The Dangers of Sleeping Pills and Alcohol

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Sleeping pills and alcohol: A deadly combo

For many people, Valium and wine, Ambien and beer, or Sonata and whisky, are the makings of a good night’s sleep. There are many reasons why people find it hard to simply sleep on their own. They could have unpredictable work hours; they could be entertainment performers or hold other exciting jobs where they end up being too keyed up at the end of each workday to drift off. Often, they are simply overworked moms; combinations of sleeping pills and alcohol are used by millions of women (the problem isn’t as prevalent among men). Yet, there are very few studies that look closely at them. Studies usually only consider one drug at a time.

Sleeping Pills and Alcohol are potentially dangerous

In 1967, Brian Epstein, the then well-known manager of the Beatles overdosed due to a poorly thought-out combination of sleeping pills and alcohol. The combination has killed many others, as well. The combo is often suspected in auto accidents, as well. Dramatically impoverished reflexes are one of the most visible side-effects of this combination.

In other cases, the mix causes sleepwalking. People have been arrested sleep-driving after taking such a combination. Others take the combination and go into a wakeful sleep where they write work emails and text all night in very regrettable language.

According to a study published in the American Journal of Therapeutics, taking Ambien together with alcohol frequently results in a need to visit an ER for poisoning. Such admissions have risen 14% in number over the past five years.

The combination is as dangerous as it is because both alcohol and sleeping pills affect the brain in the same way – they influence the GABA receptors. Both these drugs dramatically multiply the effects of one other. A complicated multi-drug addiction is sometimes a result of such a habit.

It starts as a hangover

Most people who pop sleeping pills and alcohol together often do not intend to use these drugs for pleasure — they simply want to get some sleep. Yet, they wake up the following day with a hangover, not the restful feeling that they hoped for. The effect is a sign that the body’s defenses have been overwhelmed. Some will take note, and try other, less harmful ways to get some sleep. Many, however, ignore the effect, and continue with the habit, setting themselves up for an addiction to alcohol, sleeping pills or both.

It’s important to stay alert

A sleeping pill addiction tends to be particularly hard to stop. Unlike recreational drugs or alcohol, these pills are taken for a medical condition — insomnia. Rather than try informal methods such as mixing sleeping meds and alcohol, it’s important to get to the root of the problem by seeking medical attention.

If you find that your habit has reached the point where it’s hard for you to quit, it’s important to find help at rehab.

Better Addiction Care can help

It’s possible to sense an addiction by looking out for withdrawal symptoms. If quitting your habit brings on a headache, cravings, nausea or pain, it’s important to seek assistance. Better Addiction Care is a rich source of easy-to-understand information on addiction. It also offers a vast database of reliable high-quality information on a wide variety of addiction rehabs in every city across the country.