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Ambien Dependence and Withdrawal

woman discusses ambien dependence with doctor

Sleep issues are incredibly common, occurring for a wide variety of reasons — from mental health disorders to chronic pain. Many people who experience insomnia and other sleep disruptions turn to prescription medications to help them fall and stay asleep. A popular medication used to treat sleep problems is zolpidem, often known by its brand name, Ambien. Ambien can cause a variety of negative side effects, and with prolonged use can lead to increased tolerance and a dependence that makes quitting Ambien difficult without professional help. Additionally, those who have struggled with substance use disorders such as alcohol addiction or an addiction to prescription pain medications have been found more likely to develop a dependence while on Ambien.

Effects of Ambien

Ambien works by increasing the neurotransmitter known as GABA in the brain. GABA reduces the effects of other chemicals in the brain that cause it to remain active, making it easier to shut down the mind and fall asleep. However, Ambien belongs to a class of drugs known as sedative-hypnotics, and has been known to cause unsettling mental effects such as memory loss and behavioral changes. Additionally, the effects of the drug can continue even after a full night’s sleep, and may include lasting drowsiness, agitation, anxiety, or a sense of impending doom. These side effects may be temporarily amplified when an individual attempts to quit taking Ambien. 

Quitting Ambien

Ambien is usually recommended by doctors as a last resort to treat insomnia, and is not often prescribed as a long-term solution. However, some people continue to take the drug past the point of what is considered safe, and in doing so may develop a dependence. Quitting Ambien may require medical supervision, especially if the individual has been consistently taking a large dose. The most important aspect of quitting any sedative is addressing the underlying causes of mental health disorders such as insomnia and severe anxiety through techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, now is the time to reach out for help. At Arbor Behavioral Healthcare, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals who understand addiction in all its forms. The Arbor uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, and at The Arbor you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan. We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit so you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us today at 844-413-2690.