Sleeping pills addiction

Freeing yourself from an addiction to sleeping pills can be tough. We all need sleep to function and being deprived of sufficient sleep can severely affect your mental and physical health. Turning to sleep aids as a temporary solution is understandable if you cannot get enough quality rest but when you start to depend on sleeping aids or abuse them recreationally, you run the risk of developing a sleeping pill addiction.

At Liberty House, we are committed to healing sleeping pill addiction from the roots up. We will help you understand why you have become dependent on sleep medication and show you practical ways of coping so you can overcome your sleeping pill addiction for good.

Sleeping pills addiction pills on counter

What are sleeping pills?

As their name implies, sleeping pills are medications that help you sleep. People who have difficulty sleeping may take these medications to help them fall asleep or stay asleep. Sleeping pills can also be referred to as:

  • Tranquilisers
  • Hypnotics
  • Sedatives

Usually, sleep aids should only be used short-term. They are most useful when people are experiencing distress or trauma that prevents them from getting a healthy amount of sleep such as a divorce, the death of a loved one, recovery from injury or other difficult psychological issues.
Adults in the UK can access some over-the-counter (OTC) sleeping pills from pharmacies and supermarkets but stronger sleeping pills, such as Z drugs (such as Zolpidem, zopiclone and zaleplon) and benzodiazepines can only be prescribed by healthcare professionals.

What is sleeping pill addiction?

Sleeping pill addiction is just like any other drug addiction, whereby a person needs sleeping pills to cope with day-to-day life. When sleeping pills are used and obtained from anyone other than a healthcare professional or if a person is taking more than the instructed dose or for longer periods than told, then it is considered sleeping pill abuse. If someone is unable to function through the day without taking sleeping pills, or if they have attempted to quit but felt powerless at doing so, then they have likely developed a sleeping pill addiction.

What are the signs and symptoms of sleeping pill addiction?

There are various symptoms of sleeping pill addiction to look out for in yourself and others including:

  • An inability to sleep without sleeping pills
  • Constant feelings of grogginess
  • Lack of coordination (stumbling)
  • Nausea
  • Cramps and muscle aches
  • Dry mouth
  • Stomach problems
  • Diarrhoea
  • Headaches
  • Poor memory and concentration

Sleeping pills addiction stomach pain

Possible behaviours brought on by sleeping pill addiction

In addition to the health-related symptoms, there are also behavioural signs of sleeping pill addiction to be aware of. These include:

  • Becoming irritable or defensive when others question your reliance on sleeping pills
  • Lying to your doctor to gain access to more sleeping pills
  • Visiting multiple doctor’s surgeries to obtain additional sleeping pills
  • Feeling distressed if you can’t obtain sleeping pills
  • Trying to quit taking sleeping pills but finding it impossible
  • Losing interest in previous hobbies or passions
  • Feeling disconnected from loved ones
  • Being unable to work, study or carry out daily tasks without sleeping pills
  • Neglecting your personal hygiene
  • Feeling depressed (or more depressed) since taking sleeping pills
  • Being unable to focus or make decisions
  • Developing a reliance on substances like alcohol or other drugs since using sleeping pills
  • Sleepwalking
  • Experiencing sleep tremors or sleep paralysis
  • Slurred speech

Why do people develop sleeping pill addiction?

People who have difficulty sleeping are naturally more likely to develop a sleeping pill addiction than those who don’t as there is a greater chance of them being prescribed sleeping pills or self-medicating. However, it’s important we look at the reasons why people struggle to sleep; it could be due to lifestyle factors such as a job that requires alternative shift patterns or it could be that you are dealing with stress, PTSD, anxiety, or depression. Such co-occurring disorders can negatively affect your sleep patterns and this may cause you to abuse sleep aids just to fall asleep or stay asleep.

Sometimes sedatives addiction develops as people use sleep aids to act as a tranquiliser and gain temporary relief from intense emotions or trauma but ultimately, the addiction often makes these feelings worse.

How do I recover from sleeping pill addiction?

In order to recover from sleeping pill addiction, you will need to undergo detox to cleanse your body from sleeping pills and a comprehensive rehab treatment programme to identify and overcome the underlying causes of your addiction. Some sleeping pill addiction treatment clinics can be attended as an outpatient while others provide inpatient rehab where you stay as a resident for the duration of your treatment. Inpatient rehab is generally considered the most effective option as you will be able to distance yourself from harmful influences, will be unable to access sleeping pills and will be totally immersed in a recovery environment.

How do I detox from sleeping pills?

