Ambien Addiction

Table of Contents

If you or a loved one is addicted to Ambien, addiction treatment needs to be closely monitored by a medical professional – because that’s the safest and most correct way to do it. Safe detox is overseen by a medical professional in a treatment center, where they’ll have access to all of the tools needed for a speedy recovery. The good news is, recovery from Ambien addiction is possible. Just follow the steps laid out by your treatment professional and don’t give up. But, what is Ambien, and why is it so addictive?


What is Ambien?

Ambien, also known by the name Zolpidem, is a drug prescribed by doctors to treat insomnia. It fits under the category of sedative-hypnotics. It works by actually slowing the brain’s essential functions. The problem is, drugs within this category often cause users to develop psychological dependence, which can lead to addiction. Addiction to Ambien works similarly to any other addiction. A person takes Ambien night after night to go to sleep, becoming reliant on it to get to bed. This is how addiction starts out psychologically.. As the person continues to take it, tolerance sets in. Soon, they’re dependent on the drug and literally cannot get to sleep without it. Addiction sets in when larger and larger doses are needed to get the same effects as the beginning.

Ambien and Other Drugs or Alcohol

By itself, Ambien addiction can be pretty dangerous – but when Ambien is combined with other drugs, the result could be devastating. Taking Ambien with alcohol or other substances like prescription painkillers or street-level opiates could be fatal. Some of the worst results come when a person uses a stimulant and then takes Ambien to try and “come down” in order to fall asleep. The person may be lulled into a false sense of security, thinking they’ve taken an adequate amount of the drug when in fact, they’ve just accidentally overdosed. Alcohol and Ambien is another losing combination. Alcohol brings out the dangerous side effects and enhances the overall potency of the drug. People taking Ambien and other drugs are also at increased risk of getting into an accident. Never operate a motor vehicle on either substance.


What are the Symptoms of Ambien Use?

Ambien dependence is serious – and it needs to be treated that way. Dependence leads to addiction as tolerance increases. Ambien use has certain signs and symptoms that you should look out for. These symptoms of use are similar to other sedative-hypnotic drugs, like Benzodiazepine. For example, Ambien users have many of the same addiction characteristics as Xanax users. Here they are:

Signs and Symptoms of Use

An individual currently using and/or abusing Ambien may show the following physical signs of use:

  • Hallucinations 
  • Loss of muscle coordination 
  • Memory loss 

An individual currently using and/or abusing Ambien may show the following mental signs of use:

  • Using Ambien outside of a prescription 
  • Refilling Ambien prescription more than needed
  • An increase in Ambien use in order to get the same effects
  • Cravings for Ambien 
  • Drowsiness during the day 
  • Loss of muscle coordination 
  • Forging prescriptions or stealing prescriptions to support Ambien use

An individual using and/or abusing Ambien over a period of time may show the following signs of use:

  • Hair loss
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Frequent mood swings paranoia

What are the Symptoms of Ambien Withdrawal?

Withdrawal symptoms can be unpleasant and painful. That’s why it’s always suggested to go to an addiction treatment center. Detoxing from Ambien is similar to detoxing from other sedative-hypnotic drugs like Benzodiazepines. Therefore, withdrawal symptoms are similar to what you see with Xanax, Valium or Klonopin users. Withdrawal may begin in as little as one day after the last use, though it can take a few days. Symptoms can last for around a week to 10 days, usually. Lingering effects can occur, especially in people who used Ambien extensively.

An individual going through Ambien withdrawal may show the following signs:

  • Sweating
  • Anxiety attacks/panic attacks
  • Cravings 
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches 
  • Insomnia/trouble sleeping 
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings

Long time Use

In cases of extended use, Ambien withdrawal can cause hallucinations, psychosis, and even seizures. That’s why it’s always recommended to detox under the care of a trained medical professional.

What are the Phases of Ambien Addiction Treatment?

Treatment for Ambien addiction follows the following phases: 

  1. Detox – Treatment begins with a detox, sometimes, because Ambien is a sedative-hypnotic, the detox will be medically assisted.
  2. Residential Inpatient – Next, Ambien treatment includes living at a facility and participating in therapy, group sessions, and workshops.
  3. Outpatient – Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) and Outpatient treatment are the next phase of treatment for Ambien addiction. They are marked by therapeutic sessions in one’s own living environment. 
  4. Sober Living – Finally, sober living and aftercare help a person in the final phase of their recovery from Ambien. Here they’ll learn to live and work with other people.

Treatment for Ambien Addiction

Treating addiction to Ambien is similar to treating other sedative-hypnotics. The process usually begins with a medically assisted detox. Then the person in need of treatment will go for individual counseling, behavioral therapy, and training. Therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and group counseling are also used. While in treatment, the person will learn important skills, like mindfulness, how to cope with trauma, relapse prevention, and stress management.

Virtual Treatment Center: Who Are We?

At Virtual Treatment Center, we believe quality addiction recovery and mental health services should be easily accessible to those that want or need them, because ease of accessibility is what most often leads to success. That’s why we’re committed to providing top-tier virtual mental health teletherapy and addiction recovery services to all residents of California. Although we’re located in Orange County, our online teletherapy can be accessed throughout the state. In addition to providing addiction recovery services, we treat a variety of mental health issues and offer Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT). Our teletherapy sessions are done via two-way, live interactive video or by telephone. Therapeutic visits are conducted on Zoom most often, or on other virtual platforms that adhere to HIPAA compliance requirements.


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