Luminal Abuse, Signs, Symptoms and Addiction Treatment

Luminal is the brand name for phenobarbital, a barbiturate medication. This drug can be necessary and even lifesaving in certain situations, but unfortunately, it can also be abused for its ability to cause euphoria.

Addiction can occur as a result and often requires professional treatment.

Understanding Luminal

According to the National Library of Medicine, “Phenobarbital is used to control seizures” as well as to relieve anxiety. The drug can also be used in the detox phase of treatment for barbiturate addiction. While it can be incredibly necessary to those to whom it is prescribed, Luminal can also create severe side effects if taken in large doses, chief among them addiction.

It is extremely important never to misuse your Luminal prescription. Like most other drugs in its class, it can cause dependence, tolerance, and withdrawal symptoms as well as severe overdose symptoms. Luminal is effective when taken in medicinal doses, but when abused, it can be deadly.

Signs and Symptoms of Luminal Use

Luminal is most often used to control seizures, but the medication also has a number of side effects that can allow someone to recognize that their friend or loved one is using it. Often, Luminal causes drowsiness because it is a CNS depressant. This is not usually dangerous as long as the individual takes their medication in the correct doses and does not drive or operate machinery while experiencing these effects.

Some other common signs and symptoms of Luminal use include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Excitement or Increased Activity
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Excitement especially occurs in children who take the drug. All of these effects are common but are normally not severe. However, the drug is a barbiturate and, therefore, can cause certain serious risks.

Risks of Luminal Use

Dependence and tolerance are common risks of Luminal use. While these are normal effects caused by taking a drug of this class consistently and for a long period of time, withdrawal effects can occur if the individual stops taking the drug suddenly.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, barbiturate withdrawal is likely to cause seizures, and this becomes even more likely in those who were taking the drug to combat this issue in the first place. This is why you should never stop taking the medication suddenly.

left quoteAnother risk of Luminal is that of overdose. A barbiturate overdose can be extremely dangerous and possibly cause severe respiratory depression that can lead to coma and death (NLM). Someone who has overdosed on this drug needs to be taken to the hospital immediately. But one of the most severe risks associated with Luminal is that of abuse.right quote

Luminal Abuse

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, “Barbiturates cause mild euphoria, lack of inhibition, relief of anxiety, and sleepiness.” Many people begin using more of the drug in order to increase these desirable effects, but the likelihood of dependence and overdose also becomes higher with abuse.

Luminal is an extremely dangerous drug if misused, which is why doctors urge patients never to take it:

  • In Higher Doses than Prescribed
  • More Frequently than Prescribed
  • In a Different Way than Prescribed
  • Without a Prescription

Luminal and other barbiturates are considered some of the most commonly abused drugs in the country, and while it may be necessary for someone to take this medication, it can be extremely dangerous for someone to take it without a prescription. In addition, those who become addicted might turn to abusing more readily available drugs as well as do anything in order to obtain their next fix.

Luminal Addiction and Treatment

Luminal addiction treatment should often begin with detox so patients can be slowly weaned off the drug without experiencing its severe withdrawal effects. Next, behavioral therapy is often the crux of treatment, helping patients recognize why they began abusing the drug in the first place and putting an end to that misuse. Additional physical or psychological issues that may be associated with one’s drug abuse should also be treated simultaneously with addiction.

Many people need Luminal and medications like it to control their seizures. However, those who take it in a way other than prescribed by a doctor are putting themselves at serious risk for addiction, overdose, and other deadly effects.

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Twelve step recovery can be very challenging for young people because so much of it is based on concepts that are usually associated with an adult perspective. A realization of powerlessness, any admission of wrong doing, reliance on a Higher Power, and a willingness to face people who have been hurt is difficult. This is particularly a challenge for adolescents and young adults. Adults in recovery have a difficult time taking responsibility for their actions, much less a young person. In the mind of a young drug and/or alcohol abuser there is nothing wrong with what he/she is doing. In his or her mind if everyone would just back off, there wouldn’t be a problem. This has always been a challenge for young people who need help but is especially difficult today.


Identity Addiction

 

Drug and alcohol treatment is not immune to the current climate of identity separation. If you look around, there are 12-Step meetings available to almost every imaginable classification of people. Many of these group distinctions are unnecessary and can water down the message of recovery. It is generally dangerous for a person with drug and alcohol problems to be “terminally unique.” However, young people are at a different stage of development. Not only are they working through a dangerous drug and alcohol problem they are experiencing normal brain development along with hormonal changes. This can be a lot to deal with. These factors don’t excuse poor behavior but must be understood when treating young people. An 18 year old with an opiate or marijuana addiction is not going to experience early recovery the same way a 45 year old alcoholic does. (Yes, I am aware that I wrote marijuana addiction)

Sobriety: The Great Equalizer

Any recovering addict or alcoholic learns the importance of “living life of life’s terms.” The sober man or woman recognizes the value in being a productive member of society. The same is true for a young person. Although some of the definitions may differ, a person in recovery needs to mend broken relationships, become responsible, and learn to adapt to changing circumstances. These characteristics are essential to long term recovery. The twelve steps provide a simple framework to achieve these goals. Change may not happen immediately but with patience and perseverance these turnarounds can be permanent.



