Insomnia and Xanax Addiction

Insomnia and Xanax AddictionInsomnia can be related to Xanax use and addiction in several ways. Xanax is most often prescribed to treat anxiety, but according to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) Xanax is sometimes prescribed for the temporary treatment of acute insomnia. More often Xanax is prescribed to treat anxiety, but insomnia is a common side effect of anxiety, and the sedating quality of Xanax may help the person to sleep.

Using Xanax for any reason carries inherent risks, since Xanax is highly addictive, and dependence can occur in as short a time as a few weeks even at therapeutic doses. NAMI states that physical dependence can occur after two or more weeks of daily use even when used as recommended. Addiction to Xanax can cause serious problems in a person’s life that may then lead to increased anxiety. This increased anxiety may in turn lead to increased difficulty sleeping. According to Health Central a person who uses Xanax temporarily for the treatment of either anxiety or insomnia may experience rebound insomnia when he or she stops using Xanax.

If physical dependence on Xanax has occurred, the person will need to detox and go through an often difficult period of withdrawal from the drug. Insomnia is a common side effect of Xanax withdrawal. A recent report on Fox News stated that insomnia and difficulty sleeping are common during Xanax withdrawal, and withdrawal may also cause intense dreams and nightmares that also contribute to difficulty sleeping.

Facts about Insomnia

Medical Clinics of North America declares that insomnia is the most common sleep disorder. The Department of Health and Human Services provides the following facts about insomnia:

  • Insomnia can be either acute (short-term) or chronic (long-lasting)
  • Acute insomnia is often triggered by external factors such as stress, financial difficulty or family problems
  • Acute insomnia may last for days or weeks
  • Chronic insomnia may last for a month or longer
  • Chronic insomnia is usually a secondary condition that is brought on by other factors including but not limited to medical conditions, use of medicines or substance abuse
  • Primary insomnia is its own distinct medical disorder whose causes are not fully understood

The Mayo Clinic lists the following possible causes of insomnia:

  • Stress. Issues that are causing you stress may prey on your mind at night, keeping it active and preventing you from sleeping.
  • Anxiety. Normal anxiety or clinical anxiety disorders may interfere with sleep.
  • Depression. Sleeping too much or too little is a common symptom of depression.
  • Other mental health issues or disorders. Insomnia is common in a number of mental health issues.
  • Medications. Prescription drugs including antidepressants, heart and blood pressure medications, allergy medications, corticosteroids and stimulants such as Ritalin may cause insomnia. Over the counter medications such as decongestants and weight loss products sometimes contain caffeine and will interfere with sleep.
  • Alcohol. Alcohol is a depressant that may induce sleep, but it interferes with sleep stages and produces a poor quality of sleep.
  • Medical conditions. Chronic pain and a number of other medical conditions including arthritis, cancer, heart conditions, lung disease, gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD), thyroid conditions, stroke, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease may cause insomnia.
  • Change in environment or work schedule. Traveling to different time zones or changing shift schedules at work may disrupt your body’s circadian rhythm.
  • Poor sleep habits. Irregular sleep schedules, engaging in stimulating activities near bedtime or having an uncomfortable sleep environment may contribute to insomnia.
  • Learned insomnia. This may occur when people start to worry about being able to sleep which will then lead to anxiety that perpetuates the insomnia.
  • Aging. Insomnia is more common in older people.
  • Being female. Insomnia is more common among women than men. This may be due to changes in hormonal cycles.

Many external factors can contribute to insomnia. Investigate and address these or other possible causes of insomnia rather than simply turning to a potentially dangerous drug like Xanax as a first-line treatment for insomnia.

Treating Insomnia

The Mayo Clinic states that prescription or over the counter sleep aids may help induce sleep but warns that they often produce a poor quality of sleep and may have inherent risks such as the risk of dependence, impairment of motor skills and cognitive function and the possibility of potentially dangerous somnambulant behavior (sleepwalking or engaging in other activities such as driving while asleep). They recommend a number of other approaches to treating insomnia including the following:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Relaxation techniques such as stretching, yoga, meditation or a warm bath before bed
  • Avoiding spending time awake in bed doing things such as reading or watching TV
  • Light therapy
  • Keep your bedroom comfortable, cool and dark
  • Try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule
  • Avoid taking naps during the day

Treating Xanax Dependence

If you have become physically dependent on or psychologically addicted to Xanax, seek professional treatment. Withdrawal from Xanax can cause miserable and potentially dangerous symptoms that may even be fatal. Xanax detox should always be conducted by professionals who will devise an appropriate tapering schedule to avoid and minimize withdrawal symptoms and will monitor your condition and address any medical complications that arise. Do not attempt to quit taking Xanax without medical supervision, and never quit cold turkey.

Get Help to End Addiction

If you would like help finding treatment for insomnia, Xanax dependence or both, please call our toll-free helpline today. Counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer all your questions and help you find the resources you need for a real and lasting recovery.

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