Everything You Need to Know About Phenobarbital Abuse and Addiction

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Everything You Need to Know About Phenobarbital Abuse and Addiction

Phenobarbital abuse is very common because of its sedating and hypnotic effects. These can get people high in an instant. In fact, it is one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs in the US, involving more than 18,000 ER visits in 2011 due to non-medical use. Is phenobarbital addictive? It’s a sedative drug or a barbiturate classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance by the DFA. It may highly result in the development of physical dependence when used long-term.

Can Phenobarbital Get You High?

As with many other medications, including other barbiturates, phenobarbital recreational use is highly desirable because it produces a quick high. How will it get you high involves its action on the body’s central nervous system. By reducing its strength of activity, the brain will compensate by producing more dopamine and serotonin, which will create a euphoric feeling. This is what keeps users taking phenobarbital repeatedly.

How Can One Get High on Phenobarbital?

It is possible to get phenobarbital high by increasing the dose and taking the drug in several ways other than oral administration. The dose needed to get one high may vary for every individual. Physicians often give anywhere from 30-120 mg as a daytime sedative, while others are allowed take 320 mg for insomnia daily. Exceeding these doses and increasing the frequency of intake can get you high on phenobarbital.

Drug combinations, which include the use of other anti- depressants, antihistamines, sedatives, and alcohol can get one high because of more additive depressant effects.

Aside from oral administration, abusers may take phenobarbital in other ways to get high, including snorting, injecting, parachuting, plugging, and more.

How Long Does It Take for Phenobarbital to Kick In?

Phenobarbital, as mentioned earlier, has several mode of administration. Each will take effect at different speed and doses, but oral administration of tablets and elixirs start to act in as fast as 30 minutes to one hour. How long will the effects last will depend on different factors like the dosage and individual metabolism, but the average is 5-12 hours. Phenobarbital half-life in adults is approximately 79 hours. It takes 5-6 half-lives for the drug to be completely excreted from the body.

How Does Phenobarbital High Feel?

Generally, barbiturates like phenobarbital can be considered as brain relaxers like alcohol. The effects are quite similar. Other use phenobarbital for alcohol withdrawal as an alternative to the standard Benzodiazepine-based therapy to reduce costs and complications. However, when combined in excessive amounts, these two can be lethal.

People abuse this drug to get high. Short-term phenobarbital side effects, which are described as being similar to alcohol intoxication, include:

  • Euphoria
  • Feelings of calmness and relaxation
  • Reduced inhibition
  • Drowsiness

However, these benefits are counteracted by a slew of side effects, not to mention the potential for phenobarbital addiction. The difference between the amount causing drowsiness and lethal dose, which is 6-10 grams, is just small. This makes barbiturates dangerous, hence not often used today.

Who is More Likely to Get High on Phenobarbital?

Drug combinations and interactions may change how phenobarbital work and increase one’s risk for serious phenobarbital side effects.

  • The use of anti-anxiety drugs, cough relievers, marijuana, opioids, muscle relaxants, and anti-histamines can get one high quickly because of their sedating effects.
  • Primidone is similar to phenobarbital. Combining drugs with primidone and phenobarbital can amplify sedation.
  • The concomitant use of alcohol and phenobarbital may also produce additive CNS depressant effects, which makes one feel very high.
  • Though it is not common for mental illnesses to co-occur with phenobarbital abuse, they can still trigger addiction as a way to cope or self-medicate. The most common are anxiety and major depression disorders.

Phenobarbital Recreational Use and Addiction

Phenobarbital, despite being a prescription drug, is very much available to the general public. Purchasing it in the streets and online is fast and hassle-free! With easy access to this addictive drug, recreational use is fairly common. This increases people’s risk of phenobarbital abuse and addiction.

Someone who has developed a substance use disorder as a result of phenobarbital use has a serious mental health condition that needs immediate medical intervention. It is never easy to go off the drug. One may suffer from seizures, which can be fatal. Therefore, it is very important to have a regular basis consult with a doctor before discontinuing the use of phenobarbital.

The first step to recovery from phenobarbital addiction for most patients would be a doctor-assisted withdrawal management program. Medications are given while slowly tapering down the dosage of this drug with proper monitoring. The withdrawal process, however, may not be sufficient to recover fully from a substance abuse disorder.

Therapies help people address the problems that drive their behaviors, rectify these issues, learn coping skills, and develop a long-term plan for sobriety. A Christ-based recovery center is highly recommended!  

At Haven House Recovery Center, a drug rehab in Nashville, we strongly believe that it is important to combine the spiritual component with other programs like education, individual sessions, group morning meetings, and peer accountability.

Our recovering men also spend time at our thrift stores, where they learn and develop new skills, which are important to become contributing members of the community in the future.

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