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Sleep Aids Addiction And The Best Rehab Centers For Treatment

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

February 19, 2019

For those who have trouble falling asleep at night, reaching for a sleep aid seems like an easy fix. When used occasionally, sleeping pills can be a helpful aid, but unfortunately, as with many drugs, they can become addictive.

How Do Sleep Aids Work?

Sleep aids work by slowing the brain’s activity. This can induce sleep, but it can also create problems if the aids are used for the long term. Prescription sleeping pills, like Ambien, are more addictive than over-the-counter options, and this addiction needs to be taken seriously.

Understanding Sleep Aid Abuse

Regular use of sleep aids does not constitute an addiction, although a healthier option for sleep is probably better for a long-term solution.

If you are concerned that you or someone you care about is addicted to sleep aids, look for these common signs:

  • regularly failing to perform normal responsibilities at school, work or home
  • using sleep aids in hazardous situations, like when driving
  • using sleep aids causes legal problems
  • using sleep aids to the point that it impacts personal relationships

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If one or more of these four items are not present, then the person is facing dependence, not substance abuse. While both need to be addressed, abuse is the more serious problem.

Sleep aid abuse can cause lasting psychological effects as well as physical symptoms. These may include fatigue, short-term memory loss, nausea and vomiting, euphoria, coordination problems, and delusions or even hallucinations. Sometimes these physical problems are the first sign of an addiction. It’s important to note that sleep aids, even when used in prescribed dosages, can cause addiction in some people. This addiction does not require an unusual amount of the drug to qualify as an addiction.

Sleep Aid Withdrawal Symptoms

Those who wish to break a sleep aid addiction need to be prepared for the potential withdrawal symptoms that may include:

  • cravings
  • irritability
  • insomnia
  • nervousness
  • convulsions
  • seizures
  • delirium

Withdrawal symptoms will vary depending on the degree of use. They can last for several weeks. If the drug has been used for an extended period of time or at a high dose, the symptoms will be more intense.

Sleep Aid Addiction Treatment

Because of the severity of the withdrawal symptoms associated with sleep aid abuse, people with a sleep aid addiction should be supervised as they go through the detox process. Stopping certain prescription sleep aids after a long period of use may be dangerous, without proper medical intervention and oversight.  Finding the right treatment can be the difference between successful treatment, and continuing to struggle with addiction.

Sleep aids work by slowing the brain. The brain’s activity suddenly increases when the drug is removed, which can cause seizures. An inpatient addiction treatment center can help those struggling with addiction plan a gradual decrease of the drug to avoid this problem.

If you or someone you love is struggling with a sleep aid addiction, help is available. To get started on getting help, contact an addiction treatment specialist at

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Find Treatment For A Sleep Aid Addiction Today.
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