Ambien, also known as zolpidem, is a prescription drug commonly used to treat insomnia. By calming the central nervous system (CNS), Ambien is used to treat an array of sleep disorders. Habitual use of Ambien, however, can easily turn into an addiction.1
Ambien has become a much more popular drug in the last several years, and with more availability comes more frequent addiction. Between 2005 and 2010, there was a 220 percent increase in patients going to the emergency room for problems while on zolpidem, the generic form of Ambien.2 It is clear that Ambien is prevalent as well as dangerous.
It can be heart-wrenching to watch a loved one struggle with drug dependence and it’s difficult to discern how and when to intervene. Because Ambien is such a common drug, it may be hard to discern normal side-effects from addiction. While each abuser may display unique symptoms, there exist some classic behaviors including the following:
Typically prescribed to treat insomnia, prolonged use of Ambien may cause a host of health issues. By taking the proper dosage, prescribed by the doctor, an individual may experience the side effects of fatigue and exhaustion. When individuals abuse Ambien by taking higher than recommended doses or for longer durations of time, abusers may experience the following physical symptoms:
- Short or long-term memory loss
- Lack of coordination
Each person responds to medicine differently; however, the changes in behavior are most concerning when they seem to happen rapidly and in conjunction with other suspect behavioral changes. Because it is common to abuse more than one drug at a time, most abusers experience health issues beyond those listed above. The physical side effects of Ambien abuse are intensified when coupled with any other drug, from alcohol to marijuana. Therefore, individuals who abuse both Ambien as well as other drugs may be vulnerable to more severe health complications.
Extreme Mood Shifts
Although Ambien by itself calms the nerves and promotes relaxation, overdosing may cause severe mood changes. For some individuals abuse will result in deep depression and an inability to cope with the daily demands of life. For others, erratic shifts in energy may be the result of Ambien abuse. The most common mood changes are increased irritability and anxiety. As with other concerning behaviors, individuals who couple Ambien abuse with alcohol, marijuana or other drugs will likely experience more severe mood changes.
Similar to most prescription drugs, Ambien is expensive. Although some healthcare providers and insurance companies will help make Ambien more financially accessible to those in dire need, many individuals invest a fair amount of money into their prescription drugs. As peopledeepen their addiction, they become more tolerant of the drug and require higher doses of Ambien to reap the same benefits. Some individuals may even impulsively move from doctor to doctor in hopes of obtaining more medicine. Even if Ambien abusers require a small dosage to feed their addiction, their finances will reflect it.
Decrease in School and/or Work Performance
Any destructive habit will eventually hinder the user’s quality of life. Many addicted individuals will experience broken trust and relationships with loved ones. Because adolescents spend most of their time in school, a clear marker of addiction is their academic performance will decrease. The combination of exhaustion, fatigue and anxiety from abusing Ambien may make it difficult to focus on schoolwork. Similarly, adult Ambien abusers may dedicate extended amounts of time, energy and finances into their addiction. Naturally, their work performance may suffer in a variety of ways, from increased absenteeism to lack of focus.
Debbie spent many years addicted to Ambien to avoid other areas of grief in her life. After getting behind the wheel of the car while on Ambien, Debbie crashed into a tree at 45 mph. This was her wake-up call, and thankfully, that day began her life of sobriety. Don’t risk your life like Debbie did. There is help available for you today.
If you or someone you love is fighting an addiction to Ambien, please call our 24 hour, toll-free helpline. We want to help you start on your journey to freedom from addiction. Please call today.
1 “Ambien.” Drugs.com. 2 August 2017. Web. Accessed 5 August 2017.
2 “Emergency Department Visits for Adverse Reactions Involving the Insomnia Medication Zolpidem.” SAMHSA.1 May 2013.Web. Accessed 5 August 2017.