Sleeping pills are a diverse group of medications that help you fall asleep or stay asleep. Not all of these medications work in the same way. However, many of them share one thing in common. Namely, if you take them long enough, you can become dependent on them. If dependence occurs, experts recommend that you do not stop taking your medication all at once. Instead, you should taper off sleeping pills gradually with help from a doctor. You may also need sleeping pill addiction treatment to complete this process.
Types of Sleeping Pills That Can Cause Problems
Many of the most widely used sleeping pills belong to one of two groups of medications. The first of these groups includes benzodiazepines or benzos. Benzos have a range of uses, including the treatment of insomnia. Examples of these sleeping pills include:
- Triazolam (Halcion)
- Flurazepam (Dalmane)
- Quazepam (Doral)
- Temazepam (Restoril)
Medications in the second group, known as Z-drugs, are only used as sleep aids. Members of the Z-drug group include:
- Zolpidem (Ambien)
- Zaleplon (Sonata)
- Eszopiclone (Lunesta)
Both benzos and Z-drugs share the capacity to trigger dependence. The amount of time it takes to happen varies from person to person.
Why Do You Need to Taper Off Sleeping Pills?
Why do doctors taper off your dose of sleeping pills instead of asking you to quit immediately? There are two significant reasons for taking this approach.
First, if you abruptly stop taking benzos or Z-drugs, you can trigger serious withdrawal symptoms. Common examples of these symptoms include anxiety, restlessness, and sleeplessness. You can still experience some form of these problems if you taper off sleeping pills. However, the withdrawal will be much easier to tolerate as a rule.
The potential impact of serious withdrawal is the second reason for tapering off sleeping pills. If your withdrawal symptoms are too strong, you may end up relapsing back into dependence. Why? Your withdrawal symptoms will fade away if you start using sleeping pills again. However, you’ll also still be stuck in the vicious cycle of dependence. Tapering off your use with a doctor’s help is the best way to avoid this unfortunate outcome.
What Happens When You Taper Off Sleeping Pills?
Generally speaking, all tapering routines for sleeping pills involve a gradual reduction of your intake. Your doctor will oversee this process. Eventually, you won’t take the medication in question at all.
Be aware that the exact tapering routines for benzos and Z-drugs are not always the same. If you’re dependent on a benzodiazepine, you may need to switch to a different medication as a first step. That’s true because some benzos are more dangerous to your health than others. If necessary, your doctor will have you quit taking your old medication and switch to a safer alternative.
Then, you will gradually taper your dose of this second medication.
The Need for Medical Oversight
Why do you need professional help to stop using sleeping pills? Your doctor helps ensure that you follow a safe, effective tapering routine. This supervised routine keeps your withdrawal symptoms in check and minimizes your relapse risks. It also provides needed protection against any potential withdrawal complications.
Turn to Women’s Recovery for Quality Sleeping Pill Addiction Treatment
At Women’s Recovery, we’re committed to helping you recover from all drug- and alcohol-related problems. Our many services include sleeping pill addiction treatment customized to your unique situation. We’ll provide the support you need to taper off the use of these medications safely. We’ll also provide you with follow-up treatment designed to help you stay free of future problems. Just call us today at 833.754.0554 or fill out our online form to learn more about our sleeping pill addiction program.