Are You More Likely to Abuse Sleeping Pills if You’re Depressed?

Although most people don’t associate sleeping pills with addiction, the two often go hand in hand, according to many physicians, therapists, and addiction experts. Studies show that individuals who are depressed are more likely to struggle with one of two sleeping disturbances, either hypersomnia or insomnia. In some cases, those who are severely depressed might vacillate between the two. For those who are not familiar with these sleep disturbances, hypersomnia is a condition whereby an individual sleeps too much.

Insomnia, on the other hand, is characterized by not being able to sleep at all. Of these two sleep disturbances, insomnia is the one that can significantly worsen depression. And many individuals struggling with this particular mental health disorder will turn to prescription sleep aids to resolve feelings of depression and to get a good night’s sleep in the process. Unfortunately, for many of these same individuals, the excessive use of sleep aids to combat depression and insomnia eventually leads to addiction.

What You Should Know About Depression in America

Before delving further into the relationship between depression and an addiction to sleeping pills, let’s take a moment to examine depression in America. According to a study published by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), 1 in 12 people in America admitted to struggling with some form of depression. And many of these same individuals reported that their mental health disorder significantly impacted their home life and desire to participate in social activities.

Aside from feeling overwhelmingly sad, many individuals have cited the ability to sleep at night as being the worse part of their struggles with depression. In light of this information, it is not too difficult to see why so many people with depression are using and abusing sleeping pills. To further put this into perspective, a 2013 study, the most recent and relevant data available, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that nearly 9 million people in America were using sleeping pills to help them get a good night’s sleep. And many of these same individuals were battling depression, the study also revealed.

The Downside of Using Sleeping Pills to Combat Depression

Now that we have a better understanding of why individuals who are depressed might be motivated to take sleeping pills, let’s turn our attention to consequences associated with such actions. In 2011, nearly 31,000 hospital emergency room visits were attributed to abusing the prescriptions sleep aid Ambien. And in 2012, 21 percent of those who reported abusing Ambien and other sleep aids, such as Sonata and Lunesta, claimed to have suicidal ideations as a result of doing so. It is also worth noting that many individuals have reported engaging in polydrug use, which involved abusing sleep aids along with the following:

  • Alcohol
  • Antidepressants
  • Benzodiazepines

Combining sleep aids with any of these drugs can be dangerous. And this is especially true when it comes to taking them with alcohol. Along with making symptoms of depression worse, alcohol can increase the probability of a fatal overdose. Even if an individual doesn’t combine sleep aids with other drugs, they can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms if not taken as prescribed by a physician. Some of these symptoms include

  • Anxiety
  • Loss of coordination
  • Lightheadedness
  • Hallucinations
  • Dizziness

How Do Rehab Facilities Treat Depression and Addiction to Sleeping Pills?

Indeed, sleeping pill addiction and depression are both common in America. And the combination can have a significant impact on one’s life. Fortunately, the more than 14,000 rehab facilities across the country are well-equipped to help those who are ready to improve their mental health and put addiction behind them. In terms of treatments, these rehab facilities will focus their efforts on addressing both the psychological and physiological aspects of one’s addiction. That said, the physicians and nurses at these facilities often prescribe antidepressant medications, namely selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), to the patients in their care. These medications can help resolve sleeplessness while also easing feelings of depression. Along with SSRIs, many rehab facilities offer various forms of psychotherapy that can help identify the underlying cause of one’s feelings of depression, some of which include

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Family-focused therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Interpersonal therapy

It is important to note that the type of psychotherapy used at a rehab facility is determined based on the severity of the individual’s mental health disorder. That said, the success rate associated with all of these therapies is quite high.

Bottom Line

Sleeping pills can benefit those who are struggling with occasional sleeplessness; however, they are not intended for long-term use or as a way to combat depression. That said, if you’re struggling with depression, an addiction to sleeping pills, or a combination of the two and ready to seek help, consider speaking with one of our addiction experts today. Call us today at 844-639-8371.

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