Insomnia is one of the most mentioned complaints heard in the doctor’s office. It seems more people struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep than ever before, and subsequently a large number of Americans are dependent on sleep inducing medications. In fact, between 50-70 million adults struggle with a sleep disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Ambien (zolpidem) is a sedative-hypnotic prescription drug that was introduced in 1992. Hailed as a miracle drug, Ambien is fast-acting and effective, giving people a solid night’s sleep—so what’s the problem? It is due to its efficacy that those who rely on Ambien for a good night’s sleep may become psychologically addicted to the drug, assuming they cannot fall asleep or stay asleep without it. This sets the person up for developing a dependency or addiction that can have serious implications. When this happens, knowing how to break Ambien addiction is important information that can guide someone to treatment.
Ambien works by slowing down brain functions that allows the individual to relax mentally and get to sleep. The effects of Ambien begin quickly, usually within 15 minutes of ingesting the pill. For this reason, someone taking Ambien should only take it when they are immediately going to bed. This is because the hypnotic effects that Ambien causes can lead to highly unusual behaviors, even dangerous behaviors. Some people experience activities that they have no recollection of the next day. These might include online shopping, cooking meals, sending texts and emails, and even driving while under the influence of the drug. Accidents can also happen while on Ambien before the person gets into bed. For example, while sitting at a computer after taking Ambien, the individual can literally fall sleep sitting up and risks tumbling out of the chair. Trying to sleepwalk around the house or go down a staircase are also opportunities for accidents. Attempting to drive while under the influence of Ambien can result in a serious or even fatal car accident.
Ambien is not intended to be taken long term, but rather was designed for periodic insomnia. But the drug can cause psychological dependence where the individual reaches for the medication automatically each night, in anticipation of another good night’s sleep. After continued, regular use, the body develops a tolerance to the effects of the Ambien, which often causes the individual to take more than is prescribed in order to have the original effect.
Signs of Ambien Abuse or Addiction
When Ambien is overused or abused, such as taking higher doses than prescribed, using the drug with alcohol or crushing the drug and snorting it, highly adverse consequences may occur. Mixing alcohol with Ambien is very dangerous, as both act to depress the central nervous system. Some signs of Ambien abuse include:
- Taking Ambien during the day
- Doctor shopping to obtain the drug
- Using the drug recreationally
- Taking higher doses than recommended
- Concentration issues
- Memory problems
- Feel anxiety if there are none left in the bottle
- When attempting to quit taking Ambien, experiencing withdrawal symptoms
Detoxing from Ambien
When one has developed an addiction to Ambien it may be helpful to get professional help to show the individual how to break ambient addiction, starting with detox. The brain has become accustomed to the daily influx of the drug, so during a medically supervised detox the doctor will likely put the individual on a tapering schedule. By slowly reducing the dosage over a period of days, the individual can safely detox from the Ambien.
Detox involves experiencing withdrawal symptoms, which can be managed by the medical detox team. People who attempt to detox on their own usually fail to complete the process, as the withdrawal symptoms are difficult to endure without help. A trained detox team will offer medical interventions to assist with the symptoms and provide relief. Ambien withdrawal symptoms include:
- Panic attacks
- Hand tremors
- Nervousness, agitation
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Stomach cramping
Most Ambien detox periods last about 7 days on average. The severity of symptoms is related to the length of time addicted to Ambien, and how high the usual dosage was.
Treatment for Ambien Addiction
It is not enough to just go through Ambien detox and think everything will be fine going forward. Detox alone does not address the now entrenched thought and behavior patterns that led to the addiction. To adequately change those reflex behaviors one needs to go through some psychotherapy, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, to break the disordered thought/behavior patterns and replace them with new, healthy ones.
Ambien addiction treatment can be obtained in two types of settings, an outpatient program or an inpatient program. The type of setting that is appropriate will depend on whether the addiction is severe, whether there is a poly-substance abuse, or more than one drug, and if there is a coexisting mental health issue. The inpatient setting is best suited for those situations, as it offers a more intensive therapeutic approach in a structured environment.
An outpatient program is useful for individuals in the early phase of Ambien addiction. Outpatient programs offer different levels of treatment intensity, and the individual will live at home while going through the program. This provides flexibility for individuals who need help to overcome addictive behaviors, but who need to also continue to work or attend school.
Whether it is inpatient or outpatient treatment, a comprehensive program will include individual talk therapy, group therapy, family therapy (if applicable), recovery meetings, medication management (if applicable), and relapse prevention planning.
Capo By the Sea Treats Ambien Addiction or Dependency
Capo By the Sea is an elite addiction recovery program that can show you how to break Ambien addiction by changing behaviors and habits that contribute to insomnia. Once the drug is safely detoxed from the body, a comprehensive treatment program will use several types of evidence-based therapies to examine the factors involved with the sleep disturbance, and to break the thought-behavior patterns that keep a person enslaved to Ambien.
Capo By the Sea is a deluxe treatment center located in a serene coastal setting in Southern California. This upscale rehab offers luxury accommodations that surround clients with every creature comfort. In addition to the proven psychotherapies used in treatment, spa-like activities and therapies compliment the overall therapeutic experience. For more information about how to break Ambien addiction, please contact Capo By the Sea today at 888-529-2114