Barbiturates; A highly addictive substance with a rapid development of tolerance

What are barbiturates?

Also known as “Barbs”, are a class of central nervous system (CNS) depressant drugs that were once widely prescribed for various conditions, including anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. However, due to their high risk of dependence and overdose, barbiturates are now only used in very limited situations. 

Despite their restricted use, barbiturates are still commonly abused and illegally used in the United States. Individuals misuse barbiturates to achieve mild euphoria, induce sleep, reduce anxiety, decrease inhibitions, or alleviate the unwanted effects of other illicit drugs.

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Still Detox recognizes that medical detox is an effective and safe way to help individuals suffering addiction to barbiturates substances like Amobarbital, and emphasizes the importance of proper assessment and monitoring by a qualified medical professional during the detoxification process to ensure the safety and comfort of those struggling with fentanyl addiction.

what are the street names of barbiturates?

Street Name


Downers, blue heavens, blue velvet, blue devils


Nembies, yellow jackets, abbots, Mexican yellows


Purple hearts, goof balls


Reds, red birds, red devils, lilly, F-40s, pinks, pink ladies, seggy

Rainbows, reds and blues, tooies, double trouble, gorilla pills, F-66s

One of the most potent Benzodiazepines available, Ativan poses a significant risk for addiction.

The signs of Ativan addiction include taking more than prescribed, mixing it with other drugs or alcohol, feeling like you need the drug to function normally, and experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, shaking, sweating, and insomnia when you stop taking it.

barbiturates abuse

Barbiturates are highly addictive, with tolerance developing rapidly, sometimes after just one dose. This leads to a cycle of dependence and abuse, with individuals needing to take increasingly larger amounts to achieve the desired effects. These drugs can be taken orally, snorted, or injected intravenously. 

However, barbiturates are extremely dangerous as it’s difficult to predict the correct dosage and even a slight overdose can result in coma or death. Additionally, barbiturates can cause a potentially life-threatening withdrawal syndrome.


Barbiturate abuse frequently co-occurs with the abuse of other substances, particularly amphetamines such as cocaine and methamphetamines. Suspected cases of barbiturate abuse should take into consideration the potential for co-occurring substance use disorders. Many individuals who abuse barbiturates use them to alleviate symptoms of other drug use.

The Effects and Symptoms of Barbiturate Abuse

mood symptoms

  • Euphoria

  • Pleasure

  • Relaxation

  • Feeling high

  • Inability to think clearly

  • Overall feeling of well-being

  • Intense relaxation

  • Irritability

  • Agitation

  • Mood swings

Behavioral Symptoms

  • Slurred, jumbled speech patterns
  • Poor concentration
  • Behaving as though intoxicated
  • Poor interpersonal skills
  • Loss of normal inhibitions
  • Behaving recklessly
  • Acting out in a violent manner
  • Speaking very slowly
  • Behaving in an uncharacteristically bold manner
  • Inability to fulfill important obligations at school, work, or at home

physical symptoms

  • Physical dependence
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Intense feelings of drowsiness
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Inability to stay awake
  • Loss of coordination of the muscles
  • Staggering
  • High fever
  • Cardiovascular shock
  • Frequent infections of the respiratory tract
  • Breathing shallowly
  • Hard to breathe
  • Seizures
  • Kidney dysfunction
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Coma
  • Death

Psychological Symptoms

  • Addiction
  • Marked confusion
  • Delirium
  • Extreme confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Combativeness
  • Wanting to hurt other people
  • Changes in thought processes
  • Memory loss

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barbiturates Overdose

Barbiturates have an extremely high potential for overdose. This is because the dosage required for barbiturates to achieve their effects varies widely among users, making it difficult to predict the correct dosage. One milligram may be optimal for some to achieve feelings of drowsiness, while in others, it can be poisonous. As a result, taking even a slightly higher dose can cause severe respiratory depression, which can be fatal.


The risk of barbiturate overdose increases greatly when they are mixed with other CNS depressants, such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, and opioids. These substances cause profound respiratory depression, which can lead to coma and death. 


Studies have shown that about 1 in 10 individuals who overdose on barbiturates or a mixture containing barbiturates will die, usually as a result of heart and lung complications.


This is why it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention if you suspect a barbiturate overdose or if you or someone you know is struggling with barbiturate addiction.

Symptoms of barbiturate overdose

  • Shallow breathing
  • Clammy skin
  • Dilated pupils
  • Weak and rapid pulse
  • Respiratory failure
  • Coma


Being aware of the signs of a barbiturate overdose is crucial, as many of these symptoms can be noticeable and prompt medical attention can be the key to saving a person’s life.

Barbiturate Withdrawal

Within 24 hours after cessation or tapering off
(Early Withdrawal)

Insomnia, tremors, seizures, nausea, vomiting, and fever
Anxiety, irritability, restlessness, and depression

First 72 Hours (Acute Withdrawal)

Hallucinations, seizures, delirium, and increased heart rate and blood pressure.

