Ambien Addiction and Abuse
Ambien abuse and addiction: Signs, symptoms and effects
Ambien abuse and addiction may be difficult to identify, as the drug is mostly used for treatment purposes. However, an addiction to Ambien can develop faster than you might expect. Addiction begins with the development of tolerance after prolonged use of the medication, making you need more of the drug to cope. This is why Ambien is mostly prescribed for short-term use, as it has an extremely high potential for abuse and addiction.
The pharmacological effects of Ambien include extreme relaxation and drowsiness, as its intended use is to manage disruptive sleep disorders. However, these pleasurable feelings can result in dangerous patterns of abuse and even a sleeping pill addiction. If you or a loved one are using Ambien, it’s crucial to ensure that the medication is being taken exactly as prescribed. A developing addiction can be detected by looking for common signs and symptoms of addiction, and seeking immediate help.
Short-term effects of Ambien abuse
The residual effects of Ambien abuse may persist through the next day, depending on the dose of Ambien taken and the time of night it was ingested. You may experience effects resembling a hangover from a night of drinking. After waking the next morning, you could experience several hours of persistent drowsiness, memory loss, headaches, and gastrointestinal disturbances like nausea. In addition, Ambien can cause sleepwalking (als
Short-term effects of Ambien abuse
The residual effects of Ambien abuse may persist through the next day, depending on the dose of Ambien taken and the time of night it was ingested. You may experience effects resembling a hangover from a night of drinking. After waking the next morning, you could experience several hours of persistent drowsiness, memory loss, headaches, and gastrointestinal disturbances like nausea. In addition, Ambien can cause sleepwalking (also known as somnambulism) and a strange phenomenon known as sleep-eating or night-eating syndrome – especially when you’ve taken multiple doses.o known as somnambulism) and a strange phenomenon known as sleep-eating or night-eating syndrome – especially when you’ve taken multiple doses.
What is Ambien?
Ambien is the brand name for a sedative-hypnotic substance known as Zolpidem Tartrate. It is commonly used in the treatment of insomnia and certain sleep problems in adults. Ambien can help you to fall asleep faster, and to have a better night’s rest (if you’re having trouble falling asleep). When taken correctly, it can make you feel sleepy, comfortable and relaxed, as it acts on your brain to produce a calming effect.
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The difference between Ambien and Zolpidem
Zolpidem is a sedative-hypnotic substance used in the treatment of insomnia. It can help to balance brain chemical levels, treating sleep problems like insomnia. Zolpidem is available in different forms such as Zolpimist, Edluar, Intermezzo and Ambien, which are immediate-release forms of the medication.
Ambien is a brand name of the generic Zolpidem and is also prescribed by doctors as a sleep aid. However, it has been associated with risky and complicated sleep-related behaviours, such as sleep-eating and sleep-driving. These behaviours are even worse with high doses of the drug or when combined with alcohol or other sleep medications.
Risks of Ambien abuse
There are a number of negative consequences that can result from Ambien abuse, such as physical dependence, withdrawal symptoms, addiction and the risk of overdose. Physical dependence involves an unstable pattern of substance use, resulting in signs of tolerance, withdrawal, a compulsive need to use Ambien and unsuccessful efforts to quit. Addiction is another risk of abuse, involving continued use of the drug despite negative personal, social, financial or legal
consequences. In addition, you may abandon activities that once gave you pleasure in favour of seeking and consuming more Ambien.
The potential for overdose is a risk of abuse commonly associated with drugs like Ambien. However, overdose is more likely to occur when you mix the drug with alcohol or other intoxicating substances. Overdose also occurs when, as a result of memory impairment, you could forget to take a pill, subsequently causing you to take more on your next dose. Ambien abuse also exposes you to the risks of withdrawal, especially after you’ve used it for a long time or in high amounts. Some symptoms of withdrawal include insomnia, delirium, nervousness, cravings, agitation and irritability.
Is it legal to use Ambien?
Although it is not illegal to possess or use Ambien without a prescription in the UK, misusing Ambien can lead to dependence. As such, Ambien is usually prescribed for short periods of up to two weeks, and even less in some cases. In the US, it’s illegal to use Ambien without a prescription from your doctor.
