Sleeping Pills Addiction and Abuse
As the most common sleep disorder, insomnia affects roughly 35% of adults. Whether suffering from short-term or long-term bouts of insomnia, many people turn to prescription sleeping pills for relief. Unfortunately, many of the most effective drugs prescribed to treat insomnia are also extremely addictive. In fact, even people who use sleeping pills for a short amount of time can become dependent on them. Dependence can lead to addiction. Taking too great a dose or mixing sleeping pills with other substances such as alcohol can cause overdose to occur. If you find that you’ve become dependent on sleeping pills and abuse them, there is help. Sleeping pill addiction is a serious condition–and it can be deadly.
What Are Sleeping Pills?
Sleeping pills generally fall into the sedative-hypnotics category of drugs that include benzodiazepines such as Xanax and barbiturates such as Amytal. Sleeping pills usually work quickly to induce sleep. They cause users to experience drowsiness, relaxation, and relief from anxiety or stress. Some of the most common sleeping pill medications include:
Although these drugs are commonly prescribed to treat insomnia, there are others as well. Although sleeping pills are effective for promoting sleep, they often involve other effects such as lightheadedness, reduced coordination, dry mouth, reduced balance, gastrointestinal problems, and impeded memory.
Sleeping Pills Abuse
Abuse of sleeping pills occurs when someone uses them in any way that deviates from a doctor’s prescription. Taking a higher dose than prescribed or taking someone else’s sleeping pills are examples of abuse. Taking sleeping pills with other drugs (not authorized by a physician) such as opioids or with alcohol constitutes abuse. Using sleeping pills recreationally is also an example of sleeping pill abuse. Like other forms of prescription drug abuse, sleep pill abuse can develop into a chemical dependency and then a full-blown addiction.
The Risks of Sleeping Pills
Sleeping pills can be highly addictive, which is why many physicians will only prescribe them to patients on a short-term basis. In fact, some doctors caution patients to only rely on their prescription for severe episodes of insomnia. Contending with a sleep disorder like insomnia usually requires a multifaceted treatment plan–not only the prescribing of medications. Patients who don’t follow other aspects of their plan (reduction of caffeine, for instance) and begin to rely too heavily on sleeping pills are vulnerable to developing a drug addiction.
There are other rises of sleeping pill use / abuse too. Taking these medications for too long a time has been associated with the development of memory and other cognitive problems. Taking too great a dose or using sleeping pills with dangerous substances like opioids can result in a life-threatening health emergency.
Signs of Sleeping Pill Addiction & What to Do
There are many signs and symptoms that may indicate a sleeping pill abuse or addiction problem. Concentration and memory problems can indicate sleeping pill addiction. Other signs of a sleeping pill abuse problem include lack of coordination, slurred speech, mood swings, feeling drowsy during waking hours, hallucinations, odd or uncharacteristic behaviors, dizziness, and itching. A person addicted to these drugs may experience withdrawal symptoms if they don’t use them within a certain length of time. They may also feel preoccupied with the need to procure a supply of sleeping pills.
If you or a loved one shows signs of a sleeping pill addiction, it’s crucial to seek help at a high-quality treatment center such as Quantum Behavioral Health. We feature drug addiction outpatient treatment programs that involve both medically sanctioned and alternative treatments designed to promote lasting recovery. The first step to recovery is to let our care team evaluate your needs. With the right course of treatment, you can end you sleeping pill dependence. Get in touch with us today at (609) 993-0733.