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Prescription Sleeping Pills: Addiction, Withdrawal, Overdose & Treatment
Do you ever feel like you can’t switch off your brain at night and just fall asleep? Do you find yourself tossing and turning for hours on end, with no relief in sight? If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Millions of people around the world suffer from sleep deprivation and insomnia. In some cases, prescription sleeping pills may be the answer.
But before you run to your doctor to get a script, it’s important to understand the risks associated with these drugs. In this blog post, we will discuss the risks associated with sleeping pills, as well as ways to detox from them safely.
What Are Prescription Sleeping Pills?
Prescription sleeping pills are subcategories of sleeping pills, the main function of which is to help people relax and induce sleepiness. Unlike over-the-counter types, the distribution of this type is controlled and given only to individuals who are diagnosed with a sleeping disorder.
These medications are known by several brand, generic, and street names. In the market, they are known mostly by some common brand names such as Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata, and Prosom. Likewise, it has some known street names such as candy pills, tranks, A-, sleepers, and zombie pills.
What Do Prescription Sleeping Pills Look Like?
In terms of physical form, these medications are available in the form of capsules, oral sprays, and tablets. The reason why it has the street name “candy pills” is because various brands of these drugs come in several color combinations.
When buying one in the pharmacy, one can notice that certain brands have a specific pill identifier. This is done to facilitate the easy identification of brand names.
What Are Prescription Sleeping Pills Used For?
These drugs are used to treat different types of sleep disorders. These include insomnia, shift work sleep disorder, and sleep apnea.
The main function of these drugs is to help people fall asleep and stay asleep for a more extended period. Unlike over-the-counter sleeping pills, which can be bought without a prescription, this type of medication is only given by a certified medical professional.
How Do Prescription Sleeping Pills Work?
The GABA receptor site in the brain is responsible for the stimulation of the production of GABA brain chemicals. These brain chemicals are responsible for reducing the activity of the brain which in turn relaxes the whole body. The nonbenzodiazepine active component of these medications binds to the GABA receptors to enhance the production of GABA brain chemicals.
The overall impact of this scenario is reduced brain activity which relaxes all muscles in the body. In return, this net effect helps the patient get a smooth and easy way to sleep.
How Long Before You Can Feel the Effects of Prescription Sleeping Pills?
Prescription sleep aids are designed to help you fall asleep quickly. The effects of most brands can be felt within 30 minutes of taking the medication.
However, it is important to note that these drugs should only be taken when you are ready to go to bed. Taking them too early may result in feeling drowsy and impaired during the day.
How Long Do Prescription Sleeping Pills Stay In Your System?
If you plan or need to take a drug test, you may want to know how long these chemicals will be in your blood, urine, saliva, and hair.
Generally, sleep meds can be detected in your system for only 2 to 3 days for urine, saliva, or blood tests, but if a hair test is done, it can be detected for up to 3 months.
What are the Short and Long-term Effects of Prescription Sleeping Pills?
The use of these substances can have both short and long-term health consequences. It is important to be aware of the possible side effects before taking them.
Some of the short-term side effects include a dry mouth, changes in eating habits, dizziness, and a few inflammations in the limbs. While some of the long-term effects include tremors, unpleasant dreams, sleepwalking, heartburn, and a slight loss of memory.
Are Prescription Sleeping Pills Addictive?
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has classified these substances as Schedule IV controlled substances. These types of substances have a lower addictive potential than illicit substances, but the inability to determine one’s increased tolerance poses a great risk for the person.
People with sleeping disorders may take too much of these substances because they think the drugs don’t pose any danger. But in reality, most users underestimate just how addictive and dangerous this kind can be leading to an accidental overdose if their tolerance is quickly developed during usage.
Before tolerance occurs, medical personnel usually recommend a therapy duration of one to two weeks. However, some sleep aids have a higher potential of building tolerance and dependence when the dosage is not properly monitored. Some brands which have a high risk for dependence include Prosom, Lunesta, Restoril, Sonata, Halcion, Zolpidem, Belsomra, and Ambien.
What Are the Withdrawal Symptoms?
Withdrawal symptoms can be very uncomfortable and even dangerous. The most common withdrawal sign includes a lower heartbeat, excessive sweating or shivering, and uncontrolled body shaking with muscle pains to go alongside it in some cases too.
If you’re experiencing any of these signs then please seek medical attention right away. Professional medical detox is always the safest way to go when getting through withdrawals.
What Causes Prescription Sleeping Pill Overdose? Signs of an Overdose
These substances may not be very addictive, but most people who have sleeping disorders can overdose on them. The reason there is a high risk for overdose is that the patients don’t think it’s dangerous. Additionally, the fact that people quickly develop a tolerance contributes to the high incidence of overdose.
If someone has overdosed on these drugs, you might notice some symptoms like being very tired, slow reflexes, difficulty breathing, stomach pain, and lack of enthusiasm.
What Should You Do If Someone Is Overdosing?
If someone has overdosed, you need to take some steps to help them. The first thing you need to do is check if their vital signs are stable.
Next is to call the emergency services and let them know what happened. After that, you need to stay with the person until help arrives.
If the person is not breathing, you need to start CPR and continue until the ambulance arrives.
How Do You Treat Prescription Sleeping Pill Addiction? Detox & Treatment
Detoxification is the first step in treatment. Patients usually have a lot of withdrawal symptoms, including sweating, a low heartbeat, irritability, and cravings for the substance.
Besides medications, there are specific therapies that help patients recover quickly. These therapies include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Recovery Groups, and a Reward System.
Final Thoughts: Addressing Prescription Sleeping Pill Abuse and Addiction
If you or someone you know is addicted to prescription sleeping pills, don’t hesitate to get help. These substances may not be as addictive as other drugs, but they can still cause a lot of damage.
There are many treatment options available, so there’s no need to suffer from this addiction any longer. Seek professional help and start your recovery today.