On the surface, prescription sleep aids can seem like the perfect cure for insomnia. Take a pill, and a few minutes later you slip into a restful sleep. For many, a sleeping pill may be effective at ending their sleep problems in the short-term. Most sleeping pills are classified as “sedative hypnotics.” That is a specific class of drugs used to induce and/or maintain sleep.
So what is so dangerous about sleeping pills? Are they not just designed to help you sleep? According to medical practitioners, when you take prescription sleeping pills over a long period of time, your body grows accustomed to the drug, and you need higher and higher doses to get the same sleep-inducing effect. Both the immediate and long-term dangers of sleeping pill abuse are enough for most people to exercise caution when using them. However, many people are not aware of the dangers of these medications.
“People think they are pretty much benign, but there are definitely problems there,” explains Carl Bazil, M.D., Director of sleep and epilepsy at Columbia University, who points out that prescription pills are generally stronger than the over-the-counter variety.
Bazil further added, “Yes, they are a quick fix to help you get a good night’s sleep temporarily, but they are not a long-term solution to sleep problems in general and they can be dangerous if used incorrectly,” he says.
The dangerous effects of sleep medications range from seizures to depressed breathing. It has been revealed that if you take a high dose or two at once, it could suppress your breathing, which could definitely constitute a trip to the clinic. Some people also experience allergic reactions from sleeping pills that can cause difficulty breathing, chest pain, nausea and swelling.
Moreso, sleeping pills can also cause harm when you mix them with other drugs, namely alcohol and stimulants. Medical doctors have advised that it is not a good idea to mix sleeping pills with other drugs. What happens is it accentuates the effect of both of them, so you are more drugged off of both the pills and the booze or the stimulants. That means that the pill lasts longer, so chances are, you will feel more confused and groggy when you wake up.
Yet again, another big problem with sleeping pills is addiction. The big danger is when you stop using them after having become dependent on them. Doctors have explained that if your body becomes accustomed to sleeping pills, you will end up being worse off when you stop them because your body is adapted and that means you will have more, not less, difficulty getting good rest.