One of the worst feelings is not being able to sleep at night. You start tossing and turning, you can’t get your mind to “shut off”, you awaken easily, or you’re just too tense with too many things to do to actually get to sleep. For many Americans today, this sleeping problem is quite common. We become stressed out, or overly worked, or simply have health issues that translate into difficulty relaxing and staying asleep.
At the beginning, it may even feel like a few minor changes will fix it – we try going to bed earlier, taking some Tylenol, or even talking to a close friend or family member about our stressors to try and ease some of the discomfort. When these minor solutions don’t work in the long-run, however, it becomes easier to rely on what we feel must work – in many cases, sleeping pills. Even adults who reach out to their family doctor may find that they’re being prescribed sleeping pills as a way to relax – and, if taken exactly as recommended, along with trying holistic practices alongside it, can work well – but if medication is abused, the potential for addiction becomes very apparent.
The Abuse of Sleeping Pills and The Risk for Addiction
SleepEducation.org estimates that nearly 48 million Americans have abused or misused prescription medications in their lifetime. It’s an incredibly large amount of people who’ve done this, but in many cases, it’s not a matter of purposefully trying to get addicted. Rather, these cases often involve individuals who are tired, exhausted, and willing to do whatever it takes to experience some sleep and relaxation. In 2017, a writer shared their own experience with this via Thrive Global, a website that covers topics such as well-being, wisdom, wonder, purpose, work and more: “I swallowed my first dose of Ambien in 2001, courtesy of leftover prescription pills my grandmother took when she was dying of lung cancer…But a few years later, I had a two-year-old and a newborn. My once-reliable sleep had become a distant memory…”
She talked about having approached her doctor because she was nervous about continuing the medication, but that her doctor confirmed it’d be safe for her to continue taking it. The only problem occurred when, over time, she became used to the doses she was taking – and one night, she found herself irritable and unable to sleep, which led her to taking increased doses of the sleeping medication.
A 2017 study published in the journal Informed Health explained that coming down from sleeping medications can be quite tricky, depending on the person, the types of medication they’ve abused, how long their addiction has gone on for, their medical history and other important factors. In many cases, “tapering off” is what is needed for a person to detox themselves from sleeping medication – but when done alone and at home, rather than from the safety of a reputable treatment center, such as Avalon Malibu, it can become very dangerous very quickly.
Signs of Abuse
Health.com, a website that frequently publishes information related to food, weight loss, beauty, fitness and more, listed several warning signs that a person is abusing their sleeping medication:
- Needing more and more of the drug, and more frequently, in order to achieve the same effects
- Looking around for new doctors to write the same prescription
- 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
- And more
Dr. Park, a professional in addiction recovery, explained, “You start to have functional issues. You ignore things that you normally would do because you want to use drugs. You don’t fulfill certain obligations like work or relationships or school. You spend more time using the substance than is typical. Those are all signs of addiction, whether it’s to sleeping pills, alcohol or heroin.”
If you or a loved one begin to notice signs of addiction, it’s important to seek help right away.
Treating Addiction: Holistic Recovery
There are several ways that a person can treat an addiction, but the best approach is to use a holistic one – taking into consideration a person’s mind, body and spirit while healing. 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 food management, exercise, social support, spiritual endeavors and more. Detoxification is a beginning step, and from there, clients can construct a personalized treatment program with someone from Avalon Malibu.
For those who experience chronic pain and difficulty sleeping, a number of holistic remedies can be used to assist with these discomforts, such as meditation, mindfulness, yoga, art therapy, massage therapy and more. In many cases, these activities can go on to become lifelong hobbies and practices that are used to uplift a person’s mind, body and spirit in everyday life; and, over time, many clients go on to feel better than they’d felt in years.
If you’re ready to embark on an incredibly courageous and beautiful journey to recovery, speak with a professional from Avalon Malibu today.
Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 844-857-5992 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you – it’s never too late to begin taking steps towards a happier, healthier life.