How long does Ambien withdrawal last?

Ambien withdrawal can last for several weeks after peak symptoms have resolved. Get an Ambien withdrawal timeline here.

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Reviewed by: Dr. Dili Gonzalez, M.D. Dr. Juan Goecke, M.D.

ARTICLE OVERVIEW: Symptoms of Ambien withdrawal can last anywhere from a couple of days to several weeks after your last dose of Ambien. Acute withdrawal is most severe in the first 72 hours after your last dose of Ambien. Rebound insomnia or anxiety can manifest and even be intense. Withdrawal is successfully treated via tapering and behavioral therapies.


Who Needs Withdrawal?

Ambien is a sedative-hypnotic that reduces activity in the brain to allow for sleep.  Doctors do not recommend you take Ambien for longer than a couple of weeks at a time due to its potential for physical dependence and tolerance. Therefore, anyone who develops either drug dependence or tolerance can benefit from a period of detox.

Whether you are treating Ambien addiction or just want to detox from Ambien for a while, you have come to the right place. If you have become physically or psychologically dependent on Ambien, you are not alone. In 2015, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that approximately 18.6 million Americans were past year users of prescription sedatives in 2015, representing 6.9 percent of the population aged 12 or older. [1]

Of all prescription sedatives, Ambien was the most popular!

In 2015, an estimated 11.5 million people aged 12 or older used zolpidem products in the past year, representing 4.3 percent of the entire population and about 60 percent sedative users. Even more concerning is that about one in ten people who use Ambien are misusing it. Of the 1.5 million people aged 12 or older who misused prescription sedatives in the past year, 1.1 million misused zolpidem products.

Still, you may be wondering what withdrawal from Ambien is like. Continue reading for more on symptoms of Ambien withdrawal and how long they last.  We’ll review the course of the first couple of weeks after you stop taking Ambien until the months after your last dose. We also invite you to ask any questions about Ambien you may have at the end. We love to hear from our readers, so please reach out!

What Is Withdrawal?

Withdrawal occurs when you become physically dependent on a psychoactive drug. Psychoactive means that the drug affects the mind. In fact, when you take a drug like Ambien, your brain adjusts to it. Why? It must balance out the chemistry in order to function properly. In this case, the brain produces stimulating chemicals to compensate for the sedative effects of Ambien. But why does withdrawal occur?

When you take away the Ambien, it takes some time for the brain to re-balance again. What actually happens during withdrawal is that you experience the symptoms that the drug has been masking…until the brain reaches homeostasis again.

So, the medical definition of physical dependence is a state of adaptation that is manifested by a specific withdrawal triggered by:

  • Abrupt cessation
  • Administration of an antagonist
  • Decreasing blood level of the drug
  • Rapid dose reduction

Ambien affects each person differently depending on the dosage and how long you have been taking Ambien. For those who have developed a dependency on Ambien, a longer withdrawal period is expected. They will also experience the more uncomfortable or intense symptoms of withdrawal.

Common Symptoms

A common symptom to experience with onset withdrawal is rebound insomnia. You may also have feelings of apprehension, restlessness, and increased anxiety. Withdrawal symptoms are not as likely if you’re using Ambien within the prescribed two week period, but minor symptoms may still present themselves. Other possible symptoms of withdrawal from Ambien which have been reported include:

  • Abdominal cramps.
  • Convulsions.
  • Depression.
  • Dysphoria.
  • Fatigue.
  • Flushing.
  • Lightheadedness.
  • Memory loss.
  • Nausea.
  • Nervousness.
  • Palpitation.
  • Panic attacks.
  • Psychosis.
  • Sweating.
  • Tremors (shakes).
  • Uncontrolled crying.
  • Vomiting.

Ambien affects each person differently. Those who are also diagnosed with Ambien addiction or who have developed extreme dependency on Ambien may experience a more difficult withdrawal process. Hang in there and know that eventually you will feel a sense of normalcy return.

Protracted Symptoms

Additionally, former Ambien users have reported suffering Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) after Ambien use. PAWS are a set of persistent symptoms that occur right after you stop taking Ambien and persist for several weeks to months after you last dose of Ambien. The most common Ambien PAWS include:

  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Insomnia.
  • Nightmares.

Psychological effects of addiction and dependence such as craving or obsessive thinking may also still be present long after you are no longer taking Ambien. In fact, cravings and psychological needs may still be present for some people well after Ambien is no longer present in the body. This depends on your general health, your medical history, gender, weight, the length of time you’ve used Ambien, the dosing amount/frequency of Ambien dosing.


Symptoms of Ambien withdrawal can last anywhere from a couple of days to several weeks after your last dose of Ambien.

Overall symptoms of Ambien withdrawal will affect you within the first 72 hours after your last dose of Ambien. Rebound insomnia will manifest during this time as well. Most symptoms should resolve themselves after a month after your last dose of Ambien. After this period, you may still experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome for several months.

Below is a general outline of Ambien withdrawal and what symptoms to expect within each time frame.

Days 1-3: In between 24 to 72 hours after last Ambien dose you may experience episodes of confusion and memory loss. You could experience mood changes and have increased feelings of fearfulness and anxiety. For some people, hallucinations and psychosis are possible; this is on the more severe end of the spectrum. You may also have a harder time sleeping again or experience shakes and vomiting.

Week 1: Within the first week after stopping Ambien, sleep disturbance can still be present. Some people withdrawing from Ambien have reported nightmares and continued anxiety. As you have used Ambien to sleep, these first few days can be almost unbearable as sleeping disturbances return. Drug craving is a challenge during this week.

Week 2: During the second week after quitting, symptoms of withdrawal tend to even out and you can begin to feel normal again. Drug cravings, depression, and mood swings may still be present. Rebound insomnia should even out around this time, as well, unless you suffer from chronic insomnia. During this phase of withdrawal, symptoms can include possible panic attacks and increased psychological need for Ambien.

Weeks 3-4: If you have been withdrawing appropriately you should no longer be experiencing symptoms. However, others who have grown psychologically dependent on Ambien or who abuse Ambien still experience psychological symptoms around this time. Some may return to having trouble getting or staying asleep.


Tapering refers to a medical option in which your physician lowers zolpidem doses over time to minimize the negative symptoms caused when you stop taking Ambien. According to this guideline published by the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care a common approach to reducing hypnotic drugs is to gradually reduce the dose over several weeks, before stopping with the medication completely. [2] Some studies recommend dosage reductions of 10 percent per week, up to 25 percent being the greatest extent at which an Ambien taper should be pushed.

There is no good-quality research on the best length of time for outpatient withdrawal and slow tapering from Ambien. Experts recommend a time frame of two to four months.

Regardless of methodology, tapering Ambien offers a chance that patients might not otherwise have known existed at all. The best way to stop taking sleeping pills like Ambien is to gradually reduce the dose with the guidance of a doctor. In time, recovering Ambien users can resolve their dependence as well as fix their sleeping patterns in the process. Psychological or therapeutic support can also help.

Medications That Help

Research has not shown that it is easier for people to stop taking hypnotic drugs if they take a substitute medication while reducing dose. Further research is needed to determine whether some people may indeed benefit from particular substitute medications, such as antidepressants or anticonvulsants.

Alternative Treatments for Insomnia

According to this 2010 article published in the Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology, the treatment of chronic insomnia consists of initially diagnosing and treating the underlying medical or psychological problems. Behavioral techniques to improve sleep can also help. [3]

The most common non-medication based therapies include cognitive behavioral therapy, during which you learn to change WHAT you do in order to get better sleep. [4]

Other behavioral therapies include:

  • Reconditioning
  • Relaxation Therapy
  • Sleep Restriction Therapy

Behavioral intervention combined with pharmacologic agents may be more effective than either approach alone.

To find a certified physician who specializes in these treatments, the American Board of Sleep Medicine offers certification for psychologists in behavioral sleep medicine including CBTI treatment and a list of certified providers can be found at their webpage. [5]

Detox at Home?

Never come off Ambien cold turkey or unsupervised. Ambien detox can cause adverse or serious side effects. This is why any Ambien detox requires medical supervision.

In fact, the safest way to detox from Ambien is under medical supervision. Your doctor can help you first taper down your doses of Ambien over the period of a few weeks (or more) and then set up an alternative plan for dealing with problems sleeping. Additionally, medical supervision helps identify and treat problems as they occur.

Dependence vs. Addiction

Is drug dependence the same thing as addiction?

In fact, abuse and addiction are separate and distinct from physical dependence and tolerance. The main difference between drug dependence and addiction is that someone who is addicted CANNOT STAY QUIT. Drug cravings lead to continued use.

Dependence is characterized as a state of adaptation that causes brain changes over time. Dependence resolves after you go through withdrawal. You get the drug out of the system. You quit for good.

