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What Is Methaqualone?: Effects, Withdrawal, & Addiction

an image of someone learning what is methaqualone

Quaaludes (methaqualone) were a popular drug in the United States from the 1960s to the 1980s. They acted as a central nervous system depressant, similar to barbiturates. The methaqualone drug was initially introduced as a safer alternative to barbiturates for inducing sleep. The tablets, often marked 714, eventually became known for their addictive properties and withdrawal symptoms similar to other sedatives.

The active ingredient, methaqualone, helps reduce anxiety and causes drowsiness. That said, due to their addictive nature, DEA (United States Drug Enforcement Administration) made the use of Quaaludes illegal. Today, they are rarely found in the U.S., although they are sometimes seized at borders.

Effects of Methaqualone

Methaqualone is a powerful sedative-hypnotic drug that can trigger a range of both short-term and long-term effects.

Short-term methaqualone side effects include:

  • Euphoria: One of the main reasons people misuse methaqualone is to experience a profound sense of euphoria and relaxation. The drug can induce a state of intense well-being and tranquility.
  • Sedation: Methaqualone is a potent central nervous system depressant, leading to a marked reduction in physical and mental activity. Methaqualone effects on body include a deep state of sedation, making people feel drowsy and sluggish.
  • Muscle relaxation: Methaqualone has muscle relaxant properties, which can lead to a noticeable decrease in muscle tension and stiffness.
  • Reduced anxiety: Many individuals use methaqualone to alleviate anxiety and stress, as it can provide temporary relief from these emotional states.
  • Impaired coordination: Methaqualone use impairs motor skills and coordination, leading to clumsiness and an increased risk of accidents while under its influence.
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness: People often experience feelings of dizziness and lightheadedness, which can be accompanied by a sense of disorientation.
  • Slurred speech: Speech may become slurred and difficult to understand, a common side effect of the drug’s depressant properties.
  • Nausea and vomiting: Some people may experience nausea and vomiting as a result of methaqualone use, particularly when taken in excessive amounts.

Long-term methaqualone side effects include:

  • Tolerance: Prolonged methaqualone use can lead to the development of tolerance, requiring people to consume increasing amounts of the drug to achieve the desired effects. This escalation in dosage can be dangerous and lead to a higher risk of methaqualone overdose.
  • Dependence and addiction: Chronic use of methaqualone can result in physical and psychological dependence, where people feel compelled to continue using the drug despite adverse outcomes. Addiction to methaqualone can be challenging to overcome.
  • Cognitive impairment: Long-term use of methaqualone can be damaging to cognitive function, including memory problems, impaired decision-making, and difficulty concentrating.
  • Psychological effects: Methaqualone abuse can lead to mood swings, depression, and anxiety disorders, exacerbating pre-existing mental health issues.
  • Physical health problems: Prolonged methaqualone use can harm various bodily systems, including the liver, kidneys, and respiratory system. It can also weaken the immune system, leaving some people more susceptible to infections.
  • Social and legal consequences: Methaqualone abuse can lead to legal troubles, strained relationships, and social isolation, as the pursuit of the drug often takes precedence over other responsibilities and activities.
  • Withdrawal symptoms: When someone attempts to quit methaqualone after developing physical dependence, they may experience the withdrawal symptoms outlined above, rendering discontinuation challenging without professional help. Here’s what’s involved in the withdrawal process.

Methaqualone Withdrawal

Methaqualone withdrawal is an aggravating and uncomfortable experience, similar to the withdrawal symptoms associated with barbiturates. Symptoms may include:


Those attempting to quit methaqualone often experience a restless and agitated state. This restlessness can be overwhelming, driving people to seek the drug to relieve their discomfort.


Withdrawal from methaqualone can lead to heightened irritability and mood swings. This emotional instability can make the process of quitting even tougher, as many people struggle to manage their emotions.

Nausea and vomiting

Physical symptoms during withdrawal often include nausea and vomiting. These gastrointestinal disturbances can further weaken the person’s resolve to quit, as they seek relief from these distressing sensations.


The withdrawal process can lead to a profound sense of weakness and fatigue, which may hinder a person’s ability to engage in daily activities.


Intense headaches are a common symptom of methaqualone withdrawal, adding to the overall discomfort experienced during this period.


Sleep disturbances are prevalent during withdrawal, with many people suffering from insomnia. The inability to sleep can intensify other withdrawal symptoms and pose significant challenges to recovery.


Muscle tremors or shakes may occur, adding a physical dimension to the discomfort of withdrawal.

Mental confusion

Methaqualone withdrawal can lead to mental confusion and cognitive difficulties, impairing a person’s ability to think clearly and make rational decisions.


In severe cases, methaqualone withdrawal may result in seizures, which can be life-threatening.

Supervised detox ensures that people attempting to quit methaqualone are under the care of medical professionals who can monitor their condition, manage severe withdrawal symptoms, and provide emotional support during this challenging time. This professional guidance greatly increases the safety and likelihood of a successful transition into recovery, while minimizing the risks associated with unsupervised detoxification attempts.

Is Methaqualone Addictive?

This effects of methaqualone are potent and addiction can occur rapidly. Both physical and psychological dependence can develop within just two weeks, especially with daily use of methaqualone. This means that effective treatment for methaqualone addiction needs to address both these aspects.

Tolerance to methaqualone can build up in just a few days. As you use the drug more, you might find yourself needing to take it more often or in larger doses to feel the same effects. This creates a high risk of overdose, especially in cases of addiction or dependence, because your body’s tolerance increases more slowly than your psychological craving. In other words, even as your mind urges you to take more, your body may be reaching its limit.


Why is methaqualone banned?

Methaqualone was banned due to its high potential for abuse, addiction, and serious side effects, including the risk of overdose and death.

Is methaqualone a depressant?

Yes, methaqualone is a central nervous system depressant, producing sedative and hypnotic effects.

What is methaqualone used for?

Methaqualone was originally used as a sedative and hypnotic medication for treating insomnia, but its medical use was discontinued due to safety concerns.

Find Treatment for Methaqualone Addiction at Drug Rehabs Centers

If you or someone that you care about needs meth rehab in Southern California, we can help you find treatment at a suitable level of intensity at Drug Rehabs Centers.

Our trained and experienced professionals can help you connect with detox facilities, inpatient rehabs, outpatient treatment centers, and peer support groups near you. You can then engage with appropriate services and begin your recovery from addiction or mental health issues.

Call (844) 739-2005 today and begin your recovery tomorrow.

Joe Gilmore
Author: Joe Gilmore


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