Are sleeping pills addictive?
About a third and half of all people in the United States have insomnia and complain of getting poor sleep. In fact if you are reading this, you may be one of them. If so you may be considering taking a sleeping pill or are already taking one.
Sleeping pills may be effective for sleep problems for a short period of time but it is extremely important that you make sure to understand everything you need to know about sleeping pills including if they are addictive.
So what are sleeping pills?
Most sleeping pills are also sedative hypnotics. Sedative hypnotics are specific class of drugs used to induce and maintain sleep. Sedative hypnotics include everything from benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and various hypnotics. Benzodiazepines are drugs like Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and Librium. These drugs cause sedation and can increase drowsiness and help people sleep. Benzodiazepines are potentially addictive. Barbiturates are another drug in the sedative hypnotic class that can cause sedation. Short or long term barbiturates are prescribed as sedatives or sleeping pills but are mainly used for anesthesia.
Newer medications for sleep and the ones you are probably thinking of are sleep-inducing drugs such as Lunesta, Sonata and Ambien. These drugs are said to be non-habit forming or in other words non-addictive. They work quickly to increase drowsiness and sleep.
Sleeping pills have side effects like almost all medications. You won’t know if you have any adverse reactions to sleeping pills until you take them. Here are some of the many side effects of taking prescription sleeping pills such as Lunesta, Sonata, Ambien, Rozerem, and Halcion:
- Burning or tingling in the hands, arms, feet, or legs
- Changes in appetite
- Difficulty keeping balance
- Dry mouth or throat
- Stomach pain or tenderness
- Uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
- Unusual dreams
But what about addiction? Are sleeping pills addictive?
The makers of sleeping pills tout their medications as being non-habit forming but there are actual definitions for sleeping pill addiction and stories of people becoming addicted to sleeping pills.
A sleeping pill addiction is defined as the desire to use sleeping pills on a regular basis. Frequent use can lead to dependence on sleeping pills. Sleeping pills can also slowly build up a tolerance in the user. Many people will also use sleeping pills to achieve the desired euphoric feeling that they can produce. A sleeping pill addiction also has many symptoms including the uncontrollable craving for sleeping pills as well as obsessive thoughts about sleeping pills and an excessive amount of money spent on sleeping pills. Here are some of the physical symptoms of sleeping pill addiction:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Runny nose
- Glazed eyes
- Red eyes
- Persistent cough
- Increased sensitivity to sounds
- Increased sensitivity to emotions
- Rapid speech
- Excessive energy
- Mood swings
- Unusual selling of private property
- Social isolation
- Poor work performance
- Poor school performance
- Neglect of family responsibilities
- Neglect of personal hygiene
- Personality changes
So are sleeping pills addictive? Definitely go ahead and be cautious and say yes, yes they are.