Man wondering, "Are sleeping pills addictive?"

Are Sleeping Pills Addictive?

Sleep is an essential component of a healthy life. It rejuvenates your mind and body, provides energy and mental clarity, and helps you cope better with life’s daily stressors. But if you struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night, you may rely on sleeping pills to help you rest. Are sleeping pills addictive? Unfortunately, sleeping pills may come with a significant risk of addiction.

If you are having trouble quitting sleeping pills, reach out to Promises Right Step Hill Country at 1.844.675.1628 for help. Our addiction treatment programs can help you get back on track for a better night’s rest without potentially harmful sleeping pills.

Are Sleeping Pills Addictive?

Sleeping pills can be addictive, especially those belonging to the benzodiazepine family. Benzodiazepines or benzos are a type of medication often prescribed for anxiety and sleep disorders. Some commonly prescribed benzodiazepine sleeping pills are:

  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Estazolam (Prosom)
  • Flurazepam (Dalmane)
  • Temazepam (Restoril)
  • Triazolam (Halcion)
  • Quazepam (Doral)

Benzodiazepines induce feelings of relaxation and drowsiness, helping people fall asleep despite sleep disorders like insomnia. These medications increase the activity of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA, slowing activity in the brain and central nervous system. But they also instigate the release of dopamine, triggering the brain’s pleasure and reward center, which is what leads to addiction.

Other types of sleeping pills also have the potential to cause addiction, but to a lesser degree. These medications, like zolpidem (Ambien) and zalepon (Sonata), work differently than benzodiazepines, but they still affect the brain’s sleep-wake cycle, which can lead to dependence and addiction.

The Dangers of Sleeping Pills

In addition to the potential for addiction, sleeping pills can also cause a range of harmful side effects. Some possible dangers of sleeping pills include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Memory loss
  • Sleepwalking
  • Allergic reactions

Taking doses higher than prescribed or combining sleeping pills with alcohol or other depressants can amplify the sedative effects. This puts you at risk of overdose, which can be fatal.

How to Know If You Are Addicted to Sleeping Pills

Being able to recognize the warning signs of sleeping pill addiction enables you to seek help before the problem worsens. Some common signs that may indicate an addiction to sleeping pills are:

  • Using sleeping pills more often than prescribed
  • Needing to take increasingly higher doses of sleeping pills to fall asleep or stay asleep
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms, like anxiety and irritability, when you do not take sleeping pills
  • Attempting to access multiple prescriptions for sleeping pills from different doctors
  • Continuing to take sleeping pills despite adverse side effects

If your medication does not seem to be working as effectively as before, reach out to your provider for guidance. Avoid increasing your dosage without your doctor’s permission to reduce the risk of developing an addiction to your medication.

Overcoming Addiction to Sleeping Pills

It is ideal to seek help as soon as you spot signs of sleeping pill addiction to prevent some of the long-term side effects. But you may also be concerned about how to manage insomnia or other sleep disorders without medication. This is what typically keeps people taking their medication despite some of the early warning signs of addiction.

A combination of professional help and lifestyle changes will allow you to overcome sleeping pill addiction and encourage healthy sleep patterns:

  • Work together with addiction treatment specialists to gradually taper off the medication, which can minimize withdrawal symptoms.
  • Attend therapy sessions to address underlying issues, like stress or anxiety, that may be contributing to sleep problems.
  • Practice relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, or stimulant medications that can interfere with your sleep cycles.

Recovery from sleeping pill addiction can take time, but with a strong support system and the appropriate therapies, you can release the grip of addiction and develop healthy sleep habits.

Get Help for Sleeping Pill Addiction by Calling Promises Right Step Hill Country

It can be challenging to overcome sleeping pill addiction, but with the help of Promises Right Step Hill Country, you can achieve your goals for healthy sleep patterns without medication. Call us today at 1.844.675.1628 to get started.

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