Like many pharmaceutical products, Ambien is an effective treatment for sleep disorders when it is used properly and pursuant to a prescribing physician’s recommendations. Ambien, shares a few less favorable traits with other pharmaceutical products, the most significant of which is a risk of addiction or dependence. A physician may prescribe Ambien for a short period of time (typically less than four weeks) to help a person who is suffering from insomnia or for assistance in sleeping during lengthy intercontinental plane rides. A person who uses Ambien regularly for more than four weeks, however, will start down a path of Ambien addiction.
Getting Help for an Ambien Addiction
The first step toward getting help for an Ambien addiction problem is to recognize and acknowledge that a problem exists. Most Ambien users will not realize or appreciate their growing dependence on the drug to help them get to sleep. Ambien typically starts to have sleep-inducing effects within thirty minutes after a person first takes it. Ambien addicts may not experience any sleepiness for up to ninety minutes after taking the drug because their metabolisms have built up a significant tolerance to it. As that tolerance continues to build, an Ambien addict will experience confusion and disorientation after taking the drug, but it will no longer have solid effects in helping the addict get to sleep. In its deepest form, Ambien addiction is characterized by both psychological and physical cravings for the drug. Prescribing physicians have become increasingly aware of Ambien addiction risks and will refuse to continue Ambien prescriptions if they suspect that their patients have developed addictions. When those addicted patients are no longer able to get Ambien through legitimate prescriptions, their addiction drives them to seek supplies from friends or illegal street-level sources.
Recovery from Ambien Addiction
If any of these characteristics are reflected in your use of Ambien, you likely have crossed over into the realm of problem Ambien use. Ambien detox can stretch over seven to ten days, but abruptly stopping all use of Ambien can be dangerous. Your physician may want to reduce your Ambien use over a period of a few weeks in order to better control your Ambien detox. You will probably experience periods of sleeplessness, cramps and irritability while you are in your detox phase.
When you have completed detox, your physician will likely refer you to a rehab program that involves behavioral therapy and counseling for the underlying problems that first led to your dependence on or addiction to Ambien. If you continue to experience sleep disorders, your physician will need to prescribe a different drug or transition you to non-pharmaceutical treatments. Once you have developed an Ambien addiction and have recovered from that addiction, you will not be able to use the drug again because of renewed addiction risks.
Some Ambien users have been known to take the drug for recreational purposes and in combination with alcohol and other substances. If you are in this category, you need to make your physician and addiction counselors aware of all of the substances that you are using. Certain depressant substances (like alcohol) can cause fatal interactions when they are used in combination with Ambien, as they suppress normal metabolism to dangerously slow states.
When you are getting help for Ambien addiction, your counselors will need to treat more than just that addiction. Ambien can be used recreationally, but a majority of Ambien addicts start using this drug under a physician’s guidance and for treatment of specific disorders. Those disorders will not disappear when you are treating the secondary Ambien addiction disorder.
If you believe that you have an Ambien problem and you want help to tackle that problem and any disorders that first caused you to use Ambien, please contact the Last Resort Recovery Center near Austin, Texas, at 512-360-3600. We can evaluate your Ambien use and recommend treatment options to break your addiction and to address the situation that originally created it.