Worry and stress are a part of everyday life. However they should not be your life. When these feelings take over, you want relief. You may turn to prescription medications meant to treat anxiety. You may self-medicate with alcohol or illegal drugs. You may take sleep aids like Ambien to combat anxiety-related insomnia or to number other anxiety symptoms.

Drugs are not a long-term solution. They often make anxiety symptoms worse or add new troubles. They interrupt sleep cycles and make it harder, not easier, to sleep through the night. Anxiety, sleep issues, and substance abuse are closely related. Learn to manage mental health and create a healthy sleep schedule. Learn about alternatives to Ambien for anxiety disorders.

Anxiety and Insomnia

Trouble sleepingDon’t be surprised if your mental health symptoms include insomnia. Individuals with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues also often have trouble sleeping, sleep too much, or experience poor sleep quality.

The Journal of Psychiatric Research1 found, “Presence of severe insomnia, diagnosis of primary insomnia or insomnia related to a medical condition, and insomnia that lasted more than one year were predictors of a psychiatric history…When anxiety disorders were involved, insomnia appeared mostly at the same time or after the anxiety disorder.”

If you are currently struggling with anxiety, you may be also be having trouble sleeping. If you feel your anxiety is under currently under control, you may still experience insomnia. The two conditions overlap. Ignoring one puts you at risk for the other. Self-medicating one can lead to mental health relapse and add problems related to substance abuse. Find alternatives to Ambien and other drugs to find real, lasting relief and mental health.

On the surface, Ambien seems like a good solution to sleeplessness. However it is questionably effective. Any use comes with potential side effects including continued difficulty sleeping and addiction risk. Exploring alternatives means exploring medication-free options for healthy sleep. It involves learning to manage your mental and physical health for overall wellness.

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Therapy as an Alternative to Ambien

illustration of man examining the brainAlternatives to Ambien exist. Many skills, tools, and strategies promote healthy sleep and support mental health. The National Sleep Foundation2 recommends varies Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques to combat insomnia. These include Sleep Restriction Therapy, or setting a strict schedule for when you can and can’t try to sleep. It eliminates naps and going to bed early until you can reset your sleep schedule. Sleep hygiene and stimulus control practices help you learn where and how you will sleep best.

Relapse prevention ensures the changes you make to your sleep schedule and habits stay in place. CBT can and should be tailored to individual needs. CBT has the added benefit of being a useful tool for both managing mental health and substance use issues. You may find you can use many of the same skills you learn in therapy to address sleeplessness, anxiety symptoms, and Ambien addiction.

Managing Anxiety and Insomnia

When you get the sleep you need, your anxiety symptoms may naturally decline. This does not mean you can ignore your anxiety. The underlying anxiety disorder will continue to exist, and it can put your sleep and your health at risk. Treatment programs like those at Black Bear Lodge provide comprehensive, integrated treatment. These programs do more than address surface substance use.

Black Bear Lodge in it's secluded and peaceful settingWe offer in-depth assessments and customized treatment plans. We offer support and healing for any co-occurring mental, physical, and emotional health issues. We offer therapeutic services such as CBT that can treat multiple concerns at the same time. Sleep, mental health, and substance use are closely related.

When you leave treatment, you should leaves with the tools to manage all three. You should leave with the skills you need for a well-rested, drug-free, and balanced life. Call 706-914-2327 today to learn more about your individual options for long-term recovery.


1 Ohayon, Maurice. “Place of Chronic Insomnia in the Course of Depressive and Anxiety Disorders.” Journal of Psychiatric Research. Feb. 2003. Accessed 14 Jul. 2017.

2 National Sleep Foundation. “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia.” Accessed 14 Jul. 2017.