Anxiety and Insomnia Medications Increase Death Risk 36 Percent

Sleeping medications may increase death risk by 36 percent

People attempting to relieve insomnia and anxiety with medication may be at an increased risk of dying, upwards of 36 percent. A new study published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry evaluates the effects of taking certain medications and the mortality risk.

For this study, data from over 14,000 people were analyzed over the course of 12 years. Data involves information including demographics, lifestyle choices, and overall health. People were between the ages of 18 and 102, and data was collected every two years from 1994 to 2007.

During the study, those who confirmed using medications for treatment of insomnia or anxiety, a minimum of once in the month prior to the survey had a mortality rate of nearly 16 percent. Those reporting to never use a medication noticed a mortality rate of 10.5 percent. After accounting for various factors that may influence mortality risks, such as alcohol or tobacco,  general health, and activity levels, researchers determined using medications for insomnia or anxiety to show a mortality risk increase of 36 percent.

Experts explain sleeping pills affect the reaction time and alertness and may increase the chance of major accidents. Also, the medications may slow the respiratory system and aggravate breathing while an individual is sleeping. The medications may alter judgment and increase suicide risk as well.

Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to be a healthy alternative to taking medications. A modest combination of medication and therapy may be the best solution to reduce anxiety and insomnia in individuals.