Research conducted at Laval University’s School of Psychology in Canada found that drugs used to treat insomnia could increase the risk of dying by 36%.
Data derived from Canada’s National Population Health Survey, consisting of 14,000 people, from a wide demographic, aged between 18 and102, who were surveyed from 1994 to 2007, found that those who took insomnia drugs at least once, in the month before the survey had a higher chance of dying from any cause. Factors such as, heavy drinking and smoking, fitness levels and whether an individual was depressed were all taken into consideration, when drawing up the findings.
Dr Belleville, leader of the study commented; “These medications aren't candy, and taking them is far from harmless”.
Another reason for the findings could be that sleeping pills and anti-anxiety drugs influence response times, alertness and co-ordination, making people more accident prone. Another reason may be due to how sleeping pills affect the breathing system, which could affect existing breathing problems, as well as how the central nervous system is affected, increasing the risk of suicide.
It was concluded that the best solution lay in a combination of pharmacological and psychological treatments.
The study was published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.
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