by Brianna Martinez

What are Barbiturates?

Barbiturates are drugs that have a depressing effect on the Central Nervous System,able to produce a variation of effects from sedation to total anesthesia. Can also be used as anxiolytics, hypnotics and anticonvulsants. Barbiturates can be used in the treatment of epilepsy, migraines, cluster headaches, anxiety and insomnia.

Recreational Use: Slang Terms and Consumption


The use of Barbiturates is seen in the abuse of sleeping pills, sedatives and medications; such as Amytal, Nembutal, Seconal and Tuinal. (Oral Consumption)

Slang Names:

  • Barbs
  • Bluebirds
  • Dolls
  • Goofballs
  • Yellow Jackets
  • Downers
  • Sleepers
  • 'reds and rainbows'
  • Tooties
  • Phennies

Signs of Abuse

Symptoms of Barbiturate Abuse and Intoxication include fever, unusual excitement, fatigue, inability to concentrate, dizziness, irritability, confusion, impaired judgement, respiratory depression and or arrest.


  • slowness of speech
  • bad judgement
  • sluggishness
  • shallow breathing and or difficulty breathing
  • staggering
  • bad coordination
*If symptoms are not recognized and treated, overdose or intoxication could lead to comatose state or death.*

How is the Body Affected by Barbiturates?

Short Term Effects:

  • Sleepiness
  • Decreased Anxiety
  • Feeling of intoxication/drunkenness
  • Impaired motor coordination
  • Emotional Instability
  • Slurred Speech
  • Memory Impairment

Long Term Effects:

  • Chronic Tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Slowed Reflexes and Response
  • Sexual Dysfunction
  • Breathing Disorders
  • Vision Problems

Dependence and Addiction

The recurring use of Barbiturates can lead to Physical Dependence, eventually becoming Psychological as well. Withdrawal effects can be severe, leading to seizure episodes. The GABA receptor, the Barbiturates main point of action, plays a large role in the development of the tolerance of the drug. The site also contributes to the euphoria experienced while intoxicated.