In general, Ambien (zolpidem) is considered a safe and effective medication for people who have insomnia difficulties. For example, in a study in The Journal of International Medical Research, clinicians found that people taking 10 to 20 mg of the drug per day over a period of about 180 days had no rebound insomnia or other withdrawal signs when they stopped taking the medication. They could use the drug for a short period, and then they could stop just as soon as they needed to do so.
But this might not hold true in people who abuse Ambien. People like this might take very large doses of the drug for long periods of time, and if they attempted to quit cold turkey, they could experience life-threatening complications.
The Risk of Seizure
Any kind of sedating drug, including alcohol, can damage the brain to such a degree that it responds with seizures when that drug is gone. Experts refer to this as “kindling,” and they suggest that recurrent attempts at sobriety tend to bring these negative consequences about. Each time a person like this attempts to get sober, the cells are damaged just a little bit. Those damaged cells then spark damage in nearby cells, and these cells also damage their neighbors. In time, a fire of damage spreads though the brain, and a seizure is the result.
A seizure is a medical emergency, even if it seems mild. These events can damage the cells of the brain yet further, and sometimes, the damage done during a seizure can be so severe that death is the result. Swift medical attention can prevent these types of deaths, but that kind of care is hard to obtain when people are at home, attempting to detox on their own.
In a formal detox program for Ambien, people have access to:
- Replacement medications
- Medical monitoring
- Psychiatric supervision
- Peer support
This is the kind of help that can prevent serious medical complications, and it’s the kind of help that tends to make successful detox much more likely. Often, programs like this accept people who are under the influence of Ambien, and they provide them with a program that slowly tapers the amount of drugs they take. Monitoring and support are provided every step of the way.
Programs like this can be remarkably effective. For example, in a study in the journal European Psychiatry, researchers asked some people to go through a cold-turkey Ambien withdrawal, while others were given the opportunity to gradually withdraw from the drug. Those who had medication monitoring tended to have fewer symptoms associated with withdrawal, when compared to the people who went cold turkey. Rather than feeling ill and miserable, those who had a taper were able to go through the process while feeling calm and in control.
If you’d like to know more about Ambien withdrawal, or you’d like to sign up for your own detox program, please call us at Black Bear Lodge. We’re located in northern Georgia, and we serve people all around the world. We’d love to help you to recover. Just call us and we’ll get started.