What Are Sleeping Pills
Most sleeping pills are classified as “sedative hypnotics.” That’s a specific class of drugs used to go to sleep or stay asleep. Sedative hypnotics include benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and various hypnotics.
Benzodiazepines such as Ativan, Librium, Valium, and Xanax are anti-anxiety medications. They also increase drowsiness and help people sleep. Halcion is an older benzodiazepine sedative-hypnotic medicine that has largely been replaced by newer medicines. While these drugs may be useful for the short term, all benzodiazepines are potentially addictive and can cause problems with memory and attention. They are usually not recommended for long-term treatment of sleeping problems.
Barbiturates, another group of drugs in this sedative-hypnotic class, depress the central nervous system and can cause sedation. Short- or long-acting barbiturates are prescribed as sedatives or sleeping pills. But more commonly, these hypnotic drugs are limited to use as anesthesia. They can be fatal in overdose.
Warning Signs Of Sleeping Pill Dependence And Addiction
As mentioned above, if you have developed a tolerance to sleeping pills, meaning you need a higher dose to achieve the desired effect, and abruptly stop taking them, you will experience withdrawal symptoms.
Common withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, shivering, trouble sleeping, circulation problems, and more.
Warning signs of dependence or addiction may include:
- Using pills during the day to treat anxiety.
- Impaired speech or motor function.
- Overly concerned about running out of pills.
- Doctor shopping for prescription refills.
- Hiding the fact you are using sleeping pills.
- Trying but failing to quit using.
- Developing a tolerance and needing an increasingly higher dose.
- Continuing to use the pills despite negative consequences.
- Exhibiting an unusually elevated mood.
- Experiencing worse than normal sleep on the nights you dont take pills. Known as rebound insomnia, this can cause nightmares, increased anxiety, or panic attacks.
Because withdrawal from sleeping pills after long-term use can be dangerous, it is important to be under medical supervision during the process. Severe withdrawal effects can include tremors, delirium, rapid breathing, heart palpitations, and seizures. Seek a qualified detox program, where health professionals can monitor you and administer medications to keep you more comfortable.
Can I Take A Sleep Aid Every Night
Sleeping pills can cause side effects, and certain medications, such as antihistamines may not be suitable for long-term use.
A person should work with a doctor to determine what is causing their insomnia before taking sleep medications every night. A doctor will be able to advise on the best and most sustainable way to treat insomnia.
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Treatment For Sleeping Pill Addiction
Treatment for sleeping pill addiction is most successful in an inpatient or outpatient treatment center. These programs help patients overcome their addiction by creating a personalized treatment plan based on their drug use, personal history, medical history and individual risk factors.
If you or someone you love is struggling with a sleeping pill addiction, there is help available. Contact a treatment provider today to discuss addiction treatment center options.
Featured Centers Offering Treatment for Sleeping Pill Addiction
- National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine. . “Using medication: What can help when trying to stop taking sleeping pills and sedatives?” Retrieved on September 30, 2015
- American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Washington DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2013.
Reviewed by Certified Addiction Professional: May 29, 2019
Theresa Parisi is a Certified Addiction Professional , Certified Behavioral Health Case Manager , and International Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor with over 12 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.
- More from Theresa Parisi
Can I Be Allergic To Sleeping Pills
Yes. People can have an allergic reaction to any medicine, which could be related to either the active ingredient of the medicine itself or to any of its inactive ingredients . People who have anÃ allergic reactionÃ to a specific sleeping pill should avoid it. It’s important to talk to your doctor at the first sign of these serious side effects, including:
- Blurred vision or any other problems with your sight
In addition, a serious — even deadly — side effect of any medicine someone is allergic to is anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is an acute allergic reaction. Another possible effect is angioedema, which is severe facial swelling. Again, discuss these possibilities with your doctor if you are at risk of allergic reactions.
