Ambien Abuse & Withdrawal

Posted on August 14th, 2009
Posted in Articles

You have surely seen this popular sleeping drug advertised, with visions of blissful sleep and happy mornings. However, it has come under criticism for the potential for abuse.

Ambien is the brand name for the generic zolpidem tartrate, which is known as a sedative or a hypnotic that affects the chemicals in the brain that may have become unbalanced and caused sleep problems in an individual. It is generally used for short-term treatment of insomnia.

The medication is available in 5 mg and 10 mg strength tablets for oral administration.

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

Abuses of Ambien

A person seeking to abuse Ambien will take it orally, crush it, snort it or cook it for intravenous injection. Abuse of the drug can occur if it is used longer than just a few weeks or at high doses. Ambien can also be easily abused if alcohol is mixed with the drug as it intensifies the effect.

Ambien abuse has been on the rise because of the vivid visuals and body high the drug can deliver. It is also abused due to the reported capability of reducing anxiety. Some recreational users have reported a mild euphoria, moderate perceptual changes, and slight visual distortions.

Effects of Ambien

The effects from Ambien can be immediate, putting a person to sleep in roughly 15 minutes. In some individuals, an allergic reaction can occur, resulting in life-threatening symptoms. Others have reported such effects as depressed mood, unusual thoughts, risk-taking behavior, decreased inhibitions, anxiety, aggression, agitation, restlessness, confusion, memory loss, loss of personality, and more. Suicidal thoughts and actions among primarily depressed patients treated with sedatives-hypnotics have been reported.

Less serious effects of Ambien can include drowsiness, dizziness, weakness, lack of coordination, amnesia, vivid or abnormal dreams, nausea, constipation, stuffy nose, sore throat, headache, muscle pain, and blurred vision.

Withdrawal of Ambien

Ambien is known to cause withdrawal symptoms in those who quickly stop the medicine after taking it daily for a long time. It is also possible, however, for withdrawal symptoms to occur when Ambien has only been taken daily for one to two weeks. Unfortunately, there is no way for your healthcare provider to know beforehand if you will have Ambien withdrawal symptoms.

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 of Ambien Addiction

Treatment for Ambien addiction can vary depending upon the patient and the level of addiction. The first step is 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. They can be taught how to use specific tools like yoga, meditation and exercise as well as diet and nutrition, changing caffeine intake, creating new patterns, and counseling to determine the cause for taking Ambien in the first place.

In taking such an approach, a quality treatment center identifies the problems linked to the Ambien use and abuse to increase the likelihood of a full recovery from the addiction.

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