The prevalence of sleep disorders.

Many people have been treated for sleeping disorders all over the U.S. Studies show that over 70 million Americans suffer from disorders of sleep and wakefulness, of those 60% have a chronic disorder.

Sleep is very important to be able to function during the day. Overall, it affects the mind and body greatly. Just think of all your daily task and try doing them sleep deprived. Sleep plays an integral part in healing and repairing of your heart and blood vessels. Sleep deprivation usually increases risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke.

People that are sleep deprived find it hard to do their daily activities because often times, they sleep during the day or are mentally exhausted due to lack of sleep.

In some cases, the sleep deprivation along with not being able to accomplish daily tasks, can lead to mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety. So it would be easy to form a dependence on sleep medications.

What are sleep disorders?

Sleep disorders are interruptions caused by the mind or body during sleep. It is any disorder that disrupts your normal sleep patterns. The most common sleep disorders are snoring and insomnia. Then there is sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome and sleepwalking. Snoring is considered one of the milder sleep disorders. While sleepwalking is taken very serious, due to the sleeping mind state the sleepwalker can put themselves in a dangerous situation.

Insomnia is a very common sleeping disorder characterized by the inability to fall asleep, even when tired. It occurs usually for a few days in mild cases, then the body the corrects itself naturally and people return to their normal sleep patterns. In severe cases it may be chronic, usually lasting more than three weeks.

Sleep medication treatment.

Most sleep disorder diagnosis are often treated with prescription medication but numbers show that many become dependent on it. There are many options for prescription sleep medications the most popular being Ambien, Lunesta and Sonata.

These are called Hypnotics/Sedatives mainly because they have a sedating effect to them. They work by increasing the activity of gamma-minobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter in the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that are made and released by nerves that attach to receptors on other nerves and serve as a means of communication between nerves. Increase in GABA activity in the brain produces drowsiness and facilitates or maintain sleep.

There is a positive ideation that goes along with taking prescription medication. People think less of them because they were ordered by a doctor. Not knowing the dangers of side effects and adverse reaction to the mind and body, especially when they weren't prescribed for the user.

Studies prove that 38 million prescriptions for Ambien were written between the 2006-2011.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has officially declared that prescription drug abuse in the U.S is an epidemic.

Of those who started abusing drugs in the last year, more than a quarter began by abusing a prescription medication (26.0 %, including 17.0 % with pain relievers, 4.1 % with tranquilizers, 3.6% with stimulants, and 1.3% with sedatives).

Are sleep medications addictive?

The numbers say it all. Prescription medication abuse is on the rise. Especially now that it can be so easily attained in the street, on the internet or through a casual friend, they are everywhere!

According to a 2008 report by IMS Health, a pharmaceutical-industry research firm, pharmacist filled more than 54 million prescription for sleep drugs in 2007. That’s up 70% from 2002.
Let’s not mention the many sleep medication ads and commercials that promote great sleep but fail to mention the harmful addictive qualities that sleep medications tend to have.

I am a true believer of modern medicine. I have seen the miracles that prescription medication can do in a person’s life. I have witnessed the changes. I understand the struggle there is to find the proper medication and then you finally do. That’s when your life begins to change, you have hope that things will get even better. There are stories like this, success stories about how prescription medication treatment for sleeping disorders really worked. Stories of hope.

It must be very difficult to live sleep deprived all the time. That your sleep problems cause you to be late for work or school. That you may feel neglectful as a parent. This is why many of those that are victims to sleep deprivation, quickly embrace any kind of treatment. They become so desperate for a quick fix.

And then there are your real stories. “Most likely to happen” scenarios, that sleeping medications usually puts a person in. There are many personal accounts about addiction to sleep medication that prove the statistics right, that sleep medication causes more harm than good.

As I was doing my research I came across an article on the Today website. It was for the health section ironically titled “Confessions of a sleeping-pill junkie.” The story of Julian Dufort, a writer for Glamour Magazine, who courageously gave her first account of how she was prescribed sleep medications, quickly started to abuse them and became addicted.

She begins her article expressing much frustration about her struggles obtaining sleep.
She states:

“I was an Olympic endurance insomniac, often awake for 48 hours straight. During those endless stretches of time, I watched TV, called friends in California, whimpered, wept, beat my pillow, flipped through tabloids and surfed the Internet.”

Her desperation and anxiety about sleeping are very clear from the beginning, her busy life doesn’t allow her to slow down.We are so busy with life, careers and relationships that we fail to take care of our health. We are on the go go, running around all day.

In 2016, we don't have time to deal with problems we have pills for that. It’s easier for doctors to write a prescription and hope you will get better. But way to many people are dying who abuse prescription medication. There must be more social awareness about the dangers of prescription medication.

Julian continues to relate her story, as she goes on she explains that her sleep problems started when she was 28 years old. She had just started working in a bank and they required her to work very early mornings and long hours. Right off she noticed a struggle to conform to her new schedule.

“Knowing I could get only six hours of sleep at the most, I would start to panic. Worrying about not sleeping kept me from sleeping, and by the time my alarm clock sounded, I was lucky if I’d gotten four hours.”

Julian’s reality hit her when she took some Ambien before a bath and woke six hours later wet and cold in a tub. What if I would’ve drowned? she asked herself. After a friend sent her a simple email asking, How are you? She took a minute to self reflect and realized she wasn’t. Her friend suggested in-patient rehab. Which kind off surprised Julian, it never occurred to her that she may need rehab much less in-patient. She decided to go and realized had she been at home, she would have continued to take Ambien. That is why rehab is so important, especially if you can do in-patient and leave your surroundings for a while by learning new skills to face addiction with.

Unfortunately this sleep medication epidemic is real and we must find alternatives. Nearly 9 out of 10 poisoning deaths are caused by drugs both illicit and prescribed. Between 2001 and 2010, drug poisoning deaths in the U.S almost doubled to now measure nearly 17,000 deaths in 2010.

Alternatives to sleep medication.

Not only did Julian take the first step and went and got help but she changed her lifestyle. There are many underlying issues behind what seems to be the problem. Maybe she wasn't eating properly, exercising or managing her time. Stress can also be a big reason a person might struggle with being able to wine down causing them to be sleep deprived.

Julian put in to practice everything she learned from her two months stay in rehab. She went to bed early every night, she did yoga five times a week and attended 12-step meetings. She even stopped dating and gave herself a break.

These lifestyle changes contributed much to Julian’s success in maintaining sober. Now a days she lives a great life as writer for Glamour and is proud of her sobriety.

There are also natural supplements to help you get some sleep such as:

Chamomile tea

Author's Bio: 

Some ways to treat and overcome sleeping disorders. Which can be very hard to deal with as you go about trying to have a productive life.