Youth Dropping Sleepers

February 3rd, 2009 | Sources: NY Times

Sleeping pill utilization tripled in young adults between 1998 and 2006, according to a Thomson Reuters analysis of claims from a cohort of employers.

shouldadroppedambienlastniteAt the beginning of the period, there were 599 users per 100,000 young- and college-aged adults. By 2006, the number had risen to 1,525 users, or 1.5% of this population.

Still, sleeper dropping was much less common in this group than adults in the 35 to 44 age bracket. There, utilization increased from 3.3% to 4.4% over the same period.

The most popular sleepers were Lunesta and  Ambien CR which cost a small fortune compared to generic benzodiazepines which are so yesterday and believed by some to have a higher dependency risk.

In young adults chronic insomnia is a frequent presenting symptom of mental health problems like anxiety disorders and depression, and by the way Mary Susan Esther, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine can’t believe how non-conducive college dorms are to sacking out.

Having walked on these campuses,” she recounted for the New York Times, “I can tell you it’s changed a lot. It used to be fairly quiet by 2am. Now that is sort of midday. That’s the part I worry about most.”

Changing cultural attitudes toward prescription drug use are driving increased sleeper utilization, according to Eric Plakun, a psychiatrist and director of admissions at Austen Riggs Center.

“This is a generation that was raised on Ritalin and Adderall,” he told the Times. “They and their parents have turned to medication and found (it) can be helpful.”

By the way, most of the users got prescriptions from their family doctors or internists, not some spam pharmacy deal.


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