Signs of Luminal (Phenobarbital) Abuse

Luminal is a brand-name prescription barbiturate drug, which is also known by its generic name phenobarbital. Luminal is primarily prescribed to treat seizures. The drug calms abnormal electrical activity in the brain. As a result, it can reduce the occurrence of seizures. Luminal can also lower the risk of repeated seizures, which can be deadly. In some cases, Luminal may be prescribed as a short-term anxiety and insomnia treatment.

Barbiturates are drugs that act as sedatives. They’re not often prescribed anymore because of their risks of addiction and dependence. Instead, many doctors will prescribe benzodiazepines whenever possible. Luminal and other barbiturates can create feelings of euphoria, relaxation or a loss of inhibitions when they’re used in ways other than prescribed. Any time someone uses a prescription drug outside of the prescribing instructions, it’s considered to be abuse.

Signs of Luminal abuse can include:

  • Taking Luminal without a prescription
  • Taking higher doses of Luminal than as prescribed
  • Taking Luminal more often than as instructed
  • Using it in any way other than how it should be -such as crushing it up or chewing it
  • Combining Luminal with other substances

Symptoms of Luminal Abuse

When someone is abusing Luminal, they may appear as if they are drunk from alcohol. Luminal is a central nervous system depressant, so many of the symptoms of Luminal abuse are similar to alcohol abuse. For example, someone abusing the drug may appear to be very drowsy, disoriented or confused. Other symptoms of Luminal abuse can include dizziness, nausea and vomiting. If someone takes high doses of Luminal, they will likely have slurred speech. When Luminal is taken in very high doses, an individual may lose consciousness, go into a coma or even stop breathing.

Side Effects of Luminal Abuse

There are quite a few side effects of Luminal abuse, such as daytime drowsiness or impaired cognition and memory. The most serious side effects of Luminal abuse are overdose, addiction and dependence. The risk of overdosing on barbiturates is high. The line between a therapeutic dose of a drug like Luminal and a toxic one is easily crossed. This fine line is why barbiturates are considered to be such a dangerous drug class. Those risks are amplified even more if someone combines Luminal with another central nervous system depressant like alcohol.

Addiction is another consequence that happens with Luminal abuse. Addiction isn’t the same as abuse, but it can occur as a result of abuse. When the brain is repeatedly exposed to a barbiturate like Luminal, it actually changes -in terms of the pathways, chemicals and functionality. The result is often addiction and dependence. Addiction is a chronic but treatable disease. Along with affecting the brain, addiction also affects behavior and physical health. Drug dependence often occurs with addiction. Barbiturate dependence means that the individual’s body actually comes to rely upon the presence of the drug. Without it, the brain goes into a type of shock which causes withdrawal symptoms. Barbiturate withdrawal can be severe or deadly.

Luminal Addiction

As a diagnosable disease, addiction has its own set of indicators. Someone who is addicted to Luminal, or any barbiturate, uses it compulsively. Someone who is addicted will continue using Luminal despite the negative consequences. Other signs of Luminal addiction can include:

  • Trying to stop using Luminal unsuccessfully
  • Using more Luminal than intended
  • Focusing a large amount of attention and resources on getting more Luminal and using it
  •  Commitments and obligations start to suffer, such as at school or work
  • Financial and legal problems
  •  Damaged relationships

Luminal Long-Term Effects

Among prescription drugs, barbiturates tend to have some of the most severe long-term effects. Some people who abuse Luminal over a long time can develop liver and kidney problems, cardiac issues, sexual dysfunction, both short- and long-term memory loss, and issues with concentration and attention. Because of the effects that the drug has on respiration, Luminal long-term effects can include chronic breathing problems and a higher risk of pneumonia and bronchitis.

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Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.