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Sleeping Pill Addictions Symptoms Include:
- Urge to use sleeping pills during the day
- Daytime drowsiness
- Experiencing fewer effects from the same dose
- Itching and swelling
- Preoccupation with bedtime to take medication
- Relying on sleeping pills to fall asleep nightly
- Running out of prescription early
- Taking sleeping pills to feel euphoric effects
People using sleeping pills over an extended period to treat sleep disorders are likely to encounter intense side effects. As they proceed to take sleeping pills over time, their bodies will begin to produce undesired side effects. These effects may include irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and depression.
Are Sleeping Pills Addictive What You Should Know
There are several kinds of sleeping pills, and each works differently. For example, Benzodiazepines prescribed for managing anti-anxiety are likely to become addictive.
Others like Ambien and Lunesta have lower chances of developing physical dependency. Silenor and Rozerem are relatively new and not addictive.
If you intend to take sleeping pills, its essential to talk to a health care provider this way, youll understand more about the drugs and find the right option that may not lead to physical dependency. Fortunately, addicts can seek professional help for a wide range of treatment options, including:
- Benzo addiction treatment
Treatment For Sleep Disorders
Most experts recommend behavioral therapy rather than sleeping pills for sleep disorders. Therapy can help you understand the source of your insomnia, which often has a psychological component. Through individual, group, and family counseling, and by learning to manage stress and other negative emotions, you can overcome your sleep disorder and enjoy a healthier, happier life.
How To Get Help
If these symptoms sound familiar, there are ways to get helpand there are other ways to fall asleep, too. If you have a long-term habit of taking sleeping pills, don’t stop on your own. Talk to your healthcare provider about how to taper off safely. This will minimize any withdrawal symptoms. Certain types of therapy can also help you sleep without meds.
Ideally, adults should get a minimum of seven hours a night, according to a 2015 report in the journal Sleep. People who sleep five hours or less are more prone to using sleep aids, per the CDC. Keeping a regular sleep schedule, exercising , limiting screen time at night, and avoiding caffeine can all help you get more and better sleep, drug-free.
Don’t worry if you get a lousy night’s sleep every once in a while. “Many Americans feel they have to get a good night’s sleep in order to function, so they tend to use sleeping pills on a continuing basis where they may not need to,” said Dr. Carter. “If you only get four hours one night, you’ll still be able to function the following day. There’s a difference between getting less sleep one night and getting less sleep for a week.”
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Are Sleeping Pills Safe For Children
Some parents give over-the-counter antihistamine medications to children to help them sleep. These medicines arent approved for sleep purposes. Theres a risk of overdosing a child.
Dont give a child supplements like melatonin. Theres no research on their safety in children.
Currently, there are no prescription sleep medicines available for children. Changing a childs sleep behaviors is often the best way to improve sleep.
Can You Become Addicted To Sleeping Pills
Another side effect of sleeping pills is the potential to become addicted. And some sleeping pills have a higher risk of becoming habit-forming than others. Benzodiazepines and zolpidem are two medications known to have habit-forming properties.
Typically, people become dependent on sleeping pills for a restful nights sleep and find that over time they need to take a larger dose for the same effect. This quickly builds up a tolerance to the medication and can become an addiction, which can be both chemical and behavioral. You start to believe you cant sleep without sleeping pills, so you take them more and more. As a result, your body becomes chemically reliant and builds up a tolerance, so you experience withdrawal symptoms when youre not using this sleeping aid.
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The Risks Of Sleeping Pills
Both long-term and immediate sleeping pill addiction risks are enough for most people to exercise caution when taking them. However, most people arent aware of the threats that come with taking these medications. The dangerous consequences of sleep medications vary from seizures to depressed breathing. Some people also experience allergic reactions from sleep medication that can cause chest pain, nausea, difficulty breathing, and swelling.
People who abuse sleeping pills could even develop parasomnias, although this is rare. Parasomnias are sleep disorders that include behaviors like sleep sex, sleep-driving, sleepwalking, sleep eating, and other possibly dangerous sleep-related actions.