People who become addicted to Ambien use it to get high, or to generally cope with life. They continue using Ambien even in spite of negative consequences to home, school, work, or health. They may get Ambien out of their system, but end up using again. This is what differentiates addiction from dependence.

Signs of a Drug Problem

The main signs of an Ambien problem include:

  • Doctor shopping to get more Ambien.
  • Not being able to quit Ambien.
  • Taking double doses or taking Ambien any way OTHER THAN PRESCRIBED.
  • Using Ambien during the day.

Substance use disorder can be diagnosed using DSM-5 criteria. Then, doctors often use the Severity Dependence Scale, a simple screening tool to evaluate the level of the drug problem. [6] [7]

Furthermore, if any of these symptoms occur, you may need special attention:

  • Abnormal extroversion.
  • Agitation.
  • Anxiety.
  • Confusion.
  • Depression.
  • Insomnia.
  • Mood disorders.
  • Aggressive behavior.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Loss of personal identity.
  • Strange behavior.
  • Suicidal thoughts.
  • Worsening depression.


In general, if you are taking Ambien you need to be careful of its physical dependency. Ambien is one of those medications with a likelihood of developing dependence. Take Ambien only as prescribed by your doctor. Ambien is not a cure for chronic insomnia and should not be used as such. Doing this insures less likelihood of major dependence OR addiction issues.

There are some steps that you can take to minimize the risk of dependence and.or addiction to Ambien. This 2012 article published in the medical journal Nature and Science of Sleep cautions against the overprescription of medicines like Ambien. Main guidelines include [8]:

  1. Using as low a dose as possible.
  2. Using the drug every third or fourth night.
  3. Advising patients of potential interactions with alcohol and other drugs.
  4. Weighing relative risks and carry-over effects.
  5. Finite or time-limited therapy.
  6. Gradual termination of therapy.

Your Questions

If you have any more questions regarding withdrawal from Ambien please ask. We do our best to respond to your accurately and promptly.
You are not alone, we can help you overcome your dependency, but the first step you must give is accepting you have a drug problem; we will accompany you all the way.

Reference Sources: [1] SAMHSA: Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health
[2] NCBI: Using medication: What can help when trying to stop taking sleeping pills and sedatives?
[3] NCBI: Diagnosis and Treatment of Chronic Insomnia
[4] NCBI: Non-Pharmacological Treatment of Insomnia
[5] ABSM: Behavioral Sleep Medicine Credential Verification
[6] NCBI: DSM-5 Criteria for Substance Use Disorder: Recommendations and Rationale
[7] WHO: Severity of Dependence Scale (SDS)
[8] NCBI: An Approach to Long-Term Sedative-Hypnotic Use
FDA: Ambien Drug Label
NCBI: Indian Journal Of Pharmacology: Zolpidem Withdrawal Delirium
IRCMJ: Zolpidem Dependency And Withdrawal Seizure: A Case Report Study
NCBI: Zolpidem Dependency and Withdrawal Seizure: A Case Report Study
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.
Medical Reviewers
Dr. Dili Gonzalez, M.D. is a general surgeon practicing women's focused medici...
Dr. Goecke is a medical doctor and general surgeon with personal experience of...

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a licensed medical professional.


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  1. I’ve taken low doses of Ambien most nights for 15 years, one third to one half a 5 mg pill. At most I can quit for 2-3 days, but eventually
    I don’t sleep at all, day or night, and become generally unfunctional. I have always attempted to quit once or twice weekly but to no avail.
    And the ideal source of sleep seems to be a glass of brandy with one-third Ambien pill. Of course I don’t look so well and my mind is not
    as clear. I was always a light sleeper and it clearly runs in the family (though no other family member has ever used Ambien) I complained to doctor in 1995 who handed me a half dozen sample packs of the new wonder drug Ambien saying it might help. And it did, for years. Now, I feel quite doomed. A sleep studies center consultation (in Maine) was of no help. I persuaded my health clinic to prescribe me 15, five-mg. pills a month. If I could live with that, I will do so. It’s all a sad story. I don’t even remember the sensation of awakening from a refreshing natural sleep.
    I’ve heard the anti-convulsant gabapentin might help. Any advice?

  2. I used ambien for 14 years after my service in the Army. I had difficulty staying asleep due to training reducing amount of sleep in combat zones. I depended on it and later became addicted. My wife lives in fear. Constantly worried about our dogs when I fell asleep while eating… sometimes dropping dangerous chicken bones on my lap. I’ve said bad things to her, without memory of it, when she disputed my addiction. One day she recorded me eating my dinner with my eyes closed. I mean I look like a f@&king zombie. I then STOPPED taking ambien and and sleep naturally now. I do not want my wife going through that mess and definitely did not want to lose her for some sleep. That was 4 years ago. I advise all to stop taking ambien. First 3 days without it will be touch. Just buy some of your favorite food and watch some movies to pass the time. Love is better without it.

  3. Hello,
    I had been taking Ambien 10 mg a night just for sleet prior to finding out that I was pregnant. I was on Ambien for about 6 years and it was the only thing that worked for me in order to sleep. Today is 10/1/18 and I stopped on 9/26/18. I can not for the life of me sleep at all. How long should I expect to feel this way, as the doctor has told me that I can’t take anything for sleep or anxiety which I suffer from?
    Please Help

  4. I have been on ambien for just about 7 years. Where I found it to be almost impossible to stop. Eventually which I did carefully with a taper down schedule giving to me by my doctor. It’s been 8 weeks that I have been ambien free. I am still having sleep issues. Are these symptoms temporary

  5. I have been on ambien for just about 7 years. I weaned myself off. And I have been ambien free just about 8 weeks ago. I am having trouble sleeping at night. Mainly during rem sleep.. Are these symptoms temporary?

  6. I was dependent on this med for 20 years! It is AWFUL! My Dr cashed in! Not me! It was terrible for our brains! A friend showed me a great video from a dr who talks how these psychiatric drugs are bad for us including all antidepressants! The withdrawal was horrible! But with Gods hand I made it. I feel great and sleep fine now. Nobody needs it. Take melatonin and exercise daily! Exercise will help. Go natural. Five months out now and loving life! Good luck! Do the right thing. Ditch these doctors

  7. I am a 53 y.o. female who took 10 mg ambien daily for 5 years. My last dose was Nov. 2017 – after a very gradual tapper over the course of several months. I am still experiencing severe insomnia including diffuculty faling asleep and staying asleep. For example over a 72hr period I may sleep a total of 9 hrs (day 1 sleep 2 hrs; day 2 sleep 4 hrs waking every 2 hrs; day 3 sleep 2 hrs). After 3-4 days of this I crash – anxiety, depression, panic, fatigue etc. In order to help manage all of this I have eliminated caffeine, walk a minimum of 2 km daily, use relaxation techniques, take a bath before bed, don’t use alcohol, work with a therapist. I sometimes take allergy meds, anxiety meds (under the guidance of my doctor) to help force sleep in order to prevent the crash. when I do take these meds I may get 5-6 hrs but never more than 2 hrs without waking. After waking it’s a struggle to get back to sleep and I can’t always do so. How long can I expect these PAWS to continue? Is there anything else you can suggest.

  8. I took Ambien for about 4 years and I stopped for a week today…the nightmares are horrible and I barely sleep…a little depression and a feeling of not wanting to be alone….will I be like this forever? I would never take Ambien again….My Dr. Gave me a RX for Amitriptyline should I take that? Thank you Kathleen

  9. Quit zolpidem 7 days ago.
    Sleep is possible. Maybe get about 3 hours a night. And i still feel more awake and less clouded than i did with a full night of sleep on the pills.
    Anxiety is crazy… i am getting anxiety / panic attacks often. But a small price to pay to get my life back.

    I realized that the thing with sleeping is that sleeping is impossible when you have other things to do or a need or want to do something else.
    When you lie there in bed unable to sleep ask yourself what it is you would rather be doing?

    If the other answer is anything other than i want to be sleeping then theres your insomnia right there.

  10. I was on Ambien for 18 yrs and after something I am embarassed about I decided I’d had it and going to quit. I have been off it now for almost 3 months and have withdrawal still but getting better. I can’t sleep at night up until 4/5 in the am. Go to bed and can’t get up until 4/5 in afternoon. My head feels swimmy. It is starting to get somewhat better. Glad I went off. Never again!

  11. Fun update since I commented here 3 years ago. I still take Ambien, but I take it every night now. It sometimes doesn’t work well, but it’s way better than trying to sleep without it. Sadly it takes a few hours to knock me out, but I chew it up, take it with water, and take it on an empty stomach to make it work faster.

  12. I am on my fifth day of detox and I cannot tell you how clear my mind is. It is because of the video tapes on YouTube of Dr. Peter Breggin Who has saved my life from these nasty psychiatric drugs. I am withdrawing from nanny and doing well titrating but this drug I came off of rather quickly and I’m doing well thank God. Big Pharma is evil.

