Treating Ambien Addiction
Ambien (which is a brand name for zolpidem tartrate) is a sedative, sometimes referred to as a hypnotic, prescribed to people experiencing difficulty sleeping or insomnia.
It and other zolpidem sedatives have essentially replaced benzodiazepines like Valium as a treatment for sleep issues as they are considered safer, with less potential for abuse. However, they are also very addictive if used for any length of time.
Ambien affects chemicals in the brain that may be out of balance and can have unusual side effects. Some people sleep walk, or seem to be wide awake doing things or performing tasks, including driving, and even having sex, but have no recollection of it the following morning. People who use Ambien for long periods of time, or who abuse the drug for its euphoric properties, may require Ambien addiction treatment. Besides “sleep walking” other side effects of Ambien include drowsiness, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, delusions, hallucinations, memory problems and coordination issues.
Overdose is a common danger as people abusing Ambien try to achieve a more euphoric state. An overdose can lead to shallow breathing, slowed heart rate, coma, and even death. Depending on how long the drug has been abused and at what doses, residential care may be necessary.
Ambien Addiction Treatment
Detox from Ambien can be dangerous and is therefore best done in a detox or residential treatment center under a physician’s supervision.
Withdrawal symptoms may last for weeks and include agitation or irritability, sleeplessness, anxiety or nervousness, delirium and in some instances convulsion and seizures. These seizures may result in a medical emergency and detox from Ambien should not be attempted without first consulting an addictionologist or treatment center. In a dedicated detox center or residential treatment center a doctor may prescribe medications to help relieve or alleviate some of the withdrawal symptoms making it more comfortable and more likely for the patient to resist cravings.
Following detox, a course of residential care will help the recovering addict to focus on getting better both physically and mentally in an environment that is safe from potential relapse. With around-the-clock care, treatment is, at this stage, focused on not only recovering from the addiction itself but treating any underlying issues related to why the drug was being used, or abused, in the first place.
Treatment for Ambien addiction will include one-on-one therapy, group therapy, family sessions and other therapies depending on the treatment center and the outcome of a bio-psycho-social evaluation. Additionally, while in residential care it is more possible to try therapies that address the other issues that led to the use of Ambien, along with education on the impact of the drug on your brain and body as well as relapse prevention training.
Continuing Treatment for Ambien Addiction
Most people coming out of residential care will step down to an outpatient treatment program where therapies for recovery can continue, including the one-on-one and group sessions, family sessions, relapse prevention and more.
If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction to Ambien, please call Recovery Channel now for advice and to see if your insurance will cover treatment.
Ambien and Its Uses
Ambien, also known as zolpidem, is a sedative, or hypnotic, drug that affects the chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and cause difficulty sleeping or insomnia. Like other prescribed drugs that affect the brain to achieve a desired result, such as Adderall, there are both therapeutic benefits and potential downsides as well.
The effects of the pills are released immediately and designed to help you fall asleep when you first go to bed. There is also an extended release form, Ambien CR, which has a coating that dissolves quickly to release a dose of the medication to fall asleep quickly, under which is another layer that dissolves slowly to help keep you asleep.
Some people using Ambien have been known to get up, walk around, make phone calls, drive a car, even have sex and have no memory of the events afterward.
Ambien is meant for short-term periods and used as prescribed by a doctor Ambien addiction is unlikely. However, if a patient continues to see other doctors who continue to write prescriptions for the drug, addiction is highly possible.
It is a very addictive drug, both physically and psychologically. It isn’t unusual for people who have trouble sleeping to become dependent on the drug. Because of the tendency to perform activities while on Ambien without knowing it, or with memory loss, it is also not uncommon for people who take Ambien to go to sleep to discover they’ve taken more Ambien pills while they were sleep. This presents some very dangerous possibilities.
Some people who have been prescribed the drug begin to raise their doses knowingly and without doctor consent because they enjoy the feeling of drunkenness. Still others begin to crush the tablets and inhale, or snort, the powder to get an immediate impact from the drug.
Recovering from an Addiction to Ambien
Addiction to Ambien can easily occur as the body builds up a tolerance to the drug and its effects, requiring higher and higher doses simply to maintain the desired effect.
Someone who simply runs out of the drug, or stops taking it, will experience withdrawal, including effects like nausea, fatigue, irritability, profound insomnia, stomach cramps, shakes and confusion. However, there can also be more serious symptoms from withdrawal those who have become accustomed to higher doses of the drug, including panic attacks, psychosis and suicidal thoughts or even suicide. For these reasons treating abuse must be done on a professional level rather than simply quitting cold turkey.
Recovery for Ambien addiction may include use of medications to aid in avoiding withdrawal symptoms. There are many programs available for addiction to Ambien and finding one is best done with the aid and advice of an expert in the field of addiction.
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