Background: Sleep medication is often reported as one of the most highly used psychotropic drugs in terms of past-year prevalence. Since their use often varies according to the characteristics of individuals, it is important to better understand these particular utilization patterns.
Objectives: The study aims to develop a typology of sleep medication users' characteristics, including their associated mental health and substance use.
Methods: Residents from the epidemiological area of south-west Montreal, Quebec aged 15 years and older responded to a questionnaire in 2009 and 2011. Among the 1822 people who participated at both T1 and T2, 306 (17%) reported use of medication to help them sleep. These participants were selected for cluster analysis based on five variables related to mental health. The identified clusters were then tested for association with sociodemographic, psychosocial, and service use characteristics.
Results: A three-cluster solution emerged: 1) older individuals without mental health problems, drug use or psychotropic medication use; 2) individuals with elevated psychological distress, drug use and low social support, and 3) individuals with mood and anxiety disorders, using services for mental health and taking two or more psychotropic medications.
Conclusions: The results establish the significance of problems related to mental health in differentiating sleep medication users. Consideration of these differences may improve the ability of health professionals to provide services that are better suited for patients, including interventions that increase the ability to cope with stress (cluster 2) and more integrated services for those with concurrent disorders (cluster 3).