    I must tell you I am a medical professional and I did read and seek advice. But I did go through four days of hell I did keep watch on myself and was ready to go to the ER my Topamax was the worst to come off of the very careful this is not something you should do alone. My husband was with me the whole time. The rages and mood changes Werethe worst.

    Yes my doctor has been describing Ambien for over 10 years tell me how this is legal. I will tell you what this is this is nothing but love of money

  13. Hi Megan,

    Sorry that you are in this difficult situation. I know that doctors sometimes don’t realize how bad & difficult it is for a person to wean off Ambien, especially for long term users. I was on it for 6 weeks and didn’t have sleep for three days when I stopped cold turkey. Good luck on this process. I think that you are making the right decision about weaning of it.

  14. I’m a 27 year old who has been on10mg of Ambien for about 4-5 years.. I’ve been taking one pill every night. I have no problem taking naps or falling asleep when it is actually “bed time” but when it comes to having to go to sleep my mind never shuts off and I tend to think or worry all night which causes me no sleep. I talked to my doctor how I was nervous about being on ambien for too many years and wanting to start a family soon and not sure if it was safe to take then and she agreed and just told me to stop and start on 50mg of trazadone because we both agree I need something for sleep but something less addicting.. I took it for the first time last night and got no sleep at all.. my body was so tired but my mind wouldn’t shut off. I’m nervous something could seriously go wrong with just stopping it cold turkey but my doctor said it would be okay since I started on another medication.. and I have no time in my life to miss out on sleep which I need.. wondering if anyone else has done this process of switching to something different with actual success

  15. I’ve been taking ambien for 7 years and I’m feeling like crap all the time so how long until I feel better 7 years and some of u have just been taking it for days or week im really worried

  16. I have been taking 5mgs I was on 10 mgs2s and now all I want to do is sleep is this common and I have.been on the 5 for about 2 weeks when can I just stop.

  17. I got insomnia due to silent acid reflux and sleep anxiety. My Dr gave me stilnoct for 20 nights. I took 6.25 mg daily for 11 days along with frisium then I am trying to stop it. Last night I took just frisium 10 mg. I dreamt a lot but not sure whether I slept or not. Would 11 days usage cause dependence n withdrawal symptoms or not or should I take it still for couple more weeks? Please suggest. I don’t want to have any physical or psocologicql dependence on it.
    My Dr says it is ok to take it for up to 6 months. What do you suggest.

    Thanks for your help.

  18. I’ve taken Ambien for several years. On my own I stopped taken it at night. It’s been almost 2 weeks and isn’t getting any easier. I’m up all night not finding sleep until maybe noon the next day, then the sleep is not restful, my body is tired, I can’t function during the day. Is there anything out there that would help? I’ve been taking melatonin, and valereen root with not help. I’m at the point to try alcohol to help me sleep. Which is not good either.

  19. Hi,every one, I took diazepam +lorazepam on very lower dose for 1 month, after benzodiazepine i took 15 to 18 days halcion, after that I took ambien cr for 8 days.then I stopped ambien cr. But i am not taking any medication and it has been past 17 days.after stooping ambien cr ,I am feeling serious self harming behavior,irritability,negative thinking,aggressive behavior,dizzines,insomnia.before taking any medication,i felt moderate anxiety,not depression.but now i think my depression is any one can give me some suggestions?do these symptoms are withdrawa symptoms of ambien cr?or i did have depression,but I didn’t know it.

  20. Has anyone had success coming off Ambien with Pregabalin? My very experienced sleep doctor has prescribed it after Trazodone failed, but it seems a heavy duty drug with many side effects.

  21. Hi. I was taking Ambien 10 mg for approximately 12 years and decided to quit because of my short term memory being horrible. I knew it was going to be one of the hardest things to do but I knew it was necessary. I quit cold turkey and the nightmares were unbelievably terrifying. I cut out caffeine and started drinking green tea along with Chamomile tea at night along with a long bath with epsom salt and it did seem to help especially with the aching feeling throughout my body. I decided to try Melatonin 10 mg to see if I could sleep better and it worked but the nightmares were still occurring every night. I have been off the Ambien for six weeks now and also stopped the melatonin a week ago and have been doing just fine. i am sleeping all night and am finally having very pleasant dreams.

  22. I am trapped and scared. I need at meant 40 msg to function. I cannot get help from my doctor because he cannot prescribe that much.
    I am not abusing it, I started 8 years ago because I was abused.
    I need professional supervision and 1 can’t get any.
    I will pay privately but do not have a lot of money.
    I am desperate. Can someone help me. I live in SW France but have internet, facetime etc

  23. I have been led to believe zolpidem tartrate was ok to take for help falling asleep. My primary care physician said it was ok to take it daily for five years. Somewhere around year three to four he upped the dose from 5mg to 10mg. Now I find out it is not good that I have been taking this medication for five years. How do I get off of this medication safely. I cannot just quit. I have tried and the rebound insomnia comes hard. Can anyone help me with a plan.

  24. I am planning on going off 5 mg zolpidem soon. Tapering by cutting pills. I am getting little sleep even with taking it.
    I am wondering if people can drive with so little sleep. Please tell me your experience.

  25. Been on ambient a year have been on 12.25 cr I’ve been on 6.25 cr I have been on 10 mg of regular then I’ve been on 5mg but for the last month I have been on 2.5 regular for about a month went off that last night will I have withdrawls

  26. I took Lyrica 13 years, tapered off front m 150mg 3x’s a day for 9 months, did ok 1st 28 days, on 11/24/3016 insomnia kick in on 12/03/2016 went to ER they gave 5 tablets on Zolpidem, I slept ok, but now day 6, 7, 8 have been pure HELL, I have gotten 6 hrs of sleep in 3 days, burning skin & tingling will not stop, PLEASE HELP, me……

  27. I have been taking Ambien/Zopidem for over 10 years. I have always had trouble sleeping and as I became older I found that falling asleep was becoming even more difficult. That is why I began to take it. When I take the medication, I sleep. I cannot sleep at all without it. When I do get any sleep; it is spent having nightmares. I have tried for several days at a time to stop the use, but I do not sleep and I am exhausted by the end of the week. I see no alternative.

  28. I am 94 and sadly have been a long time user of Ambien. I told my doctor that I wanted to quit and he agreed, however he did not tell me to quit gradually or anything about what to expect. I did quit suddenly and it has now been at least a month since I am no longer taking Ambien. My main problem is that my insomnia n\has worsened and I am getting only about 5 hours of sleep. I have had some nervousness and anxiety as well. My doctor just told me to take one or two
    xanaz each night, which have not helped. I have taken Xanes with Melatotonin and that has not helped, also I regularly take Tylenol at bedtime for back pain.. I never took more than the 5MG of Ambien at one time. I am , of course, been very sleepy during the day and have been forced to take naps. I have been trying to get out every day and walk as much as possible..this helps the way I feel but I am desperate for something to help with the Insomnia..Any help you can give me will be deeply appreciated. .

  29. Is there anything i can do to help with this period.. I have not slept in 3 days body aches restlessness diagheria shakes

  30. Holly – you claim that it is ‘BS’ that someone’s sleep can be permanently ruined by zolpidem. I am the living proof that zolpidem CAN ruin sleep permanently. I have been off zolpidem for 6 years now and have never been able to sleep on my own ever again. I sleep on 200 mg trazodone and 25 mg amitriptilline a night. People, please see a psychiatrist and do not attempt to stop zolpidem without help. No, not all people will be able to sleep on their own again after years of zolpidem use. The lucky ones can, but I was not one of them. A psychiatrist can put you on meds you can take every night without building a tolerance – that is what I did. And now I sleep like a baby every night! Zolpidem is a drug from hell. I almost committed suicide when I tried to quit zolpidem cold turkey.My nose bled, I became psychotic, could not breathe, had tremors, vomiting, burning headaches.I I am writing on this forum to help others. Ask your doctor to put you on an antidepressant or antipsychotic to which you cannot build a tolerance. Every person is different and expecting to taper off and eventually be able to sleep on your own without any pills may work for some but is unrealistic for others. Take drugs to which you cannot build a tolerance instead of zolpidem. Sorry, but after 10 years of zolpidem use eventually going back to sleeping 9 hours a night without taking any pills at all is just a fairytale. But antidepressants or antipsychotics can take you back to those 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. Love to all, Maria

  31. Holly – you claim that it is ‘BS’ that someone’s sleep can be permanently ruined by zolpidem. I am the living proof that zolpidem CAN ruin sleep permanently. I have been off zolpidem for 6 years now and have never been able to sleep on my own ever again. I sleep on 200 mg trazodone and 25 mg amitriptilline a night. People, please see a psychiatrist and do not attempt to stop zolpidem without help. No, not all people will be able to sleep on their own again after years of zolpidem use. The lucky ones can, but I was not one of them. A psychiatrist can put you on meds you can take every night without building a tolerance – that is what I did. And now I sleep like a baby every night! Zolpidem is a drug from hell. I almost committed suicide when I tried to quit zolpidem cold turkey. I am writing on this forum to help others.

