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Are Sleeping Pills Addictive?

are sleeping pills addictive

While sleeping pills are useful for short-term treatment, they are addictive and can cause various problems. A sleeping pill addiction is serious and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Recovery requires a comprehensive addiction treatment program.

How can you be addicted to sleeping pills? The causative factors are different for each person, but the side effects and consequences of a sleeping pill addiction can lead to severe issues for anyone. 

While people may not crave these pills with the intensity of cravings for other substances, the resulting damage can be just as devastating. If you or someone you know needs help with a sleeping pill addiction, contact Vertava Health at 888.601.8693.

Why Are Sleeping Pills Addictive?

Sleeping pills can prove useful for people who have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep through the night. People who work midnight shifts might take them to help flip their sleep/awake cycle. However, there are some major potential pitfalls of these medications.

When sleeping pills are taken in high doses or too long, people tend to become dependent on them and their effects. According to the National Library of Medicine, this concern is magnified if sleeping pills are combined with other sedative medications or substances. People can and do overdose on them.

To produce relaxing and sleep-inducing effects, these medications activate a major inhibitory neurotransmitter of the central nervous system known as the GABA system. In other words, the sedatives work by producing tranquilizing effects by slowing down the brain and increasing deep sleep.

The body can develop a tolerance when more pills are needed to achieve the same effect when taken for long periods. Some people eventually begin taking more than is prescribed or feel the need to use the pills for more than sleeping. 

Behavioral patterns like these may reveal a substance use disorder.

Can You Be Addicted to Sleeping Pills Without Showing Symptoms?

Some people can develop a dependence on sleeping pills without showing obvious outward signs of it. Those who have a less intense addiction can appear to function almost normally. However, the more intense an addiction is, the more intense the side effects become. 

The symptoms and side effects of sleeping pill addiction vary greatly from one person to another and depend on many factors, including specific dosage, frequency, and whether they are using other substances simultaneously.

Signs that a Person May Have a Sleeping Pill Addiction

A person with a sleeping pill addiction regularly overuses these medications to feel relaxed and ward off anxiety, which is not exactly their original intention. They are intended to be taken at bedtime to help a person sleep. Any other use is misused.

Some of the most common signs of sleeping pill misuse include:

  • Difficulty focusing and concentrating
  • Unsteady, uncoordinated movements
  • Lightheadedness
  • Itchiness
  • Difficulty speaking clearly
  • Hallucinations
  • Feeling intense drowsiness during waking hours
  • Memory challenges

A common finding with a person who has a sleeping pill addiction is that they feel the urge to use the pills at all times of the day. 

Dangerous Interactions

Not only are sleeping pills addictive, but they also can be dangerous if they interact with other substances. These include painkillers and alcohol. 

These interactions can cause slow, shallow breathing, changes in thinking and emotions, slurred speech, and even extreme sedation that can lead to death.

Explore Sleeping Pill Addiction Treatment with Vertava Health

To properly and safely manage chronic misuse of sleeping pills, receiving professional help is paramount. If you or someone you know needs treatment for a sleeping pill addiction, contact Vertava Health at 888.601.8693.