Barbiturates are among the most addictive substances in the world. They are depressants, which means that taking barbiturates can cause you to become sleepy as your central nervous system slows down. 

Doctors first began prescribing barbiturates to patients to treat anxiety in the 1900s. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, there are currently 12 barbiturates with accepted medical uses. The Controlled Substances Act classifies them as Schedule IV, Schedule III and Schedule II medications. Doctors can only prescribe them to you according to strict regulations. 

How are barbiturates abused? 

People who abuse barbiturates want to decrease their inhibitions and/or relieve anxiety. Barbiturates may also help to ease the ill effects of other illicit drugs, though this is risky because of the potential synergistic effects of taking two drugs simultaneously. People self-administer barbiturates by injecting them as a liquid or by swallowing them in pill form. 

What are the symptoms of overdose? 

It is very easy to overdose on barbiturates. Because they slow down the central nervous system, an overdose could prove fatal. Symptoms of barbiturate overdose include the following: 

  • Clammy skin 
  • Coma 
  • Dilated pupils 
  • Shallow respiration 
  • Rapid, weak pulse 

How do barbiturates affect the mind? 

As barbiturates take effect, they can induce a sense of mild euphoria. If you were to take barbiturates recreationally, you might find yourself doing things that you would not do when sober. At higher doses, you may become paranoid or irritable. Coordination, judgment and memory could become impaired, and you could experience suicidal ideation. 

How long do the effects last? 

Different formulations of barbiturates vary in their duration. They can be long-acting, intermediate, short or ultrashort. People who abuse barbiturates typically prefer the intermediate and short-acting varieties.