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Sleeping Pills Withdrawal Symptoms

Sudden stopping of the drug use or abruptly reducing the dosage to treat addiction to sleeping pills without medical supervision can cause serious withdrawal symptoms.

Sleeping pills, being able to cause physical and psychological addiction, can make individuals dependent within weeks of users. It will be very challenging to break out of the vice when your body becomes reliant on sleeping pills for normal functioning. Sudden quitting can cause intense withdrawal symptoms that vary with users. As the body tries to readjust to not being able to obtain the needed levels of the drug, some symptoms can be fatal. While the withdrawal duration, intensity, and timeline may differ based on plenty of factors, it is always advisable to reach out to the right people.

Medical professionals can help prevent your situation from turning into life-threatening. They follow a process called detoxification, where they check for vital signs of danger and use appropriate medication when necessary. They may also administer intravenous (IV) fluids to replenish your body of nutrients and balance electrolytes.

Common withdrawal signs of sleeping pills may include restlessness, shivering, anxiety, blood circulation issues, trouble sleeping, etc. The best way of approach and the safest possible solution is medical detox.

Sleeping Pills Withdrawal Timeline

Sleeping pills are severe sedative-hypnotic drugs that can cause physical and emotional discomfort in persons with addiction. Withdrawal is not only caused when you try to quit but also when continuing users miss a dose, take less amount, or have substantial delays between two hits.

Moreover, people with multiple addictions or those who abuse more than one type of sleeping pill can experience more intense withdrawal. Similarly, if a patient has comorbid physical health issues or underlying mental health conditions, they need to be in the medical detox stage for a longer period.

Some people may show the withdrawal signs in as little as 10 hours after the last use, some show delayed symptoms that pop up days after they stop. Usually, symptoms persist for a week or two, fading with time. But again, the conditions depend on whether they have other issues as mentioned above. Psychological symptoms may last for several weeks – a phase called post-acute withdrawal.

Hours 24-72:

  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Denial
  • Memory loss
  • Mood changes
  • Vomiting (in heavy users)


Days 4-14:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Drug cravings
  • Increased heart rate
  • Tremors
  • Sweating
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression


2 Weeks and Beyond:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delirium
  • Nausea


The post-acute withdrawal stage sets in.
Rebound Insomnia, resulting from sleeping pills withdrawal is far worse than the initial stage as it is accompanied by disturbing dreams and panic attacks upon waking. Rebound insomnia may cause the addict to fall back into abuse, which forms a vicious cycle.


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Some Shocking Statistics

  • About one in six people, approximately 70 million Americans have been diagnosed with some sort of sleeping disorder.
  • One in eight people, around 9 million U.S. adults use prescription sleeping pills.
  • As per the British Medical Journal publication, the risk of death is 4 times higher for Ambien, Valium, Ativan, and other prescription hypnotic sleeping pills.
  • In 2013, Ambien was the most widely abused hypnotic sleeping medication, taken by 77% of patients without FDA safety recommendations.
  • A 2015 survey by the Consumer Reports revealed that 41% of the participants have been taking sleeping medication for more than a year.


Things To Avoid During Withdrawal

  • Don’t abruptly stop taking sleeping aids.
  • Don’t self-medicate by taking other drugs as substitutes for sleeping pills.
  • Be careful with alcohol consumption. Even better – avoid it.
  • Don’t mix other dangerous drugs that have a high potential for dependence.
  • Don’t remain at home, alone, or without proper medical supervision.
  • Avoid being in situations that can lead to serious medical complications or an overdose.

Being deprived of sleep is a torture so intense that a lack of proper rest time impacts a person’s life adversely. Inadequate sleep or improper relaxation schedules can negatively affect your immune system and make you more susceptible to infections. The brain also starts to eat itself alive when you are chronically sleep-deprived.

