Tiny pills of phenobarbital seem safe and harmless. After all, the pills are created in laboratories by trained and seasoned experts, and each pill must go through a rigorous quality-control program before it can be released to the public. Additionally, prescriptions are required for each dose that leaves the pharmacy. With all of these stringent requirements in place, it’s unlikely that the pills will be contaminated with additives, and it’s doubly unlikely that people who take these medications appropriately will have a problem with them. People who abuse phenobarbital, however, may face the very real risk of overdose due to the nature of addiction itself.
Dangers of Escalation
A person abusing phenobarbital is engaged in a secret, hidden game of tug-of-war with the body. The person craves the high the drug can bring about, but the brain craves a feeling of control and stability. The person may take larger and larger doses of the drug in order to obtain that sensation, but the brain may retaliate by turning off receptors, making fewer chemicals available and just producing a smaller response each time the drugs are added.
Phenobarbital does more than just produce euphoria, however, and each time a person takes large doses of the drug, that person’s vital systems are also impacted. In time, people can take such large doses of the drug that they become severely inebriated and develop:
- Slowed breathing
- Low blood pressure
- Slurred speech
- Deep sleep or coma
This is considered a medical emergency, as people who don’t get medical help for this kind of problem can die due to their exposure.
Phenobarbital tends to linger inside the body for long periods of time, and as a result, even people who have mild cases of an overdose and who can still be awakened from their stupor are at risk for serious medical complications and they might need to be monitored in the hospital as a result, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. They might need breathing support in advanced cases, and they might also need to have their stomachs emptied, just so the drug doesn’t continue to stay in place and due damage.
Medications might also play a role in helping people to overcome an overdose. Some people benefit from activated charcoal, which can help to reduce the efficiency of the drug and allow the body to remove it more effectively. According to a study of this treatment in JAMA, even people who are in a coma from phenobarbital exposure might benefit from this treatment, as it seems to shorten coma times and help to reduce the length of time in which phenobarbital is active within the body.
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The best way to handle the risk of phenobarbital overdose is to reduce the risk of addiction. By getting help for an abuse issue, people can stop escalating the amount of drugs they take, and they can allow their bodies to begin to heal. Brain chemistry levels can return to normal through this process, and people can learn how to maintain their sobriety in the years to come. This is the kind of assistance we provide at Alta Mira, and we stand at the ready to help you. Please call us to find out more about our luxury addiction treatment program.