Sleep Medication For Anxiety and Insomnia
Sleep medication is a commonly used way to combat anxiety and insomnia. It’s essential that you follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and take these medications exactly as prescribed, since withdrawal symptoms can arise if you stop abruptly.
Antidepressants, benzodiazepines (sedatives), and melatonin-like drugs like ramelteon (Rozerem) can help reduce anxiety and promote sleep by altering how serotonin and GABA interact in the brain.
Some medications can have side effects, such as drowsiness and difficulty breathing, so it’s essential to take them as prescribed by your doctor. Additionally, consult with your pharmacist before taking these medicines since many can be hazardous when taken by people taking other types of medicines.
Non-benzodiazepine hypnotics are another option for helping individuals fall asleep. Studies have demonstrated they tend to be less addictive than benzodiazepines, though they may not work as effectively.
Estazolam, lormetazepam, zaleplon and quazepam are nonbenzodiazepine hypnotics that help people fall asleep quickly and stay asleep through the night. They’re commonly prescribed to treat mild to moderate forms of insomnia but may also prove beneficial in treating more severe cases of the disorder.
Hypnotics that may be useful for treating anxiety and insomnia include lorazepam, trazodone, and amitriptyline. While they can improve sleep quality by helping a person relax and calm their nerves, these medications may cause side effects like nausea, dizziness, or confusion.
Medications that help decrease anxiety and promote sleep have been prescribed to treat a range of conditions, such as social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Some are available only with a valid prescription while others can be purchased over the counter.
Prescription-only medications tend to be more effective and easier to regulate with regular use than over-the-counter sleeping pills, although OTC sleeping pills may lead to tolerance and drowsiness if taken long term. Therefore, they should not be used as a primary source of sleepiness.
The three most commonly prescribed prescription-only medications for anxiety and insomnia are zolpidem (Ambien, Ambien CR), ramelteon, and sertraline (Zoloft). These benzodiazepine hypnotics help people fall asleep quickly by relaxing the brain and suppressing thoughts that keep them up at night.
Rozerem, an FDA-approved drug, is a melatonin receptor agonist that helps people fall and stay asleep by increasing levels of melatonin in the brain. While Rozerem is generally safe and effective over long term usage, it may cause side effects like drowsiness, fatigue, nausea or headache.
Doxepin, a tricyclic antidepressant, is an effective medicine to help people fall and stay asleep. It’s safe for long-term use and doesn’t have the same side effects as benzodiazepines.
Studies have demonstrated that melatonin can be just as effective at treating chronic insomnia and anxiety in some patients. When combined with benzodiazepines, it may help address both conditions simultaneously.
Other prescription-only medications used to treat anxiety and insomnia include zolpidem extended-release (Zoloft), suvorexant (Belsomra), and daridorexant (Xanax). While these drugs can be taken long term, their efficacy and side effects should be monitored closely.