Providing Health and Well Being Through Proper Sleep Will Change Your Life
Unlocking the Connection Between Substance Abuse and Your Sleep Health

One of the most urgent crises in our world today is the devastation brought on by illicit drug use. The cost to the lives of individuals, families and communities is catastrophic.

Recent preliminary findings indicate a strong connection exists between illicit drug use and sleep disorders. Further understanding of this connection can lead to a breakthrough in treatment and hope for recovery.

The Importance of Sleep

Sleep is a core contributor to our overall health. Lack of productive, restorative sleep has been linked to diminished physical and psychological health. The problem is so pervasive that The International Classification of Sleep Disorders has identified over 90 distinct sleep disorders. Understandably, those who suffer sleep disorders crave the rest their bodies need.

The Devastation of SUDs

The excessive use of psychoactive substances has a disastrous effect on sleep. These substances are divided into two groups:

  1. Stimulants (known as “uppers”): These substances have a stimulating effect on the central nervous system, causing the user to feel excited, alert and focused. Examples of stimulants include amphetamines, cocaine, methylenedioxymethamphetamine (“Ecstasy” or “Molly”), nicotine and hallucinogens.
  2. Depressants (known as “downers”): These substances deliver a sedating effect to the central nervous system. The user may initially experience a sense of calm or relaxation. Examples of depressants include alcohol, benzodiazepines, hypnotics, cannabis and opioids.

Illicit substances offer false hope for answers to sleep problems. Meanwhile, a deadly trap is being set.

The Cycle of Substance Abuse and Sleep Disorders

Once a person develops one or more SUDs, tolerance to the substances begins to grow. Users find that they can no longer gain their desired effects and react by increasing their dosages.

Those who try to stop their drug of choice by themselves usually find their symptoms intensify and new ones develop. Case studies have revealed that damage to healthy sleep patterns can last for months or years. These former users experience a high rate of relapse.

Pharmacotherapy is the most common approach for the medical treatment of sleep disorders. A therapeutic dosage of a controlled substance is used to wean a patient from dependence on another substance. While helpful in many cases, the rate of relapse with this method is still relatively high.

The Promise of Behavioral Sleep Intervention

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) is a productive behavioral intervention method. This method weaves together elements of stimulus control, sleep education and cognitive restructuring. Sleep improvements are demonstrated for longer periods after treatment. Relapse rates are significantly lower than psychotherapeutic methods.

A growing amount of evidence shows how vital high-quality sleep is to our health. Beneficial sleep is possible without dependence on substances or the risk of SUDs. Contact your health professional about scheduling an in-depth sleep study today. Take the first step in breaking the dreaded substance/sleep cycle and moving toward greater health.