5 Things You Must Know About Sleeping Pill Abuse

What is Sleeping Pill Abuse?

Simply put, sleeping pill abuse is taking a sleep aid against prescription or directions. According to the National Institutes of Health, as many as 30% of Americans report symptoms consistent with insomnia. Concern about the long-term effects of sleeping pills has been building for some time. Perhaps sleeping pill abuse should not surprise us. After all, we live in a stressful period in history right now. The fast pace of this constantly interconnected life in the information economy has been harder for some to adapt to than others.

The natural cues for sleep and rest we used to be able to rely upon are more muted than in the past. Before the invention of electric lights, candlelight or an oil lamp were your only options. We had little to keep us occupied and engaged after hours compared with the 21st century. Even long after the invention of electricity, there were still many natural and societal cues that at least helped to keep us on track. Up until the mid-1980s for example, television stations stopped broadcasting after midnight or 1 am. Baby Boomers and some Gen-X’ers will remember the Star-Spangled Banner playing at the end of the day’s broadcasts and then a test pattern or noisy static were all you got until morning.

The Role Stress Plays in the Abuse of Sleeping Medications

The idea of the world shutting down or pausing seems quaint now. Communication never stops in our world today. Television certainly doesn’t stop, neither does the Internet, of course. There is a never-ending stream of entertainment and information available at our fingertips. Work has also become more demanding for many of us. With more people working remotely than ever before, it is our own responsibility to manage the work-life balance and it’s not easy for many of us.

The concerns of the modern world can often seem right at our doorsteps thanks to the Internet and the 24-hour news cycle. This contributes to anxiety for many of us, even if we aren’t aware of it. Being aware of your stress and its sources and learning to manage them is an essential part of getting a handle on insomnia. This will be a part of any solution for sleeping pill addiction.

The 5 Things You Must Know About Sleeping Pill Abuse

Sleeping pill abuse is a serious problem. More so than many people realize. There is a correlation between sleep disorders and substance abuse for example. Someone with a substance use disorder is much more likely to also have a co-occurring sleep disorder. Conversely, if you have a sleep disorder you are more likely to develop a substance use disorder. This is especially true if you have a history of substance abuse in your family or other risk factors.

Here are 5 things you should know about sleeping pill abuse:

  • Many people abuse medications or drugs not usually prescribed for sleep to help them get some rest. These include alcohol, opioids, benzodiazepines and marijuana.
  • Most prescription sleeping pills like Ambien or Lunesta are controlled substances. This means they have potential for abuse and you may become addicted to them.
  • Sleep medication is among the top 5 most abused classifications of prescription medicine, even though many are unaware.
  • Abruptly quitting a prescription sleep aid can have serious side effects. Benzodiazepines are especially dangerous. You should always get professional help for this.
  • Thousands of people have been able to get quit sleep meds and get a good nights rest by using natural alternatives, non-addictive meds and behavior modification.

What Can I Do About Sleeping Pill Abuse?

If you or someone you care about is living with sleeping pill abuse, rest assured there are solutions. It is not uncommon to become dependent upon a sleep medication through no fault of your own. Lots of people begin by taking an Ambien only occasionally only to find that they cannot sleep without it every night. For some, this turns into abuse. Sometimes when the prescribed dose no longer has the desired effect.

Other people just like the mild euphoric effect that some sleep aids produce. They may abuse sleep aids that aren’t prescribed to them to get it. Or they may discover this side effect when they are prescribed the medication and become tempted to abuse it. Whatever the reason, if you or someone you love is abusing these medications you are no doubt looking for solutions.

Here are some tips to bear in mind when it comes to sleeping pill abuse:

  • Doctors have varying levels of awareness about addiction. They may not give you sufficient warning about the risks. Always do the research before you take a medication.
  • Treatment is available for sleeping medication abuse. Thousands of people check into rehab every year for sleeping pill addictions. You should never be ashamed of getting help.
  • Even a lifetime of insomnia does not mean you can’t get a good night’s rest without drugs. Seriously explore the many healthy alternatives to help yourself sleep.
  • If you are struggling with your sleep medication, talk to someone about it. You don’t have to overcome this on your own and things won’t get better by themselves.


Sleep is a vital function. The body and mind require rest. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, there will be physical and mental consequences. Everyone needs a different amount of sleep, but no one gets away without getting enough. Listen to your body and your mind. Become aware of proper sleep hygiene. Keep your bedroom cool, dark and quiet. No television or phone at least 1 hour before bed. Try to keep a regular sleep schedule as much as possible, even on weekends. Get regular physical exercise and avoid caffeine in the afternoon or evening.

If you follow all the advice above and listen to your body, chances are you will not need a sleeping pill to get rest in the first place. If you are already living with sleeping pill abuse or someone you love is, help is available. Recovery in Tune can help you or your loved one overcome their addiction to sleeping medications. Call us at (954)-IN-TUNE or reach out to us via our contact page for more information.

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