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Sleep Aid Medications

Insomnia can be caused by a number of medical conditions, mental health disorders and the abuse of drugs or alcohol. Sleep aids are a class of drugs designed to induce a slowing of the nervous system.

What are Types of Sleep Aid Medications?

Sleep aids are designed to be used as a short term solution to temporary insomnia. If the condition is of long term duration, a medical condition can be the underlying cause.  This group of drugs actually falls under the class of drugs known as sedative/hypnotics which slow down the nervous system. There are a number of drugs used for the treatment of insomnia including antihistamines, benzodiazepines and herbal remedies. The main ingredient in over – the-counter sleep aids is an antihistamine. Often over-the-counter sleep aids will have both an antihistamine and a pain reliever such as acetaminophen and like prescription sleep aids, over-the-counter sleep aids should only be taken as a short term solution.

Uses for Sleep Aids

When depression, withdrawal, or other health conditions interfere with the brain’s normal functioning, insomnia can result. Sleep aids can help an individual temporarily move through the phase. It is not a solution to other medical conditions which require other types of therapies including behavioral changes.  It should be noted that combining medications is not recommended. Understanding the underlying cause for the insomnia is important as alternative therapies, exercise, dietary changes and even lifestyle changes can often address the issues related to insomnia. When patients are going through medical detox from drugs and alcohol, sleep aids are often prescribed to treat substance abuse sleep disorders in drug rehabilitation centers.

Side Effects of Sleep Aid Medications

  • Drowsiness
  • Forgetfulness
  • Dry mouth
  • Confusion
  • Clumsiness
  • Constipation and urinary retention
  • Dizziness

Sleep Aid Medications

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