EFFECTS OF BARBITURATE ADDICTION ON THE BRAIN AND BODY
Like many other sedative and depressive drugs, barbiturates interfere with a chemical in the brain called GABA. GABA is a substance known as an inhibitory neurotransmitter, which means it sends signals to your brain to reduce activities and communication. Barbiturates increase the amount of GABA produced, leading to a calming, sleepy high as the rush of GABA slows down your brain’s processes. Someone who uses barbiturates may appear drowsy, intoxicated or uncoordinated; they may act with fewer inhibitions, or they may slur their speech or have difficulty remembering events.
Continued barbiturate abuse leads to addiction because as the effects of the drug wear off, your brain begins to feel overactive in comparison to its relaxed, GABA-filled state. Even though the levels of brain activity without barbiturates are likely normal, the increase in thoughts, emotions and sensations can start to seem distracting, annoying and even painful. Long-term barbiturate users may seem irritable, anxious or overly sensitive. Barbiturates can also be damaging to vascular, pulmonary and kidney health.