Sleeping Pill Addiction Treatment
Sleeping pills are typically sedative medications that are used in the short-term treatment of insomnia and other sleep disorders. Commonly prescribed sleeping pills include Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata, Restoril, and Rozerem. Treating a sleeping pill addiction often involves counseling and a gradual reduction in medication. Slowly tapering down sleeping pill use helps reduce withdrawal symptoms.
Given the potential of side-effects from sleeping pills, such as prolonged daytime dizziness, headaches in the morning, grogginess, short-term memory loss, nightmares upon cessation of using sleeping pills, aches and pains, increased risk of dementia after prolonged use, and risk of drug dependence and addiction, overcoming an addiction to sleeping pills has countless benefits.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is effective at treating addictions to sleeping pills as it helps with learning healthy sleep habits without the use of drugs, which can lead to increased energy and improved concentration.
Sleeping pills cause changes in the brain, and it takes a gradual process to reverse the damage. Some doctors estimate it can take months for a chronic sleeping pill abuser’s brain to be restored to its healthy state. Those who have a severe addiction to their sleep medication often seek inpatient rehab.
Treatment for a sleeping pill addiction can restore healthy sleep habits without drugs and lead to more energy and improved concentration.
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Levels Of Treatment For Sleeping Pill Addiction
More people are accepting help for their sleeping pill addictions. With the news of high-profile deaths caused by sleeping pills over the years, the advantages of an inpatient treatment center are clearer than ever. There are many treatment centers throughout the U.S. that are specifically qualified to treat sleeping pill addictions. A few common levels of care include:
People who have been taking sleeping pills in high doses over a long period of time benefit most from inpatient rehab. Rehab removes people from an environment where sleeping pills are readily accessible and begins the process of learning healthy sleep habits, self-care, and relaxation techniques to manage stress and anxiety.
Inpatient rehab is also helpful for those struggling with a polydrug addiction and/or co-occurring disorder. Those with underlying mental disorders such as depression are more likely to relapse if the problem isn’t treated. In addition, mental disorders may often be the cause of insomnia, so treating the condition is an important part of recovery.
A typical stay at an inpatient rehab lasts anywhere from 28 to 90 days. Factors such as the severity of the addiction, the presence of co-occurring mental health and medical conditions, and insurance limitations influence how long each patient remains in rehab..
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) suggests that “most addicted individuals need at least three months in treatment to significantly reduce or stop their drug use and that the best outcomes occur with longer durations of treatment.”
The life in a day at inpatient rehab is usually predictable because most treatment centers follow daily structured routines. Each day may consist of group meetings, recreational therapy, free time, one-on-one counseling, support group meetings, group therapy, and occasional family visits or family therapy.
Although most sleeping aids aren’t approved for long-term use (most are limited to a 2-week maximum prescription), an alarming percentage of people continue using the drugs for years. At this point, withdrawal is especially difficult, as the brain has already become dependent on the drug to induce sleep. This is why treatment in rehab typically starts with a medical detox.
Attempting to detox from sleeping pills alone can be dangerous; there have been reports of seizures after sudden withdrawal. Sleeping pill rehabs with physicians on staff can alleviate withdrawal symptoms and guide recovering addicts through the detox process safely.
Detox from sleeping pills involves tapering down doses of the drug to avoid any serious withdrawal symptoms.
Some former sleeping pill addicts prefer inpatient treatment to wholeheartedly tackle the underlying issues of their addiction without the stress of everyday life.
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Ongoing Recovery And Relapse Prevention
With the use of any drug, relapse is a very real possibility. Therefore, ongoing treatment after rehab is important because there are multiple external triggers that can spark a relapse. Stress, sleep problems and anxiety are all common in recovery and need to be dealt with head on.
One of the best defenses against relapse is ensuring you have an adequate support system in place.
This requires the help of someone who can keep you on track, whether it be support groups or counseling. These forms of treatment provide an environment that help you cope with a new way of life and learn skills that help you stay clean.
Individuals with long-term insomnia are best treated with behavior changes learned in cognitive behavioral therapy. These approaches are more effective long-term than using medications as they teach healthy sleep habits, meditation, and relaxation skills and improve cognitive processes. They also provide education on health and wellness, activities of daily living, and self-care. Avoiding caffeine, exercising regularly, developing structure in daily routine, taking brief 15-20-minute naps, and using stress reduction techniques also assist with the treatment of insomnia and improve the chances of long-term recovery.
Featured Centers Offering Treatment for Sleeping Pill Addiction
Preventing Relapse Through Healthy Sleep Habits
Maintaining good “sleep hygiene” is one of the best ways to avoid a relapse. Most people relapse when they start having trouble sleeping again. Preventing insomnia curbs the possibility of being tempted to take a pill to fall asleep.
Some tips for consistent, easy sleep include:
Daily exercise has many proven benefits. This includes stress reduction, a common cause of restlessness. Studies have shown that simple moderate-intensity exercises, such as walking, helps people fall asleep faster and get better quality of sleep.
Go to bed at the same time.
The body’s internal clock becomes imbalanced when bedtimes are unplanned and inconsistent. Those who go to bed at the same time every night eventually find themselves feeling tired when it reaches their bedtime.
Target the underlying cause.
Insomnia is a common symptom of anxiety and depression. Those who ignore these mental disorders are less likely to sleep easier, which can create a vicious cycle sleepless nights. Continuing counseling for these underlying problems is a good way to avoid bouts of insomnia.
Defeating Your Addiction To Sleeping Pills
No matter how your addiction started or where you are today, it’s never too late to get the help you need for recovery. Contact a treatment provider to discuss available addiction treatment center options.
Ashish Bhatt, MD, MRO
Doctor of Addiction Medicine
Learn about Dr. Ashish Bhatt
Dr. Bhatt has been Addiction Center's Medical Content Director for more than three years, providing his expertise to ensure quality and accuracy.
Doctor of Addiction Medicine
Expert in adult and child psychiatry
Over 20 years of professional experience