  32. I am a 16 year Army Service member. I have been on ambien for years after my last deployment to Afghanistan. I still have 4 years of service left and am most likely deploying back in 14 months from now. I need a plan to get off this. I know others have done it and I would like to be one who learns to sleep again. Even if it means I only get a 3-5 hours a night after I stop taking it. I’m a Marine sniper and I’ve been through Ranger school and much more shit during my deployments. I really want to accomplish this, i just need a medical plan to do it. I take 10 MG 30 min before sleep as prescribed with 2 benadryl. Any help would be very appreciated.

  33. I’ve been off ambien for 3 days and the only side effect is a clear head. I’ve taken 10 mg for 5 years daily. I think people are being scared into false symptoms from all the claims of horrific withdrawals. I know others that have gotten off with no problems. I just got tired of the blurred vision, general fogginess, and the feeling of addiction and am quitting cold turkey. Anyone wanting off, don’t be scared by all the claims of horrific withdrawals. Sorry, but i think most of these are self induced hypochondriacs. It’s not heroin or oxy. Don’t be afraid to quit because of fear created by others.

  34. hello,could yuo please help me know how lonh after withdrawal of zulpidem the resistancy to it go a way, because now i eat 25 mgr per day but it doesnt have any effect and its initial effect on me.

  35. I have been using Zolpedeim for about 12 years have tried several times to stop without success. I am now retired and using this time to stop I am very DETERMINED
    The 1st 2 weeks I alternated 10g and 5g on the days of reduced dosage I had difficulty sleeping sometimes went without any sleep . When I slept at least 3 hrs on the 3rd week I settled on a reduced dose 5g. The first 2 days I slept about 3 hrs but by end of the third week I started to go WITHOUT any sleep again I am starting the 4th week continuing with 5g and I am not having any sleep at all but I am noticing that I no longer have muscle body aches, less headache and less fatigue . It is hard but I am focussing on the goal of being free of this dependence
    My question is will I have my sleep restored and on the average after how long ?


  36. I have stopped talking Ambien for a year or more but I noticed it wasn’t working I still wasn’t sleeping,so I stopped taking it on my own with out talking to my Dr,.Since then I have had bad headaches only on one side of my head ,night sweats bad enough that I had to change my bed three times a night,I had a complete hysterectomy over 20 yrs ago!And of course I’m not sleeping now and I am very anxious.
    I don’t know if all these symptoms are coming from taking ambien for so long or is it from stopping it so abruptly.
    And how do I wean off of them if they are not working? Can you suggest another sleeping aid ?
    I have insomnia for over 15 yrs.and I’m 62 white female! Please I hope you can help me !

  37. I have been on ambien/zolpidem for 11 years. I began with 5 mgs as needed and I did have periods of time when I did not take ambien. At first I could do without it sometimes. Then it stopped working and I went to 10 mg. But realizing that the side effects are worse with 10 mg, I am now taking 5mg each night. I should explain that I am a chronic migraine patient and have suffered this since 1989. Most nights, my only escape from the pain has been ambien to make me sleep. I first took ambien after the migraine meds with caffeine made me not sleep well, but I realized that if I was sleeping, I wasn’t in as much pain. So because it has been such a chronic and severe pain problem, my dr continues to give me ambien. However, recently I have had cognitive testing done because of short term memory problems. My family and friends had been telling me that I repeat myself often, and I have no recollection of what I say and apparently, also what I do. I first began with problems of amnesia of the night time, taking ambien, if I don’t go to sleep right away, I get up and cook, my husband thinks I am feeling well for a change, so we are intimate, but when I wake up the next morning, I feel violated because I don’t remember until he prompts my memory. So I have told him that I am “off limits” while on ambien. However, that is not working out so well. I am close to divorce because of this problem. I have tried other sleep meds, but they do not work for me and have a lingering effect. I feel ok the next morning after taking ambien, but from morning til evening, I can’t remember what I do or say. It is quite scary, and I know that ambien could be the culprit, but I need to sleep. Pain is draining. My cognitive test results were normal except that I have a slow cognitive processing speed, and attention deficit, they say, due to migraine. Memory testing was normal. But I don’t feel normal when people tell me I am repeating myself. So, my question is, what is the best way to stop taking ambien when other health problems like chronic pain is an issue? I tried for 1 week to not take ambien at all, and I slept every other day only, and was completely wired the rest of the time. I was useless because of the pain I was in, and depression got worse. I take a lot of medications, and would very much like to stop the most known dangerous ones. I think ambien is one, because it has already caused me a great deal of personal problems. I know that I need a long term plan of withdrawal, and I need to prepare my family as well as myself. I did begin ambien because I could not sleep. Without it, I still cannot sleep, but there has to be a way. Please advise.

  38. I was on 20 mg/day of Ambien for ten years. I have been off of it for nearly a year. Since then I an only getting 2-3 hours of sleep a night. I think Ambien destroyed my life. No OTC or herbal sleep aid helps me. I have lost hope of ever getting better. My doctor has run out of ideas. Does anyone have a similar experience of getting back to normal after being off Ambien for a long time?

  39. Ive been on this medicine 12. 5 extended release for over 5yr. It’s not working any more so I’ve been added more and more medication just to sleep. I finially went to my doctor and she started me on Lunesta. I have yet to receive a good night’s rest HELP PLEASE

  40. Jackie , how can you possibly take 5 mg of Ambien every two hours? The legal maximum that can be prescribed is 20 mg a day and that is twice the normal limit. How are you obtaining that much Ambien ? It is illegal.

  41. Been taking Ambien CR 12.5 for about 8 years with ZERO side effects. Went to heart doctor for family history of heart issues and he told my primary doctor he does not like me taking it (he never said to stop taking it, but suggested a sleep clinic study). My primary doctor said she would not give me any more and just like that they cut me off COLD TURKEY! Having severe side effects, multiple calls to both doctors went unanswered. Feel like my head is going to explode and heart tracking monitor can even record it all. Nicely played you stupid doctors, geez read up before you make such a dumb move! I totally regret going to a doctor for a preventitive heart check, would rather have let life play out than this! I had no problem with doing a sleep study and maybe trying a lower dose…but COLD TURKEY from Ambien CR 12.5mg?????? NOT!

  42. To Tracy and Steven: I am a former 10 mg. per day (and sometimes more) Ambien user. Going cold-turkey withdrawing from Ambien is a recipe for disaster. Sometimes, misinformed doctors will simply stop prescribing it without giving an exit plan for the patient. In my opinion, such doctors should have their licenses yanked. Ambien must be gradually eliminated, but the w/d effects are still pretty rough. In my own case, since my doctor would no longer prescribe Ambien due to my age (68 at the time), I was able to find an addiction withdrawal specialist in another state who worked with a compounding pharmacy in my city to give me my Ambien in liquid form, in gradually-decreasing dosage. It took 5 months, but I was in it to win it! I have now been Ambien-free for well over a year. Sleep does return, but it takes awhile to get your natural brain chemistry back to normal, and the older you are, the longer it may take. In the meantime, learn meditation, gentle exercises like deep stretching or simple yoga, and set a regular bedtime routine that does NOT involve ANY screen time for at least 90 minutes before bed. If you don’t fall asleep, read something or journal about how rotten you feel, etc. and then go back to bed. One lesson I learned: If you don’t know whether you slept or not—you most likely DID.

  43. I have been taking ambien for 10 months 10 mg and i was taking more then i should i took 2 a night then half if i woke up then i saw myself taking half during the day i was taking mine and my boyfriends i stopped. Cold rurkey but havent sleept in 8 days im trting to sweat it out its horriable but i cant keep taking it i wish i knew all this first about ambein being addictive i been throwing up and have the sweats and chills night time is the worst hope it ends soon doctors should only give you 2 weeks thats it not 3 refills,every month

  44. I was using ambien, the 12.5 me ER dose for 10 years or so. I am now going into my 4th month of being unable to sleep. I don’t understand the neuro brain chemistry that is altered by ambien use but I’m absolutely miserable by my lack of sleep. How long can I expect to go without sleep. Can I expect to eventually return to normal sleep or is this unknown. If I never return to normal sleep patters will this kill me.

  45. Nicole
    Google ambien and back pain. You’ll see that back pain is a common side effect of Ambien.
    It seems the advice given here is always talk to your doctor. But we see doctors advice varies all over the map !

  46. Hi I just completed a detox after abusing ambien for many years. I was even taking it during the day. Ugh. I am still experiencing withdrawal symptoms including DTs. How long should I expect the shaking to continue? I really want to get back to work. It’s been 2 weeks since my last dose. Sleep is difficult but the shakes are unbearable. Am I out of danger for strokes and seizures?

