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Stress Related Insomnia & OTC Sleep Medications

Over-the-counter (OTC) sleep medications can be convenient for short-term relief of stress related insomnia symptoms, but they also come with potential risks and side effects, particularly concerning brain health. Unfortunately, these are rarely discussed until patients develop significant side effects or suffer one of the more significant issues we discuss here today. Let's talk about some of the dangers associated with OTC sleep meds and their impact on brain health. We urge you to also exercise extreme caution with "all natural" supplements and "insomnia cures" which are often contain multiple herbs, melatonin et cetera as these are not without risk either.

1. Cognitive Impairment: Many OTC sleep medications contain antihistamines such as diphenhydramine or doxylamine, which can cause drowsiness and cognitive impairment. Prolonged use of these medications may lead to difficulties with concentration, memory, and overall cognitive function.

2. Dependency and Tolerance: OTC sleep medications can be habit-forming, leading to dependency and tolerance over time. This means that individuals may require higher doses to achieve the same sleep-inducing effects, increasing the risk of adverse side effects and potential harm to brain health.

3. Increased Risk of Falls and Accidents: Sedating effects of OTC sleep medications can persist into the next day, impairing coordination and reaction time. This increases the risk of falls, accidents, and injuries, which can have detrimental effects on brain health, especially in older adults.

4. Drug Interactions: OTC sleep medications can interact with other medications or substances, potentially exacerbating their sedative effects or causing adverse reactions. These interactions can affect brain function and overall health, especially in individuals with multiple medical conditions or those taking multiple medications.

5. Disruption of Natural Sleep Patterns: OTC sleep medications may disrupt the natural sleep cycle, leading to fragmented or poor-quality sleep. This can negatively impact cognitive function, mood, and overall brain health over time.

6. Long-Term Health Risks: Some research suggests a potential link between long-term use of certain OTC sleep medications and an increased risk of dementia or cognitive decline. While more studies are needed to establish a clear causative relationship, the potential risks warrant caution, especially with prolonged or excessive use.

7. Masking Underlying Issues: OTC sleep medications may mask underlying sleep disorders or other medical conditions that contribute to poor sleep quality. By addressing symptoms without addressing the root cause, individuals may miss opportunities for proper diagnosis and treatment of underlying health issues that can impact brain health.

In summary, while OTC sleep medications can provide short-term relief for insomnia, they come with potential risks and dangers, particularly concerning brain health. It's important to use these medications judiciously, under the guidance of a Physician. In our practice with an emphasis on lifestyle medicine we find a vast majority of patients are able to eliminate the use of OTC sleep medications. ~ We Are Here for You


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Stress Related Insomnia & OTC Sleep Medications
Stress Related Insomnia & OTC Sleep Medications

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