Having insomnia is something that plagues us all at different points in our lifetime. Some people try natural methods to try and get some shut-eye, while others turn to sleeping pills for relief. It seems so easy to just take a pill, close your eyes and drift off to dreamland, doesn’t it? However, as it turns out, that which is meant to help you overcome insomnia can actually end up becoming the cause of it.
We at Asheville Detox want to take a moment to educate you about the risks involved with taking sleeping pills. Have you found yourself using sleeping pills recreationally, or taking more of your medication than what was prescribed for you? We understand how easy it is to slide into an addiction habit, without even meaning to.
Understanding Sleeping Pills
A majority of sleeping pills may be classified under the category of sedative-hypnotics, which means that they are a type of drug used to go to sleep or stay asleep. This class of drugs includes barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and other hypnotics.
Benzodiazepines that include Xanax, Valium, Librium, and Ativan are prescribed to relieve anxiety. However, they do double-duty by helping people sleep. Though these medications may be useful on a short-term basis, every benzodiazepine medication has the potential for addiction and can cause issues with attention and memory.
Also in this class are barbiturates, and they work by sedating the central nervous system. They are prescribed to help with sleep through sedation. They are more commonly used for anesthesia and are more dangerous as fatal overdoses are possible.
There are also newer sleep medications available that work similar to benzodiazepines, which include Sonata, Ambien, and Lunesta. Although they are not as likely to be habit-forming, over time they can still cause someone to become physically dependent upon them.
Signs of a Sleeping Pill Addiction
Many people who have insomnia go to their doctor to get prescribed sleeping pills, and it is their doctor who tells them that they can’t get addicted to them. However, some people find that they are unable to sleep unless they take a sleeping pill every night.
In the meantime, their tolerance is growing and they find that they have to take a higher dose in order for it to keep working. Perhaps the individual also takes them for other reasons, such as when they want to feel good. It is considered abuse when sedatives are used in a way not prescribed by a doctor.
When you take sleeping pills, there are additional effects that you will experience which include:
- Lessened anxiety
- Lack of coordination
- Dreamless sleep
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
Many people don’t even know they have become addicted to sleeping pills until they try and stop taking them. They may then begin to experience withdrawal symptoms, which is the body letting them know that they have become dependent.
Here are a few signs that you may be addicted to sleeping pills:
- You have tried to quit several times but it hasn’t worked
- You crave the drug
- You are seeing more than one physician to get your prescription refilled
- You are continuing to take sleeping pills despite the negative consequences
- You increase your dosage without consulting your physician
Can Sleeping Pill Abuse Cause Insomnia?
The short answer is yes, it absolutely can. Here is how that happens. Let’s say you have been taking sleeping pills for quite a long time and have found that you need more and more to get the same effects that you once did. You might even find that your sleeping pills stop working completely. So, you figure, why should I bother taking them at all?
Next, you decide that you are going to stop taking your sleeping pills and your insomnia is worse than ever. This is known as rebound insomnia. You may be unable to sleep well for several days simply because you abruptly quit taking your sleeping pills.
This happens because when you use sleeping pills, they enhance the number of chemicals that your brain and nervous system naturally produce on their own. When you stop taking the sleeping pills, there is a deficit that your body must try and compensate for.
Instead of quitting your sleeping pills cold turkey, your healthcare provider may recommend reducing the dose gradually instead. Avoid substituting your old sleeping pill medication for a new one as this will not solve the problem.
You may be wondering, what to do in the first place if you have a problem with insomnia. Generally speaking, it is best to avoid taking sleeping pills on a daily basis. If you need to take them for a short period of time such as 2 weeks, don’t take a higher dosage than what your doctor has prescribed for you.
Mixing sleeping pills with alcohol is particularly dangerous when it comes to risking an overdose. Some people who are looking just to get a stronger ‘buzz’ off of alcohol take sleeping pills with it.
Other problems include sleep-induced injuries that happen when sleeping pills are taken at other times than at bedtime. Getting behind the wheel is never advisable after taking sleeping pills because your judgment and coordination are both impaired. People who are unaware of their actions have also harmed themselves when they are on sleeping pills.
Seek Out Help at Asheville Detox Today
No one wants to have to live with insomnia. We all need a good night’s sleep in order to be able to feel good during the daytime and get everything done that we need to. At Asheville Detox, we understand what has brought you to this point, and we don’t judge you for it. We simply don’t want you to continue to suffer another day from drug-induced insomnia.
Quitting sleeping pills may be a difficult thing to do on your own. We are here to help wean you off of them, and any other drugs you may be struggling with. Contact us today and wake up to a brighter tomorrow.