Is it Possible to Become Addicted to Ambien?

Ambien side effects may vary from person to person. Zolpidem, the other brand name for Ambien, was introduced as a sleepy time aid in 1992. According to the National Public Radio (NPR), approximately 60 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders. For all of them, Ambien helped ease their sleepless nights and helped put an end to their sleepless nights. It is used to treat an adult’s sleep disorder (insomnia). It makes you fall asleep quicker if you have trouble falling asleep to get a better night’s sleep. Sedative-hypnotics, such as zolpidem, are a type of drug. It creates a soothing effect by working on your brain.

This drug is mainly used for a brief period, usually 1 to 2 weeks. As the conventional form of medication, it is typically taken as prescribed by the doctor at bedtime as a sleep aid intended for patients who are unable to sleep due to Ambien side effects. In 2005, the extended-release version of Flexi-release was published with a separate layer meant to put you to sleep and the internal layer whose purpose was to keep you sleeping until you woke up again. As for the prescriptions written by Forbes Magazine in the United States, about 40 million prescriptions for the sedative-hypnotic drug were written.

A study done on Ambien in 2007 found that despite being considered one of the safer than benzodiazepines, Ambien is one of the most addictive drugs of its kind in modern medicine. However, this has not prevented doctors from prescribing this drug to patients

Who Abuses it, and Why?

Ambien being ubiquitous among young people in the United States. In 2005, a survey commissioned by KSL News found 7 per cent of students enrolled in high school showed Ambien side effects and admitted to abusing prescription sedative drugs, which is an increase from 2.8 per cent back in 1992. Women between the ages of 45 and 54 are the most likely to overdose on Ambien. While teenagers and young adults are more likely to misuse Ambien, women between the ages of 45 and 54 are the most likely to overdose on Ambien. In cases of attempted suicide, Ambien is used chiefly. Someone may stop breathing if they take too much of the drug or mix it with other depressants.

According to research, Ambien violence is also on the rise among the elderly. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration cites in 2013 on the age at which various medications are considered ‘chronic’. The average age of sedative patients was 25 to 30 years old. A recent study cited by Men’s Journal indicates that 74% of people who sought hospital care in 2005 and 2010 for Ambien-related problems were over 44.

Because of drug abuse, mentally unstable individuals are more prone to be affected by Ambien side effects. Some individuals deal with anxiety and depression for a long time and find the substance very helpful. The medications are used as a way to make people feel more comfortable. Therefore, people who suffer from such conditions may misuse the drugs. Statistics released by the National Council for Alcoholism and Drug Dependence reveal that 63% of older adults attribute their drug and alcohol consumption to psychological anxiety and depression.

What Are the Signs of Ambien Abuse?

If the patient follows a prescription or abusing the medication, a physical dependency on Ambien can develop in as little as two weeks. Tolerance is mostly described as a characteristic of Ambien side effect. To get the same result, the patient needs more medication, and withdrawal symptoms occur if they avoid taking it or reduce their dose. Ambien side effects such as addiction can progress to full-fledged addiction, which is marked by tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, a loss of control over use, compulsive use, continued use despite the pain, and cravings. Many people are unaware that they have a problem until they avoid taking the medication and discover that they can no longer sleep without it.

Someone Who Practices Ambien Abuse May:

  • Refill prescriptions excessively frequently
  • Take higher-than-recommended doses regularly
  • A Strong need for Ambien abuse.
  • Putting oneself in risky circumstances and having no recollection of them later
  • Isolation from one’s family and friends
  • Had slurred or fragmented voice
  • Had slurred or fragmented voice
  • Exhibit unusually high levels of energy and seem perplexed
  • Show signs of exhaustion and nausea, with or without vomiting
  • Have shaky limbs?

The majority of Ambien abuse causing addictions begin with a mild case of lack of sleep. Since Ambien is prescribed by a doctor and is only used to help people relax, some consumers underestimate its addictive potential. After taking Ambien for more than a few weeks, it becomes less and less successful. Some users are unable to avoid taking Ambien because their insomnia has worsened to the point that they cannot sleep without it.

Ambien Side Effects

When Ambien abuse occurs when combined with other drugs, it poses some of the most severe risks. When this medication is combined with alcohol, it significantly increases the risk of seizures, esophageal injury, and even coma. Ambien has its own set of dangers, particularly when taken in large doses. Headaches to sleepwalking are some of the side effects.