Ambien Abuse and Addiction: Signs, Effects and Symptoms
Ambien is prescribed mainly for the short-term treatment of insomnia that may have developed as a reaction to certain forms of stress, such as the death of a loved one, conflict with a family member, sudden financial ruin or the loss of a job. Ambien can help in these scenarios, providing a sleep-inducing and relaxing effect that can help you find relief from a few sleepless nights. However, using this drug can lead to reactions that vary widely from the expected effects.
In some cases, Ambien may not make you feel sleepy or tired; instead, you may experience a feeling of euphoria and an improvement in your ability to handle the stress you face from day to day. You might not feel sedated at all – even with very high doses – and it is reactions like these that make the drug so addictive.
When addiction develops, it can be difficult to notice, especially when you appear fairly normal, instead of acting intoxicated. However, some of the symptoms and effects that can indicate Ambien addiction include: insomnia, cravings, slowed breathing, failed attempts to quit and lack of interest in previously-enjoyed hobbies.
How Ambien addiction develops: Who is most at risk?
Ambien addiction can develop when you have a high tolerance to the drug, and also as a result of taking the medication regularly. Continued use of Ambience can result in dependence, so that you begin to feel incapable of functioning normally without the drug. When addiction occurs, it can be extremely challenging to stop taking Ambien without help. Ambien acts on the brain’s GABA receptors in almost the same way as addictive drugs like benzodiazepines. The result can be highly addictive, and you may begin to crave more of the effects, leading to abuse.
The people most at risk are those with a history of substance abuse. If you’ve abused some form of potent medications or non-benzodiazepines (for nonmedical reasons) in the past, you could have a high likelihood of abuse. The high risk of physical and emotional dependence from Ambien could therefore mean that your body needs more of the drug in order to achieve the desirable effects or to feel normal.
Signs and symptoms of Ambien abuse
Ambien abuse is more than a street problem, as the drug is also abused by people with legitimate medical needs via a prescription. People such as pilots, truck drivers and workers keeping irregular hours may also abuse Ambien – especially at high dosages – because of tolerance. If you’ve been abusing Ambien, you may experience withdrawal symptoms when you go for a significant amount of time without a dose.
As tolerance to Ambien develops, you may feel anxiety and rebound insomnia, which you might try to treat by using even more drugs. Other withdrawal symptoms you can experience include delirium, cravings, insomnia, nervousness, seizures, irritability or agitation. Ambien abuse can therefore encourage illicit drug use or criminal activities, due to desperate attempts to obtain more of the substance.
Using Ambien can cause some side effects, which may be even more severe with abuse. These side effects include sleepiness during the day, memory loss, anxiety, abnormal extroversion, hallucinations, confusion, agitation, aggressiveness, suicidal thoughts or actions and worsening of depression. In addition, you might get out of bed to perform an activity unconsciously such as sleep-walking, making phone calls, or cooking and eating food.
How Ambien is abused
Some people will use Ambien in larger amounts or more frequently than recommended as they begin to become dependent on the drug, or mix it with other substances for consumption such as alcohol or other prescription drugs.
The best way to avoid abusing and becoming addicted to Ambien is to strictly follow your doctor’s recommendation regarding dosage, use and duration of intake. Usually, Ambien is not prescribed for any longer than around six weeks. The medication can start to resolve insomnia within the first 10 days, and long-term treatment may not be needed. In addition, if you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, you should not take Ambien, as you could have a high chance of abuse and dependence.
Physical, emotional and social effects of Ambien abuse
Ambien abuse can lead to problematic withdrawal symptoms that may cause you to continue using the drug in order to control the effects. This leads to a vicious cycle of addiction, as you begin to experience frightening effects from withdrawal, attempt to stop taking Ambien, and later experience a return of the initial withdrawal symptoms. Getting help at an inpatient drug addiction treatment centre is the safest way to break free of the cycle, as proper detox can help you undergo withdrawal without experiencing any uncomfortable effects.
