What can help when trying to stop taking sleeping pills and sedatives?
The best way to stop taking sleeping pills or sedatives is to gradually reduce the dose with the guidance of a doctor. Psychological or therapeutic support can help you do this.
There are situations in life where you feel like you can no longer cope: A serious illness or the breakup of a relationship, for example, can lead to a crisis and be extremely distressing. People may then feel very unsettled, anxious, exhausted or have problems sleeping.
Many people find ways to cope with this stress. But others find that problems like insomnia just don't go away. Some take benzodiazepines or medications containing zolpidem or zopiclone (known as “Z drugs”) during phases like this. They are among the most commonly prescribed sleeping pills and sedatives.
Benzodiazepines can relieve cramps, relax the muscles and make people feel calmer and less anxious. They are also used to help people fall asleep and sleep through the night better. Z drugs are said to particularly help people fall asleep.
Many sleeping pills and sedatives can lead to dependence, though, and they may have strong side effects, including problems with memory or concentration, drowsiness, muscle weakness, abnormal behavior and sleep. They also affect your ability to drive and, particularly in older and unwell people, increase the risk of falling.