Ambien Abuse and Addiction

Ambien Abuse and Addiction

Nowadays, a significant number of Americans suffers from insomnia. Some of them have a trouble falling asleep and the others experience poor quality sleep. It leads to the wide usage of sedatives and sleep inducing medications. The word Ambien is used to refer to a class of drugs termed as sedative hypnotics. Just like Xanax and other benzodiazepines, it is habit forming but far less addictive. It was designed to achieve same medical effects without experiencing the negative effects associated with the use of benzodiazepines. So Ambien is a less addictive and less harmful alternative to benzodiazepines. Ambien is classified as schedule IV controlled substance that means its recreational use is unlikely but it can be addictive in nature. However, some people still use it in large quantities due to its euphoric high and hallucinatory effects.

What is Ambien?

Ambien is a sleeping pill used to treat the patients with insomnia. When used for long periods of time in high quantities, there is a potential to become addicted to it. Ambien use can also develop tolerance leading the user towards taking more and more drug. Ambien has been found to develop physical and psychological dependence in the users. The drug is usually used for short treatment periods extending over two weeks. It is important to be careful and take the drug exactly in the amounts and for the time prescribed by the doctor. Otherwise, addiction will be an inevitable consequence. The medication is usually available in the form of oral tablets that are sometimes crushed and snorted by the addicts. A number of slang terms are used to refer to Ambien such as:

  • Tic tacs
  • Sleep easy
  • Zombie pills
  • No-gos
  • A-minus

Ambien can only be bought with a valid prescription in United States. If it is quit after using for long periods of time, withdrawal symptoms may appear.

How does Ambien work?

Ambien is a sedative or hypnotic medication that slows down the functions of brain thus allowing the user to fall asleep. Ambien is sold in following forms

  • Extended release tablets
  • Immediate release tablets
  • Oral sprays
  • Fast acting sublingual tablets

The type of medication suitable for a certain patient depends upon a number of factors determined by the doctor. Taking Ambien without a valid prescription or taking it in more than recommended amounts is abuse. The immediate release tablets are supposed to be taken right before bed to induce instant sleep. However, some people tend to take it hours before bed time that produces euphoric feelings making the user feel more self confident and self satisfied.

Ambien is considered a safer alternative to benzodiazepines due to its less addictive nature and lesser potential to produce toxicity in case of taking high doses. However, taking it in excessive amounts can result into an overdose and death since it is a central nervous depressant that slows down body and brain activities.

Dosage amounts for Ambien:

Ambien is prescribed at the low doses of 5mg. the patient is recommended to take the medication before going to bed when there are 7-8 hours remaining before he has to wake up. If 5mg does not work for a certain patient, the dose maybe increased to 10mg.

The dosage for women is lower as compared to men due to lesser clearance rate of zolpidem in women. Once Ambien is administered, it reaches its peak values in the blood within the duration of 30 minutes. That’s why insomniacs should only take this drug before bedtime. The effects of Ambien usually lasts for 7 to 8 hours. Taking Ambien in significantly high amounts can even produce euphoric feelings.

Is Ambien addictive?

Yes, Ambien is an addictive drug and people who take it to achieve a high are particularly more vulnerable to becoming an addict. The number of people who take Ambien for recreational use is increasing in United States.

It is one of the most widely abused sleeping pills available in market. Most of the addicts start taking Ambien to resolve their sleep issues. With continued use, the body becomes dependent on the drug to function. The chemical composition of brain is altered in such a way that it is no more able to function normally without the drug. When the usage is quit, the body shows violent reaction termed as appearance of withdrawal symptoms.

Common Ambien drug combinations:

Ambien is often combined with other medications, recreational drugs and alcohol either intentionally or accidently. People who use it to achieve euphoric high are more likely to combine it with other drugs in an attempt to intensify or prolong their high.

  • Ambien is often combined with alcohol to amplify its effects. Both Ambien and alcohol are central nervous depressants which means they produce their effects by slowing down brain activities. When these both are combined, there is a greater risk of overdosing which may even result into death.
  • Combining Ambien with uppers or central nervous stimulants such as cocaine can mask the effect of Ambien. The user may take more and more drug in an attempt to produce effects that may result into an overdose.
  • Combining Ambien with benzodiazepines can have similar effects as in case of alcohol.
  • Combining Ambien with trazodone drugs can results into side effects such as difficulty concentrating, confusion, dizziness and drowsiness.

Some facts and figures on Ambien abuse:

Use of prescription medications is a widespread problem in United States. People who abuse it also frequently combine it with other drugs and alcohol which significantly increases its harmful effects.

  • A National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted in 2013 revealed that over 250,000 Americans were abusing Ambien and other sedatives.
  • About 70% of emergency room visits involving Ambien were by female patients. It shows that women are more likely to abuse Ambien than men.
  • About 500,000 Americans are currently abusing Ambien and other sedatives.
  • The number of Americans who think abusing prescription drugs is not associated with any significant side effects is alarming.

If you suspect a loved one of abusing Ambien, keep a close check on them and look for signs and symptoms of abuse. Get them the help they need as soon as you are sure about their addiction.