Mephobarbital (Mebaral) addiction can happen fast, and may produce painful withdrawal symptoms. It is easy to become dependent on high doses of barbiturates, like mephobarbital. When suddenly reduced or completely stopped, mephobarbital can produce toxic, possibly life-threatening, withdrawal symptoms, making treatment for its addiction very important.
What Is Mephobarbital (Mebaral)?
Mebaral is the commonly known brand name for mephobarbital, a type of barbiturate. Barbiturates are weak acids that are quickly absorbed by the body and capable of producing different effects on the central nervous system (CNS), which consists of the brain and spinal cord.
Barbiturates can influence the CNS in many ways, causing a range of moods from excitement to mild sedation, hypnosis (a state of being where a person loses self-control and becomes very responsive to suggestion), and deep coma.
Unlike other barbiturates, mephobarbital produces a strong sedative and anti-seizure action but only a mild hypnotic effect. Mebaral is a small, white, tablet meant for oral administration and is medically approved to use as a sedative. It is most commonly prescribed for its treatment effects for grand mal and petit mal seizures.
By interfering with the communication pathways (neurons) in the brain, mephobarbital works to slow brain activity and help to relieve anxiety and tension symptoms. When taken in large doses, mephobarbital can cause a drowsy or a calming effect. Similar to other sleeping pills or sedatives, mephobarbital may be abused for its sedative effects.
Although barbiturates like mephobarbital are less commonly prescribed today than when they first became popular in the 1990s, there are still cases of reported abuse. It is also possible for mephobarbital to be found and bought illegally. Some street names for this drug include barbs, reds, red birds, tooies, yellows, and yellow jackets.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Mephobarbital Addiction
About 50 percent of oral doses of mephobarbital are rapidly absorbed by the stomach and intestines. It usually takes 30 to 60 minutes for the effects of the drug to be felt and those effects can last anywhere between 10 to 16 hours, depending on the individual.
The amount of mephobarbital considered to be toxic varies because its toxicity is dependant on a few different things. Typically, an oral dose of a single gram of most barbiturates (including mephobarbital) is considered toxic to most adults.
Lethal doses can range anywhere from two to 10 grams of ingested barbiturate, depending on the type of barbiturate (short-acting vs long-acting) and the tolerance level of the individual. It is possible to confuse mephobarbital intoxication with chronic alcohol abuse or other various neurological disorders.
Some symptoms of mephobarbital addiction may include:
- unsteady walking
- slurred speech
- poor judgment
- rapid eye movement (sustained nystagmus)
- body aches
- impaired memory
- paranoia and suicidal thoughts (only with large doses)
Physical dependence on barbiturates can happen after as little as two weeks of constantly ingesting large, non-prescribed, doses. The signs of mephobarbital dependence can include:
- Strong desire or need to continue taking the drug.
- Tendency to increase the dose or frequency of ingestion.
- A mental dependence on the effects of the drug.
- Physical dependence on the drug to maintain homeostasis (sense of the body feeling normal.)
How Is Mephobarbital Abused?
Mephobarbital, in particular, is usually abused orally. Generally speaking, it is thought that barbiturates like mephobarbital are abused for the anxiety relieving effects they produce. It is also thought that people abused mephobarbital to counteract the effects of other illicit drugs that may be taken in addition to mephobarbital. This is especially dangerous with barbiturates because determining the proper amount to take can be very difficult, even for a doctor.
Barbiturate withdrawal symptoms can be severe and may result in death if withdrawal happens too suddenly. Minor withdrawal symptoms typically appear eight to 12 hours after the last dose
of drugs was taken. These symptoms tend to show-up in the following order:
- muscle twitching
- hand and finger tremors
- progressive weakness
- distorted vision
- nausea & vomiting
- gradual lowering of blood pressure
Severe withdrawal symptoms include convulsions and delirium (an acutely disturbed state of mind,) which can appear between 16 hours and up to five days after suddenly stopping mephobarbital. The intensity of withdrawal symptoms will gradually decrease over the course of about two weeks.
