woman laying in bed thinking about ambien abuse and withdrawal

Ambien Abuse & Withdrawal

Ambien (otherwise known as zolpidem) is a sleep-inducing drug. It remains one of the most widely prescribed sedatives, despite having a high potential for abuse and withdrawal being especially taxing. Marketed as an insomnia remedy, a sleep aid, and a general sedative, Ambien has maintained a foothold in the pharmaceutical market since the early 90s—and for good reason. It’s good at what it sets out to do: slowing down the central nervous system and heart to allow for a relaxed state. However, despite its marketing as a less addictive sedative, Ambien has been compared to benzodiazepines (Xanax) in terms of addictive power.

Of the estimated 70 million Americans with some form of sleep disorder, Ambien remains a popular drug of choice. It’s hard to estimate precisely how many of the 15-19 million annual prescriptions result in abuse later down the line, but it is clear that even a single case of addiction can capsize an individual’s life. In addition to the risks addiction poses on its own, taken in combination with benzos can be fatal. Promises Behavioral Health offers a path forward for those who want to end their addiction on their own terms. Contact us at 844.875.5609 to ask about our drug rehab center and total treatment for Ambien abuse and withdrawal support.

Other trade names for zolpidem include Ambien CR, Intermezzo, Zolpimist, and Edluar. Ambien street names include A-minus and Zombie pills.

How Does an Ambien Addiction Begin?

Over the years, and even before its proper release, the addictive properties of even a standard-dosage prescription became apparent to those in the medical community. Despite the forewarning, Ambien is still widely advertised and prescribed for insomnia treatment just because of its effectiveness. Doctors have tried to keep prescription durations down to two weeks on average, but that’s still enough time to form an addiction.

When an Ambien dependence forms, it can feel like the current dosage is starting to become inadequate. Some patients will begin to overstep their prescribed amount, leading to running out of drugs early. From there, they may try to obtain more via an additional prescription or other illicit means. Like alcohol, Ambien is abused due to the reported capability of reducing anxiety. Mixing the two yields even more intense effects.

The Warning Signs of Ambien Addiction

The effects of Ambien can be immediate, putting a person to sleep in roughly 15 minutes. An allergic reaction can occur in some individuals, resulting in life-threatening symptoms. Others have reported such effects as:

  • Depressed mood
  • Unusual thoughts
  • Decreased inhibitions
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation or aggressiveness
  • Restlessness
  • Confusion
  • Loss of personality

Suicidal thoughts and actions among primarily depressed patients treated with sedatives-hypnotics have been reported. Taking excess Ambien not only amplifies the intensity and frequency of usual side effects, but it can also induce other symptoms such as hallucinations, total blackouts, and poor balance/coordination. Innumerable cases in which Ambien addicts prepare food, let their pet out or turn the stove on have occurred with no memory of doing so.

Symptoms of the Ambien Withdrawal Process

Ambien is known to cause withdrawal symptoms in those who quickly stop the medicine after taking it regularly for an extended period of time. Most prescriptions are relatively short, but It is also possible for withdrawal symptoms to occur when Ambien has only been taken daily for one to two weeks. Withdrawal symptoms associated with Ambien can include, but are not limited to:

  • Unpleasant feelings
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Stomach cramps
  • Panic attack
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Seizures

Treatment for Ambien Abuse and Withdrawal at Promises

Treatment for Ambien abuse and withdrawal can vary depending upon the patient and the level of addiction. The first step is an evaluation by a physician and a psychiatrist to determine the proper method for treatment. Detoxification is necessary, and the doctor may recommend 24/7 treatment. Ambien addicts are also likely to work on their relationship with sleep as part of their treatment. Promises Behavioral Health strives to provide comprehensive care that doesn’t just end at treatment; learning to use specific tools like yoga, meditation, exercise, and diet all make handling one’s relationship with Ambien easier. Don’t hesitate. Call 844.875.5609 to find out how you can take control of your addiction.

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