Luminal is a brand name for a barbiturate called phenobarbital that was once used as a sedative-hypnotic prescription. It is currently reserved for the treatment of epilepsy. Luminal, like other barbiturates, was a common prescription drug that was used to treat insomnia and anxiety issues, but it was largely replaced as a commonly prescribed medication in the 1960s with the introduction of benzodiazepines. Benzos are more widely tolerated and are less likely to cause serious side effects like an overdose. Luminal isn’t widely used today, but it can be used as a recreational drug. In high doses, it can cause intoxicating effects similar to alcohol.
Overuse can also cause drowsiness, memory issues, and loss of motor skills. Repeated heavy use or long-term use of Luminal can cause your body to become chemically dependent on the drug. Luminal is a central nervous system depressant, which works by suppressing excitability in the nervous system. Stopping suddenly after becoming dependent can cause your nervous system to become overexcited, leading to potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Learn more about Luminal withdrawal and how it can be treated.
Luminal dependence can cause your body to adapt your brain chemistry to the foreign drug in your system. If you stop using it, your brain chemistry will become unbalanced, causing a sudden increase in excitability. Common symptoms include insomnia and anxiety. As withdrawal gets worse, you may experience physical symptoms like jitteriness, headaches, and nausea. In extreme cases, it’s possible to experience seizures, and a potentially deadly condition called delirium tremens. Other symptoms include:
Anyone who has become dependent on a central nervous system depressant like Luminal should consider seeking medical help through detox. Medical detox is the highest level of care for people with substance use issues. It includes 24-hour treatment from medical professionals. It’s reserved for people who are likely to experience severe withdrawal symptoms or other serious medical conditions that need to be addressed during detox. Since depressants can cause severe withdrawal symptoms, it’s essential to speak to a doctor before quitting cold turkey. Upon entering an addiction treatment program, you’ll go through a medical examination to determine the appropriate level of care for your needs.
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