Using Ambien not only puts you at risk of dependence and addiction, but some serious physical, emotional and social effects. Some of the potential effects associated with Ambien abuse include: psychological problems, constant fights and arguments, excessive absences, increased aggression, negative consequences at work or school, accidents, inability to complete work, tolerance, sleep apnoea, sexual dysfunction, increased agitation, hallucinations, paranoia, anxiety, immunosuppression, confusion, serious health problems and an increased risk of death.
Short-term effects of Ambien abuse
The residual effects of Ambien abuse may persist through the next day, depending on the dose of Ambien taken and the time of night it was ingested. You may experience effects resembling a hangover from a night of drinking. After waking the next morning, you could experience several hours of persistent drowsiness, memory loss, headaches, and gastrointestinal disturbances like nausea. In addition, Ambien can cause sleepwalking (also known as somnambulism) and a strange phenomenon known as sleep-eating or night-eating syndrome – especially when you’ve taken multiple doses.
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Long-term effects of Ambien abuse
One of the more severe effects of abusing Ambien is developing a tolerance to the drug. When you increase your dosage without the approval of your doctor – or take Ambien for a month or more – you can develop a significant tolerance to the drug. Increased Ambien tolerance can be identified by needing to increase your dosage frequently in order to feel the same effects initially achieved.
Insomnia is another long-term effect of Ambien abuse. When you’re suffering from Ambien-induced insomnia, you may increase your dose, because you’ve become tolerant to the drug. This can lead to overdose in the form of extreme drowsiness or even loss of consciousness.
Ambien and Ambien Abuse: Facts and Statistics
- Abusing Ambien by mixing it with alcohol and other medications can lead to a dangerously reduced heart rate or even death
- Ambien has a special coating to discourage potential abusers from crushing and snorting it. However, the drug is still crushed by some users through different methods
- A study carried out by the US Department of Health and Human Services found that 44% of six million users with prescriptions were younger than 18
- According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, students who use Ambien to get ‘high’ have a difficult time falling asleep
- Using Ambien can lead to extremely dangerous activities, such as sleep-driving and sleep-eating, especially as the user has no control over their actions
Relationship between Ambien and other substances
Ambien is widely abused by users of stimulant drugs to ‘come down’ after ingesting stimulants such as cocaine, methamphetamine, amphetamines and MDMA. When you use Ambien to achieve a recreational ‘high’, you might attempt to overcome the effects of the drug by struggling to stay awake. This could cause you to hallucinate. Recreational abuse of the medication may also lead to visual distortions, mild euphoria, and decreased anxiety.
How is Ambien prescribed?
If you’ve used Ambien before, your doctor might prescribe a smaller dose. However, Ambien and all forms of Zolpidem should always be taken with strict adherence to your doctor’s prescription.
How do People Obtain Ambien to Abuse it?
Some people are prescribed Ambien by their doctor for therapeutic purposes, and may begin to abuse it because of a tolerance build-up. Others may only obtain Ambien from friends who have a prescription, to use as a way to get ‘high’.
How will Ambien use affect me?
The way Ambien affects you depends on how much and how often you use the drug. It also depends on the way your body chemistry interacts with the medication. How and why you use the drug – in addition to your family history and personal history of drug usage – also contribute to the impact Ambien use will have on you.
Is Ambien addictive?
Ambien is addictive when abused; it only takes a short period for addiction to develop. However, if you take Ambien as directed over the course of a few nights, it’s unlikely you will become addicted.
How long does it take to become addicted to Ambien?
It is not recommended to take sleep medications like Ambien for a long time. This substance is supposed to help you fall asleep and regain a healthy sleep pattern. Ambien is only a short-term solution, as it can lead to long-lasting problems. The side effects caused by Ambien and other sleep medications containing Zolpidem begin as soon as you start using the drug, and they can escalate very quickly. You could find that you’ve developed Ambien dependence or addiction after only a short period of time.
What are the symptoms of addiction?
Instead of appearing intoxicated whilst under the influence of Ambien, you may appear normal. However, when you constantly notice certain physical side effects from Ambien, you may actually be facing addiction. Some of such side effects include: weakness, dry mouth, sore throat, light-headedness, stuffy nose or nasal irritation, daytime drowsiness, dizziness, or balance problems.
