Signs Symptoms and Side Effects of Seconal (Secobarbital) Abuse

Secobarbital is a controlled substance that has a high rate of addiction. Severe psychological and physical dependence can develop with extended use of this drug. Signs of secobarbital addiction can include strained personal relationships, neglected self-care, anxiety, emotional instability, poor memory, restlessness and impaired cognitive functioning. Side effects associated with Seconal abuse can include impaired judgment, slurred speech, lack of coordination, confusion, rushed speech and chronic drowsiness.

What Is Seconal (Secobarbital)?

Seconal is a brand name barbiturate medication which is also known as secobarbital in its generic form. Secobarbital is used to treat insomnia, epilepsy and anxiety, although it is most commonly utilized in physician-assisted suicide. Seconal is also used as an anesthetic and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) drug for short surgeries and therapeutic procedures that would otherwise be somewhat painful.

Seconal (Secobarbital) Addiction

Seconal is a desirable drug for recreational use because of its pleasure-inducing effects. As tolerance for the drug builds, individuals will need to take larger and more frequent doses of secobarbital to get the same effects. The psychoactive effects of Seconal are like those of alcohol. Individuals taking Seconal may feel less inhibited, more talkative and relaxed. As addiction progresses, the perceived pleasurable effects of the drug decrease, but the depressant effects on the central nervous system do not. This increases the likelihood of an overdose.

Frequent, large doses of a barbiturate like as secobarbital can slow respiratory rate to dangerously low levels. This reduced breathing can fail to supply the heart with oxygen, resulting in overdose and accidental death. Someone who is heavily intoxicated from Seconal may experience severe sedation, disorientation, slurred speech, slow, shallow breathing and have extreme difficulty answering questions.

Since the emergence of benzodiazepine drugs in the 1980s, illicit recreational use of barbiturates like secobarbital has decreased significantly. In the 1960s and 1970s, secobarbital was widely misused. On the street, secobarbital went by many nicknames, including “Cardinal,” “ruby slippers,” and “red devils.”

Seconal (Secobarbital) Long-Term Effects

Seconal depresses central nervous system activity by binding to GABA receptors in the brain. This enhances the activity of GABA -the brain’s primary inhibitory neurotransmitter. GABA reduces anxiety and calms brain activity by inhibiting the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate.

Common side effects of secobarbital use include agitation, excitability, hunger, nausea, vomiting, nightmares, confusion, dizziness, impaired balance, somnolence, edema and urticaria. Individuals who abuse Seconal display signs that are similar to those of alcohol addiction. Over time, regular secobarbital use can negatively affect mental, physical and emotional health.

Individuals may experience dangerous fluctuations in blood pressure, difficulty breathing, sensitivity to sound, heightened pain response, irregular menses in women, erectile dysfunction in men, and the risk of kidney failure. Anxiety, emotional instability, hallucinations, poor memory, confusion, depression, panic and restlessness can also occur. These problems can make it difficult to manage both personal and professional relationships.

Breaking the habit of Seconal use and abuse can be challenging due to the drug’s severe withdrawal symptoms. When long-term ceases abruptly, individuals often experience increased anxiety, tremors, seizures, insomnia and lack of appetite. In severe cases, complications from secobarbital withdrawals can result in death.

If you or a loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder, don’t delay. We can help you begin to overcome your addiction today.

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.