Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Using Sedatives as Medications for Insomnia The Good And The Bad

Using Sedatives as Medications for Insomnia – Effectiveness and Dangers

The amount of sleep a person needs in a day varies depending on the age and other lifestyle and health factors. The quality of sleep also matters to a large extent. Lying in bed and tossing and turning will still leave you groggy and listless, whereas many times a catnap can refresh you totally.

Insomnia is a condition where an individual is unable to sleep peacefully for more than a couple of minutes at a time.

The general perception is that insomnia can be cured by sedatives, a medication that induces sleep. It is also believed that sedatives cause an individual to relax and therefore sleep peacefully.

But this is far from the actual truth. Sleep induced by sedatives is neither a cure nor a permanent remedy. You may actually feel relaxed and sleep for some time but sedatives are addictive. Taking sedatives regularly can become such a habit that the dependency increases to such an extent that sleeping without one becomes impossible.

There are categories of sedatives like benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepines that cause physical dependence. In addition, they cause withdrawal symptoms if the medication is removed without a proper withdrawal process.

Another recent introduction to list of insomnia medication has been Melatonin. It is the hormone that is found in all living organisms, including humans. This hormone was released as a health supplement in 1993 and has proved very effective in regulating the body clock in insomniacs. Given that the lack of sleep causes a fair amount of mayhem with the daily routine, these hormones prove to be extremely effective and useful for those suffering from insomnia.

Even though the sedatives, hormonal supplements and other drugs are addictive and have side effects, there are times when an insomniac can force himself into believing that he is dependent on medication for inducing sleep. The belief is so strong that they almost force themselves to be awake until the time they have had the medicine.

It needs to be realized that insomnia is not a disease but a symptom of a disease. It almost never occurs without any evident reason. In most cases, there is always an underlying cause of the disorder. Since sedatives and other medications for inducing sleep do not address the underlying cause for the disorder, they can never really cure the condition completely.

Basic alterations in behaviors and psychological techniques can cure insomnia much more effectively. Alternative therapies can play a very important role in achieving this goal. If chronic insomnia is caused by fear, stress, depression or bipolar disorders, treating depression naturally can be of immense help. Meditation and workouts in conjunction with lifestyle modifications and dietary changes can provide excellent support to any therapy for treating depression.

In rare cases, it may be required to treat insomnia on a standalone basis. Generally, five types of treatments are used to treat insomnia directly:

Sleep education
Lifestyle changes



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