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Can You Get Addicted to Sleeping Pills?

If you’ve been taking sleeping pills to treat insomnia, you might be wondering, “Can I become addicted to sleeping pills?” Unfortunately, the answer is yes – even if you take sleeping pills exactly as prescribed – you can become addicted to them. Actually, sleeping pills are among the most addictive prescription medications available, with the likelihood for abuse rising as you use them longer. Suppose you have been taking prescription sleeping pills regularly for two weeks or longer. In that case, there is a good chance you are already addicted to sleeping pills and will experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop abruptly.

3 Most Addictive Types Of Sleeping Pills

Sleeping pills are one of the most widely available drugs on the market today. Although most people believe sleeping pills are not addictive, they also say they can’t sleep without them. The incapacity to stop taking sleeping pills, the need to gradually increase dosages, and the occurrence of withdrawal symptoms indicate a severe sleeping pill addiction.

Many patients start taking sleeping pills for legitimate reasons but quickly develop a dependency, increase the dosage, and start consuming them recreationally. Knowing which sleeping drugs are the most commonly abused and the most addictive ones can serve you in avoiding taking medication that will cause severe problems in the future. 


Doctors commonly prescribe benzodiazepines to treat restlessness, anxiety ailments, and muscle spasms, but, unfortunately, these medications cause drowsiness by depressing the central nervous system. Benzodiazepines that most doctors recommend include: 

  • Diazepam (Valium, Diastat, AcuDial)
  • Flurazepam (Dalmane, Dalmadorm)
  • Estazolam (ProSom, Eurodin)
  • Temazepam (Restoril, Normison)

Most benzodiazepines have a longer half-life in the body than other sleeping pills and can induce sleep walking or night terrors. These drugs can also cause a hangover, leaving the consumer dizzy the next day; thus, driving or other activities may become dangerous. Addiction to some of these pills can result in depression, mood swings, memory problems, and severe withdrawal symptoms.

Z Drugs

Zaleplon, zolpidem, and zopiclone are known as the ‘Z drugs.’ These pills indeed help a user sleep, but they are not long-term sleep aids; they work similarly to benzodiazepines. Z drugs can cause drowsiness the next day and are also bound to dangerous sleep behaviors such as sleepwalking, sleep eating, and sleep-driving occasionally. Some Z drugs include: 

  • Ambien and Ambien CR
  • Lunesta
  • Imovane
  • Sonata
  • Intermezzo

Because they are supposed to be ‘safer,’ Z drugs have primarily replaced benzos like Valium as a short-term insomnia treatment. However, people who take Z drugs for longer than recommended or use the medication recreationally can quickly develop a dependency. Z drugs, like benzodiazepines, can cause physical dependence, withdrawal symptoms and be highly addictive. 

Over-The-Counter Drugs

Most over-the-counter (OTC) sleep aids are antihistamines. These have a type of active ingredient that is commonly associated with allergies and common cold symptoms. Antihistamines act on the brain the same way other drugs do, but users technically take them for the side effects rather than the treatment. Their purpose is to treat allergies; drowsiness is simply an unintended side effect. Today’s most popular over-the-counter sleep aids include: 

  • Unisom
  • ZzzQuil
  • Simply Sleep
  • Kirkland Sleep Aid
  • Melatonin

Many addicts find it easier to abuse these drugs because they do not require prescriptions to purchase them. However, OTC pills also cause drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, dry mouth, and forgetfulness the next day. 

How You Start Getting Addicted to Sleeping Pills

Taking too many drugs, including sleeping pills, is harmful to your health. However, for people who have suffered greatly due to a lack of sleep, the immediate relief provided by just one night of uninterrupted, high-quality sleep may be sufficient to continue taking the medication.

Although taking a sleeping pill once to cure jet lag may be harmless, consuming the drugs every night can be habit-forming and lead to psychological dependence and addiction. Therefore, doctors usually prescribe sleeping pills as a short-term solution, and you should not use them for more than two weeks. Unfortunately, countless people report becoming overly dependent on many sleeping pills after using them regularly. They believed they could not sleep without the drug, and as they developed a tolerance for the drug, increasing the doses became the natural next step.

Signs You May Be Addicted to Sleeping Pills

Do you wonder whether or not you have a sleeping pill addiction? The following are some of the most common signs of addiction:

  • You continue to take sleeping pills for much longer than the recommended prescription duration
  • You believe that you can’t sleep without the help of a sleeping pill
  • You’re increasing the dosage because your tolerance levels increased
  • You begin doctor shopping to obtain prescription sleeping pills
  • You’re using the drug recreationally to get high or relaxed, even if it’s outside of your regular bedtime

Side Effects of Sleeping Pill Abuse

The adverse effects of sleeping pills may vary depending on the type of medication you are taking. Here are some of the most common side effects of sleeping pill abuse:

  • Coordination issues and a loss of balance
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Oversleeping
  • Hallucinations
  • Drowsiness and lightheadedness
  • Memory issues
  • An increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s
  • Physical dependence

Detox Nashville Can Help You With Your Sleeping Pill Addiction

If you are struggling with a sleeping pill addiction, Detox Nashville can provide you with the assistance you need to recover. You should know that sleeping pill addiction is not a one-size-fits-all problem, and that your recovery path will depend on the sleeping pills you use, how long you have used them, the intensity of your addiction, and other factors. However, our team of professionals at Detox Nashville is here to help you get through it. Besides offering you various treatment options, including holistic therapy and medication-assisted treatment, we also provide residential rehab and aftercare programs to help you work through the difficulties and make better decisions once the detox is over.