What Is the problem with using sleep medications long-term?
Long-term use of sleeping medications may change the neurotransmitters in your brain, leading to dependence. In this video, Patricia Geraghty, NP describes how sleep aids can also cause impairment in functioning the next day.
There are problems with using sleep medications long term. And in fact, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine tells us that they really are short term therapies.
So for chronic insomnia, we can have all kinds of interplay with other issues, depression.
But even with-- well, the study called it long term. But I think seven days isn't that long term.
Even with only seven days of use of some of the benzodiazepine type medications,
it changes the neurotransmitters and changes the function in our brain. So we become dependent upon these drugs
in order to be able to sleep at all. For anyone with a history of substance abuse dependency,
these drugs can be extremely dangerous. There's a newer class of drugs that rather than being benzodiazepines, they act
on the benzodiazepine receptors, where benzodiazepines work in the brain. Some of those names would be zolpidem.
Ambien is a brand name. There's many brand names. Or Lunesta is another brand name of a different one.
They also have next day impairment in functioning. And that next day impairment apparently doesn't wear off.
Looking at young men who had been on zolpidem for a whole month, they were impaired the next day
after a month of use as they were the first day that they used it. And it also changes the neurotransmitters,
the receptors in our brain, so that we become dependent upon them to be able to sleep. Long term use of sleeping aids, medications,
has the risk of making your sleeping disorder much, much worse than you
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