Sleeping pill abuse is very common in the United States. This is because not getting enough sleep is a big problem, and many turn to their doctors for a prescription that will help them. Folks who can’t sleep well deal with issues like:
- Trouble controlling their moods
- Compromise the immune system
- Increased chances of developing health conditions like diabetes and heart disease
- Higher likelihood of becoming obese
It’s easy to see what drives people to seek out some kind of remedy for their lack of sleep, and many of them turn to medication, specifically sleeping pills. These pills can do a lot of good, but just like any other drug, there is potential for abuse.
Types of Sleeping Pills
There are many sleeping pill options available, like Doxepin, Temazepam, Triazolam, and Lunesta, just to name a few. Some help a person fall asleep faster, and others are meant to keep folks asleep. The sleeping pills most people abuse are the ones that contain benzodiazepines, although the pills ones without this ingredient may be abused, too.
A sleeping pill is a sedative meant to help people who need can’t sleep. One reason people tend to ignore this type of substance use disorder is that they don’t think it’s possible to become addicted. In truth, many people start to abuse sleeping pills because they think they’re are harmless.
The reality is sleeping pills are drugs, and they come with a string of side effects that can affect you, even if you aren’t dependent on these drugs just yet. The following are some of the side effects linked to general sleeping pill usage:
- Constipation (mild to severe)
- Loss of balance (prescribers advise against using operate heavy machinery when on these pills)
- Dry mouth
- Excessive gas
- Loss of appetite
- Mental impairment
- Memory loss
- General body weakness
- Headaches (mild to severe)
Addressing most of these issues can often be as simple as changing the prescription or lowering the dosage. Symptom must be reported so that the doctor can monitor and make proper changes.
The side effects that a person experiences by taking the pill vary from person to person. All sorts of factors have to be taken into account, including age, overall health, and much more. It goes without saying that no sleeping pill should be taken with alcohol. People can overdose with that combination, and that can be deadly.
Sleeping Pill Abuse
Abuse starts with disrespecting the drug. If a person doesn’t look at the sleeping pill as a drug, then the likelihood of this person abusing it is high. The disrespect some people have toward the drug can lead to those people using the medication improperly. Incorrect use could mean the person stops reading the instructions on the label or does not read them at all, or if they take more of the medication than specified.
Sometimes, this person could get used to taking sleeping pills even when it’s clear they don’t need them any longer. If a person is misusing sleeping pills, you’re likely to see strange behavior, like cravings that the person can’t do anything about. He or she may feel mild to severe withdrawal symptoms, which includes varied types of discomfort and irritation.
Some experience vomiting, and others could develop some form of depression. A mental ailment such as depression can really hurt a person suffering from a substance use disorder, leading to a new set of issues or obstacles.
Some people who develop a serious disorder may attempt to get more sleeping pill prescriptions by visiting several doctors and not telling each physician they’ve already received a prescription, also known as ‘doctor shopping.’ If for some reason, you discover that a loved one is doctor shopping, it’s important to take action. Inform the doctor or nurses that you suspect something is happening so that they can take the proper steps for the sake of your loved one.
Severe Sleeping Pill Abuse
A person who uses sleeping pills heavily is going to start experiencing unpleasant side effects rather quickly.
The following are some that are linked to heavy use:
- Shallow breathing (less oxygen to your brain that could cause damage over time)
- Slowing of the heart rate (fewer nutrients being pumped through the body)
Some individuals with this disorder may develop parasomnia, which them perform actions like driving or walking while asleep. This is similar to sleepwalking, but can involve more intense activity during a hypnotic states. These behaviors can be unpredictable, dangerous, and potentially deadly.
Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is something everyone should do. It ensures that you don’t have to resort to sleeping pills that expose you to these dangers of addiction. The good thing is there are several things you can do to try to sleep better. There are natural options like:
- Make your room a bit cooler (a few degrees under typical room temperature) so your brain will produce more of the sleep hormone
- Melatonin or a suitable sleep hormone
- Keep the room where you sleep as dark as possible
- Avoid having lights on when you’re trying to sleep (including phones and other smart devices)
- A white noise machine can help soothe you to sleep
- Making your room quieter by installing sound barriers or wear earplugs
- Relax before you head to bed (taking a bath, drinking a cup of chamomile tea)
Sometimes alternative options may not work, and you will need to take a prescription medication. The best thing to do in such a situation is to be aware of how serious the side effects could be if the drug is abused. Having this knowledge can help prevent the issue from starting and help you be more vigilant.
Granite Recovery Centers
Our team at Granite Recovery Centers aims to help individuals dealing with varying degrees of this substance use disorder. While this is by no means easy, overcoming this disorder is impossible. It all starts with one call or visit.
If you or a loved one is suffering from sleeping pill abuse, please don’t hesitate to give us a call today, and we can discuss some options to get your life back on track.