Z-Drugs is not the same as benzodiazepines, but do act in the body in a similar fashion. Z-drugs are a class of drugs that are used to treat insomnia. They are sedative-hypnotics and work by slowing down the activity in the brain; these drugs specifically work on the GABA receptors. Z-Drugs are supposed to be safer than benzodiazepines, however, you can develop a dependency on these drugs just like you can benzodiazepines. Z-Drugs should only be used on a short-term basis. Some of the most popular Z-drugs are Zolpidem (Ambien), eszopiclone (Lunesta), and zaleplon (Sonata).
Z-Drugs and Benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that are used to treat anxiety disorders, seizure disorders, insomnia, muscle relaxation, alcohol withdrawal, and they are also used in general anesthesia. They are also sedative-hypnotics and work by enhancing the effects of GABA, which slows down activity in the brain and central nervous system. Benzodiazepines are very addictive and should only be used on a short-term basis. Some of the most popular benzodiazepines are diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), midazolam (Versed), clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), triazolam (Halcion), temazepam (Restoril), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), and flurazepam (Dalmane).
Are Z-Drugs Safer Than Benzodiazepines?
Z-Drugs were brought on the market as a safer alternative than benzodiazepines, to use for insomnia. However, these drugs are not safe, especially in the elderly and for someone that has struggled with addiction. The Journal of Medical Toxicology says:
The Z-drugs zolpidem, zopiclone, and zaleplon were hailed as the innovative hypnotics of the new millennium, an improvement to traditional benzodiazepines in the management of insomnia. Increasing reports of adverse events including bizarre behavior and falls in the elderly have prompted calls for caution and regulation. Z-drugs have significant hypnotic effects by reducing sleep latency and improving sleep quality, though the duration of sleep may not be significantly increased. Z-drugs exert their effects through increased γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) transmission at the same GABA-type A receptor as benzodiazepines. (NIH)
Like benzodiazepines, you can develop a dependency on z-drugs, and they do have several adverse effects associated with them.
Adverse Effects of Ambien
Ambien can cause many different adverse effects. Some of the effects can occur immediately and some may also accumulate after weeks. Since Ambien slows down the central nervous system, it also slows down your breathing and heart rate. Misusing the drug can cause respiratory failure, unconsciousness, and even death. Some of the other side effects of Ambien can include:
- Extreme sleepiness
- Loss of balance
- Loss of consciousness
- Nausea and vomiting
Ambien can also cause several other negative side-effects. One of the most common short-term risks is retrograde amnesia. Some of the other complications that it can cause are delusional thinking, sleepwalking, nocturnal eating, and sensory disturbances. Ambien has been associated with falls in the elderly as well.
Are Z-Drugs Addictive?
Some users have reported feeling tired, confused, sluggish, and foggy-headed after taking the drug. Ambien can also make symptoms of depression and anxiety worse. And if an individual takes the drug for a long-term period, it can even start causing issues with their sleep (rebound insomnia).
Combining Ambien with alcohol or other benzodiazepines is extremely dangerous. These are all central nervous system depressants, and when they are combined, the risk of respiratory arrest and overdose death is dramatically increased.
Insomnia is something that a lot of people struggle with. Some reports have shown that 10 to 30% of adults deal with chronic insomnia, other studies show that 50 to 60% deal with insomnia. Insomnia is more prevalent in certain demographic groups too. If you are a person that struggles with insomnia, it is much safer to try other alternatives. Finding out the underlying cause of your insomnia and treating that, behavioral therapy, or improving your sleep habits are much better options.
Treatment for Benzodiazepine Addiction
If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction, our addiction specialists are available around the clock to assist you. Recreate Life Counseling offers evidence-based addiction treatment. Our cutting edge addiction treatment will lead you on a road to long-lasting recovery. You don’t have to suffer any longer. Call us today.