Suggested links

Barbiturates Rehab

If you or a loved one are concerned about your barbiturate use and have decided it’s time to seek treatment, you may consider rehab as your first option. This guide explains the type of rehab options available for treating barbiturate addiction, what to expect after rehab and additional options to supplement rehab care during and after the process.

Battling addiction and ready for treatment? Find Treatment Now

Barbiturates Addiction Treatment Programs

Addiction rehab for barbiturates includes inpatient and outpatient rehab and other professional treatment plans.

If you or a loved one has chosen to pursue a treatment plan or medical intervention, barbiturate rehab programs are an excellent place to start.

Medical Detox for Barbituarates

Under medical supervision, a person who has participated in barbiturate misuse may undergo detoxification (medical detox).

It is worth noting that most individuals can undergo medical detox at an outpatient level, meaning that their doctor or rehab program will provide instructions and guidelines where they can complete detox at home.

During an outpatient detox, the individual will self-monitor their barbiturate withdrawal symptoms and contact a healthcare provider if necessary. They may also receive a tapering plan and other medication to ease their withdrawal symptoms.

Barbiturate withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Panic attacks
  • Disrupted sleep patterns (i.e., insomnia)
  • Seizures
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • Intense cravings for the drug

The length and severity of a person’s withdrawal symptoms during barbiturate detox will vary and depend on factors such as the length of time a person abused barbiturates and overall health, age, etc.

Try Therapy Online

Fill out a brief questionnaire and get matched with a licensed therapist.

We may earn commissions when you follow links to BetterHelp.

Take Assessment

Inpatient Rehab for Addiction to Barbiturates

For inpatient rehab, someone with a barbiturate addiction will stay overnight in a treatment facility. This type of drug rehab is for a person participating in substance abuse who requires more intense care than an outpatient treatment facility provides.

If needed, the patient will begin their stay by going through supervised detox until all barbiturates are eliminated from their system.

During this onsite detox, they may experience symptoms of barbiturate withdrawal (such as insomnia, appetite loss, etc.), but these symptoms are typically not long-lasting.

Medical professionals will monitor the patient’s vitals and may provide medication to ease withdrawal discomfort.

Throughout inpatient treatment, the patient will attend therapy and support groups throughout their stay. Depending on the individual treatment center, they may also have access to additional programs, such as art therapy or equine therapy.

Inpatient care is excellent for someone with a serious or severe barbiturate addiction, addiction to multiple drugs, and/or someone who would greatly benefit from inpatient rehab’s daily structure.

Outpatient Rehab for Barbiturate Addiction

For many people dealing with a barbiturate addiction, an outpatient program is a suitable treatment option to begin their recovery.

Depending on the level of care needed, the person seeking treatment will typically choose between an Intensive Outpatient Program and a Partial Hospitalization Program.

Sometimes, the individual may attend one of these programs after completing an inpatient program, while others may start their recovery journey with outpatient treatment.

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs) offer a higher level of care for treating a barbiturate addiction. Typical PHPs are very similar to inpatient programs in that they can provide ongoing therapy, MAT, and medical services (as needed), but the patient does not need to stay overnight.

Someone recovering from a serious barbiturate addiction or who may have had a history of other drug use may choose to attend a PHP for the high level of support and structure that it offers without the cost and time commitment of overnight stays.

An Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) provides excellent services at the lowest time commitment, usually asking patients to attend therapy sessions and other services at least once weekly.

IOP services can be tailored to your individual needs. They are best suited for someone who has completed a more intense rehab program (such as inpatient or even a PHP) as a “step down” before being on their own.

An IOP is also excellent for someone with a solid support system and a relatively minor barbiturate addiction.

Additional Barbiturate Addiction Treatment Options

Outside of detox and rehab, people who are ready to quit abusing barbiturates can also opt for additional treatment solutions, such as therapy and support groups.

The key to recovering from any addiction is working with your healthcare provider (or similar addiction medical professional) to develop a unique treatment plan that addresses your individual needs.

While this list is not exhaustive, these are some of the most common treatment options outside of rehab and are used for treating various substance use disorders.

Therapy and Behavioral Health

Doctors often use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to support a person overcoming drug addiction. This type of therapy works to help a person cope with stress without substance abuse.

CBT involves a person considering how they can improve their thinking, expectations, and actions.