The immediate risks of taking sleeping pills range from minor weakness to insomnia. Some of the side effects could even cause a fatal overdose, shedding light on sleeping pill addictions actual dangers.
Signs And Symptoms Of Sleeping Pill Overdose
In cases where sleeping pills are consumed beyond the prescribed limit, there is a potential risk of experiencing an overdose. Early symptoms of this might include:
- Speech becomes slurred
- Breathing changes occur
- Changes in emotions and thinking
It is important to seek immediate medical assistance if these emerge. Severe cases of sleeping pill overdoses can result in death.
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Are Sleeping Pills Or Sleep Aids Right For You
Its the middle of the night, and youre staring at the ceiling, thinking about work, or bills, or the kids. When sleep just wont come, its tempting to turn to a sleeping pill or sleep aid for relief. And you may get it in the moment. But if you regularly have trouble sleeping, thats a red flag that somethings wrong. It could be something as simple as too much caffeine or viewing TV, your phone, or other screens late at night. Or it may be a symptom of an underlying medical or psychological problem. But whatever it is, it wont be cured with sleeping pills. At best, sleeping pills are a temporary band aid. At worst, theyre an addictive crutch that can make insomnia worse in the long run.
That doesn’t mean that you should never use medication, but it’s important to weigh the benefits against the risks. In general, sleeping pills and sleep aids are most effective when used sparingly for short-term situations, such as traveling across time zones or recovering from a medical procedure. If you choose to take sleeping pills over the long term, it is best to use them only on an infrequent, as needed basis to avoid dependence and tolerance.
Antidepressants Used As Sleeping Pills
The FDA has not approved antidepressants for the treatment of insomnia, nor has their use been proven effective in treating sleeplessness. However, some antidepressants are prescribed off-label due to their sedating effects. As with all depression medication, there is a small but significant risk of suicidal thoughts or worsening of depression, particularly in children and adolescents.
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Dangerous Interactions With Sleeping Pills
It is important to observe caution when using sleeping pills to promote good sleep. This is especially true in cases where other substances may be introduced into the body at the same time as the prescribed sleeping medication.
The following substances can produce negative results in the body when combined with a sleeping pill.
Fhe Health Can Help You Sleep Safely Again
Sleeping pill addictions may be common, but theyre dangerous and should be taken seriously. Our rehabilitation center has helped thousands face their mental health and substance abuse problems to live longer, happier lives. Let us help you regain control of your life. Our counselors are on standby 24/7 to take your call and answer any questions you may have. Just call 596-3502.
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Best For Sleep Disorders: Melatonin
- Dosage: Up to 10 milligrams
- Best for: Circadian rhythm sleep disorders
- Benefits: May help people with shift work, jet lag, insomnia, and those living in places with short night hours
- Risks: Overdose and safety in pregnancy
The brain produces the hormone melatonin. Melatonin regulates the sleep-wake cycle by telling the body that it is almost time for sleep.
The brain makes less melatonin when it is light outside and more when it is dark, such as during the winter. Age also plays a role according to
Many sleeping aids contain melatonin. They tend to be most effective for people with circadian rhythm sleep disorders, which are problems with the timing of sleeping or waking up.
Melatonin can beneficial for people:
- having trouble falling asleep at night
- doing shift work
In recent years, manufacturers have marketed snacks and drinks that contain melatonin as relaxation products. However, doctors do not know if they are effective.
Melatonin supplements are available without a prescription from drug stores, supermarkets, and online shops. Melatonin is available in dosages of 110 mg, and a person should take them at bedtime. How long the effects last depend on the dosage taken.
It is possible to overdose on melatonin, so people should always follow product instructions or talk with a doctor about safe dosages.
Experts do not know if melatonin is safe to use during pregnancy.
The following are sedating antihistamines:
Can Sleeping Pills Be Addictive
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a disturbing fact about sleep deprivation in this country. According to a study conducted by the CDC, more than a third of U.S. adults were not getting enough sleep regularly.
