Ambien Abuse: The Harmful Side Effects of Ambien Addiction or Misuse
Most individuals that abuse Ambien begin by taking it as prescribed but ultimately fall into a dependency cycle in which they are taking dosages outside of the recommended amount. While it often starts innocently, by taking an extra dose here or there when the user has difficulty sleeping, this can lead to a dangerous cycle in which the user gradually builds a tolerance to the sleep aid. This addiction leads to higher and higher doses, and ultimately finds users attempting to obtain additional prescriptions, higher dosages, or additional drugs to attempt to fill the void and give them restful sleep.
What is Ambien?
Ambien is actually a brand name for the generic drug Zolpidem. Zolpidem is also sold under the brand names, Ambien CR, Stilnoct, Sublinox, Stillnox, Zolsana, Sanval, Zonadin, Zolfresh, or Hypnogen. No matter what the name, the prescription is a sleep aid used in treatment of insomnia, and some disorders of the brain.
Ambien is classified as a hypnotic nobenzodiazepine and it’s a fast acting neurotransmitter inhibitory, meaning it blocks certain signals from one neuron to another. It typically works quite quickly, and leaves the user feeling sleepy within a matter of 15-minutes, and has a half-life of two to three hours. When taking as prescribed, this substance allows the individual to fall asleep with ease.
How is it Abused?
Where Ambien is abused when the prescribed amount is used too often and no longer achieves its intended use as a sleep aid. When the user has difficulty sleeping while taking the prescribed dose, it’s not uncommon for them to exceed the recommended dosage in an attempt to have a restful night of sleep.
In addition, it’s important to note that Ambien isn’t mean to be a permanent or long-term solution to insomnia, which some individuals may not understand completely when using Ambien. Users that continue use longer than the recommended amount by a doctor are at risk of dependence and perceive an inability to sleep without it.
What are the Side Effects of Ambien Abuse?
Zolpidem – or Ambien – is a Schedule IV controlled substance in the United States, meaning that – according to the Controlled Substances Act – it has a high likelihood for potential abuse and dependence.
The highest probability for negative effects from continued use is that of dependence. Many users report that they have difficulty sleeping when they cease ingestion of the substance, which leads to continued use through a separate prescription or illegal purchase. This dependence also leads to moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms when the user abstains from taking the medication.
Additionally, some users have reported psychoactive effects, such as hallucinations, distorted vision, perceptual changes, and blackouts.
Other side effects are typically due to interaction with other drugs, and these cocktails could lead to suicidal thoughts or behavior, hospitalization, or even death. Users should also remember that operating vehicles or heavy machinery while using Ambien – even in the prescribed amount – is ill advised and has been the reported cause of motor vehicle accidents.
Ambien is helpful when used as prescribed, but much like any drug – prescription or otherwise – becomes dangerous when not being used as intended.
Prescott House has years of experience in helping men with all sorts of prescription drug or other addictions. Our helpful staff is here to answer any questions you may have about our male-only treatment facility, as well as how we can help you or a loved one lead a lifetime of sobriety.