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Sleeping Pill Treatment and Rehab

Heavy users of sleeping pills may experience rebound insomnia and disturbing dreams when quitting. A medically assisted detox and targeted therapies can help people recover.

Sleeping Pill Addiction Treatment

Sleeping pill addiction recoveryTreating 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 side effects (sleep driving, brain damage, next-day intoxication), overcoming this addiction has countless benefits.

Treatment for a sleeping pill addiction can restore healthy sleep habits without drugs and lead to more 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 Centers 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, including:

Inpatient Rehab

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 begin the process of reprogramming healthy sleep habits.

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 are often 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. The most heavily addicted people sometimes stay longer depending how long it takes to wean them off sleeping pills.

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 a rigid routine. Each day may consist of group meetings, chores, free time, one-on-one counseling and occasional family visits.

Although most sleeping aids aren’t approved for long-term use (many haven’t even been proven effective for longer than about a month), 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 numerous 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.

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. Others only need a supplemental treatment program, learning how to live without the aid of sleeping pills or any other drug.

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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.

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:

  • Exercise regularly. 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. Find a treatment center for your addiction now.

Sources & Author Last Edited: January 13, 2017

  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2012). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition). Retrieved on March 17, 2014, from: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/principles-effective-treatment
  2. Department of Psychiatry, Medical University of Gdańsk. (2007). Seizure following sudden zolpidem withdrawal. Retrieved on March 17, 2014, from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16950552
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