Overcoming Ambien Abuse with Good Sleep Hygiene
Ambien is designed to help people fall asleep quickly and stay asleep throughout the night. A tiny dose of the drug is typically all that’s required to bring this deep sleep about, and people who use this drug for insomnia might not even need to take the drug every day in order to see a dramatic improvement in their ability to sleep. It was once assumed that Ambien wouldn’t be abused simply because it was too powerful. If people nod off to sleep as soon as they swallow the pill, they’re not likely to take another pill, the reasoning goes, but there are some people who are able to take multiple doses of this drug without dropping off. According to a study of the issue in the journal Addiction, some people take 30 to 120 times the recommended amount of Ambien due to their addictions, and they may have intense difficulty correcting the problem on their own.
Healing the Body
Ambien produces a sensation of sleepiness by sedating the mind and calming electrical activity that connects brain cells to one another. When the drug is removed and the brain can function at a normal rate, the electrical activity can spread quickly and seizures can develop. People who have taken very high doses of Ambien for long periods of time may be at high risk for developing these kinds of problems, and they may be unable to stop taking the drug on their own.
In a detox program, however, they can get assistance that will allow them to stay safe while their bodies adjust to the lack of drugs. In one study of the issue, published in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy, a man addicted to Ambien was given another medication in a tapering dose for seven days, and he emerged sober and ready to move forward with addiction therapy. It’s a common outcome for people who enroll in treatment programs for addiction.
Working Through Therapy
When withdrawal is complete, people can enter treatment programs for addiction in order to examine why they began abusing Ambien. Often, these therapies revolve around sleeping problems. The therapy can help people learn how to develop new habits that can help them prepare for sleep, and none of these new habits involve popping pills.
Progressive relaxation therapy can be incredibly useful for people in recovery from an Ambien addiction. Therapists teach people to close their eyes and focus on tightening and releasing one muscle group at a time, starting at the head and working to the toes, allowing all thoughts of stress and worry to float away. Therapists might also teach their clients to:
- Refrain from thoughts of money or work before bed.
- Utilize herbal tea and warm baths to promote muscle relaxation.
- Use the bedroom only for sleep and sex.
- Darken the lights in the hours before bedtime.
People might also learn to get up and read, listen to music or meditate when they can’t sleep. Tossing and turning can give people the mistaken impression that they’ll never sleep, but sometimes, getting up can make all the difference.
Traditional addiction therapy may also play a role, helping people learn how to resist the urge to return to drug abuse, but sleep therapies may be vital for people who are overcoming an Ambien addiction, as it’s likely they came to addiction due to unhealthy habits surrounding sleep.