Phenobarbital is the trade name for a prescription-only barbiturate that is primarily used in the management of seizures. It can also help in the management of anxiety and as a withdrawal preventative. However, due to the fact that overdose and Phenobarbital addiction and abuse is more likely with barbiturates than benzodiazepines, the latter are used more often in treating anxiety. Phenobarbital works by inhibiting brain activity and is considered a central nervous system depressant.
Phenobarbital is available in two forms: tablet form and liquid form. It is designed to be ingested orally, although they can be crushed and diluted in order to be injected. The drug is habit-forming, and is designed to be taken only as prescribed. Taking it for longer periods or in higher or more frequent dosages can facilitate addiction. The calming and drowsy effect produced by these drugs forms part of the “high” sought by users.
The physiological effects of Phenobarbital are similar to those of alcohol, along with euphoria and a lack of inhibition. Phenobarbital overdose is highly possible, especially when combined with alcohol. Part of the reason that overdose is a concern among users is that it is difficult to predict the correct dose of a barbiturate.
Common Street Names for Phenobarbital
Phenobarbital is a long-extant drug that is also marketed under the names Luminal and Solfoton. Common street names for Phenobarbital include bennies, downers, purple hearts and goofballs. Additional street names for similar barbiturate products include barbs, sleepers and stumblers, along with specific names used to describe the color or shape of various barbiturate products, for example, yellow jackets, pink ladies or blue heavens.
Phenobarbital is a CNS depressant and barbiturate, a type of drug sometimes referred to as a sedative or tranquilizer. It is classified by the FDA as a Schedule IV controlled substance, meaning that it is considered to have low potential for abuse and low potential for dependence.
History and Trends in Phenobarbital Addiction and Abuse
Barbiturates were first developed in the late 19th century, and were introduced in a clinical setting in 1904. Throughout the 1900s, more than 2,500 barbiturates were synthesized, with 50 used clinically. Early on, the drugs were largely used as sedatives and hypnotics, as well as for anti-seizure purposes. It wasn’t until the 1950s that the potential for the drugs to cause dependence was reliably documented, and it was estimated by 1965 that there were some 250,000 barbiturate-addicted Americans.
Barbiturates became a popular recreational drug in the 1970s, but interest in the drug has waned over the years. While barbiturate usage has generally declined from its peak, partly due to the fact that doctors are more likely to prescribe Benzodiazepine instead, they still remain a recreational drug for some, and have potential for abuse when used incorrectly.
Side effects of Phenobarbital
Common side effects of Phenobarbital include drowsiness, headaches, dizziness, excitement or agitation, nausea and vomiting. More problematic side effects, including those associated with Phenobarbital abuse, include breathing problems, facial swelling, rashes or peeling skin, fevers and confusion. These may also be indicative of a Phenobarbital overdose, especially if eye twitching or a drop in body temperature is evident. Some individuals may collapse or stop breathing, which can potentially lead to a catatonic state or even death.
Withdrawal symptoms of Phenobarbital
Users are advised not to suddenly stop taking Phenobarbital. Doing so can induce withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, twitching, shaking, dizziness, weakness, vision problems, vomiting, seizures, confusion, insomnia and narcolepsy. Individuals may also become violent or agitated, potentially causing risks to themselves and others. It is recommended to gradually reduce the dosage or frequency of intake rather than to stop altogether.
Treatment for Phenobarbital Addiction and Abuse
Because of the potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms of Phenobarbital abuse, professionals recommend against immediate cessation of Phenobarbital. Withdrawal is therefore recommended to be undertaken under the watchful eye of a medical professional.
While working with a prescribing doctor to gradually reduce a Phenobarbital dose may help manage addiction, a detoxification treatment program provides a setting to allow a user to seek treatment for their addiction while also being monitored for withdrawal symptoms. A residential detox program can help a user deal with the underlying issues that may have led to their addiction, while also helping them overcome their physiological addiction to Phenobarbital.
If you or a loved one are struggling with Phenobarbital addiction and abuse, now’s the time to get help. Contact White Sands Tampa about our detox treatment programs and help manage your Phenobarbital problem. 1-877-640-7820.