Misuse of the sedative Ambien can result in addiction and dependency. Your body will experience withdrawal symptoms for a while after detox. For a complete recovery, consider psychotherapy or rehab.
What is Ambien?
Ambien, also known as zolpidem, is a sedative that treats insomnia. Ambien should only be taken with a prescription or as directed by a doctor. When taking the pill, be sure to carefully read the prescription bottle’s instructions and follow your doctor’s advice. Misuse of the substance can cause overdose or death and cause unintended side effects ranging from memory problems to allergic reactions. Contact your doctor if you are concerned about how you are feeling after taking Ambien.
Ambien can be addictive, which is why the drug should not be taken more than 4 to 5 weeks without your physician’s recommendation.
What Are the Signs of Ambien Addiction?
There are multiple warning signs of being addicted to hypnotics such as Ambien. Refilling prescriptions more often than required, taking larger doses than prescribed, or experiencing cravings for Ambien are symptomatic of dependency on the drug. Some individuals with Ambien dependency noted taking the drug earlier and earlier each evening before sleeping, as the drug can produce a high. The reality is, Ambien should only be taken right before bed so the drug can help your body sleep.
If your body becomes Ambien-dependent, you will require higher and higher doses to feel the same euphoria. Overdosing on Ambien can slow your heart rate and breathing and risk causing respiratory failure. Once you stop taking Ambien having developed an addiction, you will experience symptoms of withdrawal.
What Are the Symptoms of Ambien Withdrawal?
Ambien withdrawal symptoms are very rare in patients who take dosages as prescribed. Experiencing withdrawal is usually a sign of addiction and dependency.
Ambien reacts very quickly in your body, so you will notice withdrawal symptoms anywhere between when the dose wears off (the drug’s effects are notoriously short, with a half-life of roughly 2.5 hours) and two days after your last dosage.
Ambien withdrawal symptoms vary. Mild symptoms include insomnia, drowsiness, and restlessness. Flu-like symptoms also may occur, such as nausea or sweating. Other physical symptoms include headache, hyperventilation, increased pulse, and aches and pains.
Psychological symptoms include anxiety, confusion, and panic attacks. In rare instances, individuals experience seizures.
Some people will take Ambien in conjunction with alcohol or other drugs to heighten the effect. Doing this increases health risks and also can worsen withdrawal symptoms. Let’s say you decide to detox. Henceforth, you go completely without Ambien. How long will Ambien withdrawal take? The length of withdrawal depends on a variety of factors such as how long and how frequently you have been consuming Ambien, but usually, the most acute symptoms are experienced after 3-5 days. Symptoms will generally lessen over the following week, but people may still retain cravings.
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Let’s say you decide to detox. Henceforth, you go completely without Ambien. How long will Ambien withdrawal take?
The length of withdrawal depends on a variety of factors such as how long and how frequently you have been consuming Ambien, but usually, the most acute symptoms are experienced after 3-5 days. Symptoms will generally lessen over the following week, but people may still retain cravings.
How to Quit Ambien
Detoxing cold turkey is not recommended. If you are afraid of having an addiction, contact your doctor. If you are receiving a prescription, your doctor can reduce your prescription so you can shake off dependency gradually. Your doctor also might prescribe you alternative sedatives or medication that can mitigate Ambien withdrawal symptoms.
Even after detoxing from Ambien, you may still find yourself craving the substance. If this is the case, you are strongly encouraged to reach out for help.
Some people attend psychotherapy sessions to understand the root cause of their insomnia/substance use disorder disorders that these problems may be better addressed than drug misuse. You also may consider attending drug rehab where health professionals can treat your substance use disorder disorder. Whatever you do, be sure to choose the option that keeps you happy and healthy, steering you away from Ambien dependency in a safe and careful manner.
- uofmhealth.org – Zolpidem
- health.harvard.edu – Sedative, Hypnotic or Anxiolytic Drug Use Disorder
- ebmedicine.net – Sedative-Hypnotic Drug Withdrawal Syndrome: Recognition and Treatment (Critical Care Topic and Pharmacology CME)
- go.drugbank.com – Zolpidem
- verywellmind.com – How Long Does Withdrawal From Ambien Last?
- healthline.com – Is It Safe to Quit Substances Cold Turkey? Here’s What to Consider
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