Many Americans cannot sleep. The latest research from the University of Pennsylvania states that 1 in 4 people in the United States will develop insomnia this year. The good news is that 75 percent of insomniacs will recover without developing a debilitating long-term chronic case of the disorder.
Ambien is a widely used medication to treat insomnia. It is a highly effective tool to help people suffering the ill effects of insomnia. However, the drug is also highly addictive. Addiction is a common outcome if Ambien is taken for a long time or at a higher dosage than recommended by your doctor.
Side Effects of Ambien
Ambien is the brand name of a drug called zolpidem. The drug is now available in a generic form offered currently by 13 drug manufacturers. Zolpidem or Ambien is used to treat sleep disturbances. It should not be prescribed past the two-week mark because the potential for misuse and the development of a substance use disorder is high.
Ambien was released in the early 90s as a tool for helping people get more rest. Ambien is part of a drug class called sedative-hypnotics that work to slow brain activity and relax you enough to go to sleep. It is typically taken right before going to bed. It is so relaxing that doctors do not recommend driving a vehicle for a full day after taking the drug.
Ambien is a short-term solution for insomnia and, if taken as directed, it is not considered addictive. However, it can be habit-forming, especially if you are desperate to get more sleep and have been taking it for more than two weeks. Ambien addiction can be triggered by long-term use, and one sign that a substance use disorder has developed is that you feel anxious when not taking the medication.
In addition to the risk of Ambien addiction, the medication has a number of unpleasant side effects, including:
- Drowsiness during the day
- Weakness and lightheadedness
- A feeling of being “drugged”
- Tiredness and confusion
- Loss of coordination
- Stuffy nose and a nasal irritation
- Dry mouth and a sore throat
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Stomach upset and nausea
- Changes in vision
- Memory loss
- Mood changes or behavioral swings
Interestingly, zolpidem or Ambien has been correlated with an increase in complex behaviors like sleepwalking, eating while asleep or even sleep driving. An article in The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law suggests that these involuntary acts have actually led to people engaging in illegal activities that they had no memory of doing after the fact.
All of this illustrates that Ambien is a powerful drug that should be used with caution.
Ambien Addiction Treatment
Ambien addiction treatment is commonly provided in an inpatient or outpatient addiction recovery center. There are many resources available today if you are struggling with Ambien addiction. The signs of Ambien addiction include:
- Using the drug off-label
- Appearing frequently intoxicated
- Lying about taking the drug
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop
Contact The Recovery Village Ridgefield today for a confidential discussion regarding your treatment options if you are struggling with a substance use disorder like Ambien addiction. Our professional, courteous staff is standing by to answer your questions and help you step into addiction recovery.