Monday September 1st 2014

How to treat Ambien addiction

Ambien (zolpidem) is a non-benzodiazepine sleep medication which has a different chemical structure than benzodiazepines, but acts on some of the same brain receptors. While Ambien is thought to have fewer side effects and less risk of dependence than benzodiazepines, addiction to Ambien is possible.  In fact, how Ambien works in the brain can produce unwanted side effects and disturbances in central nervous system activity.

So how can you treat possible Ambien addiction? And how do you know the difference between Ambien dependence or addiction? We review here. At the end, we invite you to ask any questions about Ambien addiction and treatment you still have.

Am I addicted to Ambien?

Ambien is used to treat short term insomnia, and should only be prescribed for about 1-2 weeks at a time. Why? Because Ambien has a high potential for developing a physical dependency and is increasingly being abused.  In fact, Ambien tolerance how long is about four (4) weeks of continual use.

Addiction to any chemical or psychoactive drug can be defined as an ongoing use of mood-altering substances to meet psychological needs, regardless of the negative consequences. There are several factors that contribute and play a role in addiction. These factors can include genetic, social, and environmental factors. Some possiblesymptoms and signs of Ambien addiction include the following:

  • Continued non-medical use of Ambien over time
  • Continual use of Ambien, in spite of negative consequences to social, work or personal life
  • Inability to quit Ambien even though you have a desire to do so
  • Increasing amounts of time spent in obtaining Ambien or needing time to recover from Ambien use
  • Increasing medication levels to maintain the level of high or to induce sleep
  • Severe withdrawal symptoms that manifest when you try to stop taking Ambien
  • Sleeping binges
  • Withdrawal from friends and family because of Ambien use

Treating Ambien addiction

If you feel that you are addicted to Ambien, there are several options that can support your decision to recover from Ambien addiction. But you must be ready to treat addiction in order to increase your likelihood of success. Matching people with the right treatment is an important step in moving forward. Not one approach will fit for everyone seeking to treat addiction. Generally effective treatments combined together are more successful than treating Ambien addiction with one modality on its own. The generally recommended way to treat Ambien addiction include medications and behavioral treatments.

1. Medications for Ambien addiction treatment

Sometimes physicians or psychiatrists will prescribes medications to help treat co-occuring mental health disorders which accompany Ambien addiction or to address Ambien withdrawal.  What is Ambien withdrawal syndrome? A set of symptoms that occur when you drastically reduce or stop doses of zolpidem.  Medications used in psychiatry that are not euphorigenic or significantly psychoactive include but are not limited to the azapirones, the amino acids, beta-blockers, antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, antipsychotics, lithium, antihistamines, anticonvulsants, and anticholinergic medications. Other times, psychoactive medications that MDs prescribe to treat Ambien addiction may include stimulants, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and other sedative-hypnotics. However, with the pharmacological treatment there is potential to subvert one addiction for another. You need to be careful with medications.

2. Behavioral treatments for Ambien addiction

Behavioral treatments for any kind of drug addiction help engage people in drug abuse treatment. These types of treatments help specifically modify attitudes and behaviors related to drug abuse. Therapies can also teach life skills to handle stressful circumstances or help people identify environmental cues that may trigger intense craving for drugs and prompt another cycle of compulsive abuse. Finally, behavioral treatments for drug addiction provide incentives for abstinence. Behavioral treatments for Ambien include:

  • Community reinforcement approach
  • Congitive behavioral therapy
  • Contingency management interventions
  • Motivational enhancement therapy
  • Motivational incentives
  • Talk therapy (individual or group)
  • Support groups

Ambien addiction treatment options

There are several resources out there that can help you treat Ambienaddiction. One or all can be beneficial to this process. Below are several options and sources for finding help for Ambien addiction. Please feel free to list additional sources at the end of the article in the comments section.

Ambien addiction treatment center: Sometimes treatment centers for addiction are known as rehab. These treatment facilities are designed to address varies types of addiction and may be substance specific. In fact, some addiction rehabs are specifically designed to treat addiction to sleeping medication.Treatment centers monitor not only the physical withdrawal period, but also address the psychological aspects of treating addition. While addiction treatment center are helpful, not everyone can afford treatment centers and may not be covered by insurance. To find an Ambien addiction treatment center, call 1-800-662-HELP or search the addiction treatment directory at SAMHSA.

