Sedatives that many younger adults can take without any problems can pose potentially dangerous issues for seniors who react far differently to certain active ingredients in medications. However, many doctors continue to prescribe these sedatives to seniors in an effort to help them sleep at night or to calm their racing minds at bedtime. Some of the most common drugs in this category include Xanax, Ambien, and Valium.
Potential Problems with Drugs
What many seniors do not realize is just how problematic these drugs can become. Many studies show that prescription sedatives can cause dizziness in seniors, which can then lead to more concerning and long-lasting issues, such as confusion and loss of balance. This confusion may clear up in the morning, or it may be more long-lasting. A loss of balance can lead to falls, which then lead to broken bones, surgeries, extended hospital stays and lengthy rehab. While the studies did indicate that seniors slept an average of 25 minutes longer each night when they took the sedative, serious health events, such as falls and even a car crash happened the next day. Other negative symptoms included headaches, nightmares, and nausea.
Health Options for Seniors
Whether one’s sedative use began in the hospital or was prescribed after a routine checkup, seniors should be very careful before taking them long-term. While stopping long-term sedative use abruptly may result in other negative consequences, seniors can usually safely taper off these prescriptions under their doctor’s supervision. Interestingly enough, seniors who have successfully tapered off and stopped their sedatives often report that they have no more sleep problems without the drug than they did while they were taking it.