Sleeping Pills Overdoses | The Risk and How to Get Help

Sleeping Pills Addiction
Substance Abuse

Experiencing a sleeping pills overdose is a typical concern that most people have, especially those who just want to have a good night's sleep. As one-third of American adults suffer from sleep deprivation, it comes as no surprise that sleeping pills are one of the usual options that they would most likely choose.

We at Transcend Recovery Community are here to shed light on this and guide you through everything you need to know about sleeping pill overdose or sleeping pill addiction and what you can do to avoid it and live a sober living life.

What are Sleeping Pills?

As defined by The Cleveland Clinic, sleeping pills "treat insomnia by making you feel drowsy and relaxed." It has melatonin, a body hormone that promotes sleep. These are usually taken as the next step to help people struggling with sleep deprivation.

Sleeping pills go by different names such as:

  • Hypnotics
  • Sedatives
  • Sleep aids
  • Sleep medicine
  • Tranquilizer

Is It Safe to Use Sleeping Pills?

Taking sleeping pills is widely safe, as long as you follow the correct prescription and dosage given by your consulting health professional. However, for some people, there are certain possible side effects that you may encounter when you take sleeping pills. This may vary for everyone.

Some of the common signs or side effects of sleeping pill use are not that dangerous. These may include:

  • sedative effects
  • drunk like behavior
  • muscle weakness
  • dry mouth
  • slowed breathing
  • constipation

However, adverse forms of side effects from a potential sleeping pill overdose may include:

  • extreme lethargy
  • abdominal pain
  • breathing irregularities like slow breathing
  • extremely slow heart rate

However, a patient who abuses sleeping pills, or simply put, one who takes too many sleeping pills may experience worse side effects which may even lead to death.

Other prescription medications also contain compounds that you may see in most prescription sleeping pills, especially those used for the treatment of a certain mental health disorder, such as anxiety. A sober companion might help in ensuring that the patient follows through with the correct prescription medication while coordinating with a loved one and the patient's medical professionals to ensure that an overdose on sleeping pills is avoided.

If someone is suffering from a sleeping pill overdose, you must call emergency services right away for them to receive immediate medical attention.

Who Are At Risk With Sleeping Pills Overdose?

a man sleeping peacefully after taking a sleeping pills tablet

Anyone can be at risk of sleeping pill addiction, or worse, sleeping pill overdose. This form of substance abuse can happen when a person is intentionally taking prescription sleep aids more than the recommended or prescribed dosage. Sometimes, they may encounter withdrawal symptoms as a sign of drug addiction as a result.

Sleeping pill addiction is no different from any form of addiction, such as cocaine addiction, and may require addiction treatment, especially if the user experiences severe withdrawal symptoms or worsening sleep disorders.

People who are experiencing mental health problems (depression and/or anxiety) may be at risk of overdosing on sleeping pills especially when their condition continues to worsen. There are other habitual users, particularly younger people who experiment on OTC sleeping pills and intentionally overdose to experience a euphoric high. They may combine common sleep aids (polysubstance abuse) like Ambien and pair them with alcohol or other substances.

These actions may present life-threatening risks bringing forth dangerous and negative side effects which may include death.

How To Prevent From Getting Sleeping Pill Overdose?

Sleeping pills are designed to help an individual achieve a good night's rest. But for you to fall asleep properly with the help of sleeping pills, you must take heed of these tips to ensure that you don't experience a sleeping pill overdose.

Follow the doctor's prescribed medication

A sleeping pill is lethal when taken in excess. But when taken in considerable amounts, it is generally safe. Taking sleeping pills more than the recommended amount not only puts the user at several life-threatening risks but also builds their tolerance to the drug as well.

Avoid mixing medications or substances

Never take sleeping pills together with other drugs, not unless approved by your physician as a particular medication may interact adversely with your sleeping pill. Drinking alcohol is also never a good idea before or after taking sleeping pills.

Consider other alternatives

Drinking hot chamomile tea, practicing meditation, practicing breathing exercises, and not eating a full meal at least 3 hours before bedtime can help you sleep better without the help of sleeping pills. Undergoing cognitive behavior therapy as one of the treatments may also help a person suffering from sleep deprivation.

Inform your doctor about the side effects

For patients who are taking drugs as part of their mental health treatment options, such as central nervous system depressants (sedative-hypnotics), it is important to note certain side effects that they encounter with their physician. It will help their doctor find a better course of treatment fit for their situation. This is also true for people battling addiction or undergoing addiction treatment for that substance abuse and the dangerous "risk of overdose" on sleeping pills may be avoided.

Prescription Sleeping Pills: What is the Right One For You?

Different sleeping pills or sleep medications may be classified as prescribed or over-the-counter. But to further elaborate on these drugs, the common sleeping pills prescribed by a physician are:

  • Antidepressants
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Z-drugs (such as Ambien and Lunesta)

Some of these sleep aids usually have an antihistamine property, the drug known to treat allergies that may put someone into a drowsy episode. Other pills may contain melatonin or valerian. These are supplements that help a suffering person to relax and sleep better.

It's crucial to always consult with a health professional before using insomnia drugs to fully understand their risks, as every person responds differently to each drug.

Final Words

The life-threatening risk of overdose will always be a constant worry for most people with sleeping aids. However, if you are armed with the right information and knowledge, a potential sleeping pills overdose can always be prevented. Contact Transcend Recovery Community today.

Transcend Recovery Community

Transcend Recovery Community family of sober living homes provides a safe place for those undergoing mental health and addiction treatment to live with like-minded peers. Our community-based approach to sober living (similarly to a halfway house) facilitates an open and welcoming environment, where members, staff and team can provide support and encouragement on the path to a sober and healthy life. Transcend's Los Angeles sober living homes are located in some of the most iconic areas of the city, filled with luxurious and upscale amenities, providing plenty to do for those in our transitional housing community.

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