Sleeping Pills Abuse: Signs & Symptoms
Sleeping pills come under the drug class of sedative-hypnotics. Doctors prescribe them for insomnia and other sleep disorders to induce sleep. Sleeping pills are short-term medications for sleep as they have the potential for misuse, abuse, and addiction. Though they are useful significantly for legitimate reasons, sleeping pills also have risks and side effects. Being able to know and understand the signs of sleeping pills abuse can save your life.
People often underestimate the potential of sleeping pills like Ambien and Sonata to cause the dangers of abuse.
People abusing sleeping pills experience concentration and memory problems.
Some common signs of sleeping pills abuse include:
- Loss of coordination of movements
- Slurred speech
- Inability to focus
- Memory impairment
- Unsteady gait
- Unusual euphoria
Risks associated with sleeping pills
The immediate and long-term dangers of sleeping pills abuse make it necessary for people to be cautious while using them. However, many people are still unaware of the dangers of these medications. The risk associated with taking medicines like Ambien must be addressed and countermeasures should be taken by both the health practitioner and the patient.
The risks associated with sleeping medicines range from seizures to respiratory depression. Several people also experience allergic reactions from the pills that cause trouble breathing, nausea, chest pain, and swelling.
Although its rare, people using sleeping pills may even experience parasomnias. Parasomnia is a sleep disorder that has behaviors like sleepwalking, sleep-driving, sleep eating, sleep sex, and other dangerous sleep-related activities.
The immediate effects of sleeping pills range from fatigue to coma. The overdose of the medication can even lead to lethal risks.
Common signs and side effects of sleeping pills abuse include:
- Dry mouth
- Daytime drowsiness
- Loss of coordination
- Memory loss
- Unusual dreaming
- Swelling and itching
- Slow breathing rate
- Relying on the pills to sleep
- Increased tolerance
- Going to bed early to take medicine
- Cravings for the pills
- Running out of prescription early
- Taking the medication, not for sleeping but its euphoric effects
Those who use sleeping pills for longer durations are more likely to have intensified side effects. As people continue taking them over time, the drug builds up in their body and causes unwanted adverse effects. These effects include irregular heartbeats, high blood pressure, and depression of the central nervous system.
Recognition of Sleeping Pills Addiction
Sleeping medications pose a serious threat of physical dependence when taken for longer than two to three weeks. People often do not realize how quickly tolerance of sleeping pills develop, especially when someone takes an extra pill now and then. Tolerance results in physical dependence, leading to addiction.
People who have sleeping pills addiction increase their doses to get the same effect. Over time, they develop tolerance to the medication that eventually turns into an addiction. The first step to overcoming sleep medication addiction is to recognize that there is a problem.
The DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) of mental disorders gives a complete criterion for diagnosing addiction. These criteria include physical, behavioral, and psychological symptoms that result from long-term drug use. People addicted to sleep medications may have the following symptoms:
- Need of more than the usual dose to fall asleep
- Trying and failing to stop the medication
- Ignoring professional, educational, familial, and social obligations
- Frequent detachment and confusion
- Isolation from family and friends
- Hazardous behavior under the influence of the medicine
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Loss of interest in once-loved activities
- Cravings for the drugs
- Mood swings
If you or someone you love shows the symptoms of sleeping pills addiction, whether ist Ambien, Sonata, Lunesta, or some other, its high time to get help. Intervention is one of the best ways to let an addicted person know that they have an addiction to a drug, and it’s okay to get help.
The main aim of the intervention is to provide immediate treatment to the addicted person. Families often hire intervention specialists to help manage the situation. These specialists also help the families to figure out what to say to an addicted person and how to handle the consequences if they refuse to take help.
Withdrawal and its treatment
People using sleeping pills at larger doses or for a prolonged time become dependent on it and will experience withdrawal symptoms while quitting. The dependency can develop even at recommended doses in as little as seven days. The symptoms of withdrawal last a few weeks, depending on several factors such as frequency and duration of use, age, gender, tolerance level, and other factors. Medical detoxification is the best way to manage withdrawal symptoms.
The severity and extremity of withdrawal symptoms have inter-person variability. Common symptoms of withdrawal include anxiety, insomnia, panic attacks, depression, irritability, excessive sweating, nausea, vomiting, muscle tension, and sometimes seizures.
The most dangerous symptom of withdrawal is rebound insomnia, which is particularly hard to overcome for most people, but they can manage it through proper treatment. A trained medical professional will help you overcome addiction without experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
Sleep medications addiction treatment can take place in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Inpatient rehabilitation is where a person lives in a rehab facility under persistent medical and psychological observation. Doctors consider it as the best treatment for achieving and maintaining sobriety. It is mainly for those people who have severe addictions, unsuccessful rehab attempts in the past, and those living in an environment where alcohol and drug are easily accessible.
Outpatient rehabilitation has no residential or medical supervision, but it requires the patients to meet a trained medical professional at least 3-4 times a week for a few hours each time. It is best for those who already have an inpatient rehab program and need to readjust in a healthy life and those who have familial, professional, educational, or social obligations that they cannot abandon. A medical professional should conduct a substance abuse evaluation for the potential patient to determine which degree of addiction is there and which level of care they require.
If you or someone you love have an addiction or dependence with sleeping pills, contact a treatment specialist today to get help.
Acute withdrawal from sleeping pills causes rebound insomnia for most chronic users. Rebound insomnia is the resurgence of sleep problems once the user quits taking the medication. It is most common when a user abruptly stops taking the pills or reduces the dosage. This insomnia is worse than primary insomnia. Rebound insomnia may even cause disturbing and bizarre dreams that lead to panic and anxiety attacks.
Rebound insomnia is a withdrawal symptom of sleeping pills addictions. People should not consider it a reason to continue use as it often becomes the cause of relapse for those trying to recover. It creates a dangerous abuse cycle.