Barbiturates: Mental effects

Last modified: Thursday, 25. December 2008 - 6:10 am

The Mental effects of barbiturates depend on the amount of the drug taken and the strength of the dosage. Generally, a person falls asleep when taking a prescribed dosage at bedtime.

Intoxication

A person experiences intoxication after taking a larger dose of a barbiturate. A mild state of intoxication brings a feeling of euphoria (happiness) that frequently leads to increased self-esteem and a lowering of inhibitions.

As intoxication increases, the person exhibits behavior similar to that displayed by a person intoxicated by alcohol. The person may be short-tempered, aggressive, and possibly violent. Other possible symptoms are impaired judgement and mood swings.

Upon waking, the person may experience “hangover” sensations that include dizziness. The person may still be sleepy and behave in a clumsy manner. Depression may be experienced.

Dependence

Barbiturate use can lead to both psychological and physical dependence. Psychological addiction can occur quickly. Signs of drug dependence include relying on the drug for a desired effect. The addicted abuser believes he or she must take a barbiturate to sleep, relax, or have a feeling of well-being. As the person relies emotionally on the drug, continued use of barbiturates leads to physical dependence.

As people develop tolerance for barbiturates, they may think they need more of the drug or a higher dosage to get the desired effect. This can lead to an overdose, which results from a person taking a larger than prescribed dose of a drug. Psychological symptoms of a barbiturate overdose include extreme drowsiness, intense confusion, and impaired judgement.

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