Sleep medications like Ambien (zolpidem) are designed to assist people for a short period of time. The sleep these drugs can deliver can allow people to catch up on their rest and feel a little more refreshed, and when they do, they might be more likely to sleep soundly without the assistance of any medications at all. In general, people who take these drugs properly for a few nights don’t experience problems experts would classify as addictions. However, if the abuse continues, an addiction could very well take place within a remarkably short period of time.

Measuring the Dangers

It’s difficult to determine exactly how long it might take for a person to develop an addiction to Ambien, simply because the drug works so very differently in different people. For example, someone who is petite and dainty might develop an addiction much quicker than a person who is large and bulky, simply because the smaller person is obtaining a bigger hit with each pill taken.

Similarly, it can be difficult to measure onset of Ambien addiction because many people who develop these problems already have an addiction in play. For example, in an article in the journal Addiction, researchers suggest that zolpidem abuse was typically associated with the use of opiates, and those who used zolpidem only did so in order to augment the use of their drug of choice. Measuring an addiction in a person like this might be hard, simply because there are too many drugs in the person’s body at any given time.

In general, however, experts suggest that people who take these sorts of drugs for weeks at a time, with no sobriety break in the middle, can develop a physical dependence on the drug. At the same time, they might develop a psychological need to take the drug, and they might be willing to do anything to ensure that they have access to the drug they want. This is typically considered an addiction.

Finding Relief

It can be tempting to ignore an Ambien addiction, as some families might hope that turning a blind eye could allow the person to heal without suffering any embarrassment. However, zolpidem is much too dangerous to ignore. For example, in a study conducted at China Medical University in Taiwan, researchers found that Ambien use was associated with cardiovascular disease. Other studies have linked the drug with impulsive eating and even sleep driving. Leaving the addiction in place could mean exposing people to all sorts of dangers.

Thankfully, people with these addictions can heal, as long as they have access to:

  • Individual therapy
  • Support groups
  • Medication management
  • Alternative therapy
  • Relapse support

This is the kind of help we can offer at Black Bear Lodge. Our counselors have years of experience in helping people to understand their zopidem addictions, along with the steps they’ll need to take control of those problems. Whether the addiction is old or new, we can help. Please call us, and we’ll tell you more about our zolpidem (Ambien) program and what it can do for your family.