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.
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
- 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