Sleeping medicine, or sedatives, are widely available to people dealing with stress, anxiety, and insomnia. It is reported that one in seven Americans consume sleeping pills. Because of this accessibility, the general population may not put much thought into the downsides of sedatives. A sleeping pill overdose is possible. Here we cover what sleeping pills are, the dangers of sleeping pills, and potential for addiction.
How Sleeping Pills Work
Over-the-counter (OTC) sleeping pills contain an antihistamine, which makes the consumer drowsy. Prescription medication shut off parts of the brain that keeps one awake at night. While melatonin supplements and gummies boost the natural melatonin in the body, a chemical that promotes sleep.
These options are great for short-term relief, but the body is an intricate system that must maintain balance. If something new were to enter the system—such as the ingredients in sleeping pills— it can cause psychological imbalances.
Those most at risk are the elderly. AGS, the American Geriatric Society, reports that one in three seniors consumes some form of sleeping pills. Because over half of those aged 65 and older are taking four or more prescription medications and sleeping pills can affect the brain and spinal cord, they suggest other ways of solving insomnia without the need for a sedative. This is especially true for anyone abusing drugs or alcohol.
The Negative Side Effects of Sleeping Pills
In reality, sleeping pills don’t work as well as one would think. Sleeping aids can actually bring about confusion or drowsiness during the day, even sleepwalking. So, does this mean sleeping pills can be fatal? As with most things consumed in excess, the possibility exists. Individuals are more likely to overdose on sleep medicine when ingested with drugs or alcohol.
Sleeping Pills Dangers
Sleeping pills can cause death if you take too many. But quite often, the dangers come before that. These include memory loss, deep lethargy, trying to operate a vehicle or machinery while still under the influence, shallow or dysfunctional breathing.
The biggest immediate risk to a person’s life is if they take too many sleeping pills, accidental or intentional, or if they take them in dangerous amounts along with other substances. Again, yes a person can overdose from sleeping pills, and they can die from the overdose.
Am I addicted to Sleeping Pills?
If you feel like you might be dependent on sleeping pills and wonder if you have an addiction, it is best to talk to an addiction professional. That said, here are some of the symptoms of sleeping pill addiction.
- Anxiety at the thought of not having sleeping pills
- Tried to quit unsuccessfully
- Constant cravings
- Frequent doctor visits for more medication or doctor switching
- Increasing your typical dosage against the advice of your doctor
- Memory loss
- Taking more than the prescribed dose
Resources to Combat Addiction
In regard to addiction, taking sleeping pills beyond a two-week time period is not recommended. Ignorance of the addictive quality of sleeping aids is a substantial factor.
Moreover, taking more than the recommended dose progressively builds tolerance—or dependency—until self-control is lost.
In the final analysis, the use of sleep medicine also becomes concerning when one is desperate to cure the symptoms of underlying conditions, which may be hard to determine without medical advice.
This could be anxiety, depression, or PTSD. Addiction treatment centers, for example, use successful methods such as CBT and DBT therapy to help individuals develop coping skills for prescription pill addiction, illicit drug addiction, and alcohol addiction. If you believe you have an addiction to sleeping pills and are looking for direction for treatment, call us today. Our team can help you find the next step.