Ambien detox clinic: Detox centers are impatient programs which monitor the progress of physical withdrawal from Ambien. The first priority is to get rid of the drug from your body so that you can begin the work needed to avoid relapse. For people struggling with Ambien addiction, detox centers are a place to aid recovery and they attempt to reduce the physical effects of withdrawal symptoms. They might administer medication to mitigate withdrawal symptoms. This is usually the first step to treating Ambien addiction.

Mental health professionals specializing in Ambien addiction treatment: There are often underling psychological problems that contribute to addiction. Psychologists who specialize in addiction can help listen to you during talk therapy sessions and provide you with the behavioral management tools listed above to aid addiction recovery. Psychologists or pschiatrists can help you diagnose co-occuring mental health issues. Psychiatrists can also prescribe medications which treat mental health disorders to make recovery from addiction more likely.

Ambien addiction support groups: Unfortunately abuse of prescribed hypnotics like Ambien are on the rise with it an increasing need and rise of support groups. While it may be hard to find a substance specific support group there are a number of general drug addiction support groups out there that can help give you the emotional support you need. A good place to start if you are feeling overwhelmed is to call a local drug or alcohol hotline, hospital, mental health clinic, or rehab center and ask for a reference.

Licensed clinical social workers: These people are social workers who are trained in psychotherapy. Licensed clinical social workers help people with a variety of mental illnesses and psychological upsets that contribute to addiction. They help people reintegrate into day to day life teaching the tools and coping mechanisms needed to avoid Ambien relapse. Social workers can also connect you with additional job or community support that you may need.

Your physician: If you have been abusing Ambien, do not fear your physician. Doctors can provide the non-judgmentalhelp you need quickly. Medical doctors have an extensive knowledge of the type of professionals you may be seeking and can also help treat the physical aspects of addition. Your physician may help you taper Ambien dosage so that you lessen the severity of your withdrawal symptoms.

A trusted religious or spiritual leader: Many spiritual and religious leaders can help provide emotional guidance through Ambien addiction. They can be supplemental therapists to get you through Ambien addiction. Many spiritual organizations also offer their own support groups for addiction and help to put you in contact with a helpful community memberthat will continue to care for you as you move away from other forms of treatments.

How to treat Ambien addiction questions

Do you still have questions about treating Ambien addiction? Please share your questions and experiences with treating Ambien addiction. We’ll try to respond to your questions personally.

References Sources: SAMHSA: Substance Abuse Treatment for Persons With Co-Occurring Disorders: Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 42.
Montana Government Archives: Understanding the Disease of addiction
NIDA: Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment
NIDA Research Report Series: Prescription Drugs, Abuse and Addiction
National Institute of Drug Abuse: Prescription Drug Facts: Depressants
NIDA Prescription Drug Abuse Congressional Testimony
FDA: Ambien Safety Guide

Photo credit: cafe-ole

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2 Responses to “How to treat Ambien addiction
Paula
6:07 pm November 17th, 2012

PLEASE HELP! My older sister is ruining her life and her son, husband, mother and sisters lives! She has always had an addiction problem – she was put in prison for crack and cocaine. SHe is also an alcoholic. She is now sneaking around and doctor shopping to get ambien – she is taking as many as TWELVE a day with ALCOHOL. She is totally out of touch with reality when so goes on these binges and overdosed in March. She was put in drug rehab but only stayed a few days, checked herself out and did out patient treatment for about a week – ONLY because it was court mandated. She lives in Florida with a wonderful husband and son. Our mom lives about 20 min. away and has practically raised my nephew – THANK GOD!
Sorry this is so long but they are all coming to KY for Thanksgiving – she does not want to come but they can not chance leaving her. She RUINS every holiday, birthday etc. My little sis, mom, our husbands want to try an intervention but do not have a clue what to say or do.
She DOES NOT want help and said she LIKES the way it makes her feel and to HELL with everyone else – even her son. He is 13 and cries his eyes out because he thinks his mother loves pills and alcohol more than him and it looks like she does.
PLEASE tell me what to say or do – is there anything natural that would help with her withdraws if we can get her to detox at home??
Needless to say she lost her job and they have NO health insurance – nor do they have any extra money – No one here can afford to pay fortreatment or we would be happy to.
THANK YOU so much!

Paula

12:28 pm November 19th, 2012

Hi Paula. I’d suggest that you call 1-800-662-HELP, which is the SAMHSA national drug abuse hotline for help…either in finding a family therapist who specializes in addiction for yourself (as a consultant) or to learn more about formal interventions and getting your sister into a drug treatment program. Treatment for drug abuse can come with sliding scale fees, too. You need a plan before the holidays, and a consult with this 24 hour hotline is a good place to start. Please let us know how it goes!