Table of Contents

Medical Reviewer

Marjorie Gies, M.D. Psychiatrist & Medical Director

Are There Addiction Support Groups for Women?

Casa Serena


Barbiturates are a group of medications known for their potent sedative properties. This class of medications has been used for over a century to help relieve anxiety, promote restful sleep, relieve the pain of migraines, and reduce seizures. When prescribed in the short term and used in a comprehensive treatment program, barbiturate medications are an effective treatment tool. However, these drugs run a high risk of being abused, which can lead to addiction. Barbiturate addiction is a very serious health matter. Long-term use of these drugs can lead to serious medical problems and even death. If you are struggling with an addiction to barbiturates, you may be searching for a women's barbiturate rehab at Casa Serena that can turn your life around. Call us today to learn more about our barbiturates rehab.

Learn More About Barbiturates

What are Barbiturates?

Barbiturates are a class of medications known as sedative-hypnotic medications. As stated in the introduction, these medications were prescribed to help relieve anxiety and to help people get better sleep. Barbiturates also were used to help treat both epileptic and non-epileptic seizures. Additionally, this group of medications was used to reduce pre-operative anxiety and induce comas in patients with high intracranial pressure due to major head trauma.

Barbiturates increase the production of the neurotransmitter GABA. GABA is known as an inhibitory neurotransmitter because it slows the transmission of electrical impulses between synapses in the brain. As a result, users feel a tremendous sense of calm and relaxation. Barbiturates can either be administered orally in pill form or through intravenous injection.

Several common medications are in the barbiturate family. These medications are listed below:
  • Amobarbital: A short-acting barbiturate used to treat insomnia.
  • Butalbital: This medication is part of many combination medications, including aspirin, acetaminophen, caffeine, and codeine. Used to treat migraines
  • Methohexital: Used as an anesthetic in short diagnostic and treatment procedures.
  • Pentobarbital: Used to help stop seizures and also helpful as a pre-anesthetic
  • Phenobarbital: Useful for preventing seizures or stopping them when they're happening.
  • Primidone: Prevents convulsions
  • Secobarbital (Seconal): This medication treats insomnia but is less common, and many healthcare providers avoid prescribing it.

    Barbiturates are versatile medications and have many advantages. This class of medications has been in use for over a century, and it has decades of research to show its effectiveness. Barbiturates can also serve as a "second line" medication when primary medications don't work. Another benefit of barbiturates is how long they last. Some medications, such as Amobarbital, wear off in less than 15 minutes, making them ideal for short medical procedures. Other barbiturates, such as phenobarbital, last for up to 12 hours but can last for several days in one's system. This is ideal for those battling seizures.

    While barbiturates are effective medications, there are also drawbacks. First, they interact with other medications in a way that makes these medications less effective. Barbiturates affect the liver, and they speed up the processing of other medications. Since they have potent sedative properties, barbiturates can cause breathing disruptions and lowers the heart rate. If too much is taken, the heart can actually stop beating, and people can slip into a coma or even die. Most importantly, these medications have a high addiction potential. In the next section, we will further discuss how barbiturate addiction affects the body.
  • Request a Confidential Callback

    Barbiturates: Addiction and Treatment

    Introduction to Barbiturate Addiction

    As stated in the previous section, barbiturates have a high potential for addiction which can negate their effectiveness. While these medications were regularly prescribed throughout the first half of the 20th century, they fell out of favor because of the increasing abuse rates among users. Also, the development of benzodiazepines such as Xanax replaced barbiturate medications and are prescribed with less frequency.

    Like benzodiazepines, barbiturates release large amounts of GABA in the brain and bloodstream and have powerful sedative effects throughout the central nervous system. The immense feeling of calm and pleasure are reinforced, and users will continue to use these medications in larger amounts in order to feel the same effect. Over time, barbiturates will take over the production of GABA and shut off the brain’s ability to produce this neurotransmitter. Eventually, people will need to take these medications in order to function on a daily basis and less for their pleasurable effects.

    There are both short-term and long-term effects of barbiturate misuse and addiction. The common short-term effects are the following:

    • Increased sensitivity to pain or sounds
    • Problems with forming new memories
    • Suppressed respiration and breathing
    • Impotence
    • Sleep disturbance
    • Hallucinations and delusions¬†

    Long-term effects of barbiturate addiction can include the following:

    • Respiratory issues
    • Problems with body movements and coordination
    • Cardiac issues
    • Liver or kidney damage
    • Issues with attention and learning, and memory
    • Development or worsening of mental illnesses such as anxiety or depression

    There is no one overarching reason why some people become addicted to barbiturate medications. Some risk factors to consider include a family history of abuse and exposure to substance abuse at an early age. In other cases, people may have brain structure and chemistry which is deficient in producing the GABA neurotransmitter. Additionally, people may use barbiturate drugs in order to come down from a high produced by another substance.

    Request a Confidential Callback

    For women by women

    Our Barbiturate Rehab Center for Women

    Barbiturate addiction is very serious and can pose grave dangers to your health and your life. If you are a woman in the grips of an addiction to barbiturate medications, you need to find a treatment facility that has the programs, services, and support that fit your unique needs. Casa Serena is a premier women’s rehab in Santa Barbara. Our treatment program is personalized to meet your specific needs, and we will support and provide the motivation you need to stay in recovery once you complete treatment.

    Our women’s barbiturate rehab program features a sub-acute detox program that will help you wean off barbiturate medications in a safe and clean environment. When you stop using barbiturates, you will experience withdrawal symptoms that are painful to endure and can even become life-threatening. Under the close supervision of experienced medical personnel, you will undergo medication-assisted therapy (MAT) as well as other interventions, including nutritional therapy and exercise therapy.

    Once you are medically stable, you will be placed into the appropriate level of care, dependent on the severity of your addiction. Whether it is the intense programming of residential treatment, intensive outpatient, and partial hospitalization programs, or the less restrictive traditional outpatient program, our treatment staff will provide high-quality of care and create a supportive and nurturing environment. Once you complete treatment, you have the opportunity to participate in aftercare programs such as transitional living and alumni groups. 

    During and after treatment ends, Casa Serena will be in your corner, empowering you to live your best life in recovery.


    Our Staff is Here For You

    Casa Serena's Compassionate Staff is Here for You

    Often in addiction, you feel alone and have nowhere to turn. Addiction can make you feel helpless, but the help you need is just one phone call away.

    For years, the compassionate staff at Casa Serena has provided a countless number of women the tools and unwavering support needed to break free from the grip of barbiturate addiction for good. Call us and begin a new and healthy chapter in your life with our Santa Barbara women's residential treatment.
    Call Now Button