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Addiction is a mental disorder that is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). It is characterized by compulsively engaging in rewarding stimuli regardless of the negative ensuing consequences. An individual that struggles with addiction will prioritize satisfying his or her craving above all else. Addiction affects all areas of one’s life, and it can lead to strained relationships, financial hardship, employment challenges, legal complications, as well as emotional, physical, and psychological consequences. 

There are a number of sleep aid medications that can be incredibly helpful when used properly. According to Addiction Center the three most commonly prescribed sleeping medications include: Sonata (zaleplon), Lunesta (eszopiclone), and Ambien (zolpidem). As is true with taking any type of substance, there will always be associated risks. Prior to prescribing a sleep aid medication, a medical professional will consider all specific risks as they relate to the patient. One of the risks of taking sleep aids too frequently is developing dependence, which can lead to addiction. 

Signs and Symptoms

Every individual is different and may exhibit a unique set of signs and experience a combination of varied symptoms when it comes to the abuse of sleep aid medications. Common examples of signs and symptoms that may indicate sleep aid abuse, as provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse include the following: 

  • Vomiting
  • Increased heart rate
  • Excessive sweating
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Memory loss
  • Appetite changes
  • Headaches
  • Shaking
  • Dizziness
  • Coordination problems
  • Dry mouth
  • Weakness
  • Constipation 

Sleep aid medications can have many side effects that may occur even when using the medication as prescribed. As such, it is important to note that every individual that uses sleep aid medication (as prescribed) does not necessarily go on to develop a dependence, and furthermore, an individual may exhibit some of the above examples of signs and symptoms without having an addiction problem. If, however, there is concern that someone may be struggling with substance abuse it is best to seek help as soon as possible. 


Any person that habitually abused sleep aids will have developed physiological modifications to accommodate functioning with the presence of the substance. At a certain point his or her body will become dependent upon functioning with the presence of the abused substance, and will be unable to function properly in its absence. Detox is the process that an individual must go through to rid his or her body of all foreign substances. In order to begin treatment for substance abuse and/ or addiction to any substance, an individual must successfully complete detox. There are a variety of detox methods (i.e. supervised detox, medically supervised detox, medically assisted detox…etc.) available, with varying levels of support. The precise detox method an individual will select should depend on his or her specific needs. 


After successfully completing the detox process, it is highly advised for an individual struggling with substance abuse and/ or addiction to continue his or her treatment by attending a formal substance abuse and addiction treatment program. Addiction does not develop overnight, and unlearning the damaging habits and patterns created during one’s active substance abuse will take commitment and time. Substance abuse and addiction treatment programs can teach an individual useful tools and healthy coping mechanisms to navigate the inevitable challenges of life and continue on his or her path of recovery. 

Aftercare Plan

In many substance abuse and addiction treatment programs an individual will develop an aftercare plan that is meant to help an individual reintegrate into society and maintain his or her sobriety. Depending on the needs of the individual, the specifics of an aftercare plan can range from vague guidelines to detailed daily schedule suggestions. Regardless of where one’s aftercare plan falls on the spectrum, adhering to the aftercare plan will provide the individual with the greatest chance for long-term success.

For Information and Support 

If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one in regards to substance abuse and/ or addiction we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one.