Ambien Addiction

Jump to a section
Table of contents
Expand list

Part of the complete guide to understanding addiction

Ambien Addiction

Ambien is a hypnotic-sedative drug that is often used as a sleeping aid. Unfortunately, even though it may seem harmless, mostly because of how widespread its use is, Ambien can become addictive – even when used as prescribed.

Although cases of addiction may be not be extremely common, they can cause serious dependency when they occur. The side effects and the withdrawal effects are both severe, and they vary from person to person. By understanding how Ambien affects our body, we can learn to avoid it and support those who are struggling with an Ambien addiction.

Back to top

Ambien History

Ambien, a brand name for the drug zolpidem, was released as a treatment for insomnia in 1992. National Public Radio indicates that roughly 60 million Americans experience problems trying to sleep [1]. In addition, 1 out of 3 Americans experience at least mild insomnia, and Ambien is one of the most popular sleep medications to treat it.

Ambien works by making the user feel tired and helping them fall asleep; however, there has been little evidence over the years that it helps its users stay asleep. Additionally, Ambien is classified as a “soft drug” and a Schedule IV drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration. This means that users can abuse it in some cases, and users could potentially develop a physical dependence on it.

Back to top

Ambien Use

Ambien medication is predominantly utilized for a short period, typically 1 to 14 days. It is only available by prescription, and it is regularly taken as recommended at nighttime as a tranquilizer for patients who have trouble sleeping. Although Ambien can help aid sleep, some users may experience odd side effects like sleepwalking, sleep-driving, and sleep eating.

Ambien is pervasive among teens and young adults in the United States. It has been found that 7% of high school students showed Ambien aftereffects and admitted to misusing narcotic medications, which is a steep increase from 2.8% back in 1992. Women between the ages of 45 and 54 are more likely to ingest too much Ambien than any other category of people. While the younger people also are prone to Ambien abuse and other kinds of drugs that cause drowsiness, it is more popular with older women.

For example, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has found that the typical age of narcotic patients was 25 to 30 years old. However, a second report found a much different result; 74% of individuals who looked for emergency clinic care in 2005 and 2010 for Ambien-related issues were older than 44.

Ambien addiction symptoms include poor memory, social withdrawal, and hiding drug use. It is important to recognize signs of addiction in both ourselves and others so help can be received immediately.

Back to top

How Ambien Affects the Body

How severely Ambien affects your body depends on a few different variables, such as your genetic makeup, how you respond to medication, substance abuse history, and much, much more. Even more basic elements of everyday life such as how you feel, and what you think can affect how you use medications and how it affects you.

Ambien works to help insomnia by producing a calming effect on the brain. Like benzodiazepines, which are similar to Ambien, Ambien acts on receptor cells in the brain that bind with GABA. This chemical influences sleep and other neurological processes in the brain.

The effects of Ambien can begin to take place fairly quickly, and remain in the system for a short period as well. The drug peaks after about 90 to 120 minutes for most people, depending on whether they took an immediate- or an extended-release version of the drug. Overall, Ambien is metabolized much quicker than other drugs.

Back to top

Ambien Addiction and Beyond

Addiction isn’t the main life-changing result of Ambien use; its use endangers people in numerous ways. For example, it has been found that individuals who required 18 dozing pills or less each year had more than 3.5 times higher chance of death than the people who took no dozing pills [2]. Furthermore, individuals taking more than 132 pills each year were at multiple times higher risk of death and 35% higher risk for cancer [3].

No matter what your intentions when using Ambien are, it is important to be aware of the dangers that go along with it. Addiction can make it extremely hard to get off of the medication, and treatment can be a long and rocky road.

Individuals who take Ambien can develop an extreme reliance on the medication in just 2 to 3 weeks. This can happen even if the person is using the medication as prescribed and are taking the recommended dosage. A reliance on Ambien isn’t always equivalent to addiction, but it can easily lead to it.

When somebody is reliant upon Ambien in their daily life, they begin to build a tolerance and need a greater amount of the medication to get the same impact as before. Whenever they quit or cut back on taking Ambien, they will encounter withdrawal side effects that can become extremely serious, especially when quitting cold turkey.

Without treatment, users of Ambien can become highly dependent on the medication. This can eventually cause withdrawal side effects, fail to control their use, and strengthen desires to overuse the drug.

Withdrawal can occur just 6 to 8 hours after an individual stops using the drug, and it peaks on the second day. These symptoms may fade by the third or fourth day after the last use. Rather than stopping completely, withdrawal symptoms may be reduced or eliminated by slowly taking the drug less and less during drug detox treatment. Overdose can also occur as a result of the misuse of Ambien. Mixing Ambien with alcohol or taking more than 70 milligrams can result in an overdose, and symptoms include confusion, a slowed heart rate, extreme drowsiness, and a loss of consciousness. It is possible to survive an Ambien overdose, but it is rare when it is mixed with alcohol or other drugs.

Back to top

Understanding Ambien and The Body

Ambien is a hypnotic-sedative drug most commonly used as a sleep medication. Frequent use of Ambien can lead to addiction. Addiction withdrawal symptoms are severe, including depression, anxiety, uncontrollable crying, and stomach cramps.

Older people are more likely to experience withdrawal symptoms than younger people. This can make it hard for users of Ambien to come off of it, and it usually cannot be done cold turkey; it is best to taper it and slowly begin to stop using it. Overdose on Ambien most often occurs when mixed with alcohol or other drugs.

Although Ambien is a dangerous drug with severe symptoms and is highly addictive, it is possible to come off of it without extreme withdrawal symptoms. By being aware of what Ambien is and how it affects our body, we can learn how to safely use it or avoid it altogether. If you are suffering from an Ambien addiction reach out to Avenues Recovery today.

Back to top



Back to top

Check your insurance

We received your insurance request!

We will get back to you shortly. While you wait... you may find our resource blog helpful. Take a look below: