Ambien Treatment and Rehab
Ambien is a well-known prescription sleep aid. The generic ingredient, zolpidem, helps people fall asleep and stay asleep. Zolpidem is a sedative-hypnotic that creates a calming effect in the brain, helping a user fall asleep. Ambien is usually only prescribed for a short period — a week to two weeks on average. This limitation is because of the potential for Ambien addiction and dependence to develop.
When someone takes Ambien, it increases the activity of certain neurotransmitters. In particular, it affects gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), an inhibitory neurotransmitter. The overall result is the calming of the neural activity causing insomnia. Anytime a prescription drug affects brain neurotransmitters, there is a potential for abuse and addiction.
In the United States, Ambien is a Schedule IV controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Under the Controlled Substances Act, prescription and illegal drugs are divided into five categories known as schedules. These schedules are based on whether there are accepted medical uses for the drug and the potential for addiction to develop or the drug’s ability to be misused. Schedule I substances have the highest potential for abuse, and Schedule V substances have the lowest potential. Other Schedule IV substances, in addition to Ambien, include diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax) and lorazepam (Ativan).
Understanding Ambien Abuse
The risk of Ambien abuse is lower than with similar drugs, such as benzodiazepines, but it still exists. Tolerance and physical dependence can occur along with Ambien addiction. While some people can develop an addiction to just Ambien, the drug is also commonly combined with other substances. Some people combine Ambien with alcohol or opioids in an attempt to boost their effects. Not only does combining these drugs raise the risk of serious health effects like experiencing an overdose, but it also increases the potential for an addiction to develop.
Ambien abuse can also occur when someone uses the drug in ways other than what was intended. For example, recreational use of Ambien might include crushing pills and snorting them for a stronger effect.
Additional signs of Ambien abuse include:
- Using Ambien without a prescription
- Continuing to use Ambien for longer than instructed by a doctor
- Developing tolerance and needing larger doses for the original effects
- Taking higher doses than prescribed
Exhibiting any signs of Ambien misuse warrants concern. Overdosing is possible with the misuse of benzodiazepines, and taking drugs outside of a prescription can have severe effects. People who never misused drugs can find themselves lured by the calming effects of some medications. Always consult with your doctor before adjusting your medical regimen. If Ambien addiction developed from misuse, consider seeking professional treatment.
Ambien Addiction Treatment
If someone struggles with Ambien, they may benefit from a professional addiction treatment program. Often, treatment programs are centered on polysubstance addictions, since people frequently use Ambien in combination with other drugs. Signs someone may need Ambien addiction treatment include:
- The inability to stop using Ambien or cut back in spite of negative consequences related to use
- Multiple failed attempts to stop using Ambien
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using Ambien or using a lower dosage
- Spending a significant amount of time trying to obtain more Ambien, using Ambien or recovering from its effects
Without Ambien rehab, long-term Ambien abuse can lead to serious consequences. For example, Ambien can lead to a fatal overdose, especially when used with other central nervous system depressants. Other long-term effects of Ambien use can include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Dry mouth
- Digestive problem
- Problems with motor coordination
For someone dependent on Ambien, medical detox may be required. Ambien withdrawal can be difficult and in some cases, severe. Common Ambien withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, restlessness and fatigue. More severe Ambien withdrawal symptoms include nausea, vomiting, delirium and seizures.
To learn more about Ambien detox and addiction treatment, contact The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake to speak to a representative about your desire for a healthier future. Using individualized treatment programs customized for patients’ unique needs, The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake helps patients address their addictions in a safe and supportive environment. Take the first step toward sobriety by calling today.
WebMD. “Ambien.” Accessed April 17, 2019.
Licata, Stephanie C et al. “Modest abuse-related subjective effects of zolpidem in drug-naive volunteers.” Behavioral Pharmacology, April 1, 2012. Accessed April 18, 2019.
Peters, Brandon. “Ambien (Zolpidem): Insomnia Treatment Option, Side Effects and Dosage.” Verywell Health, March 17, 2019. Accessed April 17, 2019.
Drug Enforcement Administration. “Drug Scheduling.” Accessed April 18, 2019.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.