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Losing Sleep Over Substance Abuse: How Addiction Gets in the Way of Rest


At Chapters Capistrano, we like to help our guests master the tools that will better help them enjoy waking life sober; however, in order to lead a healthy, enjoyable life, sleep is a necessity. Sleep restores us; it gives our body a chance to relax, process and repair. However, with tens of millions of Americans struggling with sleep disorders it is clear that many are not getting the rest they need. Unfortunately, addiction is often at the heart of these sleeping problems.

Sleeping on Substances

Substance abuse can impact sleep in so many different ways, depending on the nature of the drug and any existing sleep issues that an individual may face. Many drugs, including painkillers, marijuana and alcohol, are falsely believed to help promote sleep, due to their sedative qualities. Still, these sedatives carry dangerous risk—especially when used in the long term.

For example, alcoholism may allow an individual to fall asleep and even encourage drowsiness. However, while the individual is sleeping while intoxicated, his or her natural processes are interrupted, dramatically reducing the quality of sleep that is required to stay functional and alert during the day.

In other cases, those who are addicted to stimulants may find that sleep is impossible—and undesired. Not only do these drugs harm the body’s organs over time, but they can also drastically shift an individual’s ability to gain normal rest.

Whether using depressants or stimulants, it is essential to recognize that drugs are not the answer to find sleep—or to stay away from it. Abusing substances will set circadian rhythms off course and damage the overall quality of sleep a person gets. Over time, addicts will witness greater struggles with awareness, agility and energy due to lack of quality sleep. This result may encourage even more addictive behaviors if individuals find that substances are necessary to avoid the problems caused by lack of sleep.

Addicted to Sleep

As noted by the CDC, approximately 60 million Americans suffer from a sleeping disorder—ranging from insomnia to oversleeping. In many cases, doctors may recognize these issues and prescribe sleep aids with high risk for addiction—such as Ambien, Ativan and Klonopin. While many may feel that these medications help promote a restful sleep, many disregard the risk of abuse that they carry.

It is hard to recognize signs of substance abuse of sleeping aids, especially if they are taken regularly as prescribed. If you rely on these drugs to gain sleep, it is imperative to speak with a physician about the potential presence and risk of addiction.

Recovering for Rest

Through medically-assisted detox, counseling and wellness programs, addiction recovery from Chapters Capistrano is a strong option for improving the body while simultaneously becoming sober.

If you or a loved one is finding that addiction is impairing quality of sleep, it is imperative to seek professional guidance as soon as possible. In addition, it is important to understand that it is possible to treat sleep disorders and addiction at the same time to improve chances for whole health and wellness. Through dual diagnosis modalities, our team will work to help design solutions for better sleep and sobriety.

Contact Chapters Capistrano today at 1-888-831-1553 to learn more about how our flexible treatment improves overall wellness, as well as how our dual diagnosis approaches can improve sleep disorders that occur alongside substance abuse.