Because of sleeplessness, countless people are turning to sleep aids, including prescription and non-prescription pills. When Consumer Reports surveyed more than 4,000 American adults, the publication discovered that about one-third of them tried a prescription or non-prescription sleep medication or a dietary supplement.
However, certain sleeping pills can be addictive because of how they affect the brain. Learn more about the science behind these medications and how they work.
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Health Effects Of Long
Americans experience a lot of sleepless nights. An unprecedented 50-70 million Americans have sleep problems according to estimates. Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder and the CDC says that more than one third of the country regularly gets less than the recommended amount of rest. With so many people struggling to get enough sleep, sleeping pills have become increasingly popular.
Prescription and over-the-counter sleep aids are meant to be used occasionally, but people are depending on them more and more for nightly relaxation. Medical experts are concerned with this trend because of the negative long-term health effects of these drugs.
What Is A Sleeping Pill
Sleeping pills, also known as soporific or hypnotic drugs, are a type of psychoactive drug used to help individuals fall asleep. The sleeping pill is a type of sedative often used to treat insomnia and anxiety conditions.
There are many kinds of sleeping pills, and all of them work differently. Some sleeping pills make you feel drowsy, promoting a feeling of sleepiness. Other types of sleeping pills work on receptors in the brain to slow down the nervous system and silence the region of the brain that keeps you alert.
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Can Someone Quit Sleeping Pills Cold
Its not safe to quit sleeping pills cold-turkey. In fact, abrupt cessation can make withdrawal symptoms much more intense and longer lasting, and its much harder for the person to navigate the process if they are alone. Also, the emotional and psychological symptoms of withdrawal can be severe for family and friends to manage. In a medical detox center, trained staff is available 24/7 to help people going through a sleeping pill detox.
In a medical detox facility, doctors can slowly taper off the dosage of sleeping pills or replace them with a safer medication. Doing so prevents or lessens the risk of a patient developing rebound insomnia. Rebound insomnia is almost unbearable, and without proper help, patients can relapse or develop dangerous hallucinations while experiencing rebound insomnia.
What Are The Side Effects Of Sleeping Pills
Like most medications, sleeping pills have side effects. You won’t know, though, whether you will have side effects with a particular sleeping pill until you try it.
Your doctor may be able to tell you about some side effects if you have asthma or other health conditions. Sleeping pills can interfere with normal breathing and can be dangerous in people who have certain chronic lung problems such as asthma , emphysema, or forms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease .
Common side effects of prescription sleeping pills such as Ambien, Halcion, Lunesta, Rozerem, and Sonata include:
- Burning or tingling in the hands, arms, feet, or legs
- Changes in appetite
It’s important to be aware of possible sleeping pill side effects so you can stop the drug and call your doctor immediately to avoid a more serious health problem.
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Symptoms Of Sleeping Pill Addiction Or Dependence
Some people can take sleeping pills every night for years, which may or may not indicate an addiction. “The question becomes what’s a treatment of a chronic condition versus what is abuse,” said Gregory Carter, MD, PhD, associate professor of neurology at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, “and that is something that is arguable.”
Here are five signs you may be addicted to prescription sleep medications:
You are steadily increasing your dosage. This is a classic sign of most addictions, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse . Over time, the amount of drug you’ve been prescribed stops working and you need more and more to get the same effect, or at least you think you do. A 2019 report in theBritish Journal of General Practice states that benzodiazepines are proven to be highly addictive. With the newer Z-drugs, dependence may be more psychological than physical: You find yourself thinking you’ll need more to fall asleep, so you take more.
You’ve taken sleep aids for months or years and can’t quit. Not being able to quit, despite trying, is another sign you may be addicted. Long-term use of sleeping pills at any dose isn’t recommended.
You look for new doctors to write you a prescription. Whether for benzodiazepines or Z-drugs, “people do shop around,” Dr. Feinsilver said.