbital (reds, red devils, red birds, pinks, pink ladies, seggy, lilly, F-40s): Commonly known as a sleeping pill Seconal, this is a highly abused barbiturate
  • Tuinal (rainbows, tooies, double trouble, reds and blues, F-66s, gorilla pills): Discontinued in the late 1990s, it has been replaced by benzodiazepines.

How are barbiturates used?

As opposed to stimulants like methamphetamine, which speed up your body’s functions, barbiturates slow these down. This is why they have the nickname “downers.” People who use barbiturates for medical reasons do so to deal with insomnia, anxiety, and seizures as these are often the consequence of heightened brain activity. People in barbiturates rehab usually abused them to achieve a highly relaxed and calm state or mitigate the effects of stimulants.

A person with a handful of medications in barbiturates rehab.
Most people take barbiturates for anxiety and insomnia or abuse them for their calming effects.

For both purposes, barbiturates are usually taken in pill form or, less commonly, injected into muscles or veins. However, barbiturate pills are so much more common that the different barbiturates have street names attached to them based on the markings and colors of the tablet. But the illegal trade of barbiturates has declined along with their medical use. In 2015, about 452,000 people used barbiturates. In comparison, there were almost 30 million benzodiazepine users. This shows the extent to which beznos have replaced barbiturates.

The effect of barbiturates

As sedative-hypnotics, barbiturates slow down the central nervous system, which includes the brain. By reducing nerve activity, they induce feelings of relaxation. As a result, they reduce blood pressure and heart rate, help with symptoms of anxiety and restlessness, and can cause you to feel drowsy and sleepy. The effects are similar to benzodiazepines and Ambien. Consequently, people who abuse barbiturates report side effects similar to those who are in benzo and Ambien rehab, such as:

  • nausea, abdominal pain, and vomiting
  • headaches and dizziness
  • slurred speech
  • shallow or slow breathing
  • poor memory and attention

Why are barbiturates addictive?

Used under the guidance of a medical professional, barbiturates can be highly effective. However, continued use can lead to dependence which requires treatment in barbiturates rehab. Over time, users gradually build up a tolerance to barbiturates. They then need to administer increasingly higher doses to achieve the same effects. Once you have a tolerance, you’re in danger of forming an addiction as well. Your body will become dependent, and your mind will follow.

Bottle of pills next to a bottle of alcohol.
Alcohol increases the risks that come with the use of barbiturates.

People can also develop an addiction to barbiturates before they become dependent – simply because they crave the effects that barbiturates induce. In most people, barbiturate intoxication looks and feels a lot like being drunk. However, the right barbiturates will achieve this state a lot faster. This is why many people choose them over alcohol or even combine the two. Among them are many celebrities who suffered from barbiturates addiction or died from a barbiturate overdose in the 1960s and 1970s. These include Judy Garland, Jimi Hendrix, Marilyn Monroe, and Edie Sedgewick.

Signs that it’s time for barbiturates rehab

Just because you have a prescription for the barbiturates you’re using doesn’t mean you don’t need barbiturates rehab. It is entirely possible to develop an addiction even to medication that you need for medical reasons. So if you are taking barbiturates, you should be mindful of physical, mental, and behavioral signs of addiction to barbiturates, such as:

  • persistent symptoms of intoxication (staggering, slurred speech, lack of coordination, confusion)
  • constantly feeling drowsy and tired
  • low inhibition and impulse control
  • struggling to keep up at work or school due to a lack of focus and fatigue
  • a change in interests or a lack of interest in activities you previously enjoyed
  • using barbiturates at a higher dose or more frequently than intended
  • combining barbiturates with other drugs like alcohol
  • crushing and snorting barbiturate pills to achieve the effects faster
  • needing increasingly higher doses of barbiturates to achieve the same effects

Barbiturates rehab at Harmony Ridge will help you leave addiction behind


At Harmony Ridge, we understand that barbiturates addiction is a complex condition that requires careful and holistic treatment. We’ll ensure that you achieve a complete recovery from your barbiturates abuse through comprehensive rehab programs that include both medical services and therapy sessions. Treatment is available at three different levels of care:

Woman in barbiturates rehab being evaluated.
Harmony Ridge offers a variety of programs to suit your changing recovery needs.