    1. Hi Amanda. Ambien withdrawal symptoms start occurring within the first 72 hours after the last Ambien dose. These symptoms can last anywhere from a couple of days to several weeks after your last intake. Most symptoms should resolve themselves after a month. Note that after this period, you may still experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome for several months. Stay strong!

  47. I have been taking ambien for 6 months now for chronic insomnia and have schizophrenia too…I began abusing the ambien by taking more than prescribed to get some sleep, then the relaxed feeling got me using it during the day too. Now I take 5mg every two hours…24 hrs a day or I get sick. I feel like I’m going to go psychotic, panic, and have anxiety attacks too if I don’t take it. I’m scared about the withdrawl process and need a dual diagnosis rehab, I think..What do you think?

  48. Today is day 6 since last Ambien dosage. Fluttery heart/palpitations, sweating, dysphoria, nightmares. I have suffered from chronic insomnia for years. I LOVED my ambien, it was the soundest sleep, 6 years of peaceful rest. But I worried about memory loss. 6 nights ago had to leave town for family emergency and forgot the ambien. After night 3, I figured I was over the worst and should try to just kick it. I have slept around 2 to 4 hours each night. I’m shocked to hear that withdrawl symptoms can last for weeks, months?! I’m feeling pretty strong in my desire to stay the course. I feel like the Ambien was causing increased mood disorder and anxiety. I just exercised tonight and plan on increasing exercise to try to wear myself out enough to sleep. Having weird swallowing problems like Dystonia since sudden Discontinuation. Has anyone experienced swallowing problems? My lips/tongue/throat feel numb, weird. I will call my physician about it, just wondered if anyone else experienced this weird symptom. I feel like my brain is on the mend, but its hard to function on 3-4 hours of sleep, esp if this continues for weeks/months.

  49. I have been on Ambien 5-10mg for almost 2.5 years. Issue is, I have had to drop to part time school and work, and have less energy and ambition to even clean the house. I also went from a happy morning person and gym lover to a cranky morning person who sleeps in and doesn’t have time to hit the gym since it takes so long to get my responsibilities done. It’s a living nightmare!
    I have tried to get off several times but then I don’t sleep and it’s almost as bad as the side effects of taking it. HOW can I successfully quit this? Should I just toss all but enough to ween off for 4 weeks so I can’t take one? WHAT are my options?
    I really need my memory, motivations, and energy back. My kids, husband, school, and myself are deeply suffering.

    1. Hi, Norma. I’ve read that experts recommend gradually lowering the dosage is a safer way to quit a drug. So, I suggest you consult with your doctor or a pharmacist to help you plan an individualized tapering schedule.
      Also, you may check out the Ashton Manual, a manual that can help you with dealing benzodiazepine dependence and withdrawal:

  50. Hi all,..This is my 21st day since I took my last ambien.I read all the posts and found them enormously informative.I posted twice before quitting, hoping that from my story someone would reply and tell me that I was not addicted to it and to keep using it …but no one replied and finally I decided I had a problem even though I had never misused my prescriptions.Also the Scottish n,h,s, had decided to withdraw the continuing use of this and a number of other drugs and my supply (which i had built up over a few years) would not last for ever.
    So…I read about the steps to be taken and what to expect.I am still having rebound insomnia.My sleep is erratic,full of rediculous and scary dreams, and I have got as far as putting a pill in my hand to take in the wee small hours .BUT I HAV’ENT! I definately take one night at a time and hold fast to the hope that proper sleep will eventually return.
    But……I am unable to get rid of my stockpile yet.They have been such a lifeline for so many years that I am scared to get rid of them.Once they are gone, they are gone.Does this mean that I am liable to take them again.
    I dont want to, what should I do ? I am trying to do this all on my own and am feeling fragile…please some one talk to me…..thanks

  51. I’m finally past the ambien addiction! I thought I should write to encourage others, because it was so difficult to get to the stage of normal sleep. I’ve struggled with insomnia for years. Mainly it was caused by a stressful job. Started taking over the counter PM’s, until I built up a resistance to them, then went Dr. perscribed Sonata. After some time those didn’t work so on to Ambien. All this was over a 17 year period. One day I went for a normal check up to a new Dr. And she freaked “you can’t take those you’ll get Alzheimer’s.” Well, it doesn’t take much to freak me out, I found another Dr., who basically said the same thing. I tried to cold turkey, but saw that was not an option. I found a chart on line that gave a very gradual process of withdrawl. I did it over a 6 week period, foolishly thinking that would be it. That was when the real trials began. I tried antidepressants- no help. They gave me restless leg syndrome. I tried other things with equally annoying results. Getting a bit frantic, no sleep will do that to you, I went back. The first Dr I saw told me to “just take ambien “. Do you believe that? The next gave me Xanax, which is another highly addicting drug. Trying not become addicted to another drug I used it sparenley. Anyway, from August of 2015 to February 2016 is how long it took to be free of these drugs. Now I sleep normally. It’s great not to be taking anything.

  52. I am terrified at going back to not sleeping again.i have managed to reduce from 10mgs to 5mgs nightly and dont abuse drugs.However i hav tried to stop alltogether and cant cope with the resulting insomnia which makes my chronic pain disorder and depression/anxiety worsen.My gp is keen for me to stop.I am embarassed at being dependant and hav kept it a secret.I hav been getting it for 6 getting upset just writing this.i do not know what to do.

  53. Tracy, yes, your memory will gradually improve once you are off Ambien (BTW, any benzo or hypnotic can wreck havoc with memory, which is why such substances should be avoided by senior citizens). The memory problems happened to me as well. Once you are off (but do it carefully, preferably by a doctor skilled in prescription-drug w/d), you will find your memory and cognitive function will gradually get back to normal.

  54. I am experiencing anxiety like chest pain. I discontinued use 24 hours ago. I only used it for 1.5 weeks. How long will it take for these symptoms to go away?

  55. I took Ambien 5mg every night for half a year. It really gave me good night sleep. Since this week I decided to stop using it. It took me 3 days to see the improvement. The first 3 nights there were absolutely no sleep at all! U can imagine the pain i had the next day… Then the 4th night, I could sleep for 3- 4 hours. Last night was the 5th and I slept the whole night. Hopefully my regular sleep pattern will come back from now on. Just trust your brain, even though the first few nights seemed to be scary and painful, do not go back and take the magic pills. U will eventually get over with insomnia. It is just a matter of time.

  56. I took ambien every night for about 7 years and have been off for a few months. I have tons of memory issues. Are they permanent? Does ambien abuse accelerate dementia?

  57. I have been off Ambien for 8 months and am still experiencing PAWS- insomnia, anxiety and depression but mainly insomnia.. I quit abruptly after being perscribed 20 mg/day for 10 years. Will my PAWS EVER end.?
    How much longer can I expect this to last.?

  58. Boy I need help with ambium and I know it but can’t stop. I’m depressed all the time cause of it and find myself taking naps with 10 mg. my normal dosage is 15 mugs but I abuse it cause of a twenty year history of 11 back surgeries and severe leg pain that won’t let me sleep. Now w 15 mg I only sleep 3 1/2 hours and then I pop another 10mg. I want to stop but have too much pain. What do I do

  59. Please help me. I have been taking ambien for 4 weeks and I am so psychologically messed up from it. I am going in almost 48 hours off of it and my depression and loss of emotional feelings are completely tearing me apart. I don’t know what’s happening to me. Please I’m begging you write me back ASAP I need to know more.

    1. Hi, Natalie. I’m really sorry that you’re experiencing all of this. I suggest you consult your doctor to change your medication.

  60. I have been taking ambien for a year. One every night. I stopped cold turkey 4 days ago. I am having awful nightmares every night. How long will this last?

  61. I am trying to get off the ambien. I am only on 5 mg as I am experiencing the inability to sleep at all am I am not tired and just lie in bed the entire night. I can feel my heartbeat in my chest when I lie down as well. I am shaky too after waking up after only 2 hrs. How long will this last so that I will actually feel tired again at nite? I want to get back to where I was before I started taking this stuff.

  62. I have been taking ambien for about 8 years now, have gone from 5 mugs prescribed to 12.5 and all in between, it had totally stopped working so I doubled then tripled , now I take approx 130 pills per month and I still can only sleep a couple of hours… When I do t take them I go to severe withdrawals. I need help but my insurance want cover for detox. I am at a loss as to what to do. I continue to need more and more I have tried everything I am a basket case most days,

  63. I was perscribed 20 mg/day for 10 years. After it stopped working I stopped cold turkey. That was the beginning of May 2015. I am still suffering from I severe insomnia. How much longer can I expect this to last? . Is there another medication or sleep air that I can take To help with my I some a while undergoing Ambien withdrawa?

