Answers to, “Can I get Addicted to Sleeping Pills?”: Are you addicted to sleeping pills?

If you have been taking medication to combat insomnia, you may find yourself wondering, “Can I get addicted to sleeping pills?” The answer is yes, you definitely can become addicted to sleeping pills, even if you are taking them exactly as prescribed. In fact, sleeping pills are some of the most addictive prescription medications available, with a potential for abuse that increases drastically the longer you take them.  If you have been taking prescription sleeping pills regularly for two weeks or longer, there is a distinct possibility that you may already be displaying some signs of sleeping pill addiction, and may experience some symptoms of withdrawal if you try to suddenly stop. Keep reading to discover the answers to some of the most common questions about sleeping pills and addiction.

Are all prescription sleeping pills addictive?

All prescription sleeping pills can be addictive to some degree. Some sleeping pills are known to be extremely addictive, while others have only a low to moderate potential for addiction. Sleeping pills are designed to be a short-time solution for insomnia and other sleeping problems.   Taking any sleeping pill for more than two weeks drastically increases your chance of becoming addicted. There are four categories of medications prescribed to help patients sleep, each with its own mechanism for aiding sleep and specific potential for abuse:

  • Barbiturates – (Nembutal, Seconal, Butisol) Sedative sleep aids with hypnotic properties that are considered to have a high potential for physical and psychological dependence
  • Benzodiazepines – (Halcion, Restoril, Klonopin) Effective at helping with insomnia, but can be extremely addictive and cause an extended withdrawal syndrome that may last for years
  • Hypnotic sedatives – (Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata) Z-drugs, or hypnotic sleeping aids are considered to have a low to moderate potential for addiction if used for a short time, but can be highly addictive if used for more than two weeks
  • Antidepressants – (Doxepin, Trazodone, Amitriptyline) These drugs are not FDA-approved as primary sleep aids, but their sedative effects make them useful as sleep aids. Often have a much lower potential for addiction than primary prescription sleep aids

 How can I tell if I am addicted to sleeping pills?

As individuals become addicted to sleeping pills, they begin to display certain changes in their behavior and demeanor. Go down this checklist of sleeping pill addiction symptoms to see if they fit:

  • Do I need higher doses to achieve the same effect?
  • Do I have a desire to take the pills even if it is not time to take them?
  • Have I gotten prescriptions for sleep meds from more than one health provider?
  • Am I still taking sleeping pills although the initial reason for taking the pills has passed?
  • Have I tried to quit and was unable to because of an overwhelming need to take the sleeping pills (psychological dependence)?
  • Do I experience withdrawal symptoms when I stop taking sleeping pills?

Sleeping pill addiction withdrawal symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms for sleeping pill addiction can begin as soon as a few hours after a skipped dose or after a few days after you have stopped taking the drugs.  These symptoms include rebound insomnia or an inability to sleep; anxious, agitated, or irritable feelings; tremors, muscle pain and stiffness, seizures, hallucinations, or panic attacks. You may also experience excessive sweating, nausea, or heart palpitations. If you have answered, “yes,” to any of the preceding questions, you are probably addicted to sleeping pills.

How can I get help for sleeping pill addiction?

If you are struggling with sleeping pill addiction, an accredited drug rehab center can provide the help you need to achieve recovery. Be aware that sleeping pill addiction is not a “one size fits all” kind of situation. One person trying to overcome an Ambien addiction may be able to achieve recovery through medical detox followed by outpatient rehab, and another may need extended time in inpatient rehab followed by a stay in a sober living community. Your path to recovery will depend on which sleeping pills you take, how long you have taken them, the severity of your addiction, and other factors. Look for an addiction rehab facility that will provide an individualized treatment plan to address the specific addiction issues you face. With the right addiction treatment center helping you, you should be able to overcome your sleeping pill addiction and achieve long-lasting recovery. So, if you’re asking yourself, “can I get addicted to sleeping pills?”, you may want to seek help.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.