The first step of your journey at Harmony Ridge Recovery Center will be an evaluation process. You’ll discuss your condition with our medical staff and a counselor who will then create a personalized treatment plan for you based entirely on your unique needs. This ensures you’re getting the care that you need, not a generic treatment that may or may not fit you. The exact steps you take during your rehab will, therefore, depend on your situation.

Detox safely under medical supervision

Medical detox involves stopping the intake of barbiturates while under the supervision of medical professionals at our medical detox center in WV. This can cause uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous symptoms. Many times our licensed staff will put you on medication that will help alleviate these while you are in our care.

Detoxing from barbiturates is the first step of barbiturates rehab. It typically lasts about 14 days. We strongly recommend that you detox at our facility and not at home, as quitting cold turkey without medical supervision can be dangerous and even fatal.

Addiction therapy will set you on the path to recovery

When recovering from barbiturates addiction, addiction therapy can be a huge help to you and your loved ones. Barbiturates change your brain chemistry. Even if detox resolves your physical dependence, your state of mind will still be affected by barbiturate addiction. Therapy is how you address the mental and emotional aspects of addiction that persist after detox. It will change the way you think about harmful substances and their place in your life.

A couple in therapy at a barbiturates rehab center.
Therapy can help you, and those around you cope with your addiction.

We take a few different approaches to therapy at our treatment center, including:

  • Group therapy for addiction: This mode of talk therapy is well-known for being beneficial for people recovering from addiction. You’ll be surrounded by others like you who know what it’s like to have substance abuse take over their lives. Everyone will share their experiences with the group, and your therapist will lead you in communication exercises and role play.
    • Family therapy for addiction: The family bonds severed by addiction can be repaired through a special form of group therapy for families. Your family members will learn about your addiction and what they can do to better support you during this time. You’ll hear how your addiction has negatively impacted your family members. Better communication will lead to more understanding on both sides.
  • Individual therapy for addiction: One-on-one sessions with a therapist can provide you with insight into your addiction and what caused it. Each time you meet, you’ll discuss issues from your past, like trauma or abuse, that led to your barbiturate addiction.
    • Cognitive behavioral therapy for addiction: CBT centers on your negative thought patterns that trigger behaviors that lead to substance abuse. Together with your therapist, you’ll replace these with positive thoughts that will lead you to long-term sobriety.

Dual diagnosis treatment for barbiturates addiction and mental illness

Many people who abuse barbiturates do so because they suffer from an underlying mental illness that they are trying to manage with substances. Even when this is not the case, the effects of addiction on your life can often lead you to experience anxiety, depression, or trauma. When you are diagnosed with substance use disorder as well as another mental illness, you are suffering from something known as co-occurring disorders.

People with co-occurring disorders benefit from receiving dual diagnosis treatment WV in barbiturates rehab. This type of therapy addresses both addiction and other mental illnesses as well as how they interact with one another. At Harmony Ridge, you can get this type of treatment for all the most common co-occurring disorders, including anxiety and depression.

Get help for abuse of barbiturates in combination with other substances

A good portion of people who use barbiturates also combines them with other substances. Most commonly, the other substance is alcohol or a benzodiazepine. It’s possible, therefore, that you don’t just need barbiturates rehab but also treatment for other addictions. Harmony Ridge provides rehab for a variety of substances; we are even equipped to handle complex cases where multiple addictions and mental illnesses are present simultaneously. We can, therefore, help even if you’re used to combining barbiturates in order to:

  • enhance the drug’s euphoric effects. You can intensify the high of barbiturates by combining them with alcohol or benzodiazepines. This can be dangerous as it increases your chances of overdose and death. But with our alcohol addiction rehab WV, you’ll be able to overcome this addiction too.
  • limit the effects of stimulants. Taking barbiturates with stimulants like methamphetamine or cocaine can slow down the effects of the stimulant and ease the comedown from it. If that is how you’re using barbiturates, we recommend that you attend our stimulant addiction rehab in West Virginia as it will help you kick your primary habit – stimulant abuse.
  • increase the drug’s anti-anxiety effects. It’s common for people to self-medicate with barbiturates if they have undiagnosed or untreated anxiety disorders. This might seem like an easy way to relieve your feelings, but this is only temporary. Self-medicating isn’t healthy, and you could hurt yourself if you don’t know the proper amount of medication to take. In our rehab for addiction and anxiety, you will learn better ways to deal with your condition.

