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Barbiturates Essay, Research Paper


Barbiturates are classified in the medical world as clinical depressants that are used to reduce the feeling of stress in individuals by slowing down the central nervous system. In small doses, barbiturates can be very helpful in bringing calm back to a person; but in large uncontrolled doses, they can be extremely fatal.

Barbiturates are used to treat individuals with sleeplessness, anxiety, and tension, and to help prevent or relieve epileptic seizures. Certain types of barbiturates are used to induce anesthesia at the beginning of long operations.

Although rarely prescribed anymore because of the risks of abuse, in small doses barbiturates are very useful to doctors.

In low doses, barbiturates reduce anxiety, reduce respiration, reduce blood pressure, reduce heart rate and reduce rapid eye movement. It is in this respect that I believe they are beneficial to the modern world of medicine especially in helping individuals overcome stress. In large doses barbiturates can act like a stimulant. These effects may be caused by depressing inhibitory brain circuits. In other words, barbiturates at these doses act to remove inhibitory behavior. They can lead to extreme sedation and anesthesia, leading to a comatose state, and even death. Overdoses are an often occurrence in the case of barbiturates because the effective dose is very close to the lethal dose.

Barbiturates are like any other narcotic in the respect that they cause dependence and tolerance in the user. As they become more dependent on the drug and build up tolerance towards it, it takes a greater and greater amount of the drug to achieve the desired affect.

Barbiturates can have easy access to the brain because they dissolve quite easily into fats. Because of this ability, they can follow the bloodstream and cross the blood brain barrier easily. Also, since barbiturates dissolve into fat, they can build up and later re-enter the blood stream. Different types of barbiturates exit the blood stream at different rates.

When barbiturates are uncontrolled by a medical professional, an individual may become dependent and addicted to barbiturates, and overdose, leading to serious consequences: extreme anesthesia, comas, and even death.

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