Are Sleeping Pills Addictive?

With today’s society carrying more stresses and financial pressures, many people suffer from insomnia. This can be difficulty in falling asleep as well as frequent waking during the night. With our days demanding more from us than ever, whether it’s our jobs or family, our sleep is very important to our mental and physical health. You may find yourself lying awake at night painfully aware of the ticking clock and the morning of a busy day looming ever closer. Being unable to sleep in its self can cause anxiety in an individual, leaving them feeling exhausted and panicky the following day.

If you are suffering from insomnia, you may be tempted to visit your doctor for sleeping pills. These pills seem like a god send to those suffering from insomnia, but are they really? Is it realistic to think that you can resolve your sleeping with the tablets for a few weeks then come off the tablets and a more normal sleeping pattern will be resumed? Or could you end up with a reliance on the sleeping pills in order to get any quality sleep? Drug addiction is never the right answer.

Sleeping pills can come in two groups, the most commonly prescribed group are known as hypnotics, they trick the person’s brain in to a sleep, relaxing and sedating the central nervous system, so that falling asleep is easier. Tablets from this group that are commonly prescribed are Zopiclone, Zalepon and Zolpidem. This group is favoured by GPs due to their being a lesser “hung over” effect for the user the following morning. The second group are Benzodiazepines; they work much like the first group but have a greater sedative effect and can leave the user feeling drowsier the following day. Both of these groups are hugely addictive and carry the potential risk of the user developing a long term reliance on them. Withdrawals can also be particularly unpleasant and dangerous, with an increased risk of seizures being the most hazardous complication of the withdrawal.

Because of their addictive properties, users have been known to develop prescription drug addiction within only a few weeks. Most of these tablets will carry a warning that they should not be continued after a period of 14 days, nor should they be prescribed to people with addiction or alcohol problems, past or present. The message is, to consider very carefully if you are planning to take sleeping pills, the possible risk of an addiction that could develop within a very short space of time. Consider trying other more holistic approaches before resorting to a chemically induced sleep, such as lavender oil, herbal sleep tablets, relaxation tapes, healthy diet and exercise. There are many helpful hints and tips on how to get a better night’s sleep without resorting to medication, so it is wise to arm yourself with as much information as possible before deciding on the route you want to take.


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