Understanding the Ambien Addiction Signs
When someone admits to drug abuse, there are usually typical substances that come to mind automatically: prescription pain medication and common street drugs. However, it is important to remember that any substance can become addicting, even those you would least expect, like prescription sleep medication, such as Ambien. If you or a loved one is currently prescribed this medication, it is important to recognize the Ambien addiction signs and know where to get help if an addiction forms.
What Exactly Is Ambien and What Does It Do?
Ambien is the brand name for the sedative (sleep-aid) drug known as zolpidem. This medication is prescribed to individuals who suffer from insomnia or have issues staying asleep due to anxiety or stress. Ambien CR is an extended release medication that assists in not only initiating sleep, but maintaining sleep as well.
Ambien Side Effects
Although Ambien seems to be a harmless sleep aid medication, it comes with a possibility of certain side effects. Lighter Ambien side effects include: drowsiness, dizziness, light-headedness, fatigue sinus issues, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, and muscle pain. Serious Ambien side effects include: severe drowsiness, confusion, hallucinations, sleepwalking, and short-term memory loss.
As of 2013, the Food and Drug Administration recommended a dosage change on Ambien and Ambien CR, because of the common next-day side effects that occur.
High doses of this drug may impair someone’s ability to operate a vehicle or remain alert up to two days after using, especially with the extended-release formula.
When It Becomes A Problem
Even though Ambien is not known to be as habit-forming as sedative substances of other drug classes, there have been cases of dependence and addiction. There have also been cases of intentional Ambien abuse, since this drug can produce a “trip” if taken incorrectly.
There have been reports of people partaking in activities that they do not remember the next morning after using this drug, such as driving, preparing food, wandering, and more. Because of this, people who are prescribed Ambien should be cautious when using it. Regular trips to the doctor to monitor dosage and effects on the body with long-term use are recommended.
It is possible to be dependent on this drug and not be fully aware. Ambien addiction signs can include feeling “out of it” constantly, weakness, suppressed breathing, decrease in heart rate, trouble concentrating, hallucinations, drowsiness, and shaking. If these Ambien addiction signs occur, it is important to seek professional help immediately.
When It’s Time to Get Help
Medical professionals do not recommend long-term use of Ambien. If you or someone you know is Ambien-dependent and wants to safely stop dependence, it is highly discouraged to do so on your own. Ambien addiction treatment is the safe way to overcome addiction, since withdrawal symptoms can be intense.
Symptoms that occur during Ambien withdrawal include: fatigue, nightmares, headaches, stomach issues, tremors, and in severe cases, hallucinations and seizures. These symptoms can last about 1-2 weeks, depending on the individual and the dosage that was prescribed.
Ambien is not meant for lifelong use for insomnia issues. Lifestyle changes should be attempted first before resorting to prescription medications. A healthy diet, exercise, and eliminating/coping with stress could improve problems with sleeping.
For those who are dependent on Ambien and become pregnant, it is advised to come off of this drug, since a risk for difficulties during pregnancy and low birth weight are present. If you become pregnant while using Ambien, consult with your doctor as soon as possible.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the White Sands Tampa at (877) 640-7820. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.