  64. I took (Quite happily) Ambien for 17 years, I’m 65. My GP informed me it was a dangerous drug and I needed to stop using it. After 12 weeks of decreaseing slowly I expected to be able to be back to normal. This is not the case. I can’t sleep more than 3.5 hours a nite and I’m miserable. I would be happy with 6 hours a nite. He perscribed an antidepressant, but now I have RLS and your not suppose to take antidepressants with restless leg syndrome. How long is this going to last? I’ve been free Ambien for just over a week. I don’t want to take more drugs but I really need some sleep.

  65. What would be a managable time frame and doseage reduction for me.have been on zolpidem 10mgs for 5years by g.p. but they will not prescribe me any more.dont want to go cold 60 year old female with recurrent depression and anxiety and persistant pain disorder.have reduced to 7.5 mgs for 8days and am desperate to sleep.

  66. I was prescribed ambien cr 9 years ago when. My husband passed and I could not sleep through the night. I take one pill a night . I have forgotten or missed a few and the next day is miserable . I would like to stop taking this drug, however I do have difficulty functioning after missing one dose, and after reading here I realize it may take longer than a few days.
    Can I do a herbal or juicing detox, or herbal supplements to help with the withdrawal? I can only take the brand as the generic gives me nightmares. I will talk to my doctor about this, however any suggestions would be helpful… Thank you.

  67. I have taken Ambien for 6 years. The last 2 years has been that I abused 2 prescriptions. Then in last 6 months it was mixed with alchol directly. Bad choice. Tried to get off ambien since x-mas 2014. I was hospitilized for the withdrawal and it took 12 very difficult days to go cold turkey. I slept 0.5-1.5 hours every 24 hours. I hope this information is beneficial to someone.

  68. Sorry.. don’t seem to be able to edit my post above… the question was ‘how long does withdrawal last?’. I would say a couple of weeks for me from the standard 10mg a night. Three weeks on, still feel a bit foggy brain (hate that feeling…want my brain back) but things like huge tiredness in the afternoon has gone and I am sleeping absolutely fine. By the sounds other posts on here, tapering may reduce hallucinations if you get them.. but they didn’t that last time for me. Good luck… chuck them away and get yourself back!

  69. I took Zolpidem (aka Ambient) on and off for about 3 years. Started to get nasty nightmares and not knowing where I was when I woke up in the night. Also permanently foggy brain; dry eyes – needing to blink a lot; feeing disengaged from my friends; some cravings early evening. For a while I abused them and had them about 8.00 at night as I don’t drink and they gave me that nice intoxicated affect. On the days that I gave them up, I started having hallucinations.. big spiders on the wall… on the bed and I had to stare at them hard to make them disappear. It got more and more scary – and even when I took half a tablet one night (after 2 weeks off) – the next day and night were fine but the following night.. terrible hallucinations again. So they’ve give me up sadly. I actually think these are nasty insidious little tablets if used wrongly… I think they get right down into your brain and actually change everything… memory, feelings, perception … everything. They are wolf dressed as lamb. The manufacturers recommend short term use and Ithink that is the only thing to do. Hubby did that and had no problems with them but… for long term use….beware, they are doing stuff to your heard that you probably don’t even know’s happening. I feel bereft as I enjoyed the evening relaxation but the side affects and night terror outweigh any of that… Bye Zolpidem… down the toilet you go…. Hope that helps others.

  70. I have taken ambien 12.5 mg ER for some years. I moved and have a new physician who will not prescribe ambien. I figured that I would have a couple of weeks of insomnia without the ambien but I’m now going into my 2nd month of not being able to sleep. This is absolute torture. Will I ever be able to resume anything like normal sleep and how long will it take ?

    1. Hi Ash. Thank you for the useful suggestion. But, until we do, feel free to write in the comments section below that also works as a forum. You can show your support and ask questions too.

  71. Tina, I have a similar problem to you. I’ve had sleep issues for years and only started taking Ambien a month ago. I take it 3 times a week (when I need to get up for school) and just let my sleep schedule slip the rest of the week.

    It usually knocks me out within half an hour, but for a week now, it’s already stopped working. I might get slightly more drowsy but it takes twice as long to fall asleep. I’ll probably be consulting a doctor or nurse asap because it is very important to me to get to sleep and wake up on time.

  72. I had a seizure about three years ago when withdrawing from alcohol abuse. Is there any chance of a seizure when withdrawing from Ambien CR?

  73. I’ve been off the Ambien for 1 week after taking it for 5 years. Im still having a hard time falling asleep and when I do fall asleep I’m very restless. The lack of sleep is affecting me at work and at home. Im hoping this stops soon. Fortunately I have great support and will get through this without sleep aids. Thanks for the information and for the forum. It’s terrible we are all going through this but it’s nice to know I’m not alone.

  74. I have been taking ambien for years (10) mg. Could not sleep without it, but have suffered no consequences. The best part of taking this drug is that Im never sleepy and don’t ever nap. Resting is as much as I can possibly do. Wil I eventually have a problem if I don’t give it up?

  75. I was up to 20 MG of zolpidem a night and had been taking it for over two years when I finally said enough is enough. I was suffering from memory loss and had late night conversations with people that I couldn’t remember and said things that I would never say in my right mind. I stopped cold turkey a couple weeks ago. I am suffering no side effects outside of some insomnia but it is tolerable. I take 10 MG of melatonin and one tablet (50 mg) of diphenhydramine….I sleep well every other night and on the bad nights I only wake up a few times. The first week I would wake up every hour but stuck it out. I believe I am home free now and will soon stop taking the other sleep aides. I had a good mind set in wanting to stop taking this horrible drug. That is where it starts, you really have to want to get off of it. I am grateful for not having any major withdrawal symptoms. Good luck everybody and keep your chin up, you can and will eventually kick this drug to the curb and feel like yourself again. That first good night sleep you get without taking ambien is soooo refreshing. It is coming soon, I promise 🙂

  76. I’ve been taking ambien for a long time !!
    I want to leave it because is affecting me bad..!! When I wake up every morning I feel so tired and nausea!! I feel like my body is hurting all the time !! Please help!! I feel like I can’t live without it.. I’m wonder if I leave it one day I’m gonna start feeling better !? I’m I gonna get back my normal life !??? Please help.. Thank you

  77. My doctor switched me to Ambien (6.25mgs) from Klonipin, after taking Klonopin 0.25 for a bit over two years. I have been off Klonopin and on Ambien for one week. I get bouts of pounding in the head and confusion. How long should this last? Also, is Ambien easy to tapper from? Thank you

    1. Hi Sebastian. I’d advise you to report any side effects of unusual symptoms you are feeling to your doctor. You may need another medication, a dose adjustment, or just time to get used to the Ambien. But, you doctor will instruct you best. For your other question: No medication is completely easy to get off of after a long-term and continued use. So, if you chronically take Ambien, once you try to quit or lower doses you will experience withdrawal symptoms as with most other prescription medications.

  78. My partner has been taking zolpidem 2-4 tablets a night to treat insomnia for about 15 years now with no previous history of depression – in the recent years he has had 3 depressive episodes usually concurrent to a increase in zolpidem to approx 10 -14 tablets a night. He is currently doing a slow withdrawal but is finding the depression unbearable does anyone have any encouraging stories or similar experiences with zolpidem use and the onset of severe depression? I’d love to hear from you to give him support and encouragement as you know it is a lonely and painful thing to go through.

  79. I have been on ambien for about 4 years due to my work. I stopped cold turkey on June 6,2015. I experience rebound insomnia and two anxiety attacks. I fought off the insomnia with trazodone and the anxiety with clonazepam which worked out o k. I’m starting my third week of cold turkey. I feel o k but I am feeling that I should have tapered off the durg. I still have some ambien the worst over or should I start taking a half of pill now and taper down with a half pill for a few weeks or so? To help finish the treatment? Or should I hang in there? I’m 64 years old and really want to get off ambien. Please respond. Thanks

  80. As stupid as this sounds, if you really want to stop your benzo addiction, you simply need to stop. If you are having trouble sleeping, then you should try Benadryl. Believe it or not, Benadryl is a powerful delirium. I have been opiate free for two years now and I was using Oxycodone thru IV use. However I am dependent on Benadryl for a good night sleep, it is better than being strung out.

  81. I’m very nervous about my plan to quit Ambien. I’ve been taking 5MG every night for approx. 4 years. I have a professional job and need to be sharp, alert. At least now I can function but how will I handle my job and commuting with this lack of sleep?

    1. Hi Joe. Can you take some time off to at least get past the worst part? You can use other sleep aids, but it would be best to not use anything and allow your brain chemical balance to get naturally restored, so that you will be able to get quality sleep on your own. But, it takes time for regular sleep patterns to come back.

