Zolpidem, more commonly known by the brand names Ambien, Sublinox, Intermezzo or Stilnox, is a powerful prescription drug used to treat insomnia. While, like benzodiazepines, it is a hypnotic and sedative that affects a certain neurotransmitter called GABA, it has a different molecular formation. As a central nervous system depressant it can produce tolerance, dependency and addiction in those who abuse it, which is why it is generally recommended for short-term use only. It comes in single-release and extended-release forms, usually a tablet.
Information About Zolpidem
Zolpidem is effective at initiating but not maintaining sleep, unless taken in the controlled-release form. The drug is associated with a potentially dangerous sleepwalking habit, whereby the person taking the drug appears awake, is able to conduct a complex conversation, and appears able to perform tasks such as driving and eating without difficulty. There are several documented unexplained incidents in which people taking Ambien injured themselves as a result of taking the drug and sleepwalking. In addition, because the drug can produce amnesia, some users have reported sleepwalking even though they weren’t actually asleep — in fact, they just didn’t remember the events that took place.
Taking Ambien can result in hangover-like effects such as sleepiness, impaired coordination and the reduced ability to think clearly, which can lead to accidents and poor judgment. All of these effects can occur just by taking the drug exactly as prescribed and while under the care of a qualified and attentive physician.
Adolescents sometimes choose Ambien because it’s easily accessible via their parents, and because it can induce relaxation and sociability. Drinking alcohol with Ambien or another zolpidem drug is extremely dangerous because of the central nervous system depressant effects of each.
Although the drug is not as dangerous as benzodiazepines, barbiturates, opiates and other central nervous system depressants, it is possible to become addicted to Ambien and the consequences of chronic abuse are severe. Quitting abruptly causes a variety of serious and uncomfortable side effects. In addition, the more severe the addiction, the more difficult the withdrawal; as a result, professional help is necessary when quitting.
Addiction Symptoms and Side Effects
Just as with other drugs that produce tolerance and dependence, zolpidem addiction is marked by certain symptoms and side effects of abuse. You might have a problem with Ambien if you’ve noticed:
- Cognitive problems with memory, decision-making, reasoning and concentration
- Stomach problems such as vomiting and nausea
- Lack of balance or coordination
- Hallucinations or delusions of grandeur
- Drug cravings when you’re not using zolpidem
- Feelings of nervousness, agitation or irritability
- Convulsions or seizures
- Dangerous sleepwalking or sleep-driving habits
- An inability to fulfill work, school or home obligations
- Increasing problems with money, relationships or the law
In the case of an Ambien overdose, the symptoms are slowed or stopped breathing, pinpoint pupils, unresponsiveness, coma and death.
Recover From Addiction Safely and Thoroughly
Stopping Ambien suddenly is never advisable because of the way the drug works in the brain. Not only does withdrawal produce uncomfortable rebound symptoms that can make the original complaints worse, quitting Ambien can result in seizures. Those who take the drug safely and as directed can taper off slowly under the care of a physician; a person struggling with Ambien addiction will require medically monitored detox and follow-up behavioral therapy.
At 12 Keys Rehab, our qualified and compassionate staff members can help you recover from zolpidem addiction safely and thoroughly. You’ll begin treatment in our medical detox clinic, where you’ll receive round-the-clock care. Next, you’ll begin behavioral therapy and psychotherapy as you learn why you became addicted — and how to avoid relapsing in the future. You’ll also reengage in fun lifestyle activities that will remind you how fun sober living is.
Don’t let addiction define who you are. Call 12 Keys now for a confidential and free consultation, and find your path to freedom, starting today.