The Following Links discuss Sleep deprivation and addiction/recovery.
Insomnia and other sleep problems can be difficult for anyone to handle. When drug or alcohol abuse is added to the mix, the combination of conditions can create a vicious cycle that is hard to break on your own. Substance abuse and sleep deprivation make each other worse when they occur at the same time, and one condition often triggers the other. Not only is insomnia a common consequence of addiction, but it also affects people undergoing drug or alcohol treatment.
People who have entered treatment for drug or alcohol addiction are often surprised to experience insomnia during the process. One study of recovering alcoholics indicated that 75 percent of these individuals suffered sleep disturbances during the period immediately following detox. These sleep issues can persist throughout the early weeks of recovery.
Without intervention, ongoing insomnia and other sleep problems can increase the risk of a relapse. It’s essential for addiction treatment centers to address the issue of sleep disturbances in their treatment plans.
Sleep disturbances are extremely common in the early stages of recovery from alcohol dependence and may persist for several months despite continued abstinence. Studies indicate that sleep disturbances independently increase the risk for relapse to alcohol, suggesting that targeting these problems during recovery may support continued abstinence. However, there is limited information in the addiction literature about available and effective treatments for sleep disturbances in recovering alcoholic patients.
Nora D. Volkow, M.D., is Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health. NIDA is the world’s largest funder of research on the health aspects of drug use and addiction.
“Most common mental disorders, from depression and anxiety to PTSD, are associated with disturbed sleep, and substance use disorders are no exception. The relationship may be complex and bidirectional: Substance use causes sleep problems; but insomnia and insufficient sleep may also be a factor raising the risk of drug use and addiction. Recognizing the importance of this once-overlooked factor, addiction researchers are paying increased attention to sleep and sleep disturbances, and even thinking about ways to target sleep disruption in substance use disorder treatment and prevention.”
When people don’t get enough sleep, their willpower and self-control are lower than when they do. This can lead to relapses for people with drug addictions. Why Sleep is Important in Addiction Recovery Overcoming substance abuse necessitates a period of drug detox, where you eventually eliminate drug use completely. This period is extremely challenging as withdrawal symptoms occur.
One of the symptoms of withdrawal is trouble sleeping. As insufficient sleep is correlated with poor self-control, it’s important for recovering addicts to do what they can to get enough sleep and reduce the chances of a relapse. What’s more, sleep helps the body and mind to recover, and physical and spiritual healing are an important part of the recovery process.
Because all substance abuse disorders are tied to disrupted sleep, learning ways to enhance your ability to sleep can help you overcome drug addictions.
Sleep quality and addiction recovery have a deeply complex and interwoven relationship. Both using and withdrawing from drugs and alcohol can make getting good sleep harder, and vice versa. So if you’re suffering from a mental illness on top of your addiction, it can be doubly challenging to get the sleep you need to successfully recover from these conditions.
Not getting enough sleep during recovery leaves you vulnerable to relapse and worsens your mental health. Luckily, with the right treatment, it’s possible to recover successfully, avoid relapse, and improve your sleep problems along the way.
Sleep Deprivation Increases Vulnerability to Addiction Research has demonstrated that people with insomnia or other sleep problems are at higher risk for developing a drug or alcohol addiction. It makes sense; one of the first solutions that people reach for when they can’t fall asleep is to use a substance. Whether it’s Ambien, alcohol, or marijuana, many people with insomnia turn to using drugs to help them sleep. They might also need other substances during the day to keep them awake. Both of these, unfortunately, can quickly turn into an addiction.
Being sleep-deprived also has been shown to lead to cognitive impairments, like increased impulsivity, poor judgment, or irritability. This might be another way that lack of sleep can lead to increased risk for drug and alcohol abuse; if you’re sleep-deprived and not thinking clearly, you’re more likely to engage in risky behaviors like drug use.
Numerous studies dissecting the basic mechanisms that control sleep regulation have led to considerable improvement in our knowledge of sleep disorders. It is now well accepted that transitions between sleep and wakefulness are regulated by complex neurobiologic mechanisms, which, ultimately, can be delineated as oscillations between two opponent processes, one promoting sleep and the other promoting wakefulness. The role of several neurotransmitter or neuromodulator systems, including noradrenergic, serotonergic, cholinergic, adenosinergic, and histaminergic systems and, more recently, the hypocretin/orexin and dopamine systems, has been clearly established. Amphetamine-like stimulants are known to increase wakefulness by blocking dopamine reuptake, by stimulating dopamine release, or by both mechanisms. Modafinil may increase wakefulness through activation of noradrenergic and dopaminergic systems, possibly through interaction with the hypocretin/orexin system. Caffeine inhibits adenosinergic receptors, which in turn can produce activation via interaction with GABAergic and dopaminergic neurotransmission. Nicotine enhances acetylcholine neurotransmission in the basal forebrain and dopamine release. Understanding the exact role of the hypocretin/orexin and dopamine systems in the physiology and pharmacology of sleep-wake regulation may reveal new insights into current and future wakefulness-promoting drugs.