Ambien is a prescription-only sleep aid. Generically, it is known as zolpidem. It is classed as a hypnotic.
It is one of a class of sleep aids that also includes Lunesta (eszopiclone) and Sonata (zalepon). Ambien comes in four different forms—the normal-release pill, extended release pill, under-the-tongue tablet and an oral spray.
Ambien is not recommended for long-term use as it is addictive. At a basic level, many people may find that they will not be able to sleep without it. Others become addicted to the way it makes them feel. Ambien is frequently abused for its sedating properties. It is just as quickly addictive when used this way.
Ambien Side Effects
In addition to being addictive, the drug has side effects:
- Stomach cramps
- Loss of balance
- Joint and muscle pain
A person who abuses Ambien is looking for the effects that a high dosage of the drug normally creates. These are similar to the effects of a large quantity of alcohol—complete relaxation, loss of control of body movements. It is common to wake up the next morning after Ambien abuse with a headache, memory loss, sleepiness, and nausea.
Ambien is often abused by young people seeking effects similar to drunkenness. At these higher dosages, more serious side effects may occur—but they can also occur when the drug is used according to doctor’s instructions.
Lowered inhibitions, irresponsible behavior: This effect can lead to very risky, life-threatening behavior. Children may be neglected, a person may pick fights with others, a driver may take risks he (or she) would never take if sober.
Depression: A person abusing Ambien who has no history of the problem could suddenly develop severe depression. Ambien has been suspected of being directly connected to several suicide attempts and successful suicides.
Amnesia: It is fairly common for Ambien abusers and users to report memory loss. It is more common in cases of abuse. Ambien may be used as a date-rape drug as the victim may not be able to recall the incident later. Many people who either take or abuse this drug have reported carrying out complex actions with no memory of them later. These include cooking, talking on the phone, driving or having sex.
Allergic reactions: Some people are highly sensitive to this drug. They may develop allergic reactions like chest pain, irregular heartbeat, inability to swallow and problems breathing.
A person who abuses Ambien may become so sedated that he stops breathing.
Withdrawing from Ambien
This is a tough drug to withdraw from. The symptoms of withdrawal may include:
- Suicidal thoughts
The person ceasing Ambien use or abuse is likely to experience rebound insomnia—after the drug is withdrawn, insomnia is back, worse than ever.
In addition to the addictive physical effects, a person may become psychologically addicted to the drug. He may rely on the sedating effects of Ambien to get through each day. The anxiety that is normally experienced during withdrawal may compound the difficulty in getting clean. It is vital that a person trying to withdraw from Ambien use or abuse is closely supervised.
Narconon Assists Those Who Want to be Sober at Last
No matter how long or severe the addiction, lasting recovery is possible through the Narconon drug rehab program. At Narconon centers, individuals may recover from addiction to alcohol, heroin, benzodiazepines, and methamphetamine as well as Ambien. Damage to the mind and body can be repaired in this drug-free program. Because each person recovers at his or her own rate, depending on many factors, there is no precise length of the Narconon program. A person returns to his home environment when he is free of the effects of drugs and equipped to build a new life without drugs.
The development of this ability requires repairing the personal integrity that is lost during addiction, detoxifying the body of old drug residues in a sauna-based program, brightening the perceptions that become dulled by drugs and alcohol and restoring life skills that are required to live drug-free.
For many people, the Narconon program takes eight to ten weeks.
Learn more about this program that can put a person back on the path to an enjoyable, productive life once again.