Sleeping Pill Addiction and Abuse: Facts and Information

Sleeping pill addiction and abuse is prevalent in this country. In fact, there are some people who claim that haven’t been able to sleep without sedatives for years. It’s possible that you may be one of them.

There are strong sleeping pills on the market, and there are those that are considered to be mild. You can get sleeping pills over the counter, or by prescription. Both types of sleeping pills are actually pretty dangerous. Both can be misused, and both can lead to addiction.

Sleeping Pill Information

Sleeping meds are drugs that are used to help people fall asleep at night. Some have additional components that help people stay asleep. You can purchase over the counter sleep aids at Walmart, pharmacies and grocery stores. When these drugs don’t work, people will ask their doctors for prescription sleep aids instead.

Unfortunately, sleeping tablets are commonly abused. People frequently try different methods to stop sleeping meds from working. They may use them with other drugs or alcohol in order to induce a high.


What are Sleep Medications?

Different Types of Sleeping Meds

Sleeping pills have different names, and there are several different types. The end goal for all of them is the same, but they do work differently in the body.

  • Ambien
  • Ativan
  • Zolpidem
  • Estazolam
  • Halcion
  • Klonopin
  • Lunesta
  • Restoril
  • Rozeram
  • Sonata

Popular over the counter sleeping aids include:

  • Unisom
  • Luna
  • Melatonin
  • ZzzQuil
  • Benadryl
  • Diphenhydramine

What Makes Sleeping Pills Addictive?

Most doctors would argue that the sleeping meds addiction occurs because of excessive use.

In those who claim to have addictions to sleep medications, experts believe these are psychological. Even so, sleep drugs like those listed above do affect the GABA receptors in the brain. It can get to the point where these receptors are affected so much that people feel they need sedatives to feel OK. Of course, when people take higher doses than they should, this also leads to addiction.

What Sleeping Pills are Not Addictive?

Any sleeping aid can lead to a psychological addiction if the person feels they need the drug. However, as far as physical addiction is concerned, natural sleep aids are considered to be safe. Supplements like melatonin are not known to cause addiction.

Sedative Abuse and Addiction

What is Sleeping Pill Abuse?

Sleeping pill abuse occurs when someone uses sedatives without a prescription, for too long, or in excess. For example, someone who receives a prescription for Lunesta may find that it works well. Eventually, it might not work as well, and so that person will increase the dosage. This is known as sleep med abuse.

If sleeping pill abuse continues for too long, it can lead to an addiction. If this occurs, professional treatment is highly recommended.

What is a Sleeping Tablet Addiction?

It is not hard at all for someone to become dependent on sleeping pills. In fact, it happens all the time in the United States. Once you are addicted to over the counter or prescription sleeping pills, you need professional help to stop using them.

Can You Get Addicted to Over the Counter Sleeping Pills?

People tend to take over the counter sleeping tablets because they are presumed to be safer. This actually isn’t true at all. Many of these sedatives also have addictive components to them. It is possible to become a sleeping pill addict by taking OTC sleep aids.

Are You at Risk to Become Addicted to a Prescribed Sleeping Medication?

Perhaps you have been abusing sleeping pills for quite some time. You have to wonder if you are at risk for becoming addicted to your sleeping pills. You could be at risk if you:

  • Have taken your prescription sleeping pills for a long time
  • Take more sleeping tablets than you should
  • Take sedatives when you aren’t going to go to sleep
  • Drink alcohol or take other drugs along with your sleeping meds
  • Are using a prescribed sleep medication without a prescription for yourself

Are You Addicted to Sedatives? Symptoms and Signs You Could be

Some warning signs that you may be addicted to sleep meds include:

  • Experiencing withdrawal from sleeping pills if you stop taking them
  • Needing to take more to get the same effects
  • Losing interest in your hobbies or other activities
  • Feelings of obsession with your sleep aids
  • Trying to quit using sedatives, but finding that you can’t

Prescription and Over the Counter Sleep Aid Side Effects


You may be surprised to learn that there are many short-term side effects of over the counter sleeping pills. It isn’t just prescription sleeping aids that cause problems.

For example, the side effects of the sleep aid diphenhydramine include:

  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Constipation and other digestive problems
  • An upset stomach
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Blurry vision

These short-term side effects are similar for all sleeping medications.



As you can expect, the long-term effects of sleeping pills are much worse. They can include:

  • The risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors
  • Sleepwalking episodes
  • Amnesia
  • Being unsteady on your feet
  • The risk of cancer, and even death

How to Come Off Sleep Medications

Getting Off Sleeping Pills Cold Turkey

Once you are addicted to sleeping pills, getting off Ambien and many other sleep aids is not easy. People often want to know how they can stop taking sleeping pills and stay sane. You may be wondering the same thing.

You should never stop taking sleep aids cold turkey. This could cause serious sleeping pill withdrawal symptoms that are very hard to cope with.

If you’re curious about how to get sleeping pills out of your system, the best answer is time. It will help you to get support from a facility that offers detox for sleeping pill addiction.


Sleeping Pill Detox

Sleeping pill detox is a form of medical detox that can aid in your recovery goals. It can ease many of your symptoms of withdrawal from sedatives, whether they are prescription or OTC. It also makes the recovery process much smoother and more comfortable for you.

The best part is that research shows that people who go through drug detox benefit tremendously. Their rates of recovery are much higher than those who don’t.

Sleeping Tablet Withdrawal Information

Sleeping Pill Withdrawal Symptoms

Sleeping medications are designed to leave the body fairly quickly. However, how long sleeping pills last in the body really doesn’t have much to do with withdrawal. You may still experience sleeping aid withdrawal long after the drugs have left your body.

Common symptoms of withdrawal from sedatives include:

  • Having seizures
  • Experiencing body spasms
  • Insomnia or other sleep problems
  • Delusions or hallucinations
  • Extreme anxiety

How Long Does Sleeping Pill Withdrawal Last?

Sleeping pill withdrawal is likely to last as long as a month, or as little as a week. It all depends on what type of sleep meds you were taking, and how long you took them. You should expect your symptoms to get better over time.

What is a Sleeping Tablets Overdose?

People often wonder, how many over the counter sleeping aids are lethal?. The answer is that all of them can be. If you take too much of any sleeping pill, your life is at risk. This is often what happens when people stop using sleeping pills on their own. They end up going back to using them, and they overdose. Even if you use over the counter sleeping pills, you could overdose and die.

The side effects of sleeping pills overdose include:

  • Becoming extremely drowsy
  • A lower heart rate and blood pressure
  • Obstructed breathing
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Possibility of death

Do You Have a Loved One in Need of Sleeping Meds Treatment?

You may have a loved one who could benefit from sleeping pills treatment. If you do, you’ve probably tried to talk with them about it many times. Unfortunately, sometimes talking doesn’t work. You may need to consider an intervention.

The good news is that interventions are often highly effective. Most of the time, people do end up agreeing to get help to recover.

Where Can You Find Sleeping Medication Addiction Treatment Centers?

At AspenRidge North, we offer help for sleeping pills addiction. You’ll find that our staff members are all more than willing to assist you as you take this important step. It can be hard to make the decision to recover from a sleeping meds addiction. However, it is a decision you’ll be happy you made.

Do you have questions about sleeping pill addiction or abuse? If you do, please contact us today.