The Following are Some of the Most Common Ambien Side Effects:

  • Drowsiness throughout the day
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Sleepiness throughout the day
  • Exhaustion
  • Coordination Problems
  • Clogged Nose

According to CBS News, in 2010, 19,487 people were treated in American emergency rooms for side effects from zolpidem-based medications like Ambien and Ambien CR.

Ambien is a schedule IV controlled drug with a high risk of overdosing. According to U.S. News, up to 500,000 deaths in 2010 is possibly due to the use of sleeping pills like Ambien, also in small, infrequent doses. Furthermore, since this drug operates on the same brain areas as other drugs, the substance side effects in combinations with other drugs such as benzodiazepines, can result in a potentially fatal combination.

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While the substance was designed to cause less drowsiness than other sleep drugs, recent research has revealed that at higher doses, the Ambien abuse side effects will remain active in the body till the following day. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States recently released an alert about the risk of “next-morning” weakness after taking it. Blood testing showed enough Ambien in certain users’ systems to trigger impairment at activities that involve mental alertness and coordination, such as driving, according to the FDA. The FDA recommends that prescribers restrict the drug’s dosage, particularly for women, to reduce the risk of this side effect. Individuals who take Ambien for non-medical purposes can experience a worsening of adverse side effects.

Ambien Addiction Recovery

Recovering from Ambien misuse requires a great deal of effort, and it can be quite hard to do so without a concerted effort. Some people experience mild symptoms of Ambien withdrawal, such as sweating and nausea and more severe symptoms like tremors, panic attacks, and long-lasting delirium during Ambien withdrawal. A gradual taper off the substance is usually required during the detoxification process.

There’s no specific way to decrease the amount of Ambien use. The rate you taper will depend on what you’ve used and the extent to which it has been used. When you taper it down too quickly, the withdrawal symptoms from Ambien side effects may cause seizures. Please consult with a physician before doing detoxification to ensure its safety. The substance addiction can be treated with other methods but rarely used. One study proved quetiapine — commonly known as Seroquel — could reduce symptoms of zolpidem addiction in 52-year-old patients. The results of this study were published in the American Journal of Addiction. With ease, he was able to detox from zolpidem. The person had no zolpidem withdrawal symptoms after taking quetiapine for six months. It’s astounding to find out he’d had to deal with polydrug abuse.

Shortly after starting to withdraw from a drug like opium, withdrawal symptoms typically subside or disappear. Mental withdrawal symptoms can last up to two weeks, although most withdrawal symptoms appear in the first three days. There are rare cases where people whose medication is discontinued for months have insomnia, cravings, panic attacks, and other side effects caused by stopping the drug. Different people respond differently to Ambien withdrawal. Ambien withdrawal symptoms are typically gone in 1-2 weeks based upon several factors.

Factors Determining Ambien Side Effect Withdrawal

  • How Long the Person Took Ambien: When a person takes it as prescribed for a short time, withdrawal symptoms are less likely to occur, and they are less intense and extreme.
  • How Much of The Substance Was Taken: If a person takes more of the drug than prescribed, he or she is more likely to have Ambien side effects in turn develop a resistance to the drug, requiring more Ambien to feel “normal.” This can exacerbate physical and mental withdrawal symptoms.
  • If the Ambien Was the Extended-Release Version or Not: Compared to non-extended-release drugs, extended-release medications have a higher dose of the medicine. However, this ensures that when the drug is administered correctly, it is released slowly into the bloodstream. Addiction allows people to circumvent the chemicals that delay the release and take a hefty dose of Ambien all at once. Withdrawal symptoms can become even more severe as a result of this.
  • If the Person Used Other Drugs in Addition to Ambien: Other medications, alcohol, or illegal drugs may amplify the effects of Ambien, potentially enhancing the “high.” If a person abruptly stops using all drugs, withdrawal symptoms are likely to worsen.

Although new research is ongoing, tried and proper treatment for Ambien addiction includes intensive counselling, controlled detox, and comprehensive aftercare. Call us today 615-490-9376 to learn more about the Ambien side effects and its solutions.


D’Onofrio, G. et al. (2017, Feb. 13). Emergency Department-Initiated Buprenorphine for Opioid Dependence with Continuation in Primary Care: Outcomes During and After InterventionJournal of General Internal Medicine.