Sleeping Pill Addiction and Overdose

Every year, an estimated one in four Americans develops insomnia. As a result, sleeping pills are among the most commonly prescribed drugs today. Several factors can cause people to develop sleep problems including:

  • Medication
  • Stress
  • Busy schedules
  • Caffeine
  • Mental health problems
  • Medical conditions
  • Poor sleeping habits

 

Sleeping pills fall into a category of drugs known as sedative-hypnotics. The most common ones Ambien (zolpidem), Sonata (zaleplon) and Lunesta (eszopiclone). They can be very helpful for people dealing with insomnia. However, doctors usually only prescribe them for short-term use since there’s the potential for misuse, abuse and addiction.

Many individuals don’t realize the dangers that these medications pose since so many people use them. However, even though discontinuing use is difficult, it is possible with professional drug rehab help.

Signs of Addiction

Sleeping pills are not harmless. While some people use them for a short period and then develop the ability to sleep without them, others can’t sleep unless they take a pill. As tolerance increases, they need larger and larger doses to get the effect they once did. Often, it is only when they stop taking the medication that they realize they’re dependent or addicted. This is because they suddenly begin to experience withdrawal symptoms.

Rebound Insomnia

Acute withdrawal can lead to rebound insomnia. Most chronic users find that when they stop taking sleeping pills, their sleep problems return. They may find it even harder to fall asleep and stay asleep than they did before. They may also experience bizarre or disturbing dreams that result in panic attacks and anxiety when they wake up.

Rebound insomnia is most likely to occur when the user quits cold-turkey or drastically reduces their dosage. It is one of the major reasons why people who are addicted to sleeping pills relapse and get caught up in a cycle of abuse.

Other indicators of sleeping pill addiction or dependance are:

  • Experiencing cravings for sleeping pills
  • Getting prescriptions from multiple doctors
  • Having tried unsuccessfully to quit on several occasions
  • Experiencing memory loss as a result of taking the pills
  • Consistently taking pills even though you’re experiencing negative consequences
  • Increase their dosage without first talking to a doctor

The Risk of Overdose

Accidental overdose is a real risk if you take sleeping pills. Since it can take a while for the medicine to begin working, some people take more and more until they start to feel the effects. Signs of overdose include:

  • Memory loss. Some users sleepwalk, eat while sleeping or engage in other behaviors that they don’t remember when they wake up.
  • Excessive drowsiness in the daytime. If you take too many pills, the effects may not wear off by the next morning.
  • Isolation. Some people isolate themselves from loved ones and neglect hobbies that they once enjoyed.
  • Dangerous practices. Some people drive under the influence of sleeping pills, putting themselves and others in danger.

Recovering from Sleeping Pill Addiction

The recovery process usually begins with detoxification. This is the process of slowly weaning your body off the drug you’ve been using. During this period, you may experience short-term mental and physical withdrawal symptoms including profuse sweating, increased heart rate, seizures, depression, anxiety, panic attacks and irritability. It’s best if you detox under medical supervision so you can get relief from the worst of your symptoms. If complications develop, you’ll have professionals on hand to give you the treatment you need.

It is important to know that detox is just the start of the process. You’ll need to learn long-term strategies for staying sober and avoiding old behaviors. Depending on the severity of your sleeping pill addiction and your personal circumstances, the step may range from a residential program to outpatient treatment. Counselling is likely to be a major part of recovery.

Contact Asheville Recovery Center Today to Get the Help You Need

Do not let sleeping pill addiction or dependence ruin your life. You can be free from these drugs no matter how long you’ve been using and abusing them. However, you shouldn’t attempt to do it alone. Instead, reach out to the addiction treatment professionals at Asheville Recovery Center and let us help you. We have a team of experts who understand what you’re going through. We’ll help you find the right treatment program for your needs and we’ll help you start living a healthier life. Call us today to ask questions and learn more about what we can do for you.

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