What happens when you take sleeping pills for a long time?

Difficulty in sleeping is medically termed insomnia and is a widespread issue. If you experience difficulty falling asleep three or more times a week for at least three months, seek medical guidance. Your symptoms may lead to a diagnosis of chronic insomnia. Based on the diagnosis, your physician or health care provider might suggest a sleeping pill prescription. You may take over-the-counter sleeping pills or prescription drugs. But you should know which sleeping pill is dangerous and which suits you the best.

Prescription sleep medication may appear to be the ideal solution for insomnia, but they also have adverse effects. If not administered as per your medical consultation, sleeping pills can cause hazards to your health. Hence, these medicines are not always the best solution or treatment for everyone.

What are the effects of long-term use of Sleeping Pills?

Drug dependency is a huge issue. After the first week, a patient’s requirement for prescription sleep medication should be re-evaluated. When a person consumes sleeping drugs for long periods or in higher quantities, the likelihood of side effects increases.

Parasomnia is a condition caused by some prescribed sleep medications. While you’re asleep, this disturbed sleep condition can lead to adverse health conditions. Sleep medication users, for instance, may sleepwalk, eat, take prescriptions, chat, or even drive while unaware of their actions. After waking up, they have no recollection of what happened. If you have often wondered which sleeping pill is dangerous, Benzodiazepines might be the answer. These medications make their users addicted, leading to substance misuse.

Drug Dependence

While most sleeping medications are for the short-term (a few weeks or less), some individuals may use them for extended periods. You are more likely to build a tolerance if you utilize sleep medication for longer periods. When this happens, some patients increase their dosage without consultation and abuse the sleeping medication resulting in serious side effects. A dependency on sleep medication can develop as early as seven days.

Addiction to sleeping pills can cause impaired motor coordination, dizziness, difficulty concentrating or remembering things, etc., as possible side effects. Psychological dependence on the drug is also possible. People develop anxiety and worry they will be unable to fall asleep if they do not take the drug. Some people mix sleep medication with alcohol, which also has sedative properties. It is a risky combination, as your breathing could slow down to the point where you die.

When are you at risk for drug abuse? 

  • Take the pill whenever you need to sleep.
  • Being unaffected by the same dose of the medicine
  • Increasing dosage without consulting a doctor
  • Refilling prescriptions by consulting more than one doctor
  • Despite the harmful repercussions, consumption continues.
  • Loss of memory
  • To feel the effects of the tablet, you first take it and then resist the impulse to sleep.
  • Drug craving
  • Trying to quit sleeping medication and failing
  • Frequently appearing perplexed or disconnected.
  • Noticing withdrawal symptoms
  • A strong desire for sleeping drugs.
  • Experiencing mood swings.

Side effects of sleeping pills

If you have asthma or other health problems, consult your doctor about the effects of sleeping pills before consumption. Sleeping pills can make breathing problematic for individuals having asthma, emphysema, or other chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. Following are some of the most common side effects of prescription sleeping medicines.

  • Tingling / burning in hands, arms, feet, or legs
  • Appetite fluctuations
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Problems with balance
  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness during the day
  • Mouth or throat dryness
  • Mental sluggishness, attention, or memory issues
  • Tenderness or pain in the stomach
  • Uncontrollable shaking of a body part
  • Strange dreams or nightmares
  • Weakness
  • Gas
  • Headache
  • Heartburn

How to cope with withdrawal

Addiction treatment is effective and can help you get back on your feet faster than you ever anticipated. You may not have intended to abuse your medicines, but they can be highly addictive. When you stop taking sleep aids, especially if you stop abruptly, you might suffer from rebound insomnia. Rebound insomnia is sometimes accompanied by vivid dreams, nightmares, and anxiety, making it more frustrating than your original insomnia. Doctors may recommend progressively reducing your dose to avoid withdrawal symptoms, which users face due to abrupt stoppage.

Do not mix alcohol and sleeping pills as it enhances the sedative effect of pills. Even small amounts of alcohol with sleeping pills can cause dizziness, confusion, or fainting.

Alternative to sleeping pills

Counseling can assist you in avoiding the use of sleeping drugs. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), a type of short-term counseling, might be a better fit for you. It usually works just as well as sleeping drugs and comes without its CBT helps most individuals sleep better. You might learn new sleeping habits with CBT, such as:

  • Waking/sleeping at the same time daily.
  • Following a uniform sleep schedule
  • Avoid watching television immediately before bedtime.
  • Meditation

Conclusion

You may ask which sleeping pill is dangerous. Sleeping pills are inherently not dangerous. But mixing medication without seeking medical guidance is. Some prescription sleeping pills are intended for short-term use only. Be sure to consult your doctor and consume sleep medication, exactly as your doctor advised. If the starting dose is not effective, do not consume higher doses than prescribed without consulting your doctor.

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