To help the body properly cleanse from sleeping pills, sleeping pill detox is required. This can be done by gradually reducing the dosage; a process known as tapering. It is important to note that, however, that sleeping pill detox often results in unpleasant and potentially dangerous physical and mental withdrawal symptoms so it’s advisable to be medically monitored at a professional sleeping pill detox centre like Liberty House.

What are sleeping pill withdrawal symptoms?

There are numerous sleeping pill withdrawal symptoms that might occur when a person is trying to relinquish sleeping pill abuse. Some of the most common include:

  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Nausea
  • Shaky Hands
  • Fever
  • Delirium
  • Racing Pulse
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irregular Heartbeat
  • Rebound insomnia

Sleeping pills addiction woman with fever

Some people may also experience rebound insomnia when detoxing from sleeping pills which is when insomnia or other sleep issues actually end up becoming more intense than before. Although highly unpleasant, take comfort in knowing that rebound insomnia typically subsides after a few days. Moreover, if you undergo sleeping pill detox at a professional clinic, you will receive expert guidance and beneficial therapies to lessen the symptoms of rebound insomnia.

How long do sleeping pill withdrawal symptoms last?

The sleeping pill withdrawal process will differ for each person and is dependent on the type of sleep medication used (and whether alcohol or other drugs were also being abused), the age, sex and weight of the individual and the duration of sleeping pill abuse. However, you can refer to the timeline below to give you a general guide to the length of sleeping pill withdrawal:

  • First 24 hours: Symptoms become present after the last dose.
  • 1-3 days: Nausea, vomiting, anxiety, confusion, depletion in mood.
  • 4-7 days: Anxiety, trouble sleeping, sweating, tremors, cravings peak.
  • 1-2 weeks: Physical symptoms subside, depression and anxiety can remain.
  • 3+ weeks: Physical and mental withdrawal symptoms diminish.

Why it’s never advisable to detox from sleeping pills at home

Although it may seem appealing to detox from sleeping pills at home, we strongly advise against this as sleeping pill withdrawal symptoms and rebound insomnia can become very intense and lead to relapse. Private detox facilities like Liberty House offer round-the-clock support from medical professionals who can give you physical and mental assistance, reduce withdrawal symptoms and prevent dangerous side effects. This is why undergoing sleeping pill detox at a professional clinic is the safest and most effective approach to detox.

Can Liberty House help me overcome sleeping pill addiction?

At Liberty House, we offer clients an all-inclusive rehabilitation programme for sleeping pill addiction. This involves medically monitored detox and a range of evidence-based therapies to address any underlying emotional or mental health causes.

We have qualified staff on hand 24/7 to care for and support you throughout the process. You will be given comfortable accommodation and all your meals will be prepared by our in-house chef so that you can focus all your energy on your healing. Furthermore, because you’ll be staying in a controlled environment, the chance of relapse is greatly reduced.

What treatment therapies make up the sleeping pill rehab programme at Liberty House?

Our rehab treatment addresses your physical, mental and emotional well-being which your lead counsellor will discuss with you in detail upon admission. Some examples are:

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT can help you overcome sleeping pill addiction by addressing the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. A trained CBT therapist can help you to pinpoint the triggers that cause addictive behaviour and from there, you can learn to respond to such triggers in healthier ways.

Sound bath healing

Sound healing is a form of therapy that has been around for centuries. The sound of the gong helps to put people into a meditative rest where you can literally “bathe” in the healing vibrations. Many clients report that they feel relaxed, calm, and sleepy after this experience.

One-to-one counselling

At Liberty House, we are resolute in our belief that addiction stems from emotional or mental blockages. This could be anything from experiencing recent bouts of stress or unprocessed trauma which occurred a long time ago. Either way, speaking with a professional counsellor can help you to understand your thoughts and feelings, release them in a confidential space and find healthier coping mechanisms for any problems you may be dealing with.

Sleeping pills addiction one to one therapy

Get help today

At Liberty House, we use a range of proven treatments, including psychotherapies and holistic approaches designed to ensure that you have the tools required to overcome sleeping pill addiction. If you have any additional queries or questions, please contact us today and a member of our team will discuss them with you in further detail.

Frequently asked questions

Which sleeping pill is the most addictive?
Benzodiazepines and Z drugs are the most addictive forms of sleep medication as they work on calming the nervous system by targeting receptors in the brain, producing a strong and highly addictive sedative effect. Both benzodiazepines and Z drugs are accessible only through prescription.
How quickly can you become addicted to OTC sleeping pills?
OTC medications are not as strong as prescribed sleep aids. However, they are more accessible, making them easier for people to abuse and become addicted. This can happen after only a few uses but it varies from person to person.