  82. I am 7 1/2 months pregnant. Back in February I got a really bad cold and couldn’t sleep for 4 days. I also began having anxiety because I felt like I couldn’t breathe due to the congestion. I’ve never had anxiety or insomnia before this pregnancy. I ended up in the emergency room where they prescribed me Ambien 10 mg. I cut it in half because I didn’t like the feeling it gave me to take the full dose. I took it for about 3 weeks then tapered off with little withdrawal symptoms. I got a few hours less sleep, but that was all and things went back to normal. Then in April the insomnia came back and I would take 2.5 mg when I needed it, but I started needing it more and more. I went back to work for a couple of weeks, which only requires sitting at a desk. I got so much muscle tension, anxiety, and insomnia, I went back on the Ambien 2.5 – 5 mg every night. I usually start the night by taking 2.5 mg and then take another 2.5 mg sometime in the middle of the night to get more sleep. I went to see my OB/GYN about my insomnia and anxiety and was provided little help. She said Ambien is the safest sleep aid to take during pregnancy and is not addictive. I asked her how to taper off and she said, simply cut it in half. She says the goal is get completely off of Ambien 1-2 weeks before delivery. I’m 34 weeks now. I’ve tried 50 mg of Benadryl, which didn’t work. She then prescribed me Trazadone which is an anti-depressant that also has a sleep aid. I took it only one night, but it didn’t work and I felt awful. So I went back to taking Ambien. She says the only other alternative is to start taking an anti-depressant to relieve the anxiety. I don’t really want to do this because there is a risk for the baby and I don’t want to become addicted to a second prescription. I’ve now been taking Ambien for about 6 weeks usually getting 4-5 hours of sleep a night, sometimes nothing at all. It seems to be less and less effective. I feel jittery, shaky, and extreme anxiety and depressed. About once a week I will take 10 mg just so I can get more sleep. I try to take naps during the day to try to teach my body to sleep again, but the anxiety usually jerks my body back to alertness just as I’ve started to doze off. I want to taper off of this before the delivery but am very discouraged. I don’t think I can handle strong withdrawals on top of the discomforts of being in my third trimester in a 4 week time frame. The baby is now pressing on my diaphragm making it hard to breathe which creates more anxiety. I’ve been doing prenatal yoga and walking during my entire pregnancy. I don’t drink caffeine and I’ve tried guided relaxation and meditation techniques, acupuncture, counseling and progressive muscle relation techniques to help, but it’s not effective for the anxiety and insomnia. This is affecting my husband and three other children because I can’t function the way I used to. Is it possible to taper off in this time frame and what withdrawals can I expect? And when will I be able to fall asleep on my own? I’m also afraid that if I can’t get off of it before I deliver that they will not allow me to take the Ambien in the hospital and I will have withdrawls on top of having to take care of a newborn and recover from C-Section surgery. Any suggestions would be helpful. Thank you.

  83. Diane, if you c/t’d the Zolpidem, it’s no wonder you’re still having difficulty. Your brain needs time to get itself re-wired so you can fall asleep naturally again. Chamomile and Sominex will not help, because the Zolpidem affects different aspects of the brain. What finally helped me was to just try to assume i would not sleep well and just enjoy lying there. I know living with poor sleep is really awful; I did it! But your sleep WILL come back. You’ll start having a couple good nights here and there, and then after awhile they will come more and more often until you are back to normal. But it’s also a good idea to take care of the stress and anxiety that causes sleep difficulties. Begin to practice meditation or a prayer practice. Read uplifting, positive literature. Learn some simple yoga postures, or deep stretching. Look for a purpose in life that is YOUR purpose, not someone else’s. Believe me, in the end it can be fun to finally take your life back!

  84. I have been off of zolpidem for two weeks. I have a very hard time getting to sleep at night and am sleeping very little. I have tried sominex, drinking chamomile tea or drinking maracuja tea before going to bed. They are natural things to help you sleep but are not helping me. I am very frustrated and do not know what to do. I feel like I am never going to be normal again. I would appreciate your advice as to anything else I could do.

  85. Bruce, yes, you still may be in w/d stages, but don’t worry about it. Every person is unique with their w/d patterns. Remember that as your body re-adjusts, you will need to be very gentle with yourself. Keep away from caffeine, sugar and hot spices. Do/learn meditation or yoga, even if you can sit still for only a few minutes at first. Stay away from anything on TV, movies, etc. that makes you upset and nervous. Your whole nervous system is on High Alert now as you get back to normal. Try to exercise a little (even if it’s just walking around your house or workplace) each day. Melatonin can often help. You WILL get better—you can count on it. I did, and I’d been taking 10mg. for 8 years! You can do this! Keep your eyes on the prize, which is FREEDOM!

  86. I was taking ambien for about 10-11 months, I had a panic attack around the 10-11th mark, would I still be suffering the withdrawal symptoms it’s been 2 months going onto 3.

  87. I’ve been an insomniac most of my adult life. I’m 42. I’ve been taking Ambien for 3 years now. I’m prescribed 30 10mg pills every 30 days. I like to take 12.5mg so I have to cut up pills into quarters. This basically puts me on a 3 week on, 1 week off cycle. This works out great because I never really get physically addicted. The week I’m off of it, I have trouble sleeping so I have to use Tylenol PM and Melatonin combination during that week. I don’t sleep as well but I manage it. Then I start the 3 week cycle again. I’m not doctor, but this is a safe way “for me” to get good quality sleep for a good 3 weeks and an ok sleep for 1 week. I think without the week break, it wouldn’t work anymore.

  88. I have a friend who was prescribed Ambien and took it for 6 months and suddenly stopped cold turkey. She is acting paranoid and is full of anxiety and cries all the time. I don’t know how to help her. She is unwilling to go to emergency but has no job or money to pay for a doctor right now and I can’t help her financially either. Any suggestions? I feel so bad for her but I don’t know how to help.

  89. I quit Ambien about a month and a half ago…I was having pretty good nights 5-6hoirs of sleep after taking 5mg of melatonin. Just recently in the last 2 weeks I cannot fall asleep and am lying awake until 3 or 4 in the morning. How long will this rebound insomnia last? And should I see a doctor? Thanks

  90. Kathy, i hate to be the bearer of bad news, but ever case is individual and unique. I knew of a guy who took 20mg. Ambien for 10 years and stopped cold turkey. He was sleeping normally after 4 weeks. However, another friend, inspired by him, also quit cold turkey and ended up in the psych ward for 2 weeks, and had to get back on it.
    The safest course of action, which I took, is to find a doctor who specializes in prescription withdrawals and have him/her write a scrip for Ambien in elixir form. You will also need to find a compounding pharmacy—if there is not one in your area, there are several who specialize in mail order. The doctor recommended a 5% w/d per week, and went down to 2.5% during the last 2 weeks. Sadly, the closer you get to quitting altogether, the worse the symptoms may be. You have to be patient and ride them out. In the meantime, stay away from caffeine and sugar and spicy foods, and pay close attention to whatever makes your symptoms worse—eliminate it for the time being. Do meditation and/or yoga. If you have a spiritual path, steep yourself in positive, uplifting verses or passages and prayers that are helpful. Above all, stay AWAY from horror movies, true crime shows, etc., as your nervous system will be on High Alert during w/d. Treat yourself gently, and ask others to do so as well. The reward will be FREEDOM!! You WILL get your normal sleep back, but it will take time. Your brain and body have been artificially manipulated for a long time and will need time to adjust. As for those “experts” who claim that your sleep patterns may be permanently ruined and that you may need sleep aids for the rest of your life, that’s TOTAL BS. I’ve never heard of anyone whose sleep was “permanently ruined”. It DOES come back, and you will be free.

  91. I took Lunesta for five years and switched to Ambien for another two years. I’m getting off both now. How long will I have these awful feelings. I was taking 10 mg of Ambien and 3mg of Lunesta. I also had to take OTC sleep aids in conjunction as neither gave me a full night of sleep

  92. I successfully got off taking 10 mg. every night for almost 8 years. After i was forced off Amoxapine, due to getting Tardive Dyskinesia, the Ambien no longer worked very well. For those who are trying to get sleep by taking Trazodone, forget it. Ambien works on different brain receptors, similar to a benzo rather than an antidepressant (which makes both benzos and sleeping pills dangereous in the long run). The way I did it was to find a doctor who was willing to prescribe Ambien in elixir form, using a pharmacy that does compouding (not many do). I tapered my dosage with small amounts over the course of mid-May of last year until early October. The last months were pretty rough, but I knew to expect that. it does get discouraging as your body slowly rights itself after years of being artificially put to sleep; you have to be patient. Meanwhile, ease off caffeine and sugar, begin to meditate (or at least learn to quiet your mind for short periods), get as much physical exercise as you can push yourself for, and realize that you may have used up your right to chemical peace of mind. By Christmas i was sleeping pretty normally, and though i still have an occasional bad night, that’s just the lot of humanity. it’s really cool to no longer be at the mercy of doctors, pharmacists and insurance companies to make sure you have enough of your Ambien stash. No panicking that I might run out; no fear that I’ll do something weird while taking it; no fear of losing my reasoning power or developing early-onset dementia. It’s worth the fight! P. S.: I’m 68; if i can do it, so can you!

