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What is Ambien
Ambien is the brand name for the drug zolpidem. Ambien’s hypnotic effects are similar to benzodiazepines, but the chemical structure of Ambien is different than that of a benzodiazepine. Ambien is technically classified as an imidazopyridine.
Ambien is meant to be used for a short-term sleep aid. This narcotic prescription medication commonly used in the treatment of chronic insomnia. The controlled release form (Ambien CR) is effective at both initiating and maintaining sleep.
However, physicians have been advised to only utilize this medication for a few weeks at most, only until another form of therapy has been found. If it is abused, or prescribed for a long period of time, Ambien can be addictive.
Ambien addiction has become more common in recent years. Often, Ambien addiction starts off with a valid need for the drug and a prescription from a doctor. The drug becomes a problem when:
• Individuals continues to take the drug long-term (with or against medical advice)
• Someone begins to abuse it to achieve a high
• Individuals take the drug in larger doses
• Mixing Ambien with other medications or alcohol
One difficulty with Ambien addiction is the same as with other prescription drug addictions. Because people are not buying illicit drugs on the street they may not really be ready to admit they are addicted.
Misuse of Ambien is more common in those who have been dependent on other drugs in the past, but increased tolerance and drug dependence can still sometimes occur in those without a history of drug abuse or addiction.
Withdrawals symptoms from Ambien can begin as early as the first 48 hours after a dose.
- Panic Attack
- Mood swings
- Nausea or vomiting
- Depression or uncontrolled crying
- Abdominal cramps
- Rapid heart rate
- Rapid breathing
Ambien seizures, as listed in the symptoms of withdrawal, are rare. However, they do happen. Part of the reason Ambien addiction is so dangerous is because, as with benzodiazepines, when the body becomes dependent and the drug is stopped suddenly it can cause extreme withdrawal symptoms, including seizure and death. Discontinuing Ambien should always be overseen by a doctor, especially in cases of Ambien addiction. This makes medical detox for Ambien abuse so critical.
Ambien addiction frequently causes retrograde amnesia – forgetting things that happened just before and after the drug is taken. Sometimes people report doing things on Ambien that they are completely unaware of until they regain consciousness.
“Ambien Eating” is an example of an activity many report to have experienced without realizing they are doing it. Many people have said that they will wake up with the unmistakable evidence that they have eaten in a blackout, but with no recollection of doing so.
Ambien and Sexual Assault
Because of the hypnotic and amnesia causing properties, Ambien is sometimes used as a date rape drug. Ambien can markedly impair functions that normally allow a person to resist sexual aggression or assault. Ambien’s effects can make victims unable to ward off an attack, and they are also unable to remember the assault or the perpetrator because of the Ambien-induced amnesia. Ambien’s effects are even more exaggerated when the drug is mixed with alcohol, a potentially deadly combination.
As far as the effects of Ambien abuse and withdrawal, some physicians may prescribe psychiatric treatments for depression or anxiety. Anti-seizure medications may be utilized during a safe medical detox to make sure the patient is stable, and those suffering with depression may receive mood-stabilizing medications.
As Ambien is a sedative, medical detox is recommended. While detox is often the starting point for recovery, it does not constitute addiction treatment on its own. Comprehensive treatment must follow, and holistic treatment programs help to address all aspects of the addiction with a personalized recovery plan. It is very important for people recovering from addiction to have strong emotional support while they chose to get help.
Palm Healthcare Company
1177 George Bush Blvd.
Delray Beach, FL 33483
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