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Ambien Addiction

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All About Ambien

The name ‘Ambien’ is actually the brand name for the drug zolpidem. The drug is widely known as a sleep aid, due in part to its use in popular culture and mainstream media.

Ambien Overview, Ambien Abuse and Effects, Signs of Ambien Addiction, Rehab is Your Best Chance


People who are suffering from acute insomnia may be given a powerful sedative like Ambien to help them fall asleep.

Despite its medical use, Ambien can be addictive and users can develop addiction if they take it for longer than two weeks. It is also possible to get addicted to Ambien even if it was prescribed by a doctor, especially if the user takes a higher dosage than they are supposed to.

According to a report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or SAMHSA, the number of emergency room visits related to Ambien use increased by nearly 220 percent between 2005 and 2010, up to 19,487 visits in that year.

Between 2006 and 2011, approximately 38 million prescriptions for Ambien drugs were written.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates that more than half a million people in the US are currently abusing sedatives such as Ambien. That is why it is important to take a look at the potential addictive effects of this drug and understand what makes it prone to abuse.


Ambien Overview


As a drug that is classified as a sedative-hypnotic substance, Ambien can slow down brain function as well as the central nervous system by activating the GABA neurotransmitter. While it can be used to treat insomnia, it is only intended for short term use because of its addictive properties.

Ambien comes in two forms: a quick release formulation that helps initiate sleep and an extended release form that can help users maintain sleep. The latter is used to help people who can’t sleep through the night.

Ambien is taken orally in the form of a small tablet. However, recreational users sometimes crush up the pills and snort the powder in order to achieve a stronger effect. Street names for Ambien include no-gos, sleepeasy, zombie pills, tic tacs, and A-minus.

The name ‘Ambien’ is actually the brand name for the drug zolpidem. The drug is widely known as a sleep aid, due in part to its use in popular culture and mainstream media.

The makers of Ambien designed and marketed the drug as a less addictive alternative to benzodiazepines. It is supposed to have the same medical effectiveness, but without the same hazardous and habit-forming properties.

However, Ambien is still an addictive substance. Compared to benzodiazepines, it takes users longer to develop an addiction to Ambien, and withdrawal is generally less severe and dangerous. So in reality, Ambien has a very similar potential for abuse as benzos.

Ambien is classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act. This means it is not likely to be used recreationally. However, many users still abuse the drug because of its euphoric and sometimes hallucinatory effects.


Ambien Abuse and Effects


Any time a person takes Ambien without a prescription or in a way that is not directed by a doctor is considered abuse. Even taking an extra pill when you’re not supposed to is considered abuse. It is very easy to build a tolerance to Ambien, and soon the user will need larger doses just to fall asleep.

As the user keeps taking Ambien, their dependence on the drug develops and it may cause them to escalate their doses without medical guidance.

Although Ambien is considered a safer alternative to benzodiazepine, it is still possible to become addicted. There is less potential to overdose on this drug. However, because the signs of Ambien overdose are very similar to the effects of the drug, it can be hard to detect an overdose.

When abused, Ambien produces a euphoric effect that eliminates insecurity and self-conscious behavior. And because Ambien is a potent depressant for the central nervous system, it can slow a user’s breathing when taken in large doses. It can even slow a person’s heart rate to the point of respiratory failure.

Although rare, Ambien overdose can be fatal. If an Ambien user exhibits breathing difficulties, seek medical help immediately.

Signs of Ambien Addiction


Addiction is characterized by the compulsive use of a certain drug, even when the person is already suffering from its adverse effects.

Looking for the signs of Ambien addiction is the first step towards helping someone who is struggling with it. A person who is addicted to Ambien may refill their prescriptions unusually often, or may take larger doses than prescribed by their doctor.

Physical dependence to Ambien can form in as little as two weeks—and it is possible to become dependent even if the user is taking it as directed by the doctor.

When they stop taking the drug, they experience cravings or withdrawal symptoms. Aside from the physical effects of addiction, there are also psychological and behavioral effects to look out for. They may engage in risky or dangerous behavior and not remember it later on. They may neglect their responsibilities in favor of taking the drug. Chances are, they will spend large amounts of money on the drug and struggle financially because of it.

They will also lose interest in things they used to enjoy—all in favor of their drug habit. Finally, an addicted individual may isolate themselves from friends and family members.

If someone in the family is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, it is important to seek help. A combination of medical detox and behavioral therapy can go a long way in the fight against substance abuse. But because every individual is affected by addiction differently, a comprehensive program tailored to their specific needs is necessary. Look for a nearby addiction treatment facility today and find out how drug treatment programs work.


Rehab is Your Best Chance

Treatment is an addicted individualʼs best option if they want to recover. Beating an addiction not only requires eliminating the physical dependence, but also addressing the behavioral factors that prevent them from wanting to get better. Simply quitting may not change the psychological aspect of addiction. Some people quit for a while, and then take drugs or alcohol again, only to overdose because they did not detox properly. Recovery involves changing the way the patient feels, thinks, and behaves.

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Fel Clinical Director of Content
Felisa Laboro has been working with addiction and substance abuse businesses since early 2014. She has authored and published over 1,000 articles in the space. As a result of her work, over 1,500 people have been able to find treatment. She is passionate about helping people break free from alcohol or drug addiction and living a healthy life.

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