The Relationship Between Sleep, Addiction & Relapse

Troubled sleep can lead to a more troubled road to recovery from addiction to drugs and alcohol. In one study of 74 alcoholics, relapse occurred in 60 percent of those initially reporting insomnia but in only 30 percent of those without insomnia. Numerous other studies have shown similar ties between sleep disorders and the risk of relapse. While this link is clear, the relationship between the two can take form in surprising ways. For example, studies have shown that adolescents with insomnia are more likely to abuse substances later in life. One can also cause the other; sleep disorders can lead to the abuse of prescription drugs, while the abuse of various substances may also cause sleep disorders to occur. Such disorders are especially dangerous for those in recovery from addiction. The association between sleep disorders and high relapse rates applies to both alcohol and other kinds of psychoactive drugs. Along with having a direct connection to the risk of relapse, sleep disorders are also linked to anxiety and depression – two conditions that make recovery more difficult and are themselves linked to addiction.

Sleep is tied to reward centers in the brain – the same reward centers that are involved in addictive drug-seeking behaviors. One study finds that the section of the brain responsible for directing the sleep-wake cycle also affects addictive behaviors. The study concludes that activating this section of the brain causes increased stress and addictive impulses. While it is not fully understood how sleep disorders can increase the likelihood of relapse, these findings make the relationship clearer.

Many people try to fix sleep disorders with alcohol and drugs, but this approach only serves to make the problem worse. Consuming alcohol or taking prescription drugs may help someone sleep, but that sleep will be of poor quality and will not solve the underlying issues. There are healthier and safer ways to fight insomnia and other common sleep disorders. One of these is cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), which focuses on addressing negative thoughts and misconceptions about sleep. Simpler solutions help as well: avoiding the light from electronic devices at night (TV, computers, etc), exercising in the morning, and practicing good sleep habits – such as keeping a bedtime routine and eating the right foods – can all have a positive effect on those suffering from insomnia. Making these changes is not always easy, but can greatly reduce the risk of relapse into substance abuse and addiction to drugs and alcohol.

Finding Treatment For Your Addiction or Alcoholism

Coming to terms with your addiction can be a difficult task. It is hard to admit that you are powerless over your ability to stop using and asking for help can be even more difficult. At Evolutions Treatment Center we understand this and many of our trained staff members have been exactly where you are right now. So if you believe you have a problem with drugs or alcohol and want to seek help, then call Evolutions Treatment Center today at 1-800-795-8527. We can help you find the support you need in order to finally overcome your addiction and get you on the path to recovery. We are standing by to help, so call today.