Ambien is an effective prescription pharmaceutical product that can help people get to sleep. In large doses, it can depress respiratory functioning and lead to a near-comatose state. The greater risk of Ambien use is its tendency to generate dependency when it is used over an extended period of time. Individuals who fall into the dependency trap of needing Ambien to get to sleep will generally need outside help to end their pattern of Ambien abuse.
The Effects of Ambien Abuse
Physicians will prescribe Ambien or other generic forms of the pharmaceutical product, Zolpidem, to help individuals who are suffering from sleep disorders. The drug elevates levels of a particular inhibitory neurotransmitter, which slows an individual’s mental processes to ease a transition into a sleepy state. An individual will usually feel the drug’s effects within less than an hour of taking it. Ambien is characterized as a hypnotic drug, suggesting that its effects are akin to a hypnotic state that might be achieved by hypnosis practitioners. The drug acts quickly, but it can also foster dependency relatively quickly. Individuals who have become dependent upon Ambien often experience physical withdrawal symptoms when they abruptly stop using the drug. Some of those symptoms, including seizures, cramps, and convulsions, can be dangerous. In view of those dangers, addiction specialists generally recommend a slow drawdown of Ambien usage over a period of time. Individuals who attempt to stop using Ambien on a cold turkey basis often experience severe withdrawal symptoms, which frequently leads to an Ambien usage relapse.
Treating Ambien Addiction
Physical dependence upon Ambien is not the same thing as addiction. As individuals progress from using to abusing Ambien, their metabolisms develop a tolerance to the drug and they need larger doses of it to achieve the same effect. A physician who treats Ambien dependence and abuse will likely start that process by prescribing lower regular doses, and monitoring the patient to confirm that he or she is adhering to dosage recommendations. Over a period of several months, the treating physician will continue to lower recommended dosages until the patient is able to function and to get to sleep without any Ambien.
This process can stretch over several months, during which time the patient will also benefit from counseling and therapy to address any parallel psychological dependencies that might have developed. Even without physical dependence, an individual can form a psychological attachment to Ambien, and that psychological attachment can be as difficult, if not more difficult to overcome than physical dependence. Individuals who use Ambien excessively are taking substantial risks with their own health and well-being. Ambien users have reported adverse side effects such as sleepwalking, loss of muscle control and coordination, hallucinations, amnesia, and impaired judgment.
Most regulatory guidelines suggest that Ambien should not be used for a continuous period of more than two to six weeks. Individuals whose Ambien use exceeds these guidelines will often develop a dependency on the drug that requires further medical intervention.
If you have been regularly using Ambien for an extended period of time and you have become concerned over that usage, please call the Last Resort Recovery Center near Austin, Texas for a confidential consultation and for more information about Ambien use and abuse. We can assess your Ambien usage and potential dependency and recommend a course of action to reverse any adverse Ambien usage patterns.