Medication nation: Women abusing sleeping pills

Published On: Feb 22 2012 03:57:57 PM CST   Updated On: Feb 22 2012 05:39:54 PM CST

BACKGROUND:  A third to half of Americans experience insomnia or complain about lack of sleep.  The National Sleep foundation found that 30% of all women in America use some sort of sleep aid. Sleeping pills are "sedative hypnotics," a class of drug used to initiate sleep, and include benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and various hypnotics.  Benzodiazepines are commonly anti-anxiety medications that can also make a person drowsy enough to sleep, such as, Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and Librium.  Barbiturates cause sedation by depressing the central nervous system.  They can be prescribed as sedatives, but are more commonly used as anesthesia.  Newer medicines, such as, Lunesta, Sonata, and Ambien, help reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and are "non-habit forming."  Sleeping pills may help treat the problem of insomnia short term, but can cause harm to people who have certain medical conditions, including liver or kidney disease (Source:

INSOMNIA:  Insomnia is a sleep disorder where an individual has trouble falling or staying asleep.  There are two types of insomnia; primary and secondary. Primary insomnia is when a person has sleep deprevation not associated with health problems or conditions.  Secondary insomnia means that a person is experiencing sleep problems because of a heath condition (Source:



*For More Information, Contact:

Kimberly Kirpatrick Justice, Ph,D & Akinyemi Ajayi, MD, D, ABSM

The Women’s Sleep Center

(407) 898-2767