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Medications Used for the Sleep Disorder of Chronic Insomnia
The types of sleep medications that are available to people with insomnia fall into two categories, prescription and over-the-counter medications. Each sleep medication affects the body differently. The effectiveness of the sleeping pill is a major factor when dealing with sufferers of this sleep disorder. How quickly the pill will take effect and how long the effect will last are very important. The effect should match the individual's sleep problem. The fast acting drugs would benefit a person who has difficulty falling asleep while a longer lasting pill would better benefit someone who has difficulty staying asleep.
Other important factors concerning medications for people with this sleep disorder include the impact the medication has on sleep quality, the tolerance that a person has for the drug, the possibility of developing a dependence on the drug, and the side effects associated with the drug. Each of these points has to be considered when deciding to take sleep medication for chronic insomnia.
Many over-the-counter sleep medications contain some type of antihistamine as a primary active ingredient. Antihistamines are widely used to treat allergies and they are also effective in helping people fall asleep. However, there has been little research done on their long-term effectiveness or safety.
Prescription medications for the sleep disorder of chronic insomnia are classified into four general groups: benzodiazepine receptor agonists, antidepressants, melatonin receptor agonists, and barbiturates. Each one of these drug groups has specific benefits in regards to treating insomnia. However, it is very important that the right type of for chronic insomnia medication is prescribed for each individual person with this sleep disorder.
Before choosing a sleeping medication, it is very important to determine the source of the insomnia. For example, perhaps the source of the insomnia is the result of another treatable illness, or a side effect of a medication that is taken. The insomnia is then called secondary insomnia. The focus on medication should then be on the primary illness. Often the insomnia will disappear once the underlying cause is treated.
The decision of whether or not to take sleep mediation for chronic insomnia has to be a personal decision. There is no right or wrong decision. However, it is important, if the choice is to take a medication for this sleep disorder, to become as educated as possible about the medication prescribed.
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