Prescription Drug Abuse: Ambien Abuse
To some who struggle to fall asleep, Ambien can provide much-needed relief—yet for others, it can turn into a downward spiral. Zolpidem, the active ingredient in Ambien, produces fewer side effects than other sleep aids, which is generally seen as preferable. But this can be a double-edged sword, especially since Ambien sometimes provides a pleasurable sensation. This combination can lead to addiction—and often the only way to reclaim one’s health is to seek help.
If you know someone who is struggling with an Ambien addiction, please reach out today for support and more information.
Spotting an Ambien Addiction
Between 50 and 70 million American adults suffer from some form of sleep disorder according to the CDC, with Ambien being one of the most commonly prescribed drugs for treatment. Because it’s possible to function well in daytime while taking Ambien at night, it’s easy to start abusing Ambien—but sooner or later consequences will manifest.
People with a history of drug addiction and those under emotional stress are particularly susceptible to Ambien abuse. Addiction can be spurred by losing one’s job, relationship conflicts, or other traumatic or stressful events. If someone you love has been taking Ambien for longer than originally prescribed, refuses to stop the drug, or has lost interest in their usual activities, they might be suffering from addiction.
Symptoms of an Ambien Addiction
There are multiple symptoms related to Ambien abuse, but you’ll probably need to look closely to spot them. Some people become addicted to the drug’s high, and start taking it recreationally during the day; they might snort it to increase the effect. Others develop a tolerance by taking it for too long and become dependent upon a higher dosage to attain the same results. In between taking the drug, your loved one might experience withdrawal symptoms like dizziness, irritability, fatigue, cravings, nausea, and hand tremors. Similarly, they might be unreasonably preoccupied with getting Ambien—or buying it on the street. This can all lead up to an Ambien overdose, which is extremely dangerous and can even be life-threatening.
The Importance of Treatment
When someone you love is abusing Ambien, the journey back to health can be incredibly challenging. The detox process of coming off the drug can be extremely dangerous, depending on the level and length of abuse. It’s critical to undergo medically supervised detoxification within a safe environment like a residential treatment program, with doctors on-call to ensure your loved one is in good hands.
Getting to the root of your loved one’s addiction requires finding the underlying cause of it. Any mental health problems or co-occurring disorders related to the addiction must be identified and treated in order to heal. This can be successfully achieved through dual-diagnosis programs that use a combination of holistic and evidence-based approaches—including experiential therapy, spiritual workshops, talk therapy, and community—to truly understand the person behind the addiction. Recovering from Ambien abuse is no easy feat, but it’s certainly possible with the help of a professional and compassionate team.