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A diverse group of adolescents

June 27 is National HIV Testing Day (NHTD), a day to encourage people to get tested for HIV, know their status, and get linked to care and treatment if they have HIV. This year’s theme, Doing It My Way, Testing for HIV, reminds us that each person has their own reasons why they test for HIV and their own unique ways of Doing It.

About 1.1 million people in the United States have HIV, and 1 in 7 of them don’t know it. Many people have HIV for years [1.86 MB] before they get a diagnosis. For those who are living with undiagnosed HIV, testing is the first step in maintaining a healthy life and reducing HIV transmission. CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care and those at high risk get tested at least once a year. Some sexually active gay and bisexual men may benefit from more frequent testing (every 3 to 6 months).

Knowing your HIV status gives you powerful information to help keep you and your partner healthy. Join us on NHTD to raise awareness about the importance of HIV testing and early diagnosis of HIV. Share why and how you are getting tested for a chance to be featured on the Doing It My Way social wall.

I'm Doing It - I'm always on the go with my busy life in Hollywood, but I still make time to get tested. My health is my number one priority.

Knowing your HIV status helps keep you and your partner healthy. Visit Doing It to learn more.

What Can You Do?

Get the facts. Learn about HIV, and share this information with your family, friends, and community.

Get tested. The only way to know for sure whether you have HIV is to get tested. To find a testing site near you, use the Doing It testing locator, text your ZIP code to KNOWIT (566948), or call 1-800-CDC-INFO. You can also use a home testing kit, available in drugstores or online.

Protect yourself and your partner. Today, we have powerful tools to prevent HIV and help people with HIV to stay healthy. If you have HIV, start treatment as soon as possible after you get a diagnosis. The most important thing you can do is take HIV medicine as prescribed by your doctor.

HIV medicine lowers the amount of virus (viral load) in your body, and taking it every day can make your viral load undetectable. If you get and keep an undetectable viral load, you can stay healthy for many years, and you have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV through sex to an HIV-negative partner. To make sure you keep an undetectable viral load, take your medicine as prescribed, and see your provider regularly to monitor your health.

There are many other actions you can take to prevent getting or transmitting HIV:

  • Use condoms the right way every time you have sex. Learn the right way to use a male condom or a female condom. Check out the condom locator to find condoms near you.
  • If you are HIV-negative but at high risk for HIV, take daily medicine to prevent HIV, called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Use the PrEP locator to find a PrEP provider in your area.
  • Talk to your doctor about post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) if you think you have been exposed to HIV in the last 72 hours and are not on PrEP.
  • Choose less risky sexual behaviors.
  • Limit your number of sexual partners.
  • Get tested and treated for other sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Never share syringes or other equipment to inject drugs (works).
  • Remember, abstinence (not having sex) and not sharing syringes or works are the only 100% effective ways to prevent HIV.

You can learn more about how to protect yourself and your partners and get information tailored to meet your needs from CDC’s HIV Risk Reduction Tool (BETA).

Get involved. Doing It My Way, Testing for HIV is an HIV testing campaign for NHTD that encourages you to share how you get tested for HIV. Learn more about the campaign and join the conversation #DoingItMyWay.

What Can CDC Partners Do?

Health departments, community-based organizations, and other partners can address stigma and discrimination, extend the reach of their HIV prevention and testing services, and link people who are HIV-positive to care. Partners can download the Doing It My Way digital toolkit [7.37 MB, 15 pages] to share messages related to HIV testing and prevention.



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Enabling is a word that has been used in drug and alcohol recovery circles for decades. It can be a term that is very misunderstood and misused. No loved one of an addict or alcoholic wants to be thought of as an “enabler.” To enable literally means to make something possible or easy. It can also mean to permit.  An enabler is often believed to be complicit in the drug abuser’s self-destruction. The most common forms of enabling include: providing money to an active user, allowing an active addict/alcoholic to remain at home, paying for an addict/alcoholic’s legal costs, and other actions. Sometimes providing help in these ways is not enabling. How can one determine the difference?

