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The Effects of Mixing Barbiturates and Alcohol

If you take barbiturates, find out the effects of mixing barbiturate and alcohol before you take your first drink. Mixing alcohol and barbiturates can be deadly. Both of these drugs slow down your nervous system, so if you take them together, your heart and lungs may slow down to the point that they stop functioning. If you can’t stop drinking while on barbiturates, you may be addicted to one or both drugs.

Am I Addicted to Barbiturate and Alcohol?

Although barbiturates are sometimes prescribed for insomnia or anxiety, doctors are careful when prescribing them because they can become addictive. If your doctor has prescribed barbiturates for you, he will monitor you carefully for signs of addiction and change or replace your medication if necessary. However, you should also familiarize yourself with the signs of barbiturate addiction so you won’t fall into an addictive pattern. Tell your doctor as soon as possible if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • You need more and more of the drug to get the same effect, especially if you begin upping your dose without consulting your doctor. Your body builds tolerance to barbiturates; as it gets used to the drug being in your system, you need more of it to get the same effect. This can be dangerous, as well as being a sign of addiction, because eventually you may need a fatal dosage to feel the relaxing effects of the drug. If you up your dosage yourself, you’re in danger of continuing to up it because your body is building tolerance and your barbiturate usage isn’t being monitored by a doctor.
  • You associate the drug with feeling calm and can’t sleep or calm down without it. Barbiturates have a calming effect that you may get addicted to. If you feel like you can’t sleep without taking barbiturates or you’re tempted to take them every time you feel upset, you may be developing an addiction.
  • You continue to take the drug after your doctor has discontinued its use. Your doctor may determine you don’t need barbiturates before your prescription runs out. If you continue to take them anyway, especially if you don’t tell your doctor what you’re doing, you may be addicted to them.
  • You can’t stop drinking while on barbiturates. Drinking while on barbiturates is dangerous. Drinking impairs your judgment, so you are more likely to overdose on barbiturates if you’ve been drinking. In addition, alcohol can strengthen the barbiturates’ effect so that your heart or lungs stop working. If you can’t seem to avoid alcohol while on barbiturates, you may be addicted to one or both of these drugs.

Worries of Mixing Alcohol with Other Drugs

Treatment for Addiction to Barbiturate and Alcohol

If you want to stop using barbiturates, you will probably have to begin by going through a detoxification program in a hospital. Barbiturates are physically addicting; they change your brain chemistry so that you can’t stop using them abruptly without getting physically sick. While you are going through detoxification, medical personnel will monitor your vital signs and physical health and treat illness related to stopping the drug. Detoxification from barbiturates lasts about seven days.

Once you finish detoxification, your next step is to complete an inpatient rehabilitation program. You’ll live at a rehabilitation center during this stage of treatment. While you are in rehabilitation, you may participate in group or individual therapy sessions. You also may attend 12-step program meetings for people who struggle with addiction to barbiturates and alcohol. This program gives you additional support and allows you to meet other people who are struggling with the same addiction.

Inpatient Alcohol Rehab

Inpatient alcohol treatment that includes acute detoxification is often the only way to begin the rehabilitation process for an alcoholic who has been consuming large amounts of alcohol on a regular basis. In-patient alcohol rehabilitation also takes alcoholics who are ready to recover away from pressures and situations that could make them break their resolve, so that inpatient treatment is the most advantageous way of starting the healing process after long-term or severe alcohol addiction.


Most addicts require aftercare when they finish rehab. Aftercare, or outpatient treatment, consists of going to a hospital or rehab center for therapy and other treatments while living at home and resuming normal daily activities. Outpatient treatment can help you readjust to daily life and support you in your life goals, including staying sober.

If you’re worried about the effects of mixing barbiturate and alcohol but can’t seem to stop, help is available. Consider calling us. This addiction can be fatal, but with appropriate help you can defeat it and live a healthy, productive life.