Can You Overdose On Sleeping Pills?

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Many people take sleeping pills to get a good night’s sleep but don’t consider the possible dangers. If you wonder, “Can you overdose on sleeping pills?” you may already have developed an addiction. Overdosing on sleeping pills is a risk to someone who loses track of how many they take or doesn’t understand the potential risks. 

Question: Can You Overdose on Sleeping Pills?

Modern-day sleep medications are not as strong as previous generations due to the reduced risk factor of someone overdosing on the newer types. Despite these measures to protect people, the answer to “Can you overdose on sleeping pills?” is a definite yes. 

Popular sleeping pills available by prescription include Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata. People have overdosed on both prescription and over-the-counter sleeping pills. How high a dosage needs to be to pose a risk of overdose depends on which drug it is and the individual taking it. 

Sometimes a person who has taken a potentially lethal dosage of a drug or ingested too much alcohol realizes they are in danger and can reach out for help. With sleeping pills, the overdose risk increases because the person taking them becomes very sedated or loses consciousness. If they are alone, the risk of a fatal overdose increases because they cannot call emergency services or a loved one. 

Signs of a Sleeping Pill Overdose

The person who took the sleeping pills or someone with them might dismiss signs of an overdose. The individual may become quite lethargic or fall asleep, leaving themselves or someone else to think they are simply experiencing the intended effects of the medication. 

A person wondering, “Can you overdose on sleeping pills?” because they suspect they may have taken too many may experience difficulty breathing or slowed breathing. If someone is with them, administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can help revive them while they wait for emergency medical help. 

Another sign of a sleeping pill overdose is abdominal pain, constipation, and other digestive distress. The person may also have difficulty walking or keeping their balance. Others may mistake them for being drunk and not recognize that they have overdosed on sleeping pills.

How Do I Know I May Be Addicted to Sleeping Pills?

Relying on the idea that prescription or over-the-counter medications are safer than street drugs like crack or heroin can lull a person into a false sense of security. When a person becomes addicted to sleeping pills, they exhibit certain signs and symptoms. These include:

  • Memory loss
  • Taking a higher dosage than prescribed or directed
  • Unable to sleep without using or abusing the medication
  • Needing to take larger amounts of the drug over time
  • Trying to cut down or quit taking the med and being unable to tolerate it
  • Using them for purposes other than sleeping, such as for anxiety or to feel high
  • Withdrawal symptoms when not using them
  • Doctor shopping, which is seeking multiple prescriptions from more than one doctor 
  • Combining sleeping pills with other drugs or alcohol
  • Hiding usage or lying about how many pills they take
  • Feeling “hungover” the next day

Side Effects of Sleeping Pills

Even when taken as prescribed, sleeping pills can cause side effects. A person who has become addicted and takes more than the recommended amount may experience increased side effects. Possible side effects include:

  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Change in appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling weak
  • Lethargy
  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Shakiness

How Is Sleeping Pill Addiction Treated?

As with any drug addiction, someone who abuses sleeping pills and cannot stop taking them needs professional help. Treatment begins with a detoxification program. Detox allows the body to rid itself of toxins built up throughout the addiction. Detox should never be undertaken alone due to the risk of dangerous and potentially deadly side effects that can happen when a person stops using sleeping pills.

After completing detox, many people enter a residential program, which involves living in a facility designed to treat drug and alcohol addiction. Other people can move from detox into outpatient services. Outpatient treatment includes individual and group therapy, holistic therapy, and other treatment modalities. Outpatient treatment can range from two to five days per week and allows the person to live at home while learning to live without sleeping pills. 

Part of a treatment plan for sleeping pill addiction will involve teaching the individual to sleep without the dangerous narcotics they previously used. Many people with a substance use disorder also have at least one mental illness. Residential and outpatient treatment centers often treat both addiction and mental health at the same time. Treatment can reduce a person’s need for the aid of sleeping pills. 