Furthermore, your lack of adequate sleep can trigger mental health issues or aggravate pre-existing conditions, such as depression, anxiety, or panic attacks. People who actually have sleeping problems, sedatives are a godsend. But for others, there is a possibility that sleeping pills can lure them to the dark side. Sleeping aids addiction is so ingrained into people’s psyche that when someone abusing the pills wants to quit, it will be harder to make the choice and stick to their decision.

Also, sleeping pills are readily available – with doctors prescribing them even for people with short-term sleep issues. Some are also available as syrups and OTC (over the counter) medications that are highly addictive qualities even in small doses. Once the users get a taste for it, i.e., sees how effectively they work, and with such easy accessibility, there is nothing stopping them from getting hooked. In fact, many times, addicts don’t realize that their dependence is uncommon even if they are facing the most severe, most unpleasant physical and emotional sleeping pills side effects. Often, people complain of experiencing rebound insomnia, which is the reoccurrence of the original sleepless condition for which they have sought sleeping pills through a doctor.

People with persistent insomnia are three times more likely to develop depression and other emotional issues than the general population. In fact, around 50% of patients that go to a rehab facility may also suffer from clinical depression. Sometimes, it will be difficult for professionals to determine what came first – addiction or depression. So, it is wise to have a trained therapist by your side to guide you through the detox process.


Treatment Duration

The duration times depend on whether you are a long-time addict, you have a history of sleeping pill addiction, or if it is a new habit, etc. You can find the various types of treatment options and steps available that ensure your safe recovery. Your treatment may include close medical supervision, medication, long-term residential care, and more to help address complex issues of addiction.

Aftercare is also provided where experts and peers can help you navigate life by equipping yourself with the necessary tools to face your problems head-on. They help with your long-term sobriety with incentives and motivational rewards.

Per the reports from the SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), people can recover in 30 days or less at short-term residential rehabs. For more severe cases, patients may attend long-term residential rehabs that help them show remarkable improvements.


Sleeping Pills Addiction Treatment Options

A detox facility is the safest space for a patient trying to recover from sleeping pills addiction. A qualified and compassionate team of doctors can monitor the progress of patients. For those with underlying health problems, withdrawal can pose more severe complications, which is why they will be checked for distress signs regularly.

Tapering off the drug use, meaning a gradual reduction of dosage under the constant observation of physicians is the best way to combat withdrawal symptoms. A detox facility may also accommodate drug addiction recovery treatment, which could be either an inpatient or outpatient type.

The Right Approach To Sleeping Pill Detox

Medical detox is a strict regimen that has to be followed under the constant care of specialized physicians. While in detox, a team of medical experts may monitor your vitals 24/7 to ensure that you remain in stable condition.

Sleeping pills detox involves a method called tapering, which is where the doctors put you on gradually reducing dosages as opposed to having you quit the pills cold turkey.

Sudden cessation may seem like an instant solution but it carries a lot of side effects. Tapering is the usually preferred method of detox owing to less severe withdrawal symptoms

Abruptly quitting sleeping pills can make the withdrawal process much more intense and difficult to navigate. Tapering users off sleeping pills may take longer, but it comes with less severe withdrawal symptoms and is often the preferred method of treatment.

Rehabilitation Facilities

An inpatient rehab stay could be anywhere between 28 and 90 days. Finding the right medication takes time, especially if the patient is a long-time abuser. At the inpatient rehab centers, assistance is available 24/7, which is more convenient than visiting as an outpatient a couple of times a week. The patients will be living in a serene and holistic environment, surrounded by behavior experts, counselors, and therapists, to oversee their unique medical needs.

Even after being done with the treatment for sleeping pills addiction and getting back to their past routines like work, school, or relationships, patients may need to work closely with social workers, attend group counseling sessions, and 12-step meetings.

Get The Best Treatment For Sleeping Pills Addiction At A Center Near You

Sleeping pills dependence issues are no joke. They mess up your health, work, relationships, and entire life. Call your nearest drug rehab today to get tailor-make treatment plans.

If you suspect someone to be addicted to sleeping pills, particularly if they have comorbid mental health conditions or they are previously an abuser, do not hesitate to talk them into getting help.


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