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How to Help an Ambien Addict

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Ambien is a brand name for zolpidem, a medication prescribed for the management of insomnia. A few other formulations of the same medication with differing delivery methods are marketed under the names:

  • Edluar and Intermezzo—Sublingual zolpidem tablets that melt under the tongue.
  • Zolpimist—An oral zolpidem spray delivered into the mouth to be absorbed on the tongue.

As a sleep aid, Ambien is frequently preferred over medications like benzodiazepines and barbiturates because it is seen to have fewer negative effects. Unfortunately, Ambien use can still lead to abuse and addiction.


Help for Ambien Addicts

family-intervention-ambien-treatmentPeople addicted to Ambien alone or in combination with other substances will benefit from specialized treatment to end their addiction and return to a healthy lifestyle. Various therapeutic approaches and other components of treatment will be utilized for someone addicted to Ambien. These may include:


Is Ambien Addictive? 

Yes. Ambien, when taken for a period of time, can be addictive. With prolonged use, you may first develop tolerance to its effects, and soon thereafter experience an unpleasant withdrawal syndrome when you haven’t had the drug in a while.

Tolerance

With Ambien, you will need more of the substance as time goes on to achieve the same sleep benefits you experienced when you first started taking the medication. This phenomenon describes tolerance. Prescribing practitioners are aware of the potential for tolerance development. Ambien is designed to be taken for short periods of time and then stopped. If someone continues Ambien use for more than two weeks, effects will almost certainly diminish and dosing will need to increase to achieve the same effects.

Withdrawal

Another signal of Ambien’s addictive quality manifests in how the regular user may feel the first few nights without the substance. They will no doubt have increased trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, in addition to experiencing a range of other effects of acute withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms illustrate the body’s dependence on the substance. When the user is unable to take ambien, withdrawal symptoms can surface, which include:

  • Anxiety.
  • Sweating and feeling flushed.
  • Abdominal cramping.
  • Increased insomnia.

Similar to the dangers of benzodiazepine withdrawal, there have been some reports of seizure activity in cases of sudden Ambien cessation—an ominous development that may require vigilant medical monitoring as a longer-term Ambien user attempts to quit.


What Are the Signs of Ambien Addiction and Abuse?

teen-experiencing-abdominal-cramping-ambien-side-effectsMisuse of Ambien can give rise to some significant health effects, which include:

  • Hallucinations.
  • Dizziness.
  • Nausea.
  • Unexpected behavior changes.
  • Irritability.
  • Sleepwalking and sleep driving.
  • Depression.
  • Suicidal ideation.

Am I Addicted to Ambien?

Knowing if you are addicted to a substance like Ambien can be challenging if you’ve been legitimately prescribed the medication. It is important to realize that even legal prescription medications can lead to addiction. To assess for addiction, take an honest look at your life and reflect on:

  • Relationships. People struggling with addiction are likely to experience increased conflicts with friends and loved ones.
  • Finances. Have you been spending more money on Ambien and less on paying your bills or caring for your other responsibilities?
  • Interests. Addiction to Ambien may lead to having less energy and motivation, which may result in decreased participation in previously enjoyed hobbies or other healthy activities.

Perhaps the most telling sign of addiction is the desire to continue using the substance even when it leads to unwanted consequences. If you use the medication despite potentially dangerous and life-threatening side effects and other negative consequences, you may be addicted to Ambien.

Other signs that you may be addicted to Ambien include: 

  • Taking more of the medication than prescribed.
  • Taking the substance without a prescription.
  • Taking the medication for non-medical reasons.
  • Seeking multiple prescriptions from different doctors or not being honest with doctors regarding use.


Ambien Addiction Treatment Components

Ambien addiction will be treated based on individual needs and the magnitude of a person’s addiction. First, the user may need to undergo a period of detoxification from Ambien. Detox is the body’s act of processing and removing the substance. Supervised detox can help to minimize the discomfort associated with withdrawal symptoms.

Specialized Ambien addiction treatment may utilize aspects of:

  • Behavioral therapy. In addiction treatment, behavioral therapy can come in forms like cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interventions, contingency management, and others. The goal of each will be to find ways to end use, enter a period of recovery, and avoid future relapse.
  • Sleep hygiene training. Since poor sleep is a motivating factor in Ambien abuse and addiction, sleep may continue to be a problem during recovery. Addressing these issues can make poor sleep less of a trigger in the future. Sleep hygiene training can be completed by a physician or therapist and will provide helpful measures to improve the quality and quantity of a person’s sleep in healthy ways.
  • Family education and therapy. Often, addiction is a family-wide problem. With the friends and family of the person in recovery active in treatment, better outcomes are possible. Family members can become aware of relapse signs while learning how their own actions may be enabling or triggering substance use.
  • Support groups. Whether used alone or in combination with other treatments, support groups are helpful for many. They allow a person with addiction to meet with others in similar situations to discuss their experiences and methods to strengthen recovery.

Find Ambien Rehab Centers Near Me

Ambien is a prescription drug, but this does not mean that its use is without risk. If you are struggling with Ambien misuse, you should seek addiction treatment to give yourself a better chance of having a happy and healthy future. Rehab programs are located throughout the U.S., and a variety of treatment types is available. You can use SAMHSA’s Find Treatment tool to search for facilities. Many state government websites will also provide local drug and alcohol resources to those in need. To find your state government’s website, do a web search for your state name and ‘.gov.’

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is a leading treatment provider and has trusted rehab facilities across the country. Please call AAC free at to receive more information on Ambien abuse and possible treatment options. You can also contact free drug abuse hotline numbers.


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