Tranquilizer Abuse – 3: Sleeping pills

Tranquilizer Abuse – 3: Sleeping pills

Tranquilizers act as a central nervous system (CNS) depressants and lead to a state of “tranquillity,” that is, a state of calmness, relaxation and self-control. Tranquilizer drugs are beneficial for those suffering from severe mental health issues or those susceptible to depression, insomnia and high anxiety levels.

While some tranquilizers are used as anaesthetics for surgical preparation to induce sleep, a few others are used to alleviate withdrawal symptoms for people undergoing medical detoxification from alcoholism. The commonly prescribed tranquilizers are barbiturates, benzodiazepines and sleeping aids.

Addiction to sleeping aids: An overview

Sleeping pills are, generally, known as sedative-hypnotics, or non-benzodiazepine hypnotics, but there are a few sleeping pills which include barbiturates and benzodiazepines, for example Xanax. Of the three most common sleeping pills such as Ambien (zolpidem), Sonata (zaleplon), Lunesta (eszopiclone), Ambien and Sonata are most widely prescribed for sleep disorders.

Sleeping pills are fast-acting drugs and are often used on a need basis. Unfortunately, a majority of people start using such medications without a doctor’s recommendations. Using sedatives excessively without doctor’s prescription is considered an abuse. When taken at higher doses, these sleeping pills produce the same effects, such as drowsiness and euphoria, as their highly addictive counterparts such as benzodiazepines. Some of them can even cause hallucinations.

According to the survey data released by the National Health and Nutrition Examination for the year 2005-2010, published in the Centers for Disease Dontrol and Prevention (CDC), in 2015, about 4 percent of American adults aged 20 years or older used prescription sleeping drugs in the month prior to the survey.

Understanding the effects of addiction to sleeping pills

Use of sleeping pills can have immediate as well as long-term side effects that can be life-threatening, including a higher risk for addiction and mental problems. The long-term dangerous effects of sleeping pills range from memory loss and loss of balance to seizures and depressed breathing. However, some immediate dangers of sleeping pills are fatigue, daytime drowsiness, dry mouth, dizziness and laziness.

A long-term abuse of such medications can cause harmful substances to accumulate in the body and produce unwanted side-effects such as high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and depression

Those who have developed a tolerance to such medications may require much higher doses to get the desired effect. A lot of people use these drugs along with alcohol to increase the effect.

Some of the symptoms of addiction to sleeping pills are:

  • Slurred speech
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Paranoia
  • Inability to focus
  • Fatigue and impaired memory
  • Unusual euphoria
  • Chest pain and difficulty breathing
  • Coma

The withdrawal symptoms can be more dangerous causing hallucinations and delirium tremens, apart from the common symptoms of addiction.

Overcoming addiction to sleeping pills

Though doctors prescribe sleeping pills only for short-term use, there are many people who consume such drugs anytime, whenever they face a lack of sleep or other sleep-related disorders. When used in a way not prescribed by doctors, sedatives can also lead to an addiction. Treatment from sleeping pill abuse may involve counseling, inpatient rehab, along with the tapering of the dosage to prevent a relapse.

Prescription drug abuse or addiction can seriously affect a person’s thinking, actions, judgment and other brain functions. If you or someone you love is addicted to a prescription drug and is exploring various prescription drug rehabilitation facilities in Florida, the Florida Prescription Addiction Helpline can help. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-292-3211 or chat online for information on the best prescription drug rehab centers in Florida.

Read the remaining articles of the series, “Tranquilizers Abuse:”

1: Benzodiazepines

2: Barbiturates