Many of America’s most widely prescribed medications are classes of sleeping pills. These medications include several benzodiazepines, or benzos. Increasingly, they also include members of the “Z drug” family. Z drugs are prescriptions that specifically relieve insomnia. Long-term misuse of a benzo or Z drug can lead to addiction. It can also lead to several other serious health issues. You may need to enroll in a sleeping pill addiction treatment program to recover from these issues.
Basics of Sleeping Pills
Benzos are America’s most frequently prescribed sleeping pills. The members of the benzo family used to promote sleep include:
- Alprazolam, also known by the brand name Xanax
- Lorazepam, also known by the brand name Ativan
- Clonazepam, also known by the brand name Klonopin
These medications produce their effects by activating specific receptor sites in your nervous system.
The Z drugs used as sleeping pills include zolpidem, or Ambien; zaleplon, or Sonata; and eszopiclone, or Lunesta. These medications don’t belong to the benzodiazepine family. However, they access your brain in the same manner as benzos.
Addiction as a Long-Term Side Effect of Sleeping Pills
Addiction is itself a potential long-term side effect of sleeping pills. Problems begin when your brain becomes physically reliant on a benzo or Z drug. Physical reliance can lead to emotional or psychological reliance. In turn, physical and emotional dependency can trigger a compulsive need to seek out more sleeping pills.
Generally speaking, benzos are more likely to lead to addiction than Z drugs. That’s true because Xanax, Ativan, and Klonopin are highly potent medications. However, Z drug addiction is also possible if you misuse your sleeping pill.
Sleeping Pills and Cognitive Impairment
Long-term benzo misuse can impair your normal brain function in multiple ways. Specific examples of problems you may experience include:
- Delayed physical reaction times
- Problems coordinating your muscle movements
- Excessive drowsiness
You may also develop symptoms of anterograde amnesia. This form of amnesia interferes with your ability to form new memories.
Long-Term Side Effects of Sleeping Pills – Increased Morbidity and Mortality
Morbidity is a general term for any form of disease or illness. The term mortality refers to death or dying. Research shows that people involved in long-term sleeping pill misuse have higher overall morbidity rates. They also have higher overall mortality rates. In other words, they’re more likely to become ill. They’re also more likely to die from any given cause.
Sleeping Pills and Accident Risks
If you’re involved in long-term sleeping pill misuse, you have increased risks for certain kinds of accidents. The list of those accidents includes motor vehicle crashes. Drivers with benzos in their systems are as likely to crash as someone mildly intoxicated from alcohol.
Misuse of both benzos and Z drugs also increases the odds that you will experience a fall. As a result, it increases the odds that you will experience a hip fracture. In addition, both short- and long-term misuse increase your chances of overdosing on a sleeping pill. That’s especially true if you combine your medication with alcohol or an opioid.
Seek Sleeping Pill Addiction Treatment at Women’s Recovery
At Women’s Recovery, we understand the potential long-term side effects of sleeping pills. We also understand that women may be more susceptible to these effects than men. That’s why we specialize in gender-specific sleeping pill addiction treatment.
With our help, you can establish a durable pattern of sobriety. All of our treatment plans are fully customized to meet your specific needs. Regardless of the severity of your addiction, we provide the support you need to recover. For more information, just call us today at 833.754.0554 or fill out our online contact form.