Sleeping Pills and addiction

Many people experience insomnia at some point in life and sometimes they are prescribed sleeping pills for a short time frame. In fact, millions of people are prescribe sleeping pills, as many doctors readily prescribe them. Granted, most people feel as if they would never get addicted to them, but the truth is that many do. They believe that if their doctor prescribed them, they are safe and non-habit forming. This is not always the case.

Finding out your addicted

You probably wouldn’t realize you were addicted to sleeping pills until you tried to stop taking them. You may want to get off them and realize you are having withdrawal symptoms, including:

Increased cravings for sleeping pills
Not being able to fall asleep without them
Anxiety just thinking about trying to go to sleep

Common sleeping pills include Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata. The way they work is that they bind to the GABA receptors in the brain, inducing sleep. They work in much the same way as benzodiazepines, but have less side effects. Sleeping pills can cause:

Dizziness
Less dreams during sleep
Less anxiety
Hallucinations

Yes, sleeping pills do help those who are struggling with insomnia, but it is important to be careful when it comes to abusing them. Coming off of sleeping pills can be challenging, but it is possible. Consulting with your doctor is a good idea. 

I have never had to take a sleeping pill, but I’ve seen loved ones struggle with sleeplessness and turn toward sleeping pills for help. I’ve seen them struggle with NOT wanting to take the pills, yet feeling as if it is their only hope to fall asleep.  

What has your experience been with sleeping pills?

  • 3 Commentsby Likes|Date
  • Excellent post, @dominica. Personally, I have never used any RX sleeping pills. Just over-the-counter stuff. Even so, I've discovered that it's pretty easy to become dependent on them. There have been times when I've been stressed out and not been able to fall asleep easily. So I go buy something like Unisom or some other OTC sleep aid. I take it one night and I fall asleep easier. So the inclination is to take it the next night, too. And then the next night. Etc. It's not a good habit to get into, even with non-RX stuff. For that reason, whenever I feel a need for a little help falling asleep, I only buy the smallest size package of whatever sleep aid I buy. Sometimes that's a travel size of just a few pills. I purposely do that so I won't be tempted to get into a habit of taking it every night.

    Now, as far as RX sleeping pills go... That's an area that really scares me. I've heard horror stories from people who've taken stuff like Ambien. Bad side effects, especially hallucinations and doing stuff in their sleep that they don't remember. That's somewhere I don't want to go, so I'll never take anything but the OTC stuff.

    I think RX sleeping pills fall under the category of "just because you can, doesn't necessarily mean you should." But that's just my opinion.
  • @DeanD yes, i've heard stories too with doing things while taking ambien.  not being able to sleep is horrible. i have one night where i toss and turn on occasion and wonder how in the world people live on little sleep. i would be one miserable cookie... which is why many people do take sleeping pills...cuz not sleeping is torture... 

    a loved one struggles...not wanting to take the pills, but needing to sleep too...and she has ptsd and that doesn't help. i feel for those who struggle in this area.... 
  • That 4-7-8 breathing exercise I've posted about in the past really helps me relax and fall asleep quicker. You might want to have your loved one try it. Here's a video that tells how to do it:


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