You can have an effective, safe, and comfortable barbiturates rehab at Harmony Ridge


Many people postpone going into rehab because they are afraid. They think it will be too uncomfortable and too difficult or that they will be judged for their addiction. At Harmony Ridge Recovery Center, this is not the case. We strive to create a welcoming, caring, and positive atmosphere that encourages growth and recovery. So while you attend rehab at our facility, we will do everything we can to make you feel safe and comfortable.

Woman lying in bed with headphones on.
Rehab doesn’t have to be a nightmare – our facility provides comfort and relaxation to make treatment more bearable.

Evidence-based methods

We employ medical and therapeutic methods that have been proven to be effective in the treatment of addiction. Some of them, like CBT and dialectical behavior therapy, have been in use for years; others, like EMDR and art therapy, are recent additions to addiction treatment. We update our practices in alignment with the most recent guidelines from authorities in the field as well as the latest research. So the treatment you’re getting is always modern and up to date but also never a waste of time or effort.

Friendly and supportive staff

Our barbiturates rehab wouldn’t be what it is without the people who administer it. We employ compassionate and caring experts with personal experience with addiction as well as experience in the field of addiction treatment. You can count on them not only to provide the right medical and therapeutic care but also to treat you with respect and dignity. We want our patients to always feel welcome and comfortable during treatment; to this end, we foster a supportive atmosphere to facilitate healing.

A peaceful environment

You will find out facility in the middle of more than 50 acres of forest, lakes, and hiking trails. The nature around us is healing in and of itself. But the surroundings also allow for many therapeutic activities like yoga, walking, hiking, and outdoor social events. Away from the hubbub and rush of populated areas, you’ll get the feeling of relaxation and calm you love without any substances.

Find your way toward a better life with barbiturates rehab at Harmony Ridge Recovery Center


There isn’t one right way to treat barbiturates addiction. Every person has their own needs that are specific to their situation. Harmony Ridge Recovery Center is equipped to treat virtually every combination of diagnoses and addiction issues, so whatever you need help with, let us take care of it. We will guide you through every step of barbiturates rehab. Don’t let substance abuse take away even more control of your life. Contact us today to get on the right path to sobriety, happiness, and fulfillment.



1. What are barbiturates?

Barbiturates are sedative-hypnotics that act as central nervous system depressants. As a prescription medication, they started out as painkillers but are now used to treat insomnia, anxiety, and seizure disorders. At the height of their popularity, in the 1960s and 1970s, there were more than 2,500 different types of barbiturates used and abused around the world. Today, benzodiazepines have largely replaced barbiturates both in terms of medical use and rates of abuse.

2. Why is barbiturate addiction dangerous?

Persistent use of barbiturates causes a tolerance to build up. As your tolerance increases, so does the amount of the drug you take in order to get high. Eventually, the dose you’re taking is so high that it is likely to turn into a potentially fatal overdose. This chance is even higher if you combine barbiturates with other substances that have similar effects (like alcohol and benzos) as this compounds their potency.

3. What are the effects of barbiturates?

Barbiturates produce an intoxication similar to that of other depressants like alcohol, benzos, and sleep aids. They slow down the central nervous system and produce a feeling of calm and relaxation.

3. What are the symptoms of barbiturate withdrawal?

When you stop taking barbiturates, especially if you do it suddenly, you’re likely to experience uncomfortable and, in some cases, dangerous side effects of withdrawal. The most common symptoms include fever, nausea, and vomiting, anxiety, restlessness, aggression, fatigue, and insomnia. Serious symptoms include hallucinations, tremors, seizures, blood pressure changes, and even death.

4. How long does barbiturates detox last?

How long it takes you to detox from barbiturates depends on the severity of your addiction, the type of barbiturates you’re abusing, and the dose you’re taking. The more severe the addiction, the longer and more difficult the detox process will be. For short-acting barbiturates, detox typically takes about a week, with symptoms peaking on days 2-4. For long-acting barbiturates, detox takes up to two weeks, with symptoms peaking on days 4-7.

5. How long does it take to recover from barbiturates addiction?

As is the case with detox, the length of barbiturates rehab varies from person to person. For milder cases of addiction, short-term programs may be enough. But for more severe cases or cases where addiction is complicated by other mental issues, recovery can take several months. The amount of treatment you need will thus depend on your unique situation.

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