Between work, play, kids and the general stresses of life, we are getting less sleep than ever before. For those of us suffering from occasional to chronic insomnia, sleeping pills when taken correctly can bring great relief and a much needed peaceful night of rest. Although successful in treating insomnia, the risk of developing dependence is great and the statistics have shown that the numbers are not in our favour.
Approximately 1 in 10 of us are prescribed medical sleeping aids such as Zopiclone, to aid us in sleeping better. Zopiclone is one of the most used sleeping pills in the UK in the last year 5.2million patients were given prescriptions for it. The current accessibility and effectiveness of sleeping pills makes it all too easy to become addicted. Where once they were used to overcome a couple of nights a week or a few weeks a month, we find ourselves using them every night. Some use sleeping pills to satisfy a craving, even when sleep is not necessary.
Becoming reliant on sleeping pills often goes unnoticed until it becomes impossible to sleep without them; our tolerance to sleeping aids increase and our dosages become higher in order to have the desired effect. In many cases we only realise how dependent we are on the drugs when we stop taking the sleeping medication and the withdrawal symptoms begin to set in.
Withdrawal from Sleeping Medication
Withdrawal from sleeping pills can range from headaches to panic attacks and at worse rebound insomnia when the inability to sleep returns, often worse than before. When users stop taking their sleeping pills entirely and suddenly, there is greater risk of complications, such as seizures or even delirium. Approximately a third of the UK’s population experiences some sort of sleep disturbance and have experienced insomnia.
Tell-tale signs you may be suffering withdrawal from your sleeping medication:
- Agitation and irritability
- High blood pressure
- Stomach cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Uncontrollable crying
- Panic attacks
As with all prescription medication it is important to follow dosage guidelines to avoid the risk of sleeping pill addiction. We also have to remember that sleeping pills are a short term answer to a greater underlying issue and are merely there to aid us not cure us. It is likely you will benefit enormously from trying our WhyScoreCard Assessment, to discover the reasons why you are using the pills.
Sleeping Pill Abuse?
The best way to tell our use of sleeping pills is out of control is to monitor how often we use them. Used purely as an aid to help us sleep at night, sleeping pills can be a great benefit. If, however, we start taking them more often and upping our doses, tolerance to them becomes greater and the benefits lessen. If you find yourself continuing to use sleeping pills beyond the prescribed period or begin craving your medication, you have a strong sign your sleeping pill use may be getting out of hand. If you or someone you know is in need of help, contact us for further assistance. We will do what we can to help you.
Trying to quit Sleeping Pills?
We often tell ourselves we need to quit using sleeping pills, beginning a string of failed attempts at stopping and continuing to self-medicate despite the negative consequences. Sleeping pills act as powerful sedatives and are categorised as sedative-hypnotics; other drugs that fall under this category include barbiturates and benzodiazepines such as Xanax. Sleeping pills are commonly referred to as Z-drugs as they induce sleep. They are non-benzodiazepine hypnotics, meaning they have a slightly different molecular make-up, although their effects are similar to those of benzodiazepines but with slightly fewer side-effects. This gives users the notion that sleeping pills are less habit forming. This is wrong.
The most commonly used sleeping pills on the market include Zolpidem, Zaleplon and Zopiclone and are often prescribed for short term periods of severe insomnia. The problem often begins when doctors don’t communicate the risks of long term use and fail to outline strict doses and scheduling. Because of the fast acting, feel good effects of drugs such as Zoplicone, it often gets used as often as it’s needed…which is all too often the case in most habit forming substances.
Some of the effects experienced include:
- Reduced anxiety
- Dreamless sleep
- Lack of coordination
If you are taking a prescribed form of sleeping pill and believe it is getting out of control or know that it is already beyond your control it is best to seek advice.
Simply going cold turkey from sleeping pills can be extremely dangerous and almost always requires a gradual tapering off approach, so as to allow the body to readjust gradually. Risks associated with simply stopping include high blood pressure, panic attacks and seizures. Our sleeping patterns are both affected by our physical and psychological health, so freeing ourselves permanently from the use of sleeping pills requires both physical detoxing and a cognitive approach to rehabilitation, as well as gaining a better understanding of how to manage our daily lives effectively.
Contact us today for more help, advice and guidance about addiction to sleeping medication and take the step towards a life free from medication.
South Coast Recovery Centre 072 545 5414 or 039 314 4777
Credited to: Why Addicted