At night, when the whole world is dark and fast asleep, people with insomnia stare at the ceilings of their bedrooms and wonder if sleep will ever come for them. They might toss and turn, pace the floor and even try to force their minds into sleep, and yet, their ability to relax might be so very damaged that they just can’t turn off their minds and get the rest they need.
According to an article in the journal General Hospital Psychiatry, the onset of insomnia like this is associated with all sorts of terrible medical outcomes in the year that follows, including:
Seconal, also known by the generic name secobarbital, is designed to help people move through a short-term period of insomnia. The relief it provides can, in essence, push the reset button on a person’s inability to sleep so the days and weeks that follow are healthier and more restful. However, the drug can also produce other changes that have very little to do with sleep. In fact, some people who take this drug find that it’s remarkably pleasant, and if they do, an addiction can quickly follow.
As mentioned, Seconal is designed for only short-term use. This is due, in part, to the way the drug works within the human body. When the medication is first introduced into the bloodstream, the changes it can produce are profound and transformative, making a person feel completely different. In time, however, the brain learns to adjust to the drug. It develops a nuanced response to the dose that was once so transformative, and as a result, the drug just doesn’t seem to work as well. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, this process typically takes about two weeks to complete, and those who aren’t sleeping well without the drug in that timeframe are usually asked to participate in another form of therapy in order to get help for their sleeping concerns.
People who need help with sleep may find that they only need the drug for a day or two, and they may store the drug in the back of the family medicine cabinet, just in case the sleeping difficulties recur. As a study in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews put it, people with insomnia tend to ask for help with a specific problem, rather than looking for drugs to take for recreational purposes. As a result, people like this might not be tempted to take the drug when they’re sleeping well. But they may live with people who are eager for a new sensation, and if they spy that Seconal in the back of the cupboard, the temptation to dabble might be too strong to resist.
While people who take Seconal for a sleeping disorder might feel relaxed and just exhausted while on the drug, there are some people who experience a feeling of euphoria and energy while on Seconal. They may feel as though they can handle tasks that once seemed insurmountable, and the medication may provide them with a cushioning feeling that protects them from the emotional difficulties that surround them. Not everyone who takes the drug experiences this response, but research suggests that there might be a genetic component to the sensations people feel while under the influence of this drug.
In the journal Alcoholism, for example, researchers gave secobarbital to people who had no family history of alcoholism and to those who did have a family history of this problem. Here, researchers found that those with a family history experienced a deeper sensation of impairment while on Seconal. Intense responses like this have been linked to addiction, as people who move from a sober state to a deeply impaired state almost immediately tend to remember the experience, and they tend to think of it as rewarding. If people with a family history of alcoholism are more responsive to Seconal, they might also be more likely to develop an addiction to the drug.
It’s also been suggested that people with addictions to other substances tend to feel comfortable with the idea of dabbling in Seconal abuse. Where someone with no history of addiction might not feel comfortable with the idea of reaching for a pill to cure an emotional problem, someone with an addiction has likely taken this step before, and may not find the outcome troubling at all. Similarly, young people might also be vulnerable to Seconal abuse, as they tend to believe that prescription drugs are safe targets for abuse, since they come from pharmacies and doctors, not drug dealers.
No matter the reason for the original drug abuse experimentation, those who dabble in drugs like this can experience intense damage. For example, Drugs.com reports that Seconal has been associated with nighttime amnesia. People who have taken this drug have reported incidents of driving, talking, shopping and eating, all while they were asleep. Those who take the drug with a prescription may have been told of this risk, and as a result, they may have arranged for supervision, so they wouldn’t face harm. Those who dabble, on the other hand, may be completely unaware of the risk and they may face serious accidents as a result. Seconal is also considered a sedative drug, meaning that it can:
- Slow breathing rates
- Reduce blood pressure readings
- Slow heart rates
- Reduce body temperature
People who take high doses of this drug may overwhelm the portions of their brain responsible for vital functions. They may move from feeling happy and euphoric to feeling incredibly sleepy. They may lie down in order to sleep off the sensation, and they may not wake up again.
Anyone who is taking Seconal without a valid prescription is abusing the medication. People who notice that their bottle of drugs is depleted or just missing may be dealing with an addicted person in the household, and they may need to provide some sort of intervention in order to help that person heal.
There are some families, however, who don’t have pills to count or prescriptions of Seconal to manage. These families may instead notice that the addicted person they love seems sedated and quiet much of the time, and the person may visit multiple doctors with intense concerns about insomnia. These people are shopping for doctors willing to write new prescriptions for the drugs they need, and they may not have to work hard to get that help. On a related note, some families notice that the person they love seems to get multiple packages in the mail, and they all seem to come from drug companies. These people may be using their Internet connections to buy the drug from overseas dealers, keeping their addictions alive through modern technology.
No matter how the Seconal addiction began, and no matter how the drug use is supported by the addicted person, treatment programs can make a huge difference. For example, in a study in the journal Psychiatric Services, researchers found that about half of people with a mental illness and an addiction to a drug like Seconal were able to achieve complete addiction remission within six months. That timeframe may seem long, but the work done can be transformative.
In the beginning, therapy focuses on helping people to get sober in a safe and controlled manner. It’s an important step for people who abuse Seconal, as the drug can cause intense changes in the way the brain functions. Removing the drug quickly from a brain that’s accustomed to constant access could mean seizures develop. In a treatment program, the person slowly tapers away from drugs, allowing the brain to heal slowly without developing serious side effects. Once sobriety is in place, therapy can help people to use the power of their mind in order to keep a relapse from taking place. They might learn how to identify the situations that tend to provoke a craving for drugs, for example, or they might learn how to meditate or exercise in order to push past the feelings of nervousness that can lead to a session of drug taking.
Support groups can help people to meet others in recovery, and alternative therapies can help people tap into their creativity, so they can express themselves clearly instead of censoring their thoughts. In time, people may find that they’re able to resist the call of Seconal, and their lives might be all the better as a result.
While families might know all too well how sobriety might be meaningful for someone with an addiction, it’s not uncommon for addicted people to find the mere idea of healing to be absolutely terrifying. An intervention can be a useful way to help the person move past the fear and into a program that can help. Here, the family outlines the consequences of addiction they’ve seen, and they express their deep wish for the person to get help. The conversation is positive, but it’s firm, and it can be just the sort of talk an addicted person needs in order to understand why therapy is necessary and not optional.
If you’d like to prepare for a talk like this, or you’d like to sign up someone you love for care so they can start treatment as soon as the talk is over, please call us. We have professionals available around the clock to help.