Unhealthy and unusual habits may also develop, which are also other symptoms of addiction, such as: ‘doctor shopping’ (switching doctors frequently to get a new prescription for the drug), illegal behaviours, risky behaviours such as driving whilst under the influence of Ambien, needing more of the drug before the next dose is due and being obsessed with sourcing and using Ambien.
What does Ambien look like?
Ambien is available in different forms such as:
- Ambien 5mg: pink, oblong, film-coated tablets
- Ambien 10mg: white, oblong, film-coated tablets
- Ambien CR 6.25mg: pink, round, film-coated tablets
- Ambien CR 12.5mg: blue, round, film-coated tablets
What are the street names for Ambien?
Ambien has been referred to by several street names, including Tic-Tacs, No-Go pills, Zombie pills, Sleepeasy and A-minus. These street names generally evolve from the personal experiences of Ambien users. A-plus is used to refer to Adderall because of its stimulant effects, while Ambien is called A-minus for its sedative effects.
Can you overdose (OD) on Ambien?
It’s possible to overdose on Ambien if you take more than the prescribed amount or if you use it in combination with other prescription or non-prescription drugs, as well as alcohol. Ambien overdose can occur either intentionally or accidentally. While it’s rare, overdosing on Ambien can have deadly consequences. Some serious central nervous system effects can occur, possibly resulting in decreased heart rate, dangerously slowed breathing and coma.
How long should you take Ambien?
Prescription medications such as Ambien can help you get through some sleepless nights, but are not the best option for long-term treatment. Whilst taking Ambien, you could experience occasional side effects such as headache, daytime drowsiness and strange nocturnal behaviours. It is therefore crucial to weigh the benefits against the risks when using such drugs.
If you use Ambien for more than 30 days or change your dosage without speaking to your doctor, you can develop an extremely high tolerance to the medication. Ambien is unsafe for long-term use, because of the complications that can occur, such as insomnia, suicidal thoughts, nightmares, anxiety, hallucinations, dizziness, confusion, depression, and daytime drowsiness.
What is the Ambien Abuse Potential?
Ambien is rapidly becoming one of the most abused drugs, because of its high risk of physical tolerance and dependence. When you take Ambien, you may feel the need to increase your dose to counter insomnia. However, this dose increase is usually not discussed with the doctor, who may even fail to monitor you closely for symptoms of tolerance, abuse or dependence. If you’ve used street drugs or abused other substances in the past, you could be more motivated to abuse Ambien. It’s essential to avoid using Ambien if you have a history of drug and alcohol abuse. People with a history of drug and alcohol abuse may also compulsively seek and abuse other substances whilst using Ambien.
What makes Ambien addictive?
Ambien is in a class of drugs known as sedative-hypnotics. However, the medication can cause some unexpected reactions such as feeling powerful and full of energy, instead of tired and sleepy. Your brain might interpret that experience as a desirable one. As a result, you may be physiologically motivated to continue using the drug.
How does Ambien affect the brain and body?
Ambien works by helping the body and brain to relax. It acts as a central nervous system depressant to slow down activity in the brain. The activity of the brain chemical gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which slows activity in the brain, is increased, causing feelings of calm and drowsiness in the body.
How dangerous is Ambien Abuse?
The most common danger associated with Ambien use is overdose, which can happen accidentally from trying to overcome tolerance to the drug, or after increasing doses significantly to achieve a more intense ‘high’. In addition, abusing Ambien by mixing it with alcohol or other drugs can lead to dangerous side effects such as confusion, sleep apnoea and depressed breathing.
Can I mix Ambien with other substances?
Mixing Ambien with other substances such as alcohol, opioid painkillers, benzodiazepines or marijuana exposes you to a range of cognitive and psychological side effects. These effects include anxiety, learning problems, memory loss, delusional thinking, depression, psychological dependence, and addiction.
How do I quit using Ambien?
The safest and easiest way to quit Ambien use is to participate in a professional addiction treatment programme. These rehab treatment programmes provide individualised treatment and work with you to devise easy and practical techniques to end drug abuse, and also re-establish healthy sleeping habits. Addiction treatment specialists can help you address any co-occurring mental or physical health issues, using integrated treatment that is in-depth and comprehensive.
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