Ambien can seem like the answer to a person’s insomnia problems at first. However, for many people, it can turn into an addiction. When they try to stop taking the drug, they experience Ambien withdrawal symptoms. Without proper medical support from a treatment center, these challenging symptoms can quickly cause a person to relapse. Once a person completes detox, they can continue treatment for withdrawal symptoms during outpatient care. This greatly increases their chances of staying sober.
What Is Ambien?
Ambien is often prescribed for people having difficulty sleeping, including those who have insomnia. Ambien is the brand name for a drug called Zolpidem. This FDA-approved medication helps many people who have trouble falling or staying asleep. It affects the central nervous system, helping to slow down activity in the brain. In turn, the person has an easier time sleeping. Ambien comes in a regular form and an extended-release form called Ambien CR. Both are available in tablet form and taken orally.
Classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance, this sedative-hypnotic drug also comes with a risk of developing an addiction to it. In addition to the risk of addiction, many Ambien users report performing activities while using the drug that they do not remember. This can include preparing and eating food, sleepwalking, driving, and having sex. Because the individual is not awake and fully aware of their actions, this can be dangerous.
Signs of Ambien Addiction
About half of all people in the U.S. will experience signs of insomnia at some point in their lives. This makes the need for medication to address this medical malady commonplace. Unfortunately, for some people, this leads to an addiction to Ambien. Signs of an addiction include the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slower heart rate
- Feeling sleepy during the daytime
- Difficulty waking up in the morning
- Slurred speech
- Trouble with coordination
- Memory loss, including activities performed while asleep
- Experiencing Ambien withdrawal symptoms when not taking the drug
Someone experiencing an addiction to Ambien may also take more than the dosage recommended by their doctor. Alternatively, they may not have a prescription and instead obtain the drug from other sources.
Ambien Withdrawal Symptoms
Ambien withdrawal symptoms happen when someone who has become addicted to the drug stops taking it. The symptoms vary per person and common ones include:
- Stomach cramps
- Rapid heart rate
- Change in breathing
- Difficulty sleeping
Many people also experience Ambien withdrawal symptoms related to psychological and emotional aspects. These include feelings of anxiety, panic, depression, moodiness, and irritability.
Ambien Withdrawal Timeline
While Ambien withdrawal symptoms are not exactly the same for everyone, there is a general timeline for them.
Day 1-2: Symptoms often begin around eight hours after taking the last dosage but may take longer to appear. Common symptoms during this phase include insomnia, moodiness, and trouble focusing.
Day 3-5: Symptoms peak during this time, causing it to be the most challenging part of withdrawal. Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, shakiness, and flu-like symptoms. During this time, many people experience anxiety, depression, and moodiness.
Day 6-14: Withdrawal symptoms typically begin diminishing around the sixth day. Physical symptoms tend to end more quickly, although insomnia may occur for a longer period of time. On average, the emotional withdrawal symptoms remain longer. These include feelings of anxiety and depression.
How Is Ambien Addiction Treated?
As with any addiction to drugs or alcohol, treatment for Ambien abuse requires a professional, experienced substance use disorder program and drug rehab. Ambien withdrawal symptoms typically feel uncomfortable and even painful. For this reason, it’s important that anyone attempting to overcome an addiction to Ambien seek help from a treatment program.
The staff at an addiction treatment program understands the intricacies of Ambien addiction and how to care for people who need help. They employ doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, and other therapeutic staff who treat everyone with compassion and understanding. They can provide FDA-approved medications that help alleviate and minimize withdrawal symptoms. This greatly improves the odds the person will stay in recovery long-term.
Additionally, people with an addiction to Ambien respond well to exposure to several types of therapy. A variety of therapeutic modalities helps people understand the source of their addiction and how to overcome it. They learn to use healthy coping skills instead of automatically reaching for another pill. Types of therapy include individual, group, and family therapies. As well, holistic therapy can offer real insight into how to embrace sobriety long after treatment ends.
Get Help For Addiction To Ambien Today
Tampa Bay Recovery knows how challenging Ambien withdrawal symptoms can be for a person. We offer the kind of effective medical and psychological support you need while going off this drug. Our outpatient programs fit a variety of lifestyles and schedules. You can receive a wide array of types of therapy while still living at home and taking care of your life. We also treat mental health disorders that often happen alongside addiction.
If you want to get help for your addiction to Ambien, please visit our admissions page now. Help for a better tomorrow is just a phone call away.