Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ambien should be replaced by talk therapy

Looking around the journals published so far in 2010, it's clear the research community is finally beginning to challenge the assumption that America should be medicated. If you listen to the pharmaceutical industry and the doctors who are paid to stand up and promote drugs as the best treatment for any disorder, you will hear a consistent pattern of propaganda. All our products have the FDA seal of approval. The clinical trials show our products are safe and effective. The health insurance industry pays most of the price for our products. Take our pills and get better. Indeed, when it comes to the top-selling sleeping pills, there are record numbers of prescriptions being written by doctors. The reason? Well, its not hard to suspect stress levels are increasing thanks to the recession. Unemployment is high. Credit levels have been reduced, There are foreclosures in every neighborhood. That's bound to make sleep more difficult. What's curious about the new records being set in the number of prescriptions is the additional financial burden this places on families when they can least afford it, and the implied assumption that sleeping pills can cure the underlying social and economic problems causing the stress.

The Journal of the American Medical Association reports talk therapy is more effective than sleeping pills. The research team gave the participants sleeping pills alongside therapy sessions and measured which had the better outcome. Because the talk asked why people were finding it difficult to sleep and discussed ways of resolving problems, people with the therapy sessions had better sleep than those on pills. This follows on research testing the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy which teaches people how to change their habit patterns to restore sleep. Therapists encourage people to avoid naps during the day, adopt a set routine for going to bed, and physically change the bedroom to minimize light and noise that might disturb sleep. When combined with techniques to address the cause of stress and relax, CBT has consistently been found to outperform sleeping pills.When you look at the statistics, there can be little doubt we use too many sleeping pills. Add in the increasing use of online pharmacies which supply drugs without the need for a prescription, and the scale of reliance on sleeping pills is almost certainly worse than we imagine. Why should we care? Because all the sleeping pills on the market can cause dependence. As people continue to take them, tolerance builds and the pills actually become less effective. Increasing the dose confirms the dependence and can lead to unwanted side effects. Yes, ambien is one of the better pills and there are fewer problems with its use, but if your insomnia has been disrupting your life for six months or more, you should consider undergoing therapy first. CBT is clearly the best. To help you focus during this learning period, your doctor may offer the use of a sleeping pill. If you decide to accept, ambien is the best but you should only take it for a few weeks at low dose. The long-term restoration of sleep is going to come from the therapy. Although this is a short-term cost to meet, your life will improve with natural sleep and your finances will be better of without having to buy sleeping pills for the rest of your life.


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