Why Doctors Prescribe Sleeping Pills
Sleeping pills are a type of prescription or over the counter medicine usually used to treat the symptoms of insomnia in patients. Insomnia is a sleep disorder that occurs when a person has difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep throughout the entire night. People with insomnia usually have symptoms of difficulty falling asleep, waking up many times during the night and having trouble falling back asleep.
They may also experience problems with waking up too early in the morning and feeling extremely tired upon waking. Doctors will usually try to alleviate these insomnia symptoms in a natural way at first by changing a number of factors in a patient's life. These factors may include lifestyle change and a change in eating habits. Sleeping pills will usually be the last resort for treatment by a physician because of the high rate of dependence and addiction associated with sleeping pills and aids.
Effects of Sleep Aids
There are many different kinds of sleeping pills that you can find over the counter as well as prescribed by doctors. One of the most popular over the counter sleeping pill used by many people today is called Lunesta. Lunesta is available in any drug store in America without a prescription. This drug has been found to be highly addictive as well as commonly misused as a recreational drug. Also, studies have shown that Lunesta can cause mild rebound insomnia (worsening of insomnia after stopping a medication). An addict or abuser may use the pill as prescribed to induce sleep or may crush up many pills at a time an snort them in an attempt to obtain a euphoric effect from the pill.
When misused in large amounts sleeping aids such as Lunesta can have extremely negative effect on the body and may induce death. The chances of death or overdose are a hundred times more if used in combination with alcohol or other drugs. Another very popular sleeping pill is Ambien. Ambien is available by prescription only but can often be found by street vendors as well. The effects of abuse and addiction to Ambien are very similar to that of Lunesta but the side effects of Ambien can be much more dangerous. This pill is much stronger than Lunesta and can put a person in such a deep sleep that they may begin sleep walking as a side effect.
There have been many cases of sleepwalking found in the use of patients on Ambien. This can be dangerous and possibly life threatening because the person is virtually unconscious during the sleepwalking episode and therefore has no recollection of their actions. Again, this is why doctors will only prescribe sleeping pills as a last resort. Other drugs that induce sleep include some illicit drugs used render its victims unconscious.
The illegal drug Rohypnol more commonly known as Roofies or the "date rape" drug is commonly used by a person who wants to render someone else unconscious. This drug also known as GHB come in a clear, tasteless, liquid form and is usually made in the home by mixing certain chemicals found at GNC type nutrition stores used for body building. Its effects range from:
- Loss of Muscle Tone to Seizure Like Activity
- Slowed Heartbeat and Breathing
The coma lasts 1-2 hours, with full recovery usually occurring by 8 hours. In the date-rape scenario, it is often slipped into an unwitting victim's drink.
These sleep medications may also cause severe withdrawal effects on the body, especially if the drug has been taken in large amounts over long periods of time. Some of the symptoms of withdrawal include anxiety, vivid dreams, shaky hands/fingers, twitching and trouble sleeping. Withdrawal from sleeping pills used recreationally and illicitly can be severe and include hallucinations, seizures and (rarely) death.
Sleeping Pill Abuse Treatment
An addiction to sleeping pills should first be treated with a complete detox from this or any other drug in the persons system. A doctor will recommend slowly tapering off this drug as the first detox treatment option. Treatment for the detoxification should be done at an in-patient or out-patient medical rehabilitation facility or detox center. It is highly recommended that detoxification be done under 24 hour medical supervision because of the extreme withdrawal symptoms that may occur.
A rehabilitation center can provide for safe detoxification and will also ensure that any dangers that may occur will be addressed by the medical doctor on staff. Detox should be followed by rehabilitation therapy at a behavioral health facility. A person may or may not choose in-patient rehabilitation as treatment but this is usually the best option for treating addicts and drug abusers. Therapy provided by psychologists, in a one on one or group setting, at the rehabilitation facility, will include the counseling needed for a successful recovery and a fresh start towards a drug free lifestyle.