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Sleeping Pill

The risk of sleeping pill addiction

Insomnia is a distressing condition that can take a lot of enjoyment out of life. People will turn to various medications as a way to deal with the problem. While most individuals will only use these pills as a means to cope with their sleeping difficulties there is the risk of addiction. This type of drug is one of the most common of all prescription medications. Those who only use this night sedation short term and under the doctor’s instructions will have a low risk for addiction. It is more often those people who grow to rely on sleeping tablets over a long time period who are most at risk.

Sleeping pill addiction defined

The word addiction is misused in modern culture, to the degree that the meaning has become blurred. People tend to use it to describe any situation where people like or use something regularly or habitually. When it comes to defining sleeping pill addiction, the meaning is more specific. It refers to a situation where an individual has become both physically and psychologically dependent upon this medication. If they were to stop using these sleeping pills they would not only have to battle a mental compulsion but also go through physical withdrawal symptoms. People can abuse a substance for a period of their life without becoming physically addicted to it. Once the addiction has taken hold though, it will be a lot harder to deal with.

Why do people become addicted to sleeping pills?

People do not normally start out with the intention of becoming addicted. Many start off taking sleeping pills that have been prescribed by their doctor for medicinal purposes. They later become dependent on this medication and might take it even when it is not required. There are also those who use this medication as a means to enhance the effect of alcohol or other drugs. People can grow to like the way that this type of drug sedates them and calms down the mind. Taking sleeping pills can create similar feelings to being drunk on alcohol. It can be tempting for individuals to abuse these substances as a way to escape their problems.

Types of sleeping pills

There is a wide range of different medications that are classified as sleeping pills. These drugs differ in their ingredients and how they work to promote sleep.

  • Barbiturates are a type of drug that causes sedation by depressing the central nervous system. In larger doses, it can be used as a general anesthetic to put people to sleep. Pentobarbital, Phenobarbital, and secobarbital are all types of barbiturates. This drug is not commonly prescribed for sleeping problems anymore, because the risks from overdose are higher than with other types of sleeping pills.
  • Benzodiazepines are commonly prescribed for sleeping problems. This is a psychoactive depressant that works by enhancing the effect of a neurotransmitter called GABA. This chemical has a sedative and calming effect which can help people sleep. There are many different types of benzodiazepine drugs including Librium, valium, Xanax, and Ativan. The withdrawal symptoms with this drug can be severe if people have been using it for a long time.
  • Nonbenzodiazepine drugs cause similar effects as benzodiazepines but they are created with a different chemical structure. Examples of this drug include Zolpidem, Lunesta, and Sonata.
  • There are also different herbal remedies that people use because of their sedation qualities. Plants such as Valerian, Kava, and hops have all been praised for their sleep-producing qualities. These herbal remedies are considered safer to use than other types of sleeping pills. There is also far less risk of addiction.

Sleeping pill addiction statistics

About 10% of adults in the US have a problem getting or staying asleep. Up to 40% of adults will occasionally have this problem. Benzodiazepine sleeping pills are the most widely prescribed with up to 100 million prescriptions a year. The number of people who rely on this medication to get to sleep is increasing each year. As more people use the drug there is sure to be a growth in the number who become addicted. Determining an exact figure for people who become addicted to sleeping pills is difficult. Many who end up seeking treatment will also abuse other substances such as alcohol as well.