Almost half of Americans in the United States complain about poor sleep or struggle with insomnia.
Many adults in the United States take sleeping pills in order to alleviate this problem. Most sleeping pills are “sedative hypnotics,” which assist in inducing and maintaining sleep. There are various types of sleep medication that can produce different effects. Some sedative hypnotics are also anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax and Valium. These medications increase drowsiness and have the potential to be addictive. Other newer forms of sedative hypntoics, such as Ambien and Lunesta, reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and are less likely to be habit-forming. Barbiturates are another class of sedative hypnotics that depress the Central Nervous System (CNS) and cause sedation. These are most commonly used during major surgery as an anesthesia.
Side Effects of Ambien and Other Sleeping Pills
Sleeping pills can produce a number of side effects. These can include dizziness, headache, unusual dreams, weakness, uncontrollable shaking, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation and stomach pain. Some individuals may be allergic to sleep medication and may experience nausea, itching, rash, shortness of breath, blurred vision and chest pain. For some, sleeping pills can cause parasomnias, which are behaviors an individual has no control over. This includes sleepwalking, sleep eating, and making phone calls. During parasomnia, the individual is asleep and is unaware of what they are doing.
Dangers of Combining Ambien with Other Substances
Sleeping pills work by slowing down bodily functions, relaxing the muscles, and chemically lulling the body to sleep. Medications like Ambien are prescribed for short periods of time and it is difficult to obtain a large amount of the drug. While it is possible to overdose on Ambien, it takes very high amounts of the drug to cause serious damage. Most sleeping pills that are potent enough to overdose on are only available in hospital settings. However, overdoses often occur when sleeping pills are combined with alcohol because both are depressants. This combination increases the risk of respiratory depression, or hypoventilation. This means that these drugs cause normal bodily functions, like breathing to slow down so much that the user is unable to take in enough oxygen, or release enough carbon dioxide which can lead to death. Individuals may combine medication, like Ambien, with alcohol to produce a high that results in hallucinations or a tranquilizing effect. The combination of these substances enhances the effects of both and can be deadly when mixed. In addition to depressing bodily functions, individuals are more likely to engage in dangerous activities, such as sleep driving, while under the influence.
Ambien Overdose Symptoms and Suicide
An overdose would essentially shut down the entire body, including the nervous, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems. Since overdose can create a tranquilizing effect, it can lead to a painless death. This is a major contributing factor to the recent changes in the potency of sleep medications. Sleeping pills, statistically speaking, are one of the most popular choices for suicide attempts for this reason. The newest generation of sleep medication has been purposefully designed to be safer; however, with high consumption, it is still possible to cause significant damage to the mind and body. Overdosing on sleeping pills can cause considerable damage due to its effects on the Central Nervous System. The most serious side effects of an overdose are due to a complete shutdown of neural pathways and receptors. This may cause memory loss, paranoid delusions, and the development of psychological disorders. In more serious cases, some may survive an overdose and face paralysis with little to no control over bodily functions.