What Happens When You Get Addicted to Sleeping Pills?

Addicted to Sleeping Pills

Getting quality sleep is essential for overall health and wellbeing. However, sometimes we aren’t able to get enough sleep due to various factors. When sleepless nights continue for quite some time we turn to doctors hoping to get prescription for sleeping pills. However, in some cases things can get out of hand and person becomes addicted to those pills.

What happens when you’re addicted to sleeping pills? Is it possible to get adequate treatment? Answers to these questions can be found further in the article.

Addiction to Sleeping Pills Defined

Before we move on to see what happens when you are addicted to sleeping pills, let’s define the problem first. Nowadays, the word addiction is largely misused. People use it to describe any action that people do regularly or habitually. However, addiction is more than that.

For example, sleeping pill addiction refers to a situation where a person is both physically and psychologically dependent on sleeping pills. This, also, explains the danger of prescribed sleeping pills – they are physically and psychologically dependable.

Why do People Get Addicted to Sleeping Pills?

People Get Addicted to Sleeping Pills

People don’t start taking sleeping pills with intention to become addicted. For instance, some people suffer from insomnia and they get prescription for sleeping pills which finally help them fall asleep. In turn, they are convinced that without sleeping pills they won’t be able to sleep normally again which leads to addiction.

There are also people who use sleeping pills because it gives them the same “buzz” as alcohol. Others use these pills to heighten the effect of other drugs they’re taking. Also, some people think they won’t get addicted and consider sleeping pills quite safe.

In most cases, people don’t even realize they’re addicted to sleeping pills until they stop taking them and experience withdrawal symptoms which are, in most cases, telltale signs of sleeping pill addiction.

Symptoms of Withdrawal

Symptoms of withdrawal are caused by the body’s dependence on sleeping pills to create mental and physical equilibrium. Symptoms of withdrawal and their intensity vary from person to person. During the withdrawal, an individual experiences physical and psychological discomfort. In most cases, people experience the following symptoms of withdrawal:

  • Seizures
  • Body spasms
  • Hallucinations
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Anxiety, irritability and depression
  • Sweating
  • Increased heart rate
  • Insomnia
  • Delirium
  • Drag cravings
  • Confusion
  • Hand tremors

Dangers of Addiction to Sleeping Pills

Addiction to sleeping pills can decrease* the quality of life and induce some health consequences as well. Dangers associated with sleeping pills addiction vary from person to person. They usually include:

  • Withdrawal symptoms (explained above)
  • Increased tolerance – refers to a situation in which an individual is compelled to increase* the dosage which increases* the risk of overdose.
  • Depression
  • Heightened risk of suicide
  • Impaired sense of coordination which puts the person at a higher risk of having an accident
  • Body organs damage, blurred vision, respiratory system problems
  • Increased risk of breaking the law in order to get desired sleeping pills after doctor stops prescribing them.

Symptoms of Addiction to Sleeping Pills

People who get addicted to sleeping pills usually develop certain symptoms. Sleeping pills addiction symptoms are usually more visible to others, while the addicted person tries to rationalize and deny them. The most common symptoms associated with sleeping pills addiction are:

Symptoms of Addiction to Sleeping Pills
  • The person finds it difficult to cope without sleeping pills
  • The individual claims he or she is unable to fall asleep without them
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when dosage is reduced* or if he or she suddenly stops taking pills
  • Demonstrating obsession with obtaining sleeping pills e.g. seeing more than one doctor in order to get prescription from someone else
  • Increased tolerance to the drug
  • Inability to reduce* sleeping pill dosage
  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • Denial
  • Defensive attitude when consumption of sleeping pill is questioned
  • Lack of personal hygiene or grooming
  • Inability to meet personal and social responsibilities
  • Having several failed attempts to quit taking sleeping pills
  • Experiencing frequent memory loss
  • Continuing to take sleeping pills even though he or she notices negative consequences.

Other symptoms of sleeping pills addiction include:

  • Inability to focus
  • Slurred speech
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Confusion.

How is Sleeping Pill Addiction Treated?

Although sleeping pill addiction is serious and could severely damage one’s health, the good thing is – it is possible to recover successfully. Sleeping pill addiction treatment involves counseling and a gradual reduction* in medication in order to reduce* the intensity of symptoms of withdrawal.

Furthermore, counseling is important because it’s the “process” in which an individual gets to speak about his or her problem with a professional. Addiction is usually triggered by many factors that don’t have anything to do with lack of sleep.

Discovering the underlying causes for taking sleeping pills will help the person resolve their problem and realize when they used sleeping pills for comfort.

There are also group therapies in which people exchange their experiences as well as rehab centers where an individual gets proper care and is taught about preventing relapse. Rehab centers are excellent, and usually the best possible solution, for people who have been taking high dosages of sleeping pills for a longer period of time.

Along with this, it always good to go for natural sleep aid, as these sleeping pills are not habit forming. These sleep aids and natural and safe. For example, serelax reduces* anxiousness, sadness and stress which inturn help us to sleep well.


  • In 2011, there were 30,149 emergency room visits due to non-medical use of sleeping pill Ambien.
  • In 2012, about 21% of people addicted to sleeping pills had serious thoughts of suicide related to feeling of guilt.
  • In 2013, about 9 million Americans regularly used sleeping pills to help them sleep.


Due to ever-increasing number of people who use prescribed sleeping pills, the number of addicts to these drugs is rising constantly. Addiction to sleeping pills can induce a wide array of negative consequences on someone’s health and quality of life. It is important to bear in mind that sleeping pills are only short-term solution.

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Contributor : Dr. Ahmed Zayed (Consumer Health Digest)

Dr. Ahmed Zayed Helmy holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. He has completed his degree in 2011 at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. Dr. Ahmed believes in providing knowledgeable information to readers. Other than his passion for writing, currently he is working as a Plastic surgeon and is doing his masters at Ain shams University.

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