Nobody likes to not be able to fall asleep at night. The tossing and turning, the endless thoughts, the stress that plagues the body and mind – all of it can cause a person to feel completely exhausted, simply because they aren’t getting enough quality sleep. Millions of Americans experience this issue every night. A chronic lack of sleep leads to a negative cycle of feeling overtired, overworked, and overly stressed. Sleep – or lack thereof – can be a tricky situation to navigate for anyone.
In the early stages of sleep issues, we may try a variety of techniques to resolve the problem. We may go to bed earlier, take some Tylenol PM, take a relaxing bath, and other sleep hygiene practices. When these minor solutions don’t work in the long run, it becomes easier to justify relying on what we feel must work – and that is when many turn to sleeping pills. We may find ourselves asking friends or family members for sleeping pills, believing that it’s easier this way. We may even make a trip to the doctor, desperate for help so we can sleep at night.
Sleeping Pill Abuse and the Risk of Addiction
Millions of Americans have abused medications, and sleeping pills are not immune to this problem. In most cases, the development of substance abuse and addiction isn’t intended – these are individuals who are tired, exhausted, and willing to do whatever it takes to experience some sleep and relaxation. It could start off by taking a small amount of sleeping pills to deal with difficulty sleeping. But years later, it could develop into something more – especially as life situations change.
In some cases, doctors may have difficulty suggesting alternatives to their clients because they want to provide that “quick fix” that so many people are craving. But dependency is the first step towards substance abuse, and more people need to understand how this works so they can prevent addiction.
Ambien, for example, is a popular prescription drug for sleep disorders that is also highly addictive. This hypnotic drug tends to last in the body for many hours, and people who use it often feel sluggish the next day. Using Ambien for extended periods of time and at high doses can cause withdrawal symptoms that last for weeks.
Coming down from sleeping medications can be quite tricky, depending on the person, the types of medication they are abusing, how long they have been addicted, their medical history, and many other important factors. In some cases, “tapering off” is all that is needed for a person to detox themselves from sleeping pills. When someone is taking more medication than needed – and in greater frequency than needed – that is when problems often begin to arise.
Signs of Medication Abuse
Whether you’re concerned about yourself or a loved one, it can be helpful to review the warning signs of substance abuse so that you know when it’s gone too far:
- Needing more and more of the drug, and more frequently, to achieve the same results that occurred when the person first took the substances
- Looking around for new doctors to write the same prescription (also known as “doctor shopping”)
- Taking high amounts of the drug for a long period of time, leading to symptoms of withdrawal
- Stepping away from personal obligations and social contacts to pursue the drug instead
For those who fall into a dangerous pattern of substance abuse, they often ignore the things that used to matter most in their pursuit of the substance. Certain responsibilities related to personal life, friends, family, and work suddenly become overlooked in pursuit of obtaining and using the drug. Even if it’s “just” sleeping medication, these are clear signs of dependency and addiction. If you or a loved one begin to notice these signs, it’s important to seek help right away.
The Recovery Process
Rather than simply treating the physical aspects of addiction, it’s important to consider the mental, physical, and spiritual implications that addiction can have and how it can affect a person in the long run. Not only should the addiction be treated, but a person should receive care that will help them improve their daily happiness and health – even if it’s through a combination of recovery services working together. Detoxification is the first step to recovery, but clients at Avalon Malibu can work with their healthcare team to create a treatment program that best suits their needs.
For those who experience chronic pain and difficulty sleeping, a number of holistic remedies can be used to assist with these discomforts, including meditation, mindfulness, yoga, art therapy, massage therapy, and more. In many cases, these activities can help them create a life that is filled with things that make them truly happy. Recovery opens up so many incredible avenues for self-exploration and discovery and can help change a person’s life for the better.
If you’re ready to embark on an incredibly courageous and beautiful journey to recovery, speak with a professional from Avalon Malibu today. It’s never too late to seek the help you need – but it isn’t until you take that first step of seeking help that you can begin working on your health and wellness.
Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned mental health and substance abuse recovery center. We offer individualized treatment programs to address every addiction and behavioral health condition. If you have a persistent desire to use sleeping medications and have been unsuccessful in your ability to stop, then Avalon Malibu is your answer for recovery and treatment. Call us today at (844) 857-5992 for a consultation.