Demonstrations of Love

The enabler will say that he or she is “just trying to help” or “what am I supposed to do, let him go broke or die?” It is never a question as to whether or not a parent or significant other loves the addict or alcoholic. The issue is always the demonstration of love. When most people think about “love” they are actually referring to sentiment. Love, as an action, is not always the easiest path to take. Sometimes love is best demonstrated through not accepting behavior that is harmful to one’s self or other people. When an active addict or alcoholic is allowed to avoid consequences of his or her behavior he or she is not being “loved.” This sounds harsh but consider the alternative. Someone actively using is not rational. His or her decisions are not made based on concern for self or others. The addict only wants to be left alone so he or she can continue to use. People are either a means to this end or are in the way. Until he or she is abstinent this way of thinking will not change.

Consider the Motives

There are some simple questions a loved one can ask when confused about whether or not a pattern of enabling is taking place:

  • is this going to help my loved one find sobriety?
  • am I doing this/providing this help because I feel guilty?
  • am I worried about what others will think?
  • am I doing this because it helps my loved one or because it will make me feel better?

These are not the only questions to ask but it is a beginning. Not every situation is the same. What one person does may be enabling while someone else does the exact same thing and it is not. There is no exact formula. Always seek the guidance of someone who is objective and has experience in this area. No loved one ever has to face these difficult decisions alone. 



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Teens Abusing Prescription Medications

Back in the “good old days,” it seemed that parents worried more about their teenagers taking illegal or “street” drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or similar drugs than they did about their teenagers taking prescription or “legal” drugs. The danger of teenagers taking illegal drugs still exists; unfortunately, the incidences of teenagers taking and abusing prescription drugs are rising.

How Is Teen Prescription Medication Abuse Happening?

Prescription drug abuse among teenagers can start with experimentation, just as illicit drug use can. A family member, relative, or friend has obtained the drug through a legal prescription, but through illicit methods (stealing, buying, or otherwise obtaining from another person), access to the drug occurs, and the drug is offered to other teenagers.

Sometimes, however, prescription drugs are legally given to teenagers, for necessary medical purposes. The teenager for whom the drug is intended continues to take the drug even after it is no longer needed, and abuse or addiction occurs.

How Can I Keep My Teen From Abusing Prescription Medications?

Some of the same methods that can be utilized to keep your teenager from abusing or becoming addicted to illicit drugs can apply to making sure this doesn’t happen with prescription drugs. These include, but are by no means limited to, the following:

  • Make as much effort as possible to know where your teenager is, who your teenager is with, and what your teenager is doing.
  • Ask your teenager if anyone with whom he has association abuses or is addicted to illicit or prescription drugs. If your teenager won’t tell you, but you suspect this may be the case, try your hardest to find out for yourself. If your suspicions are proven to be correct, you may want to consider not allowing your teenager to associate with these persons, or only allowing association under tightly controlled circumstances, such as only when you are present.
  • Set ground rules for your teen’s behavior both at home and when he is away from you, and explains the consequences for disobedience. Make sure the rules include that your teenager must immediately leave a situation where illicit drug use of any kind (including drinking) is occurring. If it is necessary to call you for a ride, that should be done. Then, follow through with the consequences if rules are broken.

These and other methods can help with those times when your teenager may not be with you. However, often, a teenager’s first “introduction” to prescription drugs that can be abused occurs at home. You can prevent, or at least greatly reduce the chances of this happening, by:

  • Setting the right example yourself. Take prescription drugs exactly as they are prescribed. This is especially important if you take prescription drugs that have the tendency for abuse on a daily basis. If you don’t abuse them, the chances are better than your teenager won’t, either.
  • Keeping up with how much medication you have. Count your pills or capsules often, and make sure the amount present equals the frequency and duration for which they were prescribed. Do this for yourself as well as other family members who take prescription drugs. Let your teenager see you doing this. If he is aware that you are being diligent in keeping up with your prescription, he may be less tempted to take the supply in the house.
  • If your teenager is prescribed a drug that has the propensity for abuse or addiction, even though he may tell you he is a “big boy” and can take his own medicine, you be the one to literally give him the exact amount and only when it’s time. Between doses, keep the pills with you (literally on your person if necessary) or in a place that would make it very hard for him to get to them.

What If, After All My Efforts, It Does Happen? What Can I Do Then?

Get help for your teenager as soon as possible. Find a treatment facility that specializes in prescription drug abuse and has programs specifically geared to adolescents. Continue to offer support during the treatment process and after your teenager finishes the program. However, you will need to increase your diligence to ensure that relapse does not occur.

If the abuse occurred as a result of someone else supplying your teen with the prescription drug, and he did not get access to it from your home, get your local law enforcement agency involved. This may be the last thing you want to do, but it may be the only way you can ensure that it does not happen again.



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