Barbiturates are a form of depressants known as downers. They are taken in pill form and affect the central nervous system by slowing down the mind and body.
Barbiturates are not only highly addictive – they can also have damaging short- and long- term effects.
Short-term effects range from a feeling of sleepiness and relaxation that can feel like drunkeness, to slurred speech, difficulties in walking and balancing, memory loss and emotional instability.
Long-term effects include chronic tiredness, loss of coordination, loss of vision, dizziness, slowed reflexes, sexual dysfunction, menstrual irregularities and breathing disorders.
People can quickly develop a tolerance to barbiturates, which means that the amount needed to be taken to reach the same high increases. This maximises the dangers that surround taking the drug.
There are also withdrawal symptoms associated with barbiturates, such as hallucinations, eating disorders, disorientation, vomiting and sleeping disorders.