Ambien is a popular brand name for the prescription drug zolpidem, which is commonly prescribed for chronic insomnia. It is part of a family of drugs referred to as non-benzodiazepines, colloquially referred to as “Z-drugs,” due to the common letter in the class’s chemical compounds. When used according to doctors’ orders, Ambien is taken regularly for no longer than two weeks.
However, for many individuals, Ambien addiction becomes an unintentional side effect of the prescription sleep medication itself. In fact, when users exceed recommended dosages of the sleep aid, remain on the drug for longer durations than recommended or increase the frequency of their dosages, cessation of Ambien use can become increasingly difficult. After prolonged use of Ambien, many users begin to feel as though they cannot function without the drug, leading to dependency and addiction.
Symptoms of Ambien Addiction
As a sedative-hypnotic drug, Ambien enters the brain and binds to subtypes of the GABA neurotransmitter. This causes inhibitory brain activity, initiating sleep in the user.
However, GABA can also initiate feelings of euphoria and calm, leading many recreational users to abuse the drug, particularly by crushing and snorting its time-released version. However, prolonged use of Ambien can lead to increased drug tolerance, causing users to increase their frequency and amount of doses in order to recreate the desired high — or to simply achieve a state of sleep.
Ambien Withdrawal Symptoms
Those addicted to Ambien may experience intense drowsiness, weakness, a “drugged” feeling, an inability to walk steady, uncontrollable shaking or a slowed heartbeat. When an individual attempts to quit cold turkey, they may experience psychological withdrawal symptoms such as confusion, insomnia, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts or aggression.
For those addicted to Ambien, physical symptoms of withdrawal may also become present, such as sweating, shaking, abdominal cramping, nausea and tremors. With professional residential drug addiction treatment, Ambien detoxification can be achieved safely and comfortably.