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What Is Barbiturate Intoxication and Overdose?

Press Release

Barbiturates are depressant drugs that are sometimes prescribed for seizure disorders. However, they have a high potential for abuse; those with a substance abuse problem may take the drugs inappropriately to attain the feeling of relaxation they cause. Unfortunately, an overdose of barbiturates can be a life-threatening situation. Keep reading to learn how to identify the differences between barbiturate intoxication and overdose, and what substance abuse treatmentoptions are available.

Acute Symptoms

Barbiturate use causes both acute symptoms and long-term effects. If your loved one has inappropriately used barbiturates, he or she may display poor judgment, slow speech, and slurred speech. He or she may move differently because of sluggishness and problems with coordination. Other acute symptoms of barbiturate intoxication or overdose may include problems thinking clearly and an altered state of consciousness, such as drowsiness or even coma. In addition, with an overdose, a person may suffer from hypothermia, hypotension, and respiratory depression.

Chronic Symptoms

Continued substance abuse causes chronic problems. Barbiturate abuse is associated with memory loss and a lowered ability to carry out day to day activities. A person’s alertness may be lowered and he or she may be frequently irritable.

Diagnostic Measures

Quite often, a healthcare provider can detect barbiturate abuse by performing a physical exam and reviewing the patient’s medical history. The doctor will check the patient’s heart rate, blood pressure, pulse, and temperature. Additionally, a drug screening may be performed with either blood or urine tests.

Treatment Options

According to MedlinePlus, a barbiturate overdose is fatal in about one in 10 cases. Fatalities typically occur due to heart and lung complications. To treat an overdose, a healthcare professional can administer breathing support with a medication and a breathing machine. Following the overdose, a substance abuse treatment program is strongly recommended.

The substance abuse treatment program available at Aurora Las Encinas Hospital offers a caring, supportive environment. We are also pleased to offer support groups for family members. To discuss admission into our addiction treatment program, call our office in Pasadena at (888) 348-2165.