Overview, Signs, & Symptoms
Ambien is a prescription medication that is given to those who have issues with insomnia and sleep disturbances. According to the NLM, Ambien “belongs to a class of medications called sedative-hypnotics” (or CNS depressants) and “it works by slowing activity in the brain to allow sleep.”
While Ambien can be very beneficial to those who struggle with insomnia, it can also become habit-forming and, when abused, can lead to addiction. This is dangerous and can cause many problems for an individual who becomes addicted to Ambien. While Ambien addiction is hard to fight, there are treatments that can help a person stop abusing Ambien and gain back their life.
Overview of Ambien Addiction
According to the NIDA, “In 2009, 7 million Americans reported current (past month) nonmedical use of prescription drugs––more than the number using cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, and inhalants combined.” Ambien is one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs; as a sleep medicine, many people take it to fall asleep, but if it has not been prescribed to that particular person, it is a form of abuse. Ambien should not be taken unless prescribed to you and then must only be taken at the amount prescribed.
Still, the bigger problem lies with individuals taking Ambien in higher doses than prescribed. Some people become used to the feelings of well-being, relaxation, and drowsiness that occur with Ambien use, and they will take more than prescribed in order to feel these effects often. This is absolutely a form of Ambien abuse and it leads to addiction and other issues. Some individuals, mostly adolescents and young adults, also abuse Ambien by taking it and resisting the urge to fall asleep which makes them experience a euphoric high.
Ambien is the brand name for zolpidem and causes many problems, among them addiction, if it is abused chronically.
Ambien Addiction Signs
If you are beginning to worry that your loved one might be becoming addicted to Ambien, there are signs that point to this issue. First and foremost, the individual will seem tired, drowsy, or sluggish most of the time and will likely sleep much more often than normal. This is because Ambien promotes drowsiness and constantly taking the pill will make a person feel fatigued all the time.
Other signs of Ambien addiction are:
- Walking unsteadily and having issues with balance
- Change in appetite
- Sleep walking
- Uncontrollable shaking of a certain body part
- Redness of the eyes
- Short-term memory loss
- Apathy toward other aspects of life and things which were once important to them
- Spending all of their time sleeping
- Missing school, work, and other engagements
- Only wanting to spend time with other people who abuse drugs
- Hostility toward those who ask about their Ambien use
A person who becomes addicted to Ambien will be unable to stop abusing the drug. This will continue even if the person knows that their Ambien use is dangerous and harmful to them.
Ambien addicts may experience many issues related to their drug abuse. Their health will suffer as well as their relationships and professional lives, and if they stop abusing Ambien suddenly, they will experience withdrawal symptoms. As stated by the FDA, the withdrawal symptoms of Ambien are:
- Trouble sleeping
- Uncontrolled crying
- Stomach cramps
- Panic attacks
Any of these issues can be observed by someone who is worried that their loved one may be addicted to Ambien. There are other side effects that occur which only the individual can tell you about, but if someone complains of the symptoms of Ambien addiction, you can take notice of them as well.
Symptoms of Ambien Addiction
Many people who abuse Ambien experience certain symptoms as a result, and especially if they do so chronically, these symptoms will be nearly constant. Some of the common symptoms of Ambien addiction are:
- Ringing in the ears
- Pain in the joints, back, or neck
- Unusual dreams
- These can become vivid dreams and even nightmares that are extremely intense and frightening.
- Dry mouth
- Feeling drugged
The surest way to tell that someone is addicted to Ambien is that they are not in control of their drug use. If they are not able to stop abusing Ambien when they say they are going to, or if they continue to abuse more and more each time without control, then they are addicted to the medication. Addiction is a disease and while the original choice to take the drug may be voluntary, eventually it becomes involuntary when addiction occurs.
If you believe that you may be addicted to Ambien, ask yourself these questions and find out whether or not your Ambien abuse has become addiction.
- Do I abuse Ambien every day?
- Do I not feel normal until I’ve taken an Ambien?
- Is Ambien the only thing that can make me feel relaxed, happy, or comfortable?
- Do I become upset when I am unable to take Ambien?
- Have I ever experienced extremely strange, vivid, or frighting dreams as a result of my Ambien abuse?
- Do I continue to take the drug anyway?
- Have I ever experienced short-term memory loss as a result of my Ambien abuse?
- Does this happen constantly?
- Has it caused problems in my life more than once?
- Do I continue to take Ambien anyway?
- Do I hide Ambien in places I think no one will look?
- Do I take Ambien even at times where I am not using it to sleep but because I feel like I need it?
- Do I need Ambien to fall asleep when I didn’t before?
- Am I noticing that I need higher and higher doses of Ambien each time I use it in order to feel the same effects?
- Have I experienced issues in my life as a result of my Ambien abuse?
- Have I continued to abuse Ambien despite that?
- Have I ever tried to quit Ambien and felt that it was too difficult?
If you answered yes to most of the questions above, you are likely experiencing Ambien addiction. Someone who feels that they cannot stop abusing Ambien, no matter how many problems they face as a result, is dealing with Ambien addiction. It may be difficult for the individual to admit this fact, but once they do, they can seek treatment and find the right program that will help them recover from Ambien abuse and addiction.