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Ambien Withdrawal

Ambien Withdrawal | Just Believe Detox Center

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If you or a loved one needs help with substance abuse and/or treatment, please contact Just Believe Detox Center at (877) 497-6180. Our specialists can assess your individual needs and help you get the treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

Ambien is a prescription-only sleep medication designed to help individuals with chronic insomnia but is not intended for long-term use. Health providers have been advised that if their patients continue to need the medication after a few weeks of use, they should wean the patient off from medication and find an alternative therapy to prevent Ambien withdrawal.

Ambien (zolpidem), in recent years, has become more frequently abused. In the past, health providers were warned that persons with a history of addictive behaviors, such as a dependence on alcohol or prescription medications, were more likely to become dependent on Ambien.

Some research has suggested that Ambien abuse can be addictive for people who have not previously displayed addictive propensities for other substances. When appropriately used, Ambien helps individuals who have chronic insomnia fall asleep but is not necessarily designed to help them remain asleep.

Ambien Abuse

Part of the prescription states that persons prescribed Ambien should only take the medication within one hour of bedtime. However, when Ambien is misused, individuals use the drug in excessive doses, without the intention of falling asleep or mix it with other substances, such as opioids or alcohol, which can enhance the drug’s hypnotic effects.

Health providers typically prescribe the lowest possible dose of Ambien to those they treat. It is recommended that they watch their patients for psychoemotional changes or a need for sleep medications for a period beyond ten days. These can indicate that the patient has become dependent on Ambien on some level or could be abusing the drug.

Symptoms of withdrawal related to Ambien begin within 48 hours of the last use and can include the following:

  • Moodiness
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Drug cravings
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach cramps
  • Depression
  • Delirium
  • Flushed skin
  • Panic attacks
  • Rapid heart rate/breathing
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures

Fortunately, seizures are uncommon and occur in less than 1% of withdrawal cases. This effect seems to be connected to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain and alterations in pathways related to the uptake of this neurochemical.

Ambien Withdrawal | Just Believe Detox Center

Ambien Withdrawal Timeline

Withdrawal symptoms typically subside or disappear within 1-2 weeks. Acute withdrawal symptoms typically occur within 3-5 days, but psychoemotional withdrawal symptoms can last for two weeks.

In some rare instances, a person may experience drug cravings, insomnia, anxiety or panic attacks, and other side effects for several months after discontinuing the use of Ambien. It is challenging to know precisely how long Ambien withdrawal takes for each individual. 1-2 weeks is average, but many factors can impact how long someone experiences withdrawal symptoms, and these include the following.

How long Ambien was used – When an individual takes Ambien as prescribed for a short period, the person is less likely to encounter severe withdrawal symptoms.

The amount of the dose of Ambien – If an individual takes more Ambien than prescribed, they are more likely to develop a tolerance to the drug, which means more Ambien is required to feel normal. This can result in worsening physical and psychoemotional withdrawal symptoms.

If the individual ingested other drugs in addition to Ambien – Other medications, alcohol, or illicit drugs can heighten the effects of Ambien, increasing the potential feel-good feelings. Withdrawal symptoms are likely to be intensified if the person ceases all drug use at once.

Regular vs. extended-release version – Extended-release medications offer a higher dose of the drug than their non-extended-release counterparts. Abusing pills in this format can lead to much more intense withdrawal symptoms, as ER versions are not intended to be tampered with to induce a high.

Ambien Withdrawal Medication

Although a health provider may prescribe psychiatric treatments for depression or anxiety related to Ambien withdrawal, few drugs treat the actual withdrawal effects. Anti-convulsant medications may also be used to help individuals who suffer seizures during withdrawal. Those suffering from severe anxiety or suicidal thoughts are likely to receive short-term prescriptions for mood-stabilizing medications.

Recent studies suggest that quetiapine, an antipsychotic used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression, has helped some Ambien withdrawal symptoms.

Individuals who want to quit using Ambien are urged to seek the help of professionals regarding withdrawal symptoms. Due to the potential for severe effects, some health providers work with a person to taper off Ambien rather than stop abruptly or “cold turkey.” This can help to prevent seizures, and it can also diminish or prevent other withdrawal symptoms.

Professional Help to Stop Abusing Ambien

Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery offer customized integrated substance abuse treatment programs. Our evidence-based approach includes a myriad of beneficial services and activities, such as the following:

  • Medical detox
  • Residential treatment
  • Partial hospitalization
  • Psychotherapy
  • Group support
  • Individual counseling
  • Family counseling
  • Substance abuse education
  • Health and wellness education
  • Relapse prevention
  • Art and music therapy
  • Alumni events

We Believe Recovery Is Possible For Everyone.
If you or a loved one needs help with substance abuse and/or treatment, please contact Just Believe Detox Center at (877) 497-6180. Our specialists can assess your individual needs and help you get the treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

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