CBT is an important part of barbiturate rehab during and after the detox process because this drug has both short-acting and long-acting side effects.

Support Groups

Support groups are a beneficial way for a person to cope with their barbiturate addiction. By talking to others who have faced similar challenges, a person can reduce their risk of relapsing.

Groups such as Narcotics Anonymous offer in-person and online meetings free of charge throughout the United States.

Try Therapy Online

Fill out a brief questionnaire and get matched with a licensed therapist.

We may earn commissions when you follow links to BetterHelp.

Take Assessment

What Happens After Barbiturates Rehab?

Once you or your loved one completes their rehab, post-rehab programs and options help support your sobriety and abstinence from barbiturate use.

For some—particularly those recovering from a more severe or multidrug addiction—getting back to “normal life” may feel very intimidating.

However, with these tools, people recovering from barbiturate addiction have the best potential for lifelong sobriety.

Sober Living

Sober living communities and other residential programs for people in recovery offer a safe, drug-free environment where they can continue to heal and work on their recovery.

Places like sober homes and halfway houses are made up of people in recovery from substance abuse (not just barbiturate addiction) and designed to help residents get back into good day-to-day habits, like chores and getting back to the workforce.

Sober living can also help some escape a negative living situation that may have contributed to their drug use in the first place.

Continuing Therapy

For many, addiction is complex and rooted in behavioral health. That’s why therapy is so beneficial both during rehab and afterward.

Many people recovering from barbiturate or other drug addictions get a lot of help from therapy, and they opt to continue attending sessions even after their rehab program is complete.

Support Groups

Support groups like Narcotics Anonymous aren’t just for people in rehab; they’re also a great option for long-term recovery.

By providing a group of supportive people in a safe meeting space, recovering addicts always have a place to go—even if they are struggling with sobriety and need accountability, support, and compassion from people who understand.

Support groups also provide a certain level of structure that the recovering addict experienced in rehab. They may also have attended support groups during rehab, and once rehab is finished, they can continue attending the same meetings for long-term support.

What Are Barbiturates Normally Used For?

Barbiturates, often called downers, are drugs in the sedative-hypnotics class. They are a central nervous system depressant and can cause sedation, so they were used as a general anesthetic in the past.

Previously, doctors also prescribed barbiturates to treat anxiety and insomnia. However, benzodiazepines are much safer and are largely preferred over barbiturates.

Doctors still sometimes prescribe barbiturates to treat seizure disorders due to their anticonvulsant properties.

Common types of barbiturates include:

  • Amobarbital
  • Phenobarbital
  • Pentobarbital
  • Seconal
  • Secobarbital

How Do Barbiturates Affect the Body?

Barbiturates affect the body similarly to alcohol, pain medicines, sleeping pills, and antihistamines.

The dose of barbiturates can determine the type of side effects a user may experience.

  • At a small dose, a person who has used barbiturates will feel drowsy and intoxicated with lower inhibitions.
  • At a higher dose, a barbiturate user will act drunk (i.e., staggering, slurred speech, and confusion). This state is also known as barbiturate intoxication.
  • During a barbiturate overdose, the individual may experience respiratory depression—that is, slowed or even stopped breathing. They can also experience seizures or fall into a coma.

Barbiturates carry a high risk for addiction and can lead to physical dependence after a single month of use. Severe withdrawal symptoms can occur even after this short period if the person abruptly stops using the drug.

If you are considering quitting barbiturate use, speak with a healthcare provider first to ensure your safety during the process.

Short-Term Side Effects of Barbiturate Abuse

A person who misuses barbiturates will experience immediate effects.

The length of time these effects last depends on the drug taken and can last anywhere from a few minutes to 2 days.

Common short-term side effects of barbiturate abuse include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Euphoric feelings
  • Drowsiness
  • Changes in mental state
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Responsibility neglecting
  • Difficulty with motor function (e.g., talking, walking, etc.)
  • Mood swings
  • Intense cravings for the drug

Long-Term Side Effects of Barbiturate Abuse

Over prolonged use of barbiturates, a person will face worsening side effects. Some of these side effects are life-threatening.

