Since history, human beings have been seeking various methods to reduce anxiety, restore calm and relieve insomnia, and have achieved their wishes through religious ceremonies, meditation, psychotherapy and various chemicals.
With the great progress of medicine, people know more about how to use drugs to manipulate our emotions.
History of Sedative Drugs (Sleeping Pills)
These drugs, called psychotropic drugs, which can affect the mind and emotions, include sedatives, antidepressants and stimulants, all of which have effects on the brain.
Our brain is the least known part of the body, and the relationship between the brain and the mind is complex and controversial. Therefore, no one will deny the truth of heart disease, infectious diseases, cancer and pain, or doubt the scientific truth behind the development of drugs to relieve or cure these diseases.
However, the situation is somewhat different for drugs that act on mental diseases. The development, manufacture and use of drugs that have mental effects is one of the most controversial fields in the medical field today.
Modern pharmacology of sedative drugs began with the synthesis of [chloral hydrate] in the middle of the 18th century, followed by [barbital] in the early 19th century.
Barbiturates, like early sedatives, have fatal side effects. High doses of barbiturates can inhibit breathing, thus causing many suicides and accidental deaths.
In 1957, human beings synthesized the first benzodiazepine compound, which changed this situation.
People soon discovered the wonderful use of benzodiazepines: it can reduce anxiety, but it will not make people too drowsy, and most importantly, it will not excessively inhibit breathing.
Because benzodiazepines are relatively safe, effective and have a wide range of indications, they have become the most commonly used prescription drugs in the world.
There are no sleeping pills that you will never rely on.
There are many drugs that can treat insomnia. The most [ideal] hypnotic drug is:
- Can promote sleep without causing changes in sleep patterns; It will not cause drowsiness and anxiety during the day. No drug interaction with other drugs; Long-term use does not cause dependence, and insomnia will not occur when the drug is stopped.
However, unfortunately, all sedative drugs will produce tolerance as long as they are used in sufficient quantities for a few weeks or more.
Tolerance can lead to withdrawal reaction, commonly known as “withdrawal symptom”, which is our brain and body’s attempt to compensate for the existence of drugs by counteracting the effects of drugs.
In the medication stage, this compensation is covered up. Once the drug is stopped, the compensation mechanism will be manifested as [withdrawal symptoms].
Tolerance and withdrawal symptoms may prompt drug users to increase drug use.
You don’t have to take medicine if you lose sleep.
Generally speaking, most insomnia and anxiety can be improved without special drug treatment. If the drug therapy used is not suitable for long-term use, then other solutions need to be found.
In insomnia disorders, simple [sleep hygiene] measures can often achieve the goal:
- Get up at the same time every morning, even on weekends; Avoid drinking alcohol and eating too much food and caffeine before going to bed. Change the sleep environment to make sleep comfortable.
The specialist in the psychological department of the hospital will choose the appropriate treatment for you according to your condition. Therefore, if you suffer from insomnia, don’t buy medicine in a hurry, go to see a doctor first!
Why do some people take more and more medicine?
Benzodiazepines and barbiturates have similar pharmacological effects. Improper use will lead to tolerance and dependence and withdrawal symptoms.
- Tolerance means that users need to take more drugs to achieve the desired effect. The withdrawal symptoms mean that they need more drugs to prevent the occurrence of unpleasant symptoms. However, increasing the amount of drugs used in itself will lead to greater tolerance and withdrawal symptoms, as the brain will work harder to correct the imbalance caused by drugs.
In this way, gradually, users fall into a vicious circle.
This complex phenomenon caused by the interaction between drugs, users and the environment is [drug dependence].
Through the subtle mixing of body and mind, it finally forms a kind of [obsessive-compulsive disorder of drugs], and the user’s life begins to be involved in the behavior of searching for drugs.
Who is more likely to rely on sleeping pills?
There are individual differences in people’s tolerance to drugs.
Some patients will not show drug tolerance after using therapeutic doses of sedative and hypnotic drugs for a long time. However, some patients are continuously using sedative and hypnotic drugs for more than 3 weeks. When the treatment is suddenly interrupted, a series of symptoms, anxiety, severe insomnia and limb tremor may occur. In particular, patients with psychological depression, strong psychological defense mechanism and slight social function impairment are more likely to be dependent.
High dosage and long medication time are also easy to cause dependence. In order to relieve these discomforts, people often take these drugs again.
The human body will have a considerable degree of tolerance to benzodiazepines, the dosage must be gradually increased, and the withdrawal period after drug withdrawal will be correspondingly prolonged.
In addition, benzodiazepines can also enhance the inhibitory effect of the central nervous system, which may prevent the brain from remembering and absorbing new information. At the same time, benzodiazepines, if used in combination with other sedatives, may inhibit breathing and cause life danger.
Based on this situation, researchers have developed new drugs that have less negative effects than ordinary benzodiazepines and relatively do not affect the brain’s compensation system. The life span of the new drugs in the human body is very short, and the efficacy of the drugs will weaken within a few hours, so it is believed that tolerance and dependence will not occur.
The specific drug selection plan requires consultation with a psychiatrist.
Reasonable dressing change, gradual drug reduction and comprehensive treatment
Whether sedative drugs can be successfully stopped or not is related to factors such as the patient’s previous drug use pattern, the severity of insomnia, the withdrawal plan and the patient’s personality characteristics.
In fact, as long as the doctor’s advice is followed and the drug is stopped in a planned way, there will still be no dependence.
The general withdrawal plan is as follows:
1. Gradually reduce the amount until the drug is stopped.
In order to prevent physical reactions such as rebound insomnia caused by sudden withdrawal of drugs, gradual reduction method is the best withdrawal method.
That is to say, drugs that lead to dependence will be phased out in a planned way until they are completely stopped.
If the patient takes several sedative drugs at the same time or alternately, he should first try to gradually reduce to a single drug, and then gradually reduce the dose until the drug is stopped.
2. Replacing short half-life drugs with long half-life drugs
Short half-life benzodiazepines, such as triazolam and midazolam, have severe withdrawal symptoms and appear faster. Long half-life benzodiazepines, such as diazepam, nitrodiazepam, clonazepam, etc., have slower and lighter withdrawal symptoms.
Therefore, sedatives with longer half-lives should be selected to replace sedatives with shorter half-lives, and then gradually reduced.
The reduction process will be a relatively long period of time. At the same time, assisted psychotherapy can stabilize emotions and improve compliance.
3. Adjuvant and supportive therapy
Recent studies have shown that the effect of anti-anxiety drugs on withdrawal syndrome is relatively good.
Active psychotherapy is the key to success.
Patients should be involved in the whole treatment plan, and the correct use method of sedative drugs should be introduced to them. According to the generation of tolerance and possible adverse reactions after drug withdrawal, patients should be fully prepared and actively cooperate with treatment, which can eliminate anxiety, stabilize emotions and improve compliance.
However, after successful withdrawal of drugs, regular follow-up observation of patients is helpful to prevent recurrence.
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