Cold turkey Ambien

It can be dangerous to withdraw from Ambien cold turkey. Learn more about withdrawal protocols, tapering, and how avoid cold turkey Ambien withdrawal here.

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Ambien – also known as zolpidem – is classified as a sedative-hypnotic prescribed to treat short term insomnia. Ambien contains benzodiazepine qualities which affect withdrawal symptoms and can be dangerous if you try to quit Ambien cold turkey.

Here, we review why tapering off Ambien is recommended and how you can plan to get off Ambien slowly. Then, we invite your questions about Ambien detox, withdrawal, Ambien addiction help, or problems with Ambien at the end.

Going cold turkey Ambien?

Going cold turkey off Ambien can be dangerous and is not recommended. After even a short period of time, Ambien has a high dependency rate and high potential for abuse. While you may want to quit taking Ambien for the benefit of your health, going cold turkey off Ambien means a rapid reduction of zolpidem in the body. When you do this though your body quickly reacts to the process and depending on the severity of reaction, can be a potentially dangerous process. So, what happens when you stop Ambien cold turkey? And what can you expect?

Cold turkey off Ambien

Here’s a simple explanation for what happens when you go cold turkey off Ambien. Since your body can’t compensate for the lack of zolpidem, when you stop Ambien cold turkey, the central nervous system works overtime trying to figure out how it should behave. Your body is flooded with chemical information. Additionally, the intensity of a cold turkey withdrawal is greater than when you choose to withdrawal with a taper. But what can happen exactly?

Cold turkey Ambien withdrawal

When you stop taking Ambien, withdrawal usually starts about 4 hours after the last dose of Ambien has worn off. Acute symptoms of withdrawal can peak and last a couple of days after peak withdrawal. The severity of withdrawal should start to even out in about a week. At this time you should begin to feel normal. However, after a few weeks you might experience continued mood swing, nightmares, and insomnia which can last longer than a few weeks. Other possible withdraw from Ambien symptoms include:

  • abdominal cramps
  • anxiety
  • apprehension
  • convulsions
  • dysphoria (extreme dissatisfaction with life)
  • exacerbated insomnia
  • fatigue
  • fear
  • hallucinations
  • mood changes
  • muscle cramps
  • nausea
  • nightmares
  • panic attacks
  • shaking
  • sweating
  • tremors
  • vomiting

Note that if you experience physical dependence to Ambien you may have a harder and longer time during withdrawal.

Stopping Ambien cold turkey risks

Stopping Ambien cold turkey can be dangerous because of possible rebound insomnia. You can also have extreme nightmare and panic attacks which can be severe and compromising your health. Convulsions, fatigue, lightheadedness, nervousness, and panic attacks are also more prevalent when you go cold turkey off Ambien. Additionally, consider that a cold turkey Ambien withdrawal can be so uncomfortable that you start taking Ambien again to avoid it. If this is the case, plan withdrawal carefully and talk to a doctor to learn strategies that can help you through the process.

Quitting Ambien cold turkey

Ambien can be a scary drug to stop suddenly. And in order to quit Ambien cold turkey, it would be ideal if you are in optimal health and that you have no compromising health conditions which would adversely affect your cold turkey withdrawal. If you can make sure you take care of your insomnia or have other ways to take care of it may be helpful for when withdrawal occurs. Withdrawal can bring up a lot of things you’re not prepared for and having all the available information to make the process as easy as possible is also important. Nonetheless, always consult with your prescribing doctor for medical advice before starting to quit Ambien cold turkey.

Get off Ambien cold turkey

Withdrawal from Ambien doesn’t have to be a painful and debilitating process. Doctors do know that stopping Ambien cold turkey is sometimes unavoidable. However, it’s recommended you have supervision of some sort to help you for when you start to go through withdrawal. That way, if anything goes wrong as you withdraw from zolpidem you can get the help you need. Seek a tapering schedule from your prescribing doctor or pharmacist for zolpidem. These individualized calendars often mirror the tapering schedule for benzodiazepines. Be prepared to avoid unnecessary discomfort and plan to treat symptomatic problems as they arise.

Need help to safely quit and navigate Ambien withdrawal? The best way to stop taking this medication is to seek medical help. Detox and withdrawal can be dangerous and lead to many unwanted consequences that can be easily managed if you don’t attempt to detox cold turkey and on your own. Learn more about Sleeping Pills Withdrawal and Detox Programs and Help GUIDE for safe and successful quitting.

Can I quit Ambien cold turkey?

If you have a severe dependency or having been abusing/addicted to Ambien for a long time you should be careful about stopping Ambien cold turkey. This method of stopping Ambien can have negative and adverse effects. Withdrawal from Ambien should always be performed under medical supervision or with a medical expert that can help you if complications to arise during the cold turkey process.

But in the end, it is up to you whether or not you want to quit Ambien cold turkey. Weigh the risks and make sure you know what you are getting into and that you have everything you need to treat and help your recovery from Ambien use.

Questions about cold turkey Ambien

More questions…Do you still have questions about stopping Ambien cold turkey? Please provide your questions in the comment section below. We would also like to hear from people who have tried stopping cold turkey. Your experiences are important to us and we try to respond to all comments personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: PubMed: Zolpidem
NCBI: Abuse, dependence, and epileptic seizures after zolpidem withdrawal
NCBI: Mapping Barbarite Withdrawal
NHTSA: Zolpidem
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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