Common long-term side effects of barbiturate abuse include:

  • Slurring speech
  • Increased confusion
  • Disinhibition
  • Irritability
  • Emotional instability
  • Clammy skin

Severe long-term side effects of barbiturate abuse include:

  • Coma
  • Paranoia
  • Irregular breathing
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • Death
Try Therapy Online

Fill out a brief questionnaire and get matched with a licensed therapist.

We may earn commissions when you follow links to BetterHelp.

Take Assessment

Find a Rehab Center for Barbiturate Addiction Nearby

If you or a loved one is addicted to barbiturates, get help as soon as possible. The dangers of this drug are severe and can lead to death.

Go to SAMHSA’s online treatment locator or call 1-800-662-4357 (HELP) to start the treatment process.

FAQs About Barbiturate Rehab

How common is barbiturate addiction?

Barbiturate addiction is not terribly common nowadays, as benzodiazepine prescriptions have largely replaced the need for barbiturates.

However, SAMHSA reported in 2018 that about 32,000 Americans aged 12 or older reported misusing their barbiturate prescription.

Can I still get treatment for a barbiturate addiction?

Yes, you can still get treatment for barbiturate addiction. There are both inpatient and outpatient options for treatment.

While the use of barbiturates has decreased significantly in recent years (in favor of benzodiazepine prescriptions), many facilities can still treat individuals with an addiction to barbiturates.

What happens when you are addicted to barbiturates?

When you are addicted to barbiturates and stop taking them, you may experience withdrawal symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, panic attacks, and suicidal thoughts.

Other side effects of barbiturate addiction include failing to take care of responsibilities and having strong barbiturate cravings.

Kent S. Hoffman, D.O. is a founder of Addiction HelpReviewed by:Kent S. Hoffman, D.O.

Chief Medical Officer & Co-Founder

  • Fact-Checked
  • Editor

Kent S. Hoffman, D.O. has been an expert in addiction medicine for more than 15 years. In addition to managing a successful family medical practice, Dr. Hoffman is board certified in addiction medicine by the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine (AOAAM). Dr. Hoffman has successfully treated hundreds of patients battling addiction. Dr. Hoffman is the Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of AddictionHelp.com and ensures the website’s medical content and messaging quality.

Jessica Miller is the Content Manager of Addiction HelpWritten by:

Editorial Director

Jessica Miller is the Editorial Director of Addiction Help. Jessica graduated from the University of South Florida (USF) with an English degree and combines her writing expertise and passion for helping others to deliver reliable information to those impacted by addiction. Informed by her personal journey to recovery and support of loved ones in sobriety, Jessica's empathetic and authentic approach resonates deeply with the Addiction Help community.

  1. Bhandari, S. (2020, November 16). Barbiturate abuse. WebMD. Retrieved May 26, 2023, from https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/barbiturate-abuse#1

  2. NIDA. (2018, March 6). Prescription CNS Depressants DrugFacts. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved May 26, 2023, from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-cns-depressants

  3. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (1997) A Guide to Substance Abuse Services for Primary Care Clinicians. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US). Retrieved May 26, 2023, from  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64815/

  4. Abdijadid, S., & Skibiski, J. (2022, December 31). Barbiturates. StatPearls. Retrieved May 26, 2023, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK539731/

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, March 24). Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRF). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved May 26, 2023, from https://www.cdc.gov/nhsn/inpatient-rehab/index.html\

  6. López-Muñoz, F., Ucha-Udabe, R., & Alamo, C. (2005, December 1). The history of barbiturates a century after their clinical introduction. Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment. Retrieved May 26, 2023, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2424120/

  7. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2023, April 18). Treatment. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved May 26, 2023, from https://nida.nih.gov/research-topics/treatment

  8. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (n.d.). Barbiturate intoxication and overdose: Medlineplus medical encyclopedia. MedlinePlus. Retrieved May 26, 2023, from  https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000951.htm

  9. U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. (n.d.). Barbiturates. DEA. Retrieved May 26, 2023, from https://www.dea.gov/factsheets/barbiturates

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Our free email newsletter offers guidance from top addiction specialists, inspiring sobriety stories, and practical recovery tips to help you or a loved one keep coming back and staying sober.

By signing up, you’ll be able to:

  • Stay Focused on Recovery
  • Find Ways To Give Back
  • Connect with Others Like You
Sign Up For Our Newsletter
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Find Treatment Now