detox from sleeping pills

The Underlying Problem With Sleeping Pills

SoCal Detox
SoCal Detox

SoCal Detox editorial contributors include writers, editors, mental health and substance abuse treatment professionals who are trained to create credible and authoritative health information that is accurate, informative, and easy to understand.

When we were children staying up past midnight was a rare treat. Maybe New Year’s Eve, maybe a sleepover at a friend’s house. It meant we were really living—something to brag about the next day. Fast-forward fifteen years and staying up past midnight is a curse. Body exhausted, brain fried, and eyes wide open. For many in this situation, sleeping pills seem like the answer. However, there are a few things to consider if you are currently using sleeping pills to handle your possible insomnia.

There’s the night owl and there is the sleep disorder. One likes being up late; the early morning hours are a natural part of their waking/sleeping rhythms. The other feels trapped in their beds unable to get to the right REM in order to have the ability to even function. It’s a real problem, but it can get even worse.

The Culprits

The three most common sleeping pills are:

These guys will basically tranquilize you. They inhibit something called a GABA receptor and absolutely work. Which is great if you have a sleeping disorder. However, there are a few things to look out for if you find you or your loved one are wondering about sleeping pill addiction.


Just like with any chemical substance, a human body has the ability to build up a tolerance to the effects of sleeping pills. Whereas at the beginning someone taking Ambien might have been able to get a full knock out in about 20 minutes, after some time on the drug, the effects will take longer to kick in.

This produces a dangerous loop as a person creating a physical dependence on a sleeping pill will then likely up their dosage until the sleep comes at the pace they need to function.

Great Power

Playing with powerful addictive substances should always be done with caution. Many people can safely make use of these kinds of medications, but they are powerful nonetheless. A slip up could be costly, especially if you are taking high dosages and then decide to combine alcohol or some other depressant. This produces some of the highest risks of sleeping-pill addiction. Overdose is highly possible. In certain scenarios, a person’s nervous system can become so relaxed that they actually stop breathing.

The Cover Up

These are a couple of the physical ramifications, but there’s more. In today’s society, we typically want the easy way. If we can’t get to sleep, we just want to push that button that can get us to dream land. Take a pill—problem solved. Of course, addiction recovery sees beyond this.

So often our need for substances is the visible part of an addictive iceberg. Identifying and confronting underlying problems is the foundation of all recovery. Something that seems as innocuous as taking a sleeping pill could be an indication of beneath-the-surface issues that need attention and could necessitate a complete recovery plan.

Anxiety and depression both cause sleeping problems, but so do so many other life-circumstances such as trauma, physical pain, or even alcohol abuse. Simply taking a pill to help you keep your eyes shut could cause more problems than it helps.

Other Options

There are natural alternatives to try. These include melatonin, essential oils, magnesium, even warm milk has been proven to be an effective sleep aid.

Beyond what gets you the shut-eye you need, the key here is understanding how addicted you are and what the underlying issues are. You might be willing to admit to taking some sleeping pills here and there, but are you are hiding the need to combine them with booze or other mind-altering substances?

Depending on how long you have taken sleeping pills, cutting them out of your life cold turkey could be dangerous. Everything from extreme anxiety to seizures are possible. If you are in need of getting off sleeping pills and confronting the deeper issues of your addiction, please call us today. We will work with you on assessment and deciding the best option for your recovery plan. Please call us today: 1-888-590-0777.

Need more? Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that are commonly prescribed to people who are suffering from anxiety disorders, panic attacks or other similar mood disorders. Here is more information on why you need to detox if you are quitting benzos.

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