Nonbenzodiazepines are similar to benzodiazepines in their nature and functionality. These are psychoactive hypnotic drugs used mainly for the treatment of insomnia. Some common brand name nonbenzodiazepine drugs include Eszopiclone (Lunesta), Zaleplon (Sonata), and Zolpidem (Ambien). In many cases, the use of these drugs does not cause any long-term effects, but short-term effects are a common occurrence in most people. According to statistics, as many as 38 million prescriptions of Ambien were handed out between 2006 and 2011. The sheer ease of accessibility has played a significant role in making nonbenzodiazepine-based sleeping medications prone to abuse and addiction.
The use of these sleeping pills can easily get out of hand without the person even recognizing that there is a problem. IntoTreatment wants to help you before you let it get out of control. Some people assume that they cannot get addicted and continue to gradually increase the dosage when in fact they have simply increased their tolerance to the drug and become dependent. Most people realize this only after they stop taking medication and then it is too late.
Some common signs and symptoms of sleeping pill abuse include frequent cravings for sleep medications, doctor-shopping (taking multiple prescriptions from different doctors), memory loss, and failing to quit several times. Long-term use of sleeping pills can result in dizziness, lightheadedness, hallucinations, lack of coordination, nausea and vomiting, sleepwalking, next-day drowsiness, and amnesia. Sleeping pill addiction can come without warning, thereby hindering the user oftentimes when it is too late and the addiction has started.
A person can overdose on sleeping pills to achieve a more intense â€œhighâ€ and when that happens, the consequences can be deadly. Sleeping pill overdose can result in excessive drowsiness, dangerously slowed breathing, bradycardia (slow heart rate) and coma. Decreasing or stopping the use of sleeping pills such as Ambien can cause withdrawal symptoms, especially after using the drug for a prolonged period and at high dosages. Depending on the individualâ€™s extent of abuse, withdrawal symptoms may last for weeks. They may include insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, agitation, and in severe cases, fits or seizures.
Among the commonly used nonbenzodiazepine sleeping medications, Ambien is the most used and therefore abused drug in the US. Per statistics from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an estimated 250,000 people were abusing Ambien and other sedatives in 2013. Another study published in 2015 in which nearly 3,000 secondary school students took part revealed that almost 9% of these students had been prescribed a sleep medication in their lifetime, and these students were found to be ten times more likely to abuse these drugs for recreational purposes. The use of Ambien and other sleep medications can lead to abuse and addiction. If you or someone you know is suffering from drug addiction, know that there is help.