Based upon countless nationwide reports, addiction to sleep aids like Lunesta, Ambien, Benadryl and Excedrin PM is a very real possibility for people who take these drugs regularly. Additionally, there have been a large number of cases of behavioral problems for users of sleep medications. This includes sleepwalking, sleep-eating, memory loss, having sex without remembering it later and other bizarre and potentially dangerous activities. These problems coupled with the high propensity for addiction means that sleep aids are just as dangerous as drugs like heroin, crack and cocaine.

Sleeping disorders and addiction to sleep aids actually perpetuate one another; because lack of sleep can disrupt an entire person's life, regular use of sleep aids is essential to their normal "survival." However, regular use inevitably leads to addiction. A person can become just as addicted to sleep aids as they can to heroin, but because sleep aids are available by prescription and even over the counter, many people don't see regular use of these drugs as problematic. In fact, there have been many cases of people using sleep aids regularly for years at a time and consequently became addicted to the drugs, thereby exacerbating the original sleeping issues when the drugs were later ceased.

In addition to the likelihood to develop an addiction to sleep aids, there are certain side effects that these drugs can produce that can be extremely dangerous. According to Ambien Overdose.ORG, Anterograde amnesia – transient cognitive and memory issues that cannot be easily explained - and significant visual, olfactory, gustatory, tactile, proprioceptive, nociceptive, thermoceptive and auditory hallucinations. These hallucinations consequently can make a person react in strange and possibly dangerous ways.

Some drugs can be dangerous or even fatal to detox from, such as alcohol, barbiturates and benzodiazepines – and sleep aids. Most medical professionals and addiction experts agree that a sleep-aid addict should not suddenly stop using the drugs all at once, and that instead there must be a gradual reduction in the amount of the drugs used. This is because sleep aids cause neurotransmitters in the brain to significantly reduce their activity. If the drug use is ceased immediately they neurotransmitters will suddenly become acutely active and could cause seizures, respiratory depression and cardiac arrest. Therefore, detox and withdrawal once addicted to sleep medication must be conducted in a professional medical facility.

If you or someone you know is suffering from a dependence on sleep aids, it can be difficult to take the first step and reach out for help. And because these drugs cause memory loss and other cognitive impairments this is especially true if you are under the effects of sleep aids yourself. If you suspect there might be a problem, you need to take action right now. The risks here are very real – especially considering that crimes or acts committed while under the influence of these drugs are not excusable under the law. Treatment options are available in a safe and welcoming environment as well as tools, therapies and resources to help you sleep again. Don't wait – get help right now and take back your life.

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Author's Bio: 

A professional editor and writer specializing in addiction and alcoholism, Skip has more than thirty years of direct experience in the field.