Ambien Misuse, Abuse and Addiction Information

Ambien Misuse, Abuse and Addiction Information

Ambien (generic form Zolpidem), is a sedative hypnotic drug that's used to treat insomnia. Ambien belongs to a category of drugs known as central nervous system depressants. CNS depressants slow down the nervous system and when a person has trouble sleeping due to insomnia, Ambien slows brain activity down allowing an individual to fall asleep. Ambien not only helps a person with insomnia fall asleep, but also helps them to remain asleep during the night.

Under most circumstances, sedative medications that induce sleep like Ambien are only used for a short period of time, for a couple of days or no longer than one to two weeks generally. Ambien may be habit-forming and should never be misused for any reason or shared with others but like many other prescribed drugs, some people abuse sleep medications like Ambien for the sedative effects.

Side Effects of Ambien (Zolpidem)

There can also be side effects a person may experience when taking prescription drugs like Ambien. Patients should always be aware of the possible adverse effects associated with medications like Ambien. Unfortunately when a person is taking someone else's prescription drugs or abusing them, they're usually unaware of the potential side effects or the dangers involved with combing RX medications.

  • Headaches
  • Pain
  • Drowsiness during the day
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased in sexual desire
  • Heartburn
  • Painful menstrual periods
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Unusual dreams
  • Male breast enlargement

Combining Ambien With other CNS Depressants

Ambien is a central nervous system depressant and combing the sleep aid with other CNS depressants can result in serious adverse reactions. Alcohol, anti-anxiety medications and narcotic pain relievers are also CNS depressants and if mixed with Ambien (Zolpidem), could result in serious medical complications that could be fatal.

Ambien Related Emergency Department Visits

A recent 2013 DAWN Report shows emergency department visits involving Zolpidem adverse reactions almost increased 220%, from six thousand one hundred eleven ED visits in 2005 to nineteen thousand four hundred eighty seven visits in 2010. Fifty percent of the ED visits involved Zolpidem combined with other pharmaceutical drugs and narcotic pain medications and other anti-anxiety and insomnia medications were among them.

Anyone that legitimately takes Zolpidem or abuses the medication intentionally, is putting themselves in serious danger if they're unaware of the serious consequences associated with mixing drugs together. This holds true for all drugs whether they're legal or not.

Ambien Misuse and Abuse

Normally Ambien is only taken for a short time but some people take the sleep medication longer than they should because they think they're unable to fall asleep without it. When a person uses Ambien for a couple of weeks or more they risk becoming dependent on the sedative medication.

Taking a larger dose of Ambien than was prescribed is another way the sleep medication is misused. Some people increase their dose on their own instead of consulting their physician first, misuse of Ambien in any way could result in serious side effects.

Many prescription drugs are misused for some of the same reasons street drugs are abused, they change the way a person feels especially when they're used improperly or taken in larger doses. Ambien is a sedative and some people abuse the medication because they enjoy the feelings of sedation the drug produces.

Insomnia is a common side effect associated with some powerful street drugs like cocaine and meth. Some drug users will find ways of getting hold of medications like Ambien because they're unable to sleep for long periods of time.

Doctor Shopping: People taking more than their prescribed dose of Ambien or individuals abusing the medication for the sedative effects, often go from one physician to another to obtain multiple prescriptions and then take them to different pharmacies to have them filled.

Ambien Dependence

When Ambien is taken for an extended period of time or abused in high doses, users can become physically dependent on the medication and then possibly addicted. When a person is dependent on Ambien for any reason, symptoms of withdrawal can be experienced if they abruptly stop taking the medication. Ambien withdrawal can be agonizing possibly resulting in severe problems that could even be life threatening depending on a person's metabolism and the length of time they were taking the sedative medication.

Ambien Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Irritability
  • Sweating
  • Upset stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle cramping
  • Shakiness
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Fatigue
  • Exhaustion
  • Seizures
  • Dizziness
  • Unusual dreams
  • Insomnia

Safe Detoxification Method for Ambien Addiction

Withdrawal from Ambien can be severe so when a person is going to stop using the sleep medication they need to slowly taper off their dose so they can avoid the withdrawal symptoms. The safest way to detox from Ambien if a person is addicted to the sleep aid is to seek help from a substance abuse medical detoxification program.

Medical drug detox programs are staffed with qualified health care professionals that will address the individual's current state of health and specific metabolic needs. This is important during detox when a person is dependent on Ambien. Health care professionals will also provide the necessary nutritional support a person needs during this time, monitor their hydration and help to avoid the more serious symptoms of Ambien withdrawal. This type of medical drug detox program has been proven to be much safer, faster and more comfortable than all other methods.


Topic Discussion

  1. There are no comments for this post yet. Use the form below to be the first!

Leave a comment


To protect the integrity of our site all comments are reviewed prior to being shown, we apologize for the small delay, but this brings a better experience for our readers. SPAM & rude comments are not tolerated. Using the 'Connect with Facebook' option will get your comment up faster!

Contact A Substance Abuse Counselor

We help people take the first steps toward getting help for their drug and alcohol usage and having drug-free lifestyles. To contact an alcohol/drug abuse counselor, please call 1-800-591-6474(Info iconWho Answers?).

Socialize with us
Close Icon

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Additional calls will also be forwarded and returned by one of our treatment partners below.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by one of our treatment partners, a paid advertiser on

All calls are private and confidential.