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Sleeping pills are sedatives that may help people who are suffering from transient sleeping troubles. These medications are meant to be used for short periods. However, the overuse of sleeping pills has many side effects. It can lead to addiction, which is a major concern. There are multiple types of sleeping pills that work in different ways. Sleeping pills, such as anti-anxiety medications Xanax and Valium (benzodiazepines), are likely to cause physical dependence. The other sleeping pills Seconal (secobarbital) and Nembutal (pentobarbital) pose a much higher risk of addiction. Tolerance is a common problem with all sleeping pills. After taking the pills for a while, people need more than the usual dose to help them sleep, which may lead to addiction. If the drug does not seem to be working and if people are used to it, they may start taking more than the prescribed dosage. Symptoms of sleeping pill misuse may include:
Some sleeping pills may cause rebound insomnia, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Others may have sleepwalking, sleep talking, and/or hallucinations while on the pills.
Signs and symptoms of sleeping pill addiction may include:
Sleeping pill side effects may include:
Is it dangerous to combine sleeping pills and alcohol?
Yes, mixing alcohol and sleeping pills can have additive sedating effects from both drugs, and the combination can cause someone to stop breathing, which could cause death. Sleeping pill labels warn against using alcohol while taking the drug.
Also, grapefruit or grapefruit juice should not be consumed while taking some sleeping pills. Grapefruit increases the amount of the drug absorbed into the bloodstream and the duration it stays in the body. That can cause over-sedation.