Health Effect of Sedative and Alcohol




Most sleeping pills are “sedative hypnotics.” This refers to a specific class of drugs used to induce and/or maintain sleep. Sedative hypnotics include benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and various hypnotics.
Benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and Librium are anti-anxiety medications. They also increase drowsiness and help people sleep. While these drugs may be useful short-term, all benzodiazepines are potentially addictive.

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Barbiturates, another drug in this sedative-hypnotic class, depress the central nervous system and can cause sedation. Short- or long-acting barbiturates are prescribed as sedatives or sleeping pills. But more commonly, most hypnotic drugs are limited to use as anesthesia.
Regular use over a long period of time may result intolerance, which means people have to take larger and larger doses to get the same effects. When regular users stop using large doses of these drugs suddenly, they may develop physical withdrawal symptoms ranging from restlessness, insomnia, anxiety, convulsions, and death. When users become psychologically dependent, they feel as if they need the drug to function. Finding and using the drug becomes the main focus in life.

What Doses are Too Much?

There is no absolute dose or number of pills per day that indicates a person is dependent on depressants. People with drug dependence eventually develop physical tolerance (the gradual need for greater amounts of the drug to feel the same effects). But addiction implies that the person is also relying on the drug emotionally and often physically.
Are There More Complex Sedative Pill Side Effects?
Some sleeping pills have potentially harmful side effects, including parasomnias. Parasomnias are behaviors and actions over which you have no control, like sleepwalking. During a parasomnia, you are asleep and unaware of what is happening.
Parasomnias with sleeping pills are complex sleep behaviors and may include sleep eating, making phone calls, or having sex while in a sleep state. Sleep driving, which is driving while not fully awake, is another serious sleeping pill side effect. Though rare, parasomnias are difficult to detect once the medication takes effect.

Sleeping Pills + Alcohol?

Mixing alcohol and sleeping pills can be extremely dangerous. The combination increases the sedative effect of sleeping pills, and that can be fatal. Most sleeping pill labels warn against using alcohol while taking the drug.
You should also avoid grapefruits or drinking grapefruit juice while taking some sleeping pills. Grapefruit increases the amount of the drug absorbed into your bloodstream and how long it stays in the body. That can cause over-sedation.
Sleeping Pill Dependence:

Regular use of these drugs often leads to “drug tolerance.” That is, the body adjusts to them and it takes a higher and higher dose to achieve the desired effect. Dependence also can develop, meaning withdrawal symptoms will occur if the drug is suddenly stopped.
For short-term insomnia, your doctor may prescribe sleeping pills for several weeks. Yet after regular use for a longer period, your sleeping pill may stop working as you build a tolerance to the medication. You may also become psychologically dependent on the medicine. Then the idea of going to sleep without it will make you anxious.
Without the sleeping pill, you might find it difficult to sleep. If that happens, it could be a sign of a physical or emotional dependence or both. Some studies show that long-term use of sleeping pills actually interferes with sleep. The best way to avoid developing a physical or emotional dependence on sleeping pills is to follow the doctors instructions and stop taking the drug when recommended.

The first goal of treatment is detoxification (withdrawal from the drug). Detoxification usually involves gradually reducing the dose of the drug or temporarily substituting a medication that has less serious withdrawal symptoms. The substitute medication, if used, also will be reduced gradually. Depending on the severity of the drug dependence and other factors (significant heart or lung disease, liver failure, high blood pressure, age older than 65). All addictions are complex and have multiple causes. Drug abuse is usually not an isolated problem. Commonly, people with depressant addictions are also struggling with other mental disorders, such as anxiety or depression.
Thus, treatment is best tailored to the multiple needs of the individual. This should begin with a comprehensive evaluation (medical, psychological and social) to identify the variety of troubles that are fueling the drug abuse or misuse.
Please, try to avoid overdosing and over using these sedatives and other forms of hallucinatory medications. Effects of addiction and subsequent dependence far outweighs whatever euphoria you might feel at the moment. Stick to doctors prescriptions!
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