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Hypnotics and Barbiturates: Dependence and Detox

Although there are chemical differences in Hypnotic prescription drugs and barbiturates, their intended effects are virtually identical. In the 1960s and 1970s, barbiturates were widely prescribed for anxiety and insomnia, and became popular among recreational users. In common, newer drugs like Ambien and Lunesta are widely prescribed, and have found their way to recreational use among adolescents and young adults. Either drug, when used as directed can be helpful for anxiety and insomnia. But recreational use of one or both category of drug can lead to dependence, respiratory problems, overdose, and death. When signs of dependence arise, medical detoxification and drug treatment is recommended as early as possible.

Reds, Yellow Jackets, the "Abbots" (red, blue, or green) and Rainbows are some of the street names given to barbiturates in the 60s and 70s. "Downers" were popular due to their sedating effects. The user could feel drunk without drinking. When combined with alcohol or other street drugs, the effects are enhanced. Barbiturates are still popular among cocaine and methamphetamine users, allowing them to sleep after a binge. Overdose cases are high among downer addicts because there is a fine line between the amount necessary for an effect and dangerous, or even deadly, doses. The drug names Seconal, Nembutal, Tuinal, and Phenobarbital recall the names Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, and the Heaven's Gate cult: All overdoses or suicides. Barbiturate use has dropped about 50% over the past 30 years, but knowing the extreme risks should lead any downer addict to drug treatment.

Hypnotic drugs are typically prescribed legally for insomnia and sleep disorders. Ambien (Zolpidem) and Lunesta (Zopiclone) are gaining popularity quickly and reaching illegal recreational use markets. Hallucinations, disassociation, and loss of inhibitions are the attraction for recreational users. Medical drug detox facilities have seen a trend of increasing admissions for patients that are physically addicted to these medications after abusing them. Whether the addiction resulted from long-term prescribed use and tolerance or illegally obtained recreational use is not a concern. The concern is in withdrawal symptoms resulting from stoppage of use after building tolerance and increasing dosages. Tremors, anxiety, and "rebound insomnia" (worse insomnia than the initial pre-use insomnia) have been reported as withdrawal symptoms. Any person showing signs of dependence needs to seek drug detoxification and drug treatment to reduce withdrawal symptoms and encourage long-term recovery.

Tarzana Treatment Centers offers medical detoxification from prescription barbiturates and hypnotics in an inpatient drug treatment setting. Patients are medically and psychologically assessed prior to admission. Withdrawal symptoms are treated by medication under MD supervision and 24 hour nursing, and each patient receives a full psychological screening in drug detox units. Addiction counselors assist with relapse prevention and aftercare planning with the goal of long-term recovery. The addict who once felt hopeless has an opportunity for a new life with help from Tarzana Treatment Centers.

Tarzana Treatment Centers offers specialized drug treatment programs to address the various aspects of prescription barbiturate and hypnotic abuse and recovery, including drug detox. Please call us for drug treatment at 888-777-8565 or contact us by email here.