Individuals who have struggled or are struggling with abusing alcohol or opiates tend to be more likely to abuse and become dependent on barbiturates, like mephobarbital. It is important to note that the lethal dose of mephobarbital is a much smaller amount when mixed with alcohol or other substances that depress the CNS because both substances act to suppress breathing, making intoxication more likely to result in death.
Dangers Of Mephobarbital Addiction
Due to heavy federal regulations, mephobarbital is classified as a Schedule IV drug and as tolerance to the drug increases the amount between an intoxicating dose and a lethal dose is not that different.
Severe, or acute overdose symptoms include: shallow/difficult breathing, pinpoint pupils, heart issues (tachycardia), low body temperature, and coma. Sometimes, shock syndrome, the sudden stopping of the breath or heart which can result in death, may occur. Extreme overdose, when all electrical activity in the brain stops, is also possible but is usually reversible if the brain continues to receive oxygen while it is non-functioning.
Additional complications can arise from mephobarbital overdose. These complications can include: pneumonia, congestive heart failure, kidney failure, and excess fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema).
At times, these conditions can be hard to diagnose, especially if mephobarbital addition and abuse is not suspected in an individual. This can cause doctors to think these symptoms are the result of something else and put suffering individuals in further danger.
Prolonged abuse of mephobarbital may lead to other changes in a person’s overall health. These may include delayed reflexes, memory loss, constant brain fog, and sexual dysfunction. It is possible for individuals who abuse mephobarbital to appear constantly drunk, due to intoxication from the drug.
It is not likely, but is possible for elderly people and those with compromised body systems to experience a reverse reaction of excitement, instead of depression when taking mephobarbital. It has also been found that mephobarbital can increase vitamin D requirements, because the enzymes used to break down the substance increase the demand for vitamin D production in the body.
It is rare, but if an individual abuses mephobarbital for a prolonged period of time and does not get the vitamin D required they may develop rickets or osteomalacia (a softening or weakening of the bones).
Medically-Supervised Mephobarbital Detoxification
The first step to recovery is initial detox from any drugs or harmful substances in an individual’s system. Although this can happen anyplace at any point in time, it is particularly important to seek medical supervision for mephobarbital detox. This is because of the danger involved in suddenly stopping this particular type of drug.
It is virtually impossible to quit mephobarbital “cold-turkey” without experiencing painful and potentially life-threatening side effects. Unlike other substances, the dosage of mephobarbital must be gradually withdrawn to ensure a safe detox. Anyone suffering from mephobarbital addiction will need to go through an extended detox time-period, in order to recover safely from their addiction.
Treatment For Mephobarbital Addiction
Mephobarbital addiction treatment works best when it incorporates a handful of treatment methods to ensure treatment of a person as a whole. Treatment should address all aspects of health physical, mental, behavioral, and emotional, which mephobarbital affects.
Every individual comes to treatment with specific needs. Some may have a co-occurring mental health disorder or may have been victims of trauma. Full and successful recovery relies on identifying these unique needs and providing adequate treatment for each. Failing to do so is more likely to result in a relapse to the addicted substance.
In the event that treatment is needed, it is more likely to find comprehensive treatment services offered at an inpatient drug treatment center. These types of private facilities are helpful because all the resources needed for recovery are in a central location.
Some of the treatment types that have been effective in treating mephobarbital addiction include counseling, behavioral therapies, mindfulness and stress management, and medication-assisted therapy, to name a few.
Mephobarbital addiction, abuse, and dependence are all very serious conditions that should be treated with care. For assistance in finding a treatment center, contact us at InpatientDrugRehab.org for more information.
Drug Enforcement Administration – Drug Fact Sheet, Barbiturates
National Institute on Drug Abuse – Which classes of prescription drugs are commonly misused?
U.S. National Library of Medicine – Mebaral – mephobarbital tablet