Mixing Ambien and Alcohol

ambien and alcohol

Ambien can be the answer to the problem of having difficulty sleeping. Unfortunately, it can also lead to dangers the person using it does not expect. When combined with alcohol, Ambien puts a person at risk of danger to their physical and cognitive health. When an addiction to Ambien and alcohol develops, it becomes necessary to get help. Tampa Bay Recovery can help you navigate through treatment and become healthy again.

What is Ambien?

Ambien is the brand name for the drug Zolpidem. A sedative-hypnotic drug, it is commonly prescribed for people who experience difficulty sleeping. This includes trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep long enough to get a good night’s sleep. People who suffer from sleeping disorders like insomnia have an imbalance of chemicals in their brains that impact their ability to sleep. Ambien helps to slow activity in the brain and central nervous system. This, in turn, helps a person fall asleep. 

Ambien comes in a tablet form and an extended-release form called Ambien CR. Both are taken orally. Each person’s dosage is determined by things like their current physical health, age, gender, and any other medications they take. Ambien is classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance. This means a low potential for abuse or dependence exists when taking this drug.

Signs of Ambien Addiction

Ambien is not meant to be taken for a lengthy period of time. In fact, it is recommended for short-term use, often no more than two weeks at a time. Continued usage or using more than the prescribed dosage can result in the possibility of developing an addiction. Combining Ambien and alcohol can increase the odds of becoming addicted and suffering poor physical health. 

Common signs of an Ambien addiction include the following:

  • Difficulty with coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Amnesia
  • Feeling weak 
  • Constantly feeling sleepy
  • Trouble waking up after usage
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shakiness
  • Sleepwalking
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Hallucinations
  • Slowed heart rate and breathing
  • Taking more than the recommended dosage
  • Taking a prescription that belongs to someone else
  • Withdrawal symptoms when not using it
  • Hiding usage of it

Dangers of Combining Ambien and Alcohol

When someone combines Ambien and alcohol, they often put themselves at risk. Ambien can cause a person to sleepwalk, as well as drive and perform other potentially risky acts while under the medication’s influence. When a person does this, it can cause them to inflict harm on themselves or others due to their impaired state of consciousness. 

When someone consumes alcohol along with taking Ambien, they increase the risk of these events happening. In fact, it doesn’t take drinking a lot for this to happen; it can occur from having had a small amount of alcohol. It can be tempting for someone who deals with difficulty sleeping to drink alcohol in an attempt to induce sleepiness. They may feel it will combine with Ambien and help them to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. 

A person who combines these two potentially dangerous substances may not realize the risk. A combination of alcohol and Ambien can slow a person’s brain activity and vital ways in which the body functions. Additionally, many people build up a tolerance to the level of either or both substances. When this happens, they often increase the dosage they take. This increases the chance they make end up overdosing. 

Can You Overdose on Ambien?

Someone combining Ambien and alcohol increases the risk that they will overdose on Ambien. Because Ambien makes people sleepy, taking too much or using it with alcohol can cause a person to lose consciousness. If this happens, they may not be able to signal they need help. Someone who has overdosed on Ambien needs immediate medical help. 

Signs of an Ambien overdose include labored or shallow breathing, unable to fully wake up, falling unconscious, and a slowed heart rate. As well, the person may exhibit pale or blue skin, lips, or fingernails.

How Is Ambien Addiction Treated?

Someone who combines Ambien and alcohol, or uses Ambien alone, and develops an addiction requires professional treatment. Substance abuse treatment typically begins with a detox program, which allows the body to rid itself of the toxins built up by substances. From there, some people continue with residential care, which requires them to live in a facility. 

Others find that outpatient care provides the right option for them. This requires the individual to attend sessions during the day while living in their homes. How often they go to outpatient treatment depends on the type they need. It can range from a couple of days to several days a week. 

Outpatient care includes a variety of types of therapy services. These include options like:

  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Holistic therapy
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)
  • Red light therapy

Upon beginning treatment, each person receives an in-depth assessment by trained addiction clinicians. This allows a specific treatment plan to be designed that meets each individual’s unique needs. Choices in optimal therapy modalities can be made and treatment goals established.

Get Help for Ambien and Alcohol Addiction

Ambien can start out as a medication that helps people sleep. Sadly, it can quickly lead to an addiction. More problems can develop when combining this powerful drug with alcohol. Tampa Bay Recovery understands how to help people gain control of their lives and put abuse of drugs and alcohol behind them. Our alcohol rehab near Tampa provides the expertise and guidance required to stop addiction in its tracks.

If you are ready to talk about getting help for Ambien and alcohol addiction, visit our admissions page now. Our friendly staff can answer any questions you have.