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Addiction to Sleeping Pills
Have you ever wanted to fall asleep so badly that you tossed and turned for hours at a time? This problem has led to the development of sleeping pills. Sleeping pills are only prescribed as a short-term solution for sleep. Many people are misinformed about the proper usage of sleeping pills and believe they cannot be addicted, which is completely untrue. Users frequently up their doses (without the guidance of a doctor) when they urgently want to sleep, thus increasing their tolerance and their risk for dependence and addiction.
The side effects of sleeping pills are not as strong as other drugs and can be hard to identify if you have an addiction. So, how do you know if you or someone you know has an addiction to sleeping pills?
Common signs of addiction include:
- Using the pill every time you want to fall asleep
- Not being as impacted by the same amount of the drug
- Upping doses without talking to a doctor first
- Taking the pill and then resisting the urge to sleep to feel its effects
- Craving the drug
- Trying to quit and failing
- Seeing more than one doctor for prescription refills
- Continued use despite negative consequences
- Memory loss
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How Sleeping Pills Work
Sleeping pills were created to encourage drowsiness in people who have a hard time sleeping. These pills aim to control the part of the brain that affects our ability to focus and relax, known as GABA receptors.
Made similarly to benzodiazepines, they give off the same side effects and are highly addictive. Although both drugs activate GABA receptors and produce the same relaxation effects, benzodiazepines are mainly used to treat anxiety and panic attacks.
Side Effects of Sleeping Pills
Side effects of sleeping pills can be different depending on the pill, tolerance, and person taking the drug. These side effects are usually mild, which makes it even harder to determine if you have a sleeping pill addiction.
Common side effects include:
- Impaired memory
- Changes in appetite
- Weight gain or loss
- Dry mouth
Unfortunately, people abuse these pills for enjoyment and not for the sole reason of inducing sleep, which has resulted in hallucinations. These drugs are only meant for people who suffer from insomnia or have an inability to sleep and should only be taken when needed or as prescribed by a doctor.
Types of Sleeping Pills
People who are stressed out, travel a lot, or have an irregular circadian rhythm tend to turn to sleeping pills to get back on the normal track for sleep.
“Z-Drugs” are non-benzodiazepines that sedate the user by relaxing the brain in order to bring the body to a sleep-like state. Each drug has a generic version available.
The three Z-Drugs include:
- Ambien – Ambien (Zolpidem) is marketed as being less addictive than benzodiazepines. However, due to its fading effectiveness, an addiction can start within just two weeks.
- Lunesta – Lunesta (Eszopiclone) is another sleep aid, commonly in the form of small circular white or blue pills. They only come in 1mg-3mg since they should only be taken for a short amount of time.
- Sonata – Sonata (Zaleplon) is the last Z-drug which is also designed to induce sleep. It is taken as a time-release capsule and is known for being one of the fastest sleeping pills on the market.
All of these pills are meant to be taken orally. However, abusers may crush up the drug and snort it for an instant shot of the drug’s effects. Users tend to fit these drugs into their normal night time routines, ensuring they don’t forget to take them and creating an addictive habit.
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Common Combinations of Sleeping Pills
Addiction to sleeping pills might not seem like a serious problem, but when sleeping pills are mixed with certain substances or taken in high amounts, it can result in death. Normal users take the pills by themselves to treat insomnia. However, abusers of sleeping pills mix them with other harsh drugs to achieve the desired high.
Reports have shown that users combine sleeping pills with other drugs such as:
Sleeping Pill Abuse Statistics
Focusing on “overmedication,” or instances where the patient overdosed solely on zolpidem or used it in combination with alcohol or other drugs, the number of ER visits nearly doubled, from roughly 22,000 in 2005 and 2006 to just over 42,000 in 2009 and 2010.
On average, sleeping pills will only add around 11 minutes of sleep time and will cause the user to drift off just 13 minutes sooner after getting into bed.
Between 50 and 70 million Americans are currently thought to suffer from sleep disorders and around 4 percent of adults use prescription medication to get a good night’s rest.
Finding Treatment for Sleeping Pill Addiction
Treatment for sleeping pill addiction is effective and can help you recover faster than you ever imagined. You may have never meant to abuse your prescriptions, but these drugs are addicting. Get help now, and reverse your addiction.
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