Signs and Symptoms of Ambien Abuse

Ambien Pills

Do you think someone you know and care about might be abusing Ambien? It is an easy habit to fall into. The drug, known generically as zolpidem, is a hypnotic drug prescribed for sleep problems. It should be used only for short periods, but many people become dependent on the drug to help them sleep. If their doctor refuses to prescribe the drug for an extended time, the dependent person may seek other doctors for additional prescriptions. Ambien use carries serious risks, even during short-term use.

Any person who becomes addicted to a drug has several forces that keep them reaching for that drug over and over.

They will:

  • Crave the drug
  • Become emotionally dependent on the effects of the drug
  • Dread the withdrawal symptoms they will experience if they stop using it
  • Experience guilt over the harm done to self and others by being addicted
  • Suffer depression as a result of the addiction, depression that is likely to get worse when they are not high.

There must be a way to eliminate these obstacles if a person is to recover from the addiction.

If you are trying to determine if someone you care about is using Ambien illicitly, you can look for the following signs and symptoms of Ambien abuse:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Headaches the morning after
  • Loss of coordination leading to unsteady walking
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Stomach pain
  • Weakness
  • Appetite changes
  • Pain in muscles or joints
  • Shakiness

Sometimes these symptoms linger for several hours after a person gets up after an Ambien-induced sleep, so they may be the most severe in the morning.

One of the remarkable and dangerous side effects of using this drug is amnesia. The user may get up at night and cook, drive, talk on the phone, have sex or carry out other actions and have no memory of it afterwards. One person was reported to have sexually assaulted his roommate while he was on Ambien, but could not recall the incident the next day. Because Ambien also can trigger irresponsible, uninhibited actions, a person could get into a fight and be injured, have risky sex, or neglect children, the elderly or pets while under the influence.

Abuse of Ambien

Ambien Abuse

While adults may use Ambien, teens are more likely to abuse Ambien. One way of abusing it is to crush the pills and then snort them. The full effects of the drug are then rapidly absorbed into the system. The sedating symptoms of the drug may become very strong, very rapidly, which will create symptoms similar to drunkenness. But when the drug hits the body so fast and so hard, there is a chance for the abuser to achieve overdose levels. When an overdose is reached, a person may die because the body is not getting the message to continue breathing. If Ambien is combined with other drugs that have this effect, like alcohol or opiates, the danger is increased.

Ambien is sometimes used as a date-rape drug because of the pill’s tendency to wipe out the memory of its use.

Recovering from Ambien Abuse

The first thing a person must face when they want to get over their Ambien addiction is the withdrawal period. In fact, a person may go through withdrawal symptoms even if they have just been using Ambien for a few weeks.

Ambien Withdrawal

The milder symptoms of Ambien withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Worsened insomnia
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Stomach cramps
  • Confusion

More severe signs of Ambien withdrawal include:

  • Panic attacks
  • Psychosis
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Seizures (rare)

A person who has never been depressed in the past may suffer sudden depression as a result of taking Ambien. Instances of suicide attempts and completed suicides as a result of Ambien abuse have been reported.

In February 2012, a lawsuit was filed against the makers of Ambien, claiming that it had resulted in the suicide death of Randy Kwasniewski, an executive of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino chain. The family claimed that the drug manufacturer knew that suicide was a well-known side effect of the drug but suppressed the publication of this information.

In 2006, four other people sued the drug manufacturer after they ate or drove in their sleep, with no memory of the events afterwards.

Recovery from Ambien Addiction is Essential

For a person to fully recover from Ambien addiction, it takes a thorough drug rehab program. A person must learn how to deal with life again without the crutch of a drug, the physical damage done by drugs must be repaired, and there must be hope of lasting sobriety. At Narconon drug rehab centers, a comprehensive program provides the knowledge, healing and guidance to make it possible to recover from addiction.

See Also: Effects of Ambien Abuse


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