Agitation, mood swings, and confusion

Within First Week (Subacute Withdrawal)


Headaches, muscle pain, and fatigue

Anxiety, depression, and difficulty concentrating


Week 5+ Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)

Depression, anxiety, irritability, and sleep disturbances

Impaired cognitive function, memory problems, and decreased coordination during stressful situations


It is important to note that the timeline and severity of withdrawal symptoms can vary from person to person. Seeking medically managed withdrawal with the use of medications can help alleviate  symptoms and reduce the risk of relapse.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), taking opioids in combination with benzodiazepines like Ativan can increase the risk of life-threatening overdose, as both types of drugs can cause sedation and suppress breathing.

Barbiturates and benzodiazepines are often mistaken to be the same due to their similar effects on the Central Nervous System. However, they are two distinct drug classes with significant differences.

The most notable difference between the two is their potential for fatal overdose. Barbiturates can cause respiratory depression, which can be fatal at high doses, but benzodiazepines do not have the same direct effect.

While benzodiazepines are involved in one-third of prescription drug overdose deaths, they rarely cause serious complications or fatalities when taken alone.

How long do barbiturates stay in your system?

Barbiturates are available in different formulations that can influence the duration of their side effects and how long they stay in the body. The four types of barbiturates are ultra-short acting, short-acting, intermediate-acting, and long-acting. Short-acting and intermediate-acting barbiturates can be detected in urine for a minimum of 24 to 72 hours after ingestion, whereas longer-acting barbiturates can be detected for at least seven days.

It is important to note that the timeline and severity of withdrawal symptoms can vary from person to person. Seeking medically managed withdrawal with the use of medications can help alleviate  symptoms and reduce the risk of relapse.

Is it safe to quit barbiturates cold turkey?

It is not safe to quit barbiturates cold turkey or without medical supervision. Barbiturate withdrawals can be life-threatening and can cause severe medical complications that require immediate intervention. Sudden cessation can also result in extreme mood swings and agitation, posing a risk of harm to the individual and others.

It is important to note that the timeline and severity of withdrawal symptoms can vary from person to person. Seeking medically managed withdrawal with the use of medications can help alleviate  symptoms and reduce the risk of relapse.

What to expect during medical detox for barbiturates?

During medical detox for barbiturate addiction at Still Detox, patients can expect to be closely monitored by experienced medical professionals to ensure their safety. This includes managing symptoms of withdrawal, such as body temperature spikes and respiratory issues, which can be dangerous if not properly addressed. 


Our patients are placed in a controlled and serene environment, with access to trained medical staff available 24/7 to provide immediate assistance in case of any complications. Additionally, patients can expect to receive personalized care and support throughout the detox process, including medication management, therapy, and holistic treatments to address physical, emotional, and psychological needs.

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barbiturates addiction treatment

Still Detox offers confidential and free treatment consultancy and information services 24/7 for anyone who needs help with addiction or substance abuse issues. If you are worried about your use of Phenobarbital or any other drug, it is important to seek help from a healthcare professional immediately. Our team can provide advice on managing your addiction and help you find the best treatment options tailored to your individual needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Taking an excessive amount of Phenobarbital can lead to overdose, which can be life-threatening. Symptoms of overdose may include confusion, extreme drowsiness, slowed breathing, low blood pressure, and loss of consciousness.

Barbiturates Addiction Treatment
in Boca Raton, Florida

At Still Detox, we understand that a medical detox is essential for anyone seeking treatment for barbiturate addiction. Our team of medical professionals provides compassionate care to keep our clients safe and comfortable during the withdrawal process, which can include administering appropriate treatments to manage symptoms.


Along with medical detox, our barbiturate rehabilitation program takes into account the unique needs of individuals struggling with barbiturate addiction. We recognize that barbiturates are often abused along with other substances and that co-occurring mental health conditions can complicate treatment. Our inpatient barbiturate rehab program provides intensive addiction treatment, including a variety of therapies, to ensure that our clients receive the care and support they need to achieve lasting recovery.


We offer aftercare planning and follow-up support to help our clients maintain their recovery and build a fulfilling life free from addiction. At Still Detox, we are committed to helping those struggling with barbiturate addiction find the path to recovery. Contact us today to learn more about our addiction treatment programs and how we can help.

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We develop customized treatment plans that are tailored to each client's unique needs, ensuring they are best positioned to achieve a successful recovery from addiction.


Experienced Staff

Our team comprises a skilled cohort of physicians, counselors, and nurses, among others. We possess the expertise to equip you with the necessary resources to overcome substance abuse and establish sustainable healing.



Still Detox is located in Boca Raton, FL in a quiet, peaceful, and relaxing location that will allow anyone the chance to get away and focus on their recovery.



Receiving the necessary treatment for addiction should not be limited by financial means, although it can pose a difficulty. For this reason, We have various self-pay and financing options available.

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Still Detox: A safe and supportive place to heal and grow

Admission & Process

It All Starts With You

You will meet with our team of medical professionals, nurses, and mental health professionals to discuss your treatment preferences and needs.

Taking The First Step

Insurance Verification

Our admissions team will verify the insurance coverage and discuss payment options or financial assistance programs if necessary.

Financial Planning

Formal Assessment

Upon arrival at the detox clinic, clients will undergo a comprehensive assessment, including a medical evaluation and a psychological assessment. This process helps the clinical team gather essential information to create a personalized treatment plan tailored to your unique needs.



You will be guided through the detoxification process, which may involve medical assistance to safely and comfortably manage withdrawal symptoms. Still Detox medical staff will closely monitor your physical and emotional well-being during this stage.