Treatment for Sleeping Pill Addiction in Los Angeles, CA

Do you have a problem taking too many sleeping pills and don’t know where to turn? Prescription drug addiction can take over a person’s life, leaving them unable to fulfill their potential and feel happy. We can help you overcome your reliance on sleeping pills and address co-occurring mental health issues. Contact Launch Centers in Los Angeles, CA, or visit our admissions page today and learn about our detox and outpatient services.

About Our Founder

Jose Hernandez, for over a decade, has been involved in alcohol and addiction recovery helping people succeed in overcoming substance abuse and regaining control of their lives. He has experience in all aspects of the recovery world, from facilitating entry into treatment as an intervention specialist to counseling and case management at rehabilitation facilities. Jose has worked one-on-one with individuals as a sober companion and with groups as a resident counselor at addiction treatment centers and is certified by the California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (CAADAC) to practice as a substance abuse counselor.

Through his professional experiences in crisis intervention, drug and alcohol detoxification, substance abuse counseling, and relapse prevention, Jose has developed a unique plan for case management that bridges the gap between a person’s painful past of substance abuse and a future of sobriety.

At Riviera Recovery, a sober living facility with multiple locations, clients continue their transition from the supportive environment of a treatment center to living well and happily in the “real” world. The program he designed at Riviera Recovery personalizes treatment plans that enable clients, including those with a single or dual-diagnosed mental health disorder, to embrace a satisfying life.

His greatest endeavor has been establishing LAUNCH, a Los Angeles-based life skills intensive outpatient program for young adults. LAUNCH works with recovering men and women to establish personal vocational and educational goals and develop the tools to successfully meet them. His mission is to ensure that no one stands alone in his or her recovery.

Meet Our Clinical Team

staff member drug alcohol treatment los angeles

Jess Beck, LCSW

Clinical Director

treatment team los angeles ca

Eric Chaghouri, MD


chloe kruskol los angeles rehab team

Chloe Kruskol, LCSW

Family Program Manager

Our Testimonials

Clients and Professionals Share Their Experience

  • HO

    Launch provided care on multiple levels. The highly skilled therapist coupled with the focus on purpose and long-term goals refocused my recovery from what previous treatment centers pushed onto me. I went from believing that I needed years of treatment to believing I needed years happiness and success. I began to focus on what I wanted to accomplish with my life. I came to realize all the things my addiction and mental illness had taken from me, and I used my future goals as a reason to never pick up again. Due to the passion that Launch instilled in me, I have pursued my future with excitement and dedication.

  • Nicole

    This place changed my life! I’ve had good laughs, good cries, shared a lot of heart to heart moments and grew a loving bond with everyone at Launch Centers. I will always be grateful!!! I really do miss it time to time. I highly recommend Launch Centers!

  • Joey

    The staff and clinicians are amazing and make you feel right at home from the second you walk in the door. I would absolutely recommend this place for a family member or close friend.

  • Ben

    This treatment facility has changed my life. I have always struggled with my mental health and this young adult program provided me with the necessary skills to launch to adulthood. I commend anyone who struggles with mental health or substance use (which was not me) to try this program out. It will change your life.

  • Conner

    Launch Centers Treatment was a major help to me. The therapists and staff genuinely cared about me and truly helped me to make a plan for my future. My personal therapists helped me to discover where some of my deeper issues came from. All of the staff worked tirelessly with me to talk through my issues, or just about life, and offered realistic solutions to my current problems and situation. All of the staff went above and beyond and advocated relentlessly for me. I am very grateful that I was able to have such a wonderful experience with Launch.

  • Adam

    In no uncertain terms Launch Centers changed my life. The staff at Launch are professional, knowledgable and relatable. They keep the format diverse and interesting which kept me engaged in the process. The greatest thing we can do in life is seek to improve ourselves. Launch gave me a skill set I consider to be invaluable in the journey of becoming the best version of myself. I would implore anybody considering Launch to step outside their comfort zone and go, you will not regret it.


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