Tuesday October 6th 2015

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Does Ambien get you high?

Does Ambien get you high?

Yes. Ambien can create a euphoric high and can even cause hallucinations.

So is Ambien narcotic? No. We review the chemical properties of Ambien, plus how Ambien works on your body here. And more on how to tell if you are addicted to Ambien CR or Ambien. We invite your questions and comments about Ambien use at the end.

Ambien chemistry and use

Ambien contains a drug called “zolpidem,” a sedative hypnotic. Ambien is used to treat insomnia and enable users to sleep through the night. Zolpidem works by slowing activity in the brain. Ambien peak effect occurs 1.5-2 hours after dosing and is why Ambien should only be taken when you have a full 7-8 hours to sleep through the night. Because of the addictive potential of the drug, Ambien is only recommended for short-term treatment of sleep disorders.

Ambien and euphoria

While Ambien normally makes people drowsy and puts them to sleep, some people abuse the drug by resisting its sedative effects. When misused, Ambien creates a euphoric high. While euphoria is a known side effect of Ambien even when used correctly, only causes this side effect in about 1% of users. But when taken in higher-than-normal doses, or when users stay awake instead of going to bed after taking the medication, Ambien can create a high which may include hallucinations. Again, a very small percentage of people (less than 5%) experience hallucinations during normal use, and a smaller amount (1%) experience euphoric feelings while taking the drug as directed.

Ambien and central nervous system effects

Ambien’s effects on the central nervous system can cause a variety of unpleasant side effects. These include:

  • difficulty with balance, unsteady walking
  • dizziness, drowsiness, lightheadedness
  • headache, ringing ears, pain or itching in the ears
  • pain, numbness, or a burning feeling in arms, legs, hands, or feet
  • uncontrollable shaking in a part of the body

Mixing Ambien with other substances

Mixing Ambien with other substances can be extremely dangerous. Mixing drugs or chemicals with Ambien increases the risk of adverse effects or overdose. Other sedatives and central nervous system depressants are especially risky, as is alcohol.

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Risks of taking Ambien to get high

Using Ambien to get high has a few adverse effects. One immediate problem is that memory problems can occur if it’s not used correctly in conjunction with a full 7 or 8 hours of sleep. Ambien can also be dangerous because it can cause sleep-walking…as well as doing other activities in your sleep, such as driving, cooking, or having sex. People who experience this side effect will have no memory of their actions the next day. Taking higher dosages than recommended increases the risk of this and other adverse side effects. A third problem is that Ambien is extremely addictive. Tolerance and withdrawal symptoms will develop when it’s used for more than a few weeks. Withdrawal symptoms from Ambien can be serious, including:

  • abnormal or aggressive behavior
  • anxiety and agitation
  • confusion
  • hallucinations
  • insomnia
  • suicidal thoughts and depression

Am I addicted to Ambien?

It’s not difficult to know if you have an Ambien addiction, or not. This is a drug which causes strong cravings and drug-seeking behavior. If you have an addiction to Ambien, you will be unable to simply quit or go without Ambien due to its unpleasant withdrawal effects. Your risk of addiction to Ambien is higher if you’ve ever had a problem with drug or alcohol abuse in the past.

Help for Ambien abuse

If you’re addicted to Ambien, there is help available. After long-term use, however, this drug should not be stopped abruptly. If you initially began using Ambien to treat insomnia, and want to stop taking the medication, speak to your doctor about your options. A tapered dosing schedule should help you escape the worst effects of the drug.

Questions about Ambien high

Do you have any other questions about taking Ambien to get high, Ambien addiction or how to stop taking Ambien? Please leave us your questions below and we will respond to them in a personal and prompt reply. We are happy to help refer you to resources or services that can help you get the treatment that you need.

References Sources: PubMed Health: Zolpidem
DailyMed: Drug Label for Ambien Cr
NHTSA Drug and Human Performance Fact Sheets: Zolpidem

Photo credit: Veterans Association

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3 Responses to “Does Ambien get you high?
1:26 am August 17th, 2014

I’m part of the 1% that experience euphoria during normal use, i always do. Is not a problem for me though, i get excited and do things and then sleep normally, and I take it only sometimes, 10mg. Is that a problem?

3:09 am September 27th, 2014

Hi, I need help. My husband takes ambien almost every night and he takes it long before he goes to bed. So for sometimes a couple hours he is doing things around the house, talking to people on the phone, eating …..a lot, and so on. Sometimes I wake up the next morning to find a mess he’s left in the kitchen or other rooms. I’ve asked him several times to please only take it when he is getting ready to go to bed, but for some reason he refuses. I am convinced he is doing this for high. He has even taken twice the prescripted does before (I have counted the pills) I don’t know what to do. We have an infant in the house and I’m honestly sick of his behaviour and feel like it’s ridiculous that he is doing this. What should I do and am I over reacting?

11:38 am October 2nd, 2014

Hi Sarah. Ambien rarely produces feelings of euphoria and a high in people. You can talk to a pharmacist about dosing and potential risks. Also, try talking openly with your husband and leave all judgement and pressure aside. Then, if there is need look for adequate help options.

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