Short term effects
Barbiturates enhance and amplify the activities of GABA (gamma amino butyric acid), one of the brain’s primary neurotrasmitters. When activated by barbiturates, GABA shuts off large portions of the brain, producing sedative, relaxing effects.
Recreational doses produce similar effects to alcohol intoxication:
- slurred speech
- unusual excitement
- dizziness, confusion
- impaired judgment
- decreased motor control
- respiratory arrest which can lead to death.
Barbiturates and alcohol have similar effects. If someone intoxicated by alcohol takes barbiturates, the drunkenness will deepen as if more alcohol had been swallowed. Pharmaceutical effects of alcohol alone can kill a person who overdoses, and adding barbiturates can transform a session of social drinking into a fatal one. More than one person has died by taking barbiturate sleeping pills with alcohol instead of water. A person using barbiturates should take the same precautions as a person using alcohol, for example, using care about running dangerous machinery such as automobiles
Long term Barbiturates effects
Once addicted, a user of barbiturates will often seek out the drug to obtain the same kind of high as achieved before. However, doing this requires more and more of the drug. And this is where things get dangerous, because the higher the dose of the barbiturate you take, the more likely it is that you will overdose.
Unfortunately, abuse of this substance could lead to respiratory arrest, one of the primary causes of death in barbiturate abusers. Overdose symptoms include confusion, slurred speech, drowsiness, and fatigue and may even result in coma or death. If the drug is stopped suddenly, there is a high risk for withdrawal symptoms, which are very uncomfortable and even painful. Symptoms of withdrawal or abstinence include tremors, difficulty sleeping, and agitation. These symptoms can become worse, resulting in life-threatening symptoms, including hallucinations, high temperature, and seizures.