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Can You Get Addicted To Sleeping Pills?

A good night’s sleep is crucial for maintaining both your physical and mental well-being at every age. If you struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep, you might try sleeping pills. However, this decision can bring up several important considerations. For example, you might wonder about the sleeping pill ingredients, whether they pose any dangers, and if they can lead to sleeping pill addiction.

These are all valid concerns to address before deciding whether sleeping pills are the right choice to improve your sleep quality. Educating yourself on the different types and side effects of sleeping pills is key to making the best choices for you and your loved ones and how to prevent slipping pill addiction.

What are the Categories of Sleeping Pills?

Sleeping pills, as their name implies, are medications designed to aid in sleep. Sleeping pills, also known as hypnotics or sleep aids, are medications designed to help individuals with sleep disorders or difficulties. Ideally, sleeping pills improve sleep quality, duration, and onset, helping individuals achieve a more restful and consistent sleep pattern.

Sleeping pills are categorized into two primary groups: over-the-counter (OTC) medications and prescription pills, each with distinct features, benefits, and drawbacks.

OTC sleeping pills, such as Unisom and Benadryl, often contain antihistamines. These drugs also used to treat allergies, can induce drowsiness. Other OTC options include melatonin supplements, which leverage the sleep-related hormone naturally produced by the body.

On the other hand, prescription sleeping pills typically fall into two categories: benzodiazepines and “z-drugs.” Benzodiazepines, like Valium and Xanax, are known for their role in reducing anxiety symptoms. Z-drugs, including eszopiclone, zaleplon, zolpidem, and zopiclone, are named for the presence of the letter “z” in their generic names. These drugs are approved in the United States solely for treating insomnia. Examples of prescription sleep aids containing z-drugs include Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata. When used improperly, this category can be habit-forming and lead to sleeping pill addiction.

Side Effects of Taking Sleeping Pills

If you take a sleeping pill, the desired result is that you will get to sleep and stay asleep. But, as with all medications, sleeping pills have side effects.

Depending on which medication you are taking, the side effects of sleeping pills can include the following:

  • Becoming dizzy or lightheaded
  • Headache
  • Stomach ache
  • Heartburn
  • Sleepwalking
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Nightmares
  • Feeling drowsy after you wake up

Some side effects of sleeping pills are relatively minor. Others can be sources of great distress. Understanding the possible side effects of any medication you take is important. This includes both prescription and over-the-counter sleeping pills. Furthermore, you want to understand how to prevent sleeping pill addiction.

One common question is, “Is it safe to take sleeping pills every night?” Most experts recommend using sleeping pills for short-term situations, such as jet lag or temporary sleep disturbances. Research suggests that long-term use of these medications may lead to adverse effects and an increased risk of mortality.

Can You Get Addicted to Sleeping Pills?

Are sleeping pills addictive? How quickly can you become addicted to sleeping pills? People who develop a sleeping pill addiction may do so in as little as seven days, and when they stop taking the medication, they may experience severe withdrawal symptoms.

These symptoms can last for weeks and vary depending on factors such as age, gender, dosage levels, and duration of use. Medical detox is often recommended to manage withdrawal symptoms, as their severity can differ from person to person.

The prolonged use of over-the-counter sleep aids can be dangerous, but these drugs typically have a low likelihood of causing addiction. However, prescription sleeping pills such as Benzos and Z-drugs are a different story. The primary ingredients in most prescription sleeping pills are more likely to cause sleeping pill addiction.

In other words: Yes, you can get addicted to sleeping pills.

The abuse of sleeping pills can lead to both tolerance and withdrawal:

  • As your body adapts to the effects of a sleeping pill, you will need to take larger doses to get the same effect. This is known as developing tolerance.
  • If you’ve been using sleeping pills for too long or taking them too often, you may have physical pain and emotional distress if you try to stop. These are known as withdrawal symptoms.

Tolerance and withdrawal are classic signs of addiction.

Signs and Symptoms of Sleeping Pill Addiction

In addition to tolerance and withdrawal, other possible signs and symptoms of sleeping pill addiction include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Irritability
  • Drastic mood swings
  • Significant changes in energy level
  • Impaired coordination
  • Diminished appetite
  • Trying to buy, borrow, or steal sleeping pills meant for someone else
  • Doctor shopping (visiting several doctors to try to get multiple prescriptions for sleeping pills)
  • Using sleeping pills in an unsafe manner, such as when drinking alcohol or taking other drugs
  • Trying to stop using sleeping pills but not being able to quit

A person who has become addicted to sleeping pills should consult with a doctor or another qualified healthcare provider. This professional can assess their needs and recommend appropriate treatment options. 

How Sleeping Pill Addiction is Treated

Sleeping pill addiction treatment can include several types of therapy. It may also involve medication. In some cases, detoxification may be the first step in a person’s treatment for sleeping pill addiction.

Detoxification, or detox, can help people get through withdrawal safely and with minimal discomfort. During detox, patients benefit from the care and supervision of a team of experienced professionals. Once they’ve completed detox, they’ll be ready to engage in therapy fully. 

During therapy sessions, people can address the issues that may have caused them to abuse sleeping pills in the first place. For example, if a person develops insomnia due to an undiagnosed anxiety disorder or depression, therapy sessions can help them learn to manage their symptoms. Therapy can also help people adopt healthier responses when they have trouble sleeping.

If a person’s sleep problems are related to certain mental health disorders, their treatment plan may also include the careful use of prescription medications.

Get Treatment for Sleeping Pill Addiction in Nashville, TN

A good night’s sleep every night without the stress and side effects of addiction is not just a dream, it can be your reality. Brentwood Springs Detox is a premier provider of detox services for people who need sleeping pill addiction treatment in the Nashville area.

Our dedicated professionals can help you take this vital step on the path toward a restful, healthy future. After you finish our detox program, we will develop an aftercare plan that best meets your needs.

Contact us today to learn more about our programs and services.

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