Prescription Anxiety and Sleep Medications

Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, Valium and other similar medications  are over prescribed for the relief of anxiety disorders and insomnia. These medications are highly addictive and can be dangerous if abused.  Overdose from Prescription Depressants, mainly  Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, Valium are associated with almost as many deaths as heroin particularly when combined with alcohol and other substances.  Often these medications are overused, shared between family members, or friends, or worse get into the hands of kids who take them from the medicine cabinet.

These drugs are also called CNS depressants because they can slow brain activity making them useful for treating anxiety, panic, acute stress reactions, and sleep disorders.  CNS depressants cause drowsiness; they  are often prescribed to treat sleep disorders like.

What Are Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines are the most commonly prescribed anti anxiety  and are used for relief of both anxiety and sleep problems.  Non-medical use of prescription Benzodiazepines are the most commonly used drug in poly drug use.  Benzodiazepines can be used to:

  • Intensify the “high” of opioids and heroin;
  • Heighten the effects of alcohol;
  • Ease the agitation of drugs that have stimulant effects, such as ecstasy, cocaine or meth.
  • People who use sedatives combined with other substances such as prescription opioids, heroin and alcohol are at high risk for respiratory failure and/or death.

Commonly Used Benzodiazepines Include:

  • Valium™-Diazepam
  • Xanax™-Alprazolam
  • Ativan™-Lorazepam
  • Klonopin™-Clonazepam
  • Restoril™-Temazepam

Sleep Medications

Sleep Medications are used to treat sleep disorders, but not anxiety. Listed below are the commonly prescribed Sleep Medications.  While technically benzodiazepines are less abused, they can be habit forming.

  • Ambien™-Zoldipem
  • Sonata™-Zaleplon
  • Lunesta™ Eszopiclone

Sedatives Are the Drug Choice of Women

  • Benzodiazepines are prescribed twice as often for women than men and they are particularly problematic for older women.
  • If used during the first trimester of pregnancy, these drugs can cause cleft palette as well as urinary, genital and neurological malformations.
  • If used close to delivery, they can cause addiction/withdrawal in newborns which is known as “floppy baby syndrome”.
  • Benzodiazepines are excreted through breast milk, therefore can be passed on to the breast feeding baby.

Dual Diagnosis

People who abuse Anti anxiety and Sleep medications are often self-medicating away psychiatric and physical pain.

Prescription Anti anxiety and Sleep mediation addiction often occurs when people try to “self-medicate” serious psychiatric  illnesses.  People with both Heroin Addiction and a Psychiatric Disorder are call Dual Diagnosis

  • Many people use Anti anxiety and Sleep medications to cope with psychiatric problems.  Long term, this will not work, but will makes matters worse;
  • This is why diagnosing and treating co-occurring psychiatric problems is so important in Addiction Medicine;
  • Addiction Recovery Models , must address both the Co-occurring psychiatric issues in order to be successful.
  • Kittay’s Addiction and Psychiatry Model treats Dual Diagnosis and is effective.

Detox from Anxiety and Sleep Medications

  • Abrupt discontinuation can be very dangerous and may lead to serious withdrawal symptoms including seizures and death. Withdrawal from Prescription Depressants can cause psychiatric symptoms including anxiety, panic, irritability, sleep problems and excessive worry. Potential serious medical problems include heart and blood pressure problems.
  • Detox requires close medical supervision and a medical protocol based on small methodical reductions in daily doses of drug.  This will safely minimize discomfort, anxiety and medical risks associated with detox..
  • May take several weeks to months during which time a patient should be learning how to manage the psychological dependency and addict behaviors needed for sustained abstinence
  • This slow, controlled and methodical medication taper minimizes withdrawal symptoms.
  • Non- addictive anti-anxiety and sleep medications are prescribed if needed.

The vast majority of anxiety and sleep addictions can be safely and comfortably treated outpatient, and do not need inpatient care.

Anxiety and Sleep medication addiction often occurs when people try to “self-medicate” serious psychiatric anxiety illnesses.  They use to cope with psychiatric problems such as Bipolar Disorder.  Long term, this will not work, but will makes matters worse. This is why diagnosing and treating co-occurring psychiatric problems is so important in Addiction Medicine.  Addiction Recovery Models like ours, must address both the Co-occurring psychiatric issues with the Addiction in order to be successful. Sustained  recovery is a good example of why this model is effective.

Your Individual Evaluation & Treatment Plan for Prescription  Anxiety and  Sleep Medication includes

  • Addiction, Medical and Psychiatric Evaluation;
  • Medically Supervised Home Outpatient Detoxification;
  • Evaluation and Treatment of Co-occurring Medical Disorders and Poly-Addictions;
  • Medication Management of Anxiety, Sleep and/or Co-occurring Psychiatric Disorder;
  • Cognitive Behavioral Restructuring of Stresses and Cues;
  • Relapse Prevention.

Treatments are individually tailored for safety, comfort and effectiveness to minimize withdrawal symptoms and avoid medical complications. Medications are prescribed to help prevent cravings, reduce use and prevent relapse.  Medications target the brain’s reward systems, and the way nerve cells communicate restoring balance in brain chemistry. Psychiatric problems and symptoms are medically treated as necessary.

Dr Kittay specializes in the treatment of:

  • Dual Diagnosis: Addictions and Co-occurring Psychiatric Disorders;
  • Poly -Drug Dependency: Addictions to more than one substance;
  • Substance Use Disorders in women during pregnancy and post-partum;
  • Drug and Alcohol use associated with Anxiety, Depression And Sleep Disorders;
  • Addictions related to the treatment of Medical Problems;
  • Addictions related to the treatment of Pain Problems;
  • Medical disorders related to addictions and high risk behaviors;
  • Male Sexual Dysfunction related to Substance Use;
  • Substance related suicidal thoughts and behaviors;

Addictions treated include:

  • Alcohol
  • Opioids: Prescription Pain Pills, Heroin, Fentanyl
  • Anxiety Medications: Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, Valium
  • Sleep medications: Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata
  • Stimulants: Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Adderall

Contact us now for more information or to schedule an appointment.