Use Of Sleep Aids Not Recommended For Older Adults

sleep aid | Just Believe Recovery PA

In This Article

Use Of Sleep Aids Not Recommended For Older Adults

By some estimates, Insomnia affects one-third of all adults. So it’s probably of little surprise that there are a multitude of sleep aids available, both over-the-counter and by prescription. But there are risks to using these drugs, and more and more doctors are starting to discourage patients from using them.

In May, the American College of Physicians issued new guidelines for managing chronic insomnia. After reviewing more than 15 years worth of evidence, they recommended cognitive-behavioral therapy as a first intervention. They noted that drugs should only be used in therapy is not successful, and then only for a short time.

Nitin Damle, president of the American College of Physicians:

Drugs don’t provide a natural sleep, and the side effects are significant. It’s true in all age groups, but even more problematic for older adults.”

In addition to being addictive, sleep aids can cause a host of other problems, including “fuzzy” thinking, grogginess, and short-term memory lapses. As adults get older, drugs remain the body longer due to changes including reduced kidney and liver function. This can cause weakening of both the body and senses, lethargy, and impaired balance.

This can put older adults at a greater risk for fall and injury. And over the long-term, sleeping aids can further affect mental functioning. Also, older patients may be taken a host of other medications (older adults Americans take an average of five) that can interact with a sleep aid.

All sleep aids are central nervous system depressants, which means they slow activity down in the brain and body. They include hypnotics, such as Ambien and Lunestra, as well as benzodiazapines (also anti-anxiety) such as Xanax and Ativan.

The American Geriatrics Society does not recommend that older adults use benzodiazepines or other sedatives as a first-line treatment for insomnia. This is due to study findings which show that the risk of car accidents, falls, and hip injuries leading to hospitalization and/or death is more than double in older adults who take these sleep aids.

~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology

Just Believe Recovery is a fully licensed, Joint Commission accredited, comprehensive drug and alcohol treatment center located in Carbondale, Pennsylvania

Let's Connect

🔒 Your information is safe & secure

Sidebar Contact

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
How to Stay Sober | Just Believe Recovery Pennsylvania
Recovery

How to Stay Sober

An individual who suffers from an alcohol use disorder (AUD), also referred to as alcoholism or alcohol addiction, has a chronic and often relapsing brain

Read More »
Can You Mix Zoloft and Alcohol? | Just Believe Recovery PA
Addiction

Can You Mix Zoloft and Alcohol?

Zoloft (sertraline) is an antidepressant drug, and one of the most commonly prescribed medications in its class used today. Zoloft is most often used to

Read More »
Crossing The Line | Just Believe Recovery PA
Mental Health

Crossing The Line

We all have a habitual line crosser in our lives. Most of the time it is easy to brush off. However, there are times that

Read More »