What Are Z-Drugs And Are They Addictive? - Garden State Treatment

Everyone has trouble sleeping now and again. It may happen due to stress or other trauma you have encountered. Or it may because of nerves about something exciting coming up or nervous about a test the next. We all have had trouble sleeping. But sometimes it can affect your everyday life if it continues more than a day or two and we get desperate. This is where sleep medication can help.

Are Z-Drugs Addictive?

Z-drugs, including zolpidem, zopiclone, and zaleplon, are a group of non-benzodiazepine medications commonly prescribed for insomnia. They work by affecting neurotransmitters in the brain to promote sleep. While they are generally considered to be safer and have fewer side effects than benzodiazepines, they can still be potentially addictive.

Addiction to Z-drugs can develop, especially with long-term use or misuse. These drugs are typically recommended for short-term use, largely because of the risks associated with longer-term use, which include dependency and tolerance. When someone becomes tolerant to Z-drugs, they might need higher doses to achieve the same sleep-inducing effects, which can further lead to dependence.

Symptoms of dependence can include a continued need for the medication despite negative consequences, difficulty in reducing its use, and withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop. Withdrawal symptoms can be severe and include issues like anxiety, tremors, and rebound insomnia.

Therefore, it’s important to use Z-drugs under direct medical supervision and only as prescribed to minimize the risk of addiction.

What Are Z-Drugs Exactly?

Z-Drugs, also known as Z-class drugs or nonbenzodiazepine hypnotics, are a group of medications that are prescribed for the short-term treatment of insomnia. They are called Z-Drugs because their names typically start with the letter “Z.” The three main Z-Drugs are:

Zolpidem (Ambien)

Zolpidem is one of the most commonly prescribed Z-Drugs. It helps with falling asleep and staying asleep. It works by enhancing the effects of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain.

Zopiclone (Imovane, Lunesta)

Zopiclone is another Z-Drug that is used to treat insomnia. It has similar effects to zolpidem, helping with sleep initiation and maintenance.

Zaleplon (Sonata)

Zaleplon is a Z-Drug that acts quickly to help with falling asleep. It has a shorter duration of action compared to zolpidem and zopiclone.

    Z-Drugs are considered alternatives to benzodiazepines for the treatment of insomnia because they have a lower potential for dependence and withdrawal. However, they still carry some risks, such as daytime drowsiness, dizziness, memory problems, and the potential for abuse or misuse.

    It’s important to note that Z-Drugs should be used as prescribed and under the guidance of a healthcare professional. They are typically recommended for short-term use to address acute insomnia, and their long-term use should be avoided unless specifically instructed by a healthcare provider. Regular evaluations and discussions with your doctor can help determine the appropriate duration of treatment for your specific condition.

    Treatment for an Addiction to Z-Drugs

    Although originally marketed as safe alternatives to the habit-forming benzodiazepines, growing numbers of Z-drugs clinical concerns relating to their potential of abuse, dependence, and withdrawal have been reported over time.

    Just like benzos, z-drugs are addictive and therefore can cause harmful withdrawal symptoms. And just like benzos, Z-drugs are effective, but they are known to be habit-forming. The FDA has a boxed warning on all Z-drugs regarding their abuse potential.

    Similar effects to benzos can happen while on z-drugs such as users are known to prepare meals, drive, have sex, or take part in other activities while they are asleep. They have no recollection of the activity later. This can lead to very serious accidents and injuries, including death.

    Additional side effects include the following:

    • Drowsiness that lasts after you wake up
    • Reduced appetite
    • Dizziness
    • Memory loss
    • Pain in the eyes

    Get the Help You Need for Sleeping Pill Addiction

    Similar tapering method to detox, like if on benzos, are also recommended if you are coming off of z-drugs. At Garden State Treatment Center we can help you safely free yourself from addiction. Clients receive both individual and group therapy sessions at Garden State Treatment Center. We’ll go into more detail on the program pages, but these therapies each have the multi-faceted goals of resolving traumatic events, peer support, and long term relapse prevention.

    The most important thing you can expect from your Garden State Treatment Center Treatment experience is that you will emerge from it transformed, stable, and ready to begin a lifetime of recovery.


    • What is the difference between Benzodiazepines and Z-drugs?

    Published on: 2020-10-02
    Updated on: 2024-05-24