Sleeping tablets are a fast and convenient way to tackle any difficulty with sleeping. Whether you have a problem with falling asleep, sleeping through the night or a restful and invigorating sleep, most people feel that a few days of sleeping tablets are all that is needed.
However, this medication can often be quite addictive both in terms of a physical (physiological) and psychological dependence. There are also a host of dangers of using these drugs in the long term. The elderly are often at greater risk and should use sleeping tablets cautiously and only as prescribed by a doctor.
Disruptions in sleep patterns are a common occurrence in seniors. It may be due to several factors such as :
Ideally any treatment should be direct at the root cause. For example, the cause of pain needs to be attended to rather than trying to treat the complications associated with sleeplessness. However, this is often not easy to accomplish in the elderly who are more likely to be suffering with chronic diseases that can be effectively managed but never cured.
While the use of sleeping pills may be a short term solution, ongoing use can be detrimental to a person physical and even mental health. Its use, if not carefully supervised, can develop into a dependence where a person is unable to sleep without first taking a sleeping pill. This is the scenario that needs to be avoided in every person irrespective of age.
In the elderly, however, the concurrent use of other medication or alcohol as well as the reduction in body weight and impaired ability of the body to process medication holds additional dangers. Some of these complications are life threatening and it is not uncommon for death to occur accidentally by the uncontrolled use of sleeping pills. The elderly are at the greater risk in this regard.
Sleeping pills are indicated for sleeping problems and should not be blamed as the cause of addiction and even deaths in some cases. It is not about the drug in this instance but rather about the way it is used. The problem lies with both the user and the dispenser. In the ideal setting, sleeping pills are :
If the above procedure is followed, sleeping pills can be a safe and effective means of aiding a person with a disturbed sleep pattern. However, it is often not the case and a person may begin misusing and abusing sleeping pills. This is when complications are more likely to arise.
Some simple steps and common sense can go a long way in treating sleeping problems and preventing dangers before it arises.