Some people use sleeping pills by taking them in excess of prescription guidelines, which increases the risk of physical dependence, addiction, and overdose. Sleeping pill addiction can also cause long-term brain damage.
Although there are several healthy ways to improve sleeping habits, many people find it easier to take a pill before bed. Before they know it, they develop a sleeping pill addiction on top of these other stressors.
Although it might seem relatively harmless compared to other types of addictions at first glance, sleeping pill addiction can cause significant long-term brain damage and may even be fatal. Call 850-374-5331 to learn more about our substance abuse treatment program.
Signs Of Sleeping Pill Addiction
Nearly nine million Americans take prescription sleeping pills to go to sleep, mostly consisting of popular brands like Ambien (zolpidem) and Lunesta (eszopiclone). These are non-benzodiazepines, also called “z-drugs.”
Most people quickly develop a tolerance that requires them to take higher doses of these drugs for them to remain effective. This can lead to physical dependence—a physical craving for sleep medication—as well as addiction caused by changes in the brain with prolonged use.
The following signs are indicators that sleeping pill use might have developed into an addiction:
Essentially, if any of the consequences of taking sleeping pills have a significant negative impact on the person’s life, this is a sign that the dependence on sleeping pills may be out of control.
Dangers Of Sleeping Pill Addiction
There are three classes of medications that can have severe cognitive side effects. These include benzodiazepines, opioids, and antihistamines.
Benzodiazepines like Restoril (temazepam) are often prescribed as sleep aids. These drugs can significantly impair memory and are not generally effective for long-term use as the body quickly builds a tolerance to them.
Over-the-counter antihistamines like Benadryl (diphenhydramine) may also be used for insomnia. These seemingly harmless drugs can cause confusion in older adults because they block acetylcholine, a brain chemical that affects short-term memory and attention.
Prolonged use of diphenhydramine can increase a person’s risk of dementia.
Sleeping Pill Overdose
A sleeping pill overdose can be deadly and is actually a common method of suicide. It can occur when a person takes a very high dose, especially if they use the drug frequently and it builds up in their system.
An overdose is also more likely when someone mixes sleeping pills with other depressants like opioids, benzodiazepines, and alcohol.
The following signs might indicate that a person with a sleeping pill addiction may have overdosed and needs immediate medical attention:
An overdose on sleeping pills essentially shuts down the entire body, including the respiratory, nervous, and cardiovascular systems. If an overdose is not treated quickly, the person who overdosed may fall into a coma.
Long term side effects of a sleeping pill overdose include the following:
Sleeping Pill Withdrawal
Stopping sleeping pill use abruptly can cause seizures in some people, so it is recommended that a person tapers off of these drugs under the supervision of a physician. Those who are attempting to reduce their sleep medication use gradually should prepare for their sleep to be disrupted each time the dose is lowered because of the withdrawal effect.
The longer the individual has been taking medications, the slower the weaning process will be, which means it could last weeks and even months. However, tapering usually reduces the severity of withdrawal symptoms and is the only way some people are able to overcome their physical dependence on sleeping pills.
A Sleeping Pills Addiction Treatment Program in Ohio
At our sleeping pills rehab center, The Bluffs Ohio understands that anyone can unintentionally develop an addiction to a substance, despite efforts to use it responsibly. Our inpatient rehab program will not only help individuals overcome the addiction itself, but also the underlying causes of substance use.
By encouraging significant lifestyle changes, such as participation in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and a regular exercise routine, we help people find healthy coping strategies and solutions to problems they would attempt to solve with substances.
With long-term care and continued support, anyone can find the strength they need to overcome sleeping pill use and enjoy a meaningful, substance-free life. Call The Bluffs Ohio today at 850-374-5331. We can help you with a sleeping pill addiction.