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Ambien Withdrawal and Detoxification

Ambien Withdrawal and Detoxification

Ambien is a physician endorsed pharmaceutical drug, given to those patients who experience difficulty falling asleep. There are a number of street names given to the Ambien including zombie pills, A-short etc that are commonly used by Ambien addicts. Once the addiction has been developed, the user may experience a number of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when the drug is quit.

Ambien stands out amongst the other usually abused prescription medicines in the United States since it is highly addictive and can produce negative mental and physical effects on a person who is dependent on it. However, treatment for Ambien addiction is possible. Most of the addicts successfully give up on the drug after going through detox and availing a proper treatment program.

Ambien withdrawal symptoms:

Although Ambien withdrawal is not as painful as withdrawal of other heavy drugs, it still has some very unpleasant symptoms associated with it. It is not recommended to quit the drug all at once. Since it is a hypnotic drug, it produces harmful effects on brain when quit all at once. Some common withdrawal symptoms produced when Ambien is quit include:

  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Increased heart rate
  • Excessive sweating
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Involuntary tremors
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mental confusion

In extreme cases, the user may also experience seizures. As the time passes, the symptoms become less severe in intensity and disappear within two weeks. Also, the intensity of these symptoms may vary from one user to the other depending upon certain factors such as:

  • The time duration drug was abused for
  • Frequency of abuse
  • Whether the drug was combined with another substance
  • Individual factors such as age, BMI etc

In a specialized detox center, a treatment plan is devised after assessing all the aspects of a patient’s health.

Appearance of rebound symptoms:

Rebound symptoms or rebound phenomenon is the appearance or reappearance of the symptoms that were treated or controlled by taking a medication. The patients who used Ambien for the treatment of insomnia may experience rebound insomnia after quitting Ambien. As the use is prolonged, the body and mind of the user becomes dependent on the drug to induce sleep. When there is no drug, the person becomes unable to fall asleep. Rebound insomnia gets better as the time passes and ultimately the patient becomes able to have good quality sleep without the drug.

Timeline for Ambien withdrawal:

Withdrawal duration and intensity may vary from user to the other. Withdrawal duration may range from a few days and a few weeks. Those who take high amounts of Ambien over extended periods of time experience the most violent withdrawal symptoms. Ambien is a drug with short half life which means it is fast acting drug and it also leaves the body quickly.

  • First 4-8 hours: Since Ambien is a drug with a short half life, time taken for its removal is short. In case of heavy users, withdrawal symptoms start to appear within a few hours of quitting the drug. The earliest symptoms may start to appear within 4 hours.
  • Days 1 and 2: Within the 48 hours of last dose, all the withdrawal symptoms appear. The user experiences confusion, memory impairment and mood swings. Rebound insomnia may also kick in.
  • Days 3 to 5: By the 5th day, the withdrawal symptoms reach to their peak value. Extreme symptoms like involuntary tremors are experienced. Some users may also have panic attacks. Rebound insomnia also persists.
  • Day 7 and on: After reaching their peak value, withdrawal symptoms start to get better. By the 2nd week, most of the symptoms fade away. The users start to feel normal. Rebound insomnia also disappears.

Detoxification process for Ambien addiction:

Detoxification is a natural process carried out by the body to remove toxins accumulated due to prolonged drug abuse. Detox starts as soon as the drug is quit. It is a long and unpleasant experience but it is inevitable to go through it to make a recovery. Although it is possible to go through detox at home but it is not recommended by experts due to serious withdrawal symptoms appearing during the process.

At times, some symptoms are aggravated to such a level that even death is resulted. Psychological symptoms can be more dangerous since they can lead the patient towards self harm. Completing detox in a specialized detox center under expert supervision can be significantly helpful to make the process less painful. It is recommended to taper off the drug rather than going cold turkey. By slowly reducing the dosage, a chance is provided to the body to adjust itself to live without Ambien. Withdrawal symptoms experienced are also less intense when the drug is quit by slowly decreasing the dose. The time duration taken to taper off the drug may vary. Some people can taper off the drug within a few weeks while the others can take months. Sometimes, valium is used as a replacement to Ambien during withdrawal period. But its use should be supervised since valium is addictive itself. A supervised and medically assisted detox program makes the process significantly less painful. It also greatly increases the chances of recovery.