Are you one of the 50 million adults who suffer from a sleep disorder? Throughout history, there has always been a high demand for medications that treat disorders of over-excited central nervous systems. In the early 20th century, Seconal was created to treat insomnia and anxiety.
Studies show that more than 30 percent of adults occasionally experience insomnia. More than 15 percent of other adults have short-term insomnia that lasts less than three months, and 10 percent have a chronic insomnia disorder, which lasts for at least three months. This chronic condition can increase the risk of depression and high blood pressure.
These staggering numbers show the increasing need for substances that provide relief to these ailments. Yet, history has repeatedly proven that each new sleeping pill carries its own risks of addiction. Initially, Seconal showed great results and promises of relief, but over time, physicians started seeing problems attributed to its use.
The height of its use was in the 1960s. Today, barbiturates have mainly been phased out of regular use. Many illicit drug users seek Seconal as a way to pad the symptoms of come-downs from stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine. Notably, Seconal is also used in the controversial physician-assisted suicide program that some states have legalized.
Seconal is the brand name for secobarbital sodium, a barbiturate that was patented for use in 1934. It possesses many different applications and boasts effects that are anesthetic, anxiolytic (anti-anxiety), sedative, and hypnotic. While it’s seldom prescribed today, it’s still occasionally used an anesthetic for short procedures.
Due to its classification as a barbiturate, Seconal is a drug known as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. By increasing the levels of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), your brain can regulate feelings of anxiety, stress, and fear by inhibiting the nerve impulses that carry these feelings to the brain.
Seconal mimics this natural GABA flow, so it binds with receptors in the brain, activates them over and over, and creates an excess flood of GABA.
Therefore, Seconal has the ability to slow down CNS functions, such as breathing, reaction time, and heart rate. These side effects make the user feel calm and drowsy, but they’re also dangerous when driving a car or doing similar activities.
Seconal is only intended to be taken in short-term doses. Patients are advised to not take the drug for longer than ten days. When abused, the medication can actually worsen the symptoms of sleeplessness and anxiety. As your brain starts adjusting to the effects of Seconal, it can begin to rely on it.
Seconal is a central nervous system (CNS) depressants. The drug causes intense drowsiness when it is ingested. Secobarbital is a drug prescribed to people who require sedation before surgery, but it can also be used as a short-term treatment in severe cases of insomnia. Due to its direct effects on our central nervous system, Seconal must only be taken immediately before surgery or before someone goes to sleep.
Seconal is a potent sedative, which makes it very dangerous when someone takes an incorrect dosage. Barbiturate drugs are used to induce suicide in the highly controversial physician assisted-suicide program. Seconal is only designated to be used for a short period of time due to its addiction potential.
Using Seconal may result in minor side effects, such as dizziness, moderate drowsiness, dry mouth, headaches, nausea, and problems with memory. The effects are more prominent in senior patients. You must avoid drinking alcohol when using Seconal as it can exacerbate the impact on brain function and the central nervous system.
In addition to these effects, there are stories of patients using Seconal and engaging in activities like driving a vehicle, eating, walking, or making phone calls without any memory of the event. You must always use the medication as prescribed, and only when you go to sleep.
You must never take Seconal with other medicines, especially other depressants. It can lead to an accidental overdose, which can result in death.
Using Seconal without a prescription is dangerous – in some cases, it can be life-threatening. If you are struggling with a substance use disorder involving Seconal, you must be aware of the signs of Seconal addiction.
In the event you witness a Seconal overdose, you must remain calm and call 911. You must inform the dispatcher of what drugs were used to overdose, how long someone has been using, and listen to all of the information they provide you. While most people will recover from an overdose, getting them the help they need in a timely fashion will be the difference between life and death.
Addiction is often the result of prolonged or recreational use of a drug. The longer a barbiturate like Seconal is used, the more likely a dependence or addiction can develop. Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease that’s often difficult to pinpoint in its early stages. It’s always recommended to monitor the use of a barbiturate, in order to determine an impending tolerance.
Tolerance is the first sign of a substance use disorder. It can be described as the initial dose having a diminishing effect. If you feel that a higher dose is necessary to feel the original effects, it may be time to speak with a medical doctor.
Tolerance is usually followed by a dependence, which involves uncomfortable symptoms after you stop using Seconal. At this point, you’ll need the drug to maintain a sense of normalcy.
Continued use of Seconal can turn into an addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), this phase is characterized by drug use that continues despite negative consequences. For example, an individual may still abuse Seconal, even after getting arrested while driving intoxicated.
If you suspect Seconal abuse in yourself or your loved one, here are some warning signs:
Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease. Without treatment, it can have undesirable outcomes. Fortunately, with evidence-based therapies and advancements in addiction science, there’s recently been a higher level of success. Seconal addiction can be extremely dangerous without medical intervention. The only way to mitigate these withdrawal symptoms is to start the continuum of care in a medical detoxification facility.
This process allows for a safe transition into sobriety, and you’ll be placed in the 24/7 care of medical professionals. After detox, the clinicians will place you in a level of care that’s most suited to your specific needs. They could include:
During your treatment, clinicians will address any underlying issues you may have, which could include a dual diagnosis. You’ll be required to attend various therapies to help correct these problems. Then you’ll learn how to cope with these triggers, which will help you understand why you started using in the first place.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). Drug Misuse and Addiction. from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/drug-misuse-addiction
American Sleep Assoc. (n.d.). Sleep Statistics: Research & Treatments. from https://www.sleepassociation.org/about-sleep/sleep-statistics/
(2019, August 1). Physician-Assisted Suicide Fast Facts. from https://www.cnn.com/2014/11/26/us/physician-assisted-suicide-fast-facts/index.html
Barbiturate intoxication and overdose: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000951.htm
National Institute on Drug Abuse. The Science of Drug Use and Addiction: The Basics. from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/media-guide/science-drug-use-addiction-basics