It’s easy to rely on a sleep aid to get your beauty rest. But what if the consequences to your health are greater than the benefits? Or if the longterm use leads to physical or psychological dependence?
Many people struggling to prioritize sleep habits will turn to benzodiazepine medication too quickly. These medications and other “z-drugs” are medications commonly prescribed for sleep and anxiety conditions. People commonly stay on the medications long after the effectiveness phase, which research suggests is about 4 weeks.
A growing debate is building as yet another study was released linking the class of drugs to declining brain health and possibly dementia.
At Conscious Living Counseling we advocate that otherwise healthy women and men should not be using these medications as first-line treatment for uncomplicated sleep problems.
New Primary Care Guidelines, recently released, recommended all primary care providers begin to slowly taper patients off these medications.
We want to empower you to start the conversation with your provider. The guidelines may not apply to you if you have other sleep disorders, if anxiety or depression symptoms are unmanaged, or you have another medical condition that worsens insomnia.
We DO NOT recommend taking yourself off any medications without medical supervision. Discontinuing may result in severe withdrawal symptoms. Your counselor should work with your medical provider to monitor for cognitive problems, stomach problems, and worsening anxiety or depression.
Keep in mind – too little sleep over a long period of time can actually cause many disorders and dysfunctions. So, staying on a sleep medication may be helpful to you. You need to get the ear of a well informed, caring and attentive medical provider. Your medical provider can review all of the risks/benefits and help you make an informed decision.