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Ambien is known for being two things at once: a sedative-hypnotic drug that benefits people suffering from insomnia, and an addictive drug that is dangerous for those using it recreationally. Regardless of how you view it, it’s important to know exactly how this medication works.

Since so many people are benefitting from or getting addicted to it, it’s time to know what it is and what it does. Here’s a look at how Ambien works.

The Function of Ambien: How it Works

Many people suffer from insomnia due to various anxiety disorders. This may include post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder, among others.

And being unable to sleep hinders a person’s productivity. It keeps them from living a full life. It even prevents them from functioning well on a day to day basis. We’re only human beings: we need to sleep and recharge every night. We need to let our bodies heal overnight.

We can’t do that if anxious thoughts and feelings of dread are plaguing us. And luckily, medications like Ambien help keep those thoughts at bay.

It works by “depressing” the central nervous system, meaning it slows down brain activity in order to facilitate sleep. Specifically, Ambien binds to GABA receptors, flooding the brain with calming chemicals.

This drug has been available as the generic zolpidem since 2007. It has both fast-acting and extended-release versions. The extended release formulation of Ambien not only helps patients fall asleep but also allows them to stay asleep through the night.

Ambien is not the only medication to work this way. Benzodiazepines like Xanax and Valium are commonly compared to it. But as a fast-acting drug, Ambien causes immediate sleepiness. This means a user must hit the sack right after taking it. If you take Ambien and try to drive a vehicle, it could lead to disastrous results.

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The Dangers of Ambien

Getting into a car accident is only one of the potential outcomes of misusing Ambien. In fact, more of its effects target your health—particularly your mental health. In order to be safe, be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Do not take large doses of this drug, and do not take it more frequently than you are supposed to.

Overdosing on Ambien is unlikely, but possible. But you really should be more concerned about the addictive effects of this substance. Because of its habit-forming properties, Ambien is never recommended for more than a couple of weeks.

It’s only considered a short term treatment for insomnia, and therefore is not advisable for anything more than that. You can easily get addicted to this drug. It’s possible to develop tolerance and dependence on Ambien, and it can even serve as a gateway drug for recreational use of illicit substances.

Some people take Ambien recreationally because of its euphoric effects. It relaxes them and makes them feel good. But adverse effects are commonly experienced when Ambien is misused. In fact, even pharmaceutical doses of Ambien can sometimes cause side effects. Imagine its effects on those who willingly take high doses of it.

If you or someone you love is addicted to Ambien, look for a rehab facility near you. Quitting all by yourself can lead to life threatening withdrawal, so it’s better to be treated by trained professionals. Actual rehab methods may vary depending on the severity of addiction, but it will generally involve medical detox and behavioral therapy.

Look for an addiction treatment center near you today!

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