  93. I have been taking 10mg of Ambien per night for approx 3 months- in the last couple of weeks I have experienced a lot of anxiety . If I stop taking ambien what will the effects be? I feel so jittery- please help

  94. Thanks for your response. I talked to my Dr. And she started me on trazadone 50mg which has now been increased to 100mg with no effect at all. It’s so discouraging. Do you have any suggestions on what I should try? I’m taking valerian 800mg and melatonin 10mg every evening along with the trazadone.

  95. I am a senior 76-year-old, and have been on Ambien for more than 15 years. My doctor prescribes 10 mg , but I am up to most nights 25 mg. nightly. I am on day 8 of total withdraw and have only slept one night for about 3-1/2 hours. I thought I would be able to sleep last night, but that was not the case. I am taking Valarian Root 500 mg tablets and drinking herbal tea at night and it makes me drowsy for a little while, but not enough to get to sleep. My symtoms include the shakes, loss of appetite (lost 5 lbs), anxiety, and leg muscle pain. Don’t think I can take any more sleepless nights. I’m afraid after withdrawal is attained I still won’t be able to sleep because, after all, I have insomnia! What are any alternative medications I can take? Advise your readers against taking over-the-counter sleep pills . . .they become addictive also. . . know this first-hand.

  96. Hi Sara. Seven years on ambien is quite a time and it explains the symptoms you’ve been experiencing ever since you quit taking the medication. During those years it has changed your brain’s chemistry to the extent that your brain got used to not producing the chemicals it needs to put itself to sleep-they were coming from the pills. It will take a long time before your brain heals and return to homoeostasis. You will be able to sleep on your own eventually, until then alternative medications and relaxing are the only non-invasive way of getting some sleep.

  97. Well just spent first night without any ambian…had been taking Ambian CR 12.5 for over 12 years after family deaths, stress events, menopause etc…..reduced to half the pill nightly for past year. Realized I was waking up several times during the night so I have decided to stop completely. Concentration this morning is not as good as it would normally be. Am hoping this improves as the day goes on. I did try going cold turkey several times in the past when doing the full dose nightly and the symptoms in the morning were very intense. This time is much less intense and much less discomfort. No “hangover” feeling…no shakiness…..I believe this might be because of the gradual dosage reduction over the past year.
    Going onto the treadmill for a few miles in hopes this clears my head more. One day at a time I guess……… I am determined to stop. Am 62 years old.

  98. I’m a 57 year old woman and was prescribed ambien 10mg 7 years ago for insomnia due to menopause. It worked wonders for me and I’ve never had any side effects just peaceful, dreamy nights. I decided that I needed to stop taking it since I had been taking for so long. I stopped in September 2014 and it has been just awful. My nights are spent tossing and turning. I haven’t slept more than 2 hoirs at a time and it’s beginning to affect my life. I feel like electric currents are running through my body at night and my mind never shuts down. I’ve tried all the natural ways to induce sleep. I am otherwise very healthy. I excercise an hour at least 4 days a week and 30 minutes on other days. Is is uncommon for withdrawal to take this long? I have got an apt with a sleep study clinic next week.

  99. My doctor has me on 20 mg a day of Ambien for many years because I have chronic pain which prevents me from sleeping. I have tried many sleeping medications but Ambien is the only one that has worked for me and allows me tto sleep with my pain. I would like to cut back at least some at least. Can I quickly got back from 20 mg a day to 10 ? please help

  100. Congratulations Holly! I’m very happy you listened to our advise and were persistent. Thank you for writing back and sharing your experience. It can give support and hope to others who are struggling. Kind regards, Ivana

  101. Hello! I posted in September that I was going off 10 mg. Ambien (through a compounded elixir that I gradually decreased) and was still not sleeping. You told me to be patient and normal sleep would finally happen. I am happy to say that it has! Yes, it took a LONG time, and it was misery for awhile, but I am now sleeping comfortably without it. However, I need to watch my caffeine/sugar intake very carefully now, but that’s OK. Stay the course, people; it DOES get better!

  102. Hello Carol. Congratulations on the progress so far. But, to answer your question: No! The brain will need time to repair itself, since it’s accustomed to getting the chemicals from the ambien and not needing to produce any on it’s own. So, getting back to homeostasis may take a while, but at least you are getting rid of a medication that does not work anymore.

  103. I am 79. I have been using Ambian ER 12.5 for years. They no longer work. So I stopped taking it and went down to a 10MG pill for about a week. Then cut it in half to 5 MG for a week. Am now cutting that in half to 21/2 MG and will stay on that for a week. Then take the 2 1/2 every other night for a week. This was what the pharmacist recommended. Is this weaning down eventually going to let me sleep?

  104. Megan, my doc tried to switch me to grazed one but it caused a weird paralysis as I was falling asleep, I’d panic and then not sleep.

    I was on Ambien off and on 2001-2012. In 2012 I had to take it daily because I was working nights and wouldn’t sleep during the day. I’ve been back on a “normal” schedule since Feb and if I don’t take the Ambien (5mg CR) I don’t sleep. My doc is blowing me off and telling me I have no choice but to stay on it and it’s safe. But I feel like my brain is fried. The is the only other psych related medication I’m on.

    Does anyone have experienced tapering off CR they’d like to share? I figure this can’t be worse that getting off Paxil after 10 years (that was under doc supervision that didn’t believe I could possibly have withdrawals). So you see why I’m turning to my peers.

  105. Hello — I’m an otherwise healthy female who simply wants to enjoy restorative sleep like a “normal” person. I’ve taken 2.5 – 5 mgs Ambien for two years. Afraid I might become tolerant, I recently tried other sleep aids without success. (Seems Ambien is my “drug of choice”.)Two nights ago I tried 50 mgs trazadone which did nothing for my sleep, but did give me a solid buzz and killer headache. So frustrated by the experience, I cut out all sleep meds. This 2-night “detox” has not been fun.

    A few questions/comments for the group:

    1) Would love to hear more stories from those who’ve successfully discontinued all sleep aids
    2) Has anyone else experienced headaches from trazadone?
    3) Why is trazadone considered a “lesser evil”
    4) Any tips for tapering the Ambien. (Don’t know how I can cut my pill any smaller than 2.5 mgs)
    5) I’m fully motivated to endure rebound insomnia, but would like to know how long it might take for my sleep rhythms to return to normal.

    Forgive me if these items have already been addressed…Thanks in advance for the feedback.

  106. Ive been taking 3 ten mgs a nignt for alot of the month maybe just one week without them an its never bothered me an im on 3 suboxone 8s a day an I had to go to er 3 weeks ago but the nignt b4 I hit some of the spice liquid on tin foil an ever since I did that its went to shit an I had my baby girl an fidnt have ambs an it took a cpl days then started feeling like me again an this last monday I did a sub an a half an 3 beins an drank 2 or 3 25 ouncrs bud light applerittas an.been.haveing awfuliest time since sn today thay had me takeing boostbar sn it helpted some an sent me in a panic attack some I went to doctor today an tney gave me I got home an tbought I was gonna die I got 2 kifs an.a wife kid is 4 an other is 3 weeks old am I want to live even though I thought I died ealier I took 3 ambeins without beer.cuz I couldnt.shallow an made it to sleep an feel ok now but i got a

  107. Hi Holly. It’s quitre a long time you’ve been using sleeping pills. But, yes, your sleeping will tend to improve as you continue living without pills. They change your brain’s chemicals to induce sleep, and now, it will take some time for your organism to return to homeostasis. Relaxing activities can be helpful, so try taking hot baths, drinking chamomile tea, listening to relaxing music, meditation…

  108. I am a 67-year-old female tapering 10 mg. of Ambien, and am now in my last week of tapering (now at .25 mg.). I have used it nightly for 10 years, and before that used Restoril or Dalmane several times a week for many years before that. I am trying to learn how to sleep on my own, but i’ve needed chemical assistance to sleep for almost 30 years. I also have PTSD, which doesn’t help. I also take 100 mg. Trazodone, but it’s almost useless. I also came off Ativan (1 mg. daily) last year and had a ghastly time, and the Ambien w/d has given me a lot of insomnia and lack of ambition due to fatigue. Is there anything I could do that might help me sleep normally again?

  109. ive been on ambien for 10 years and maybe longer. Only have been off for 1 week, first night maybe 2 hours sleep. Cannot get to sleep before midnight or later. Anything I can do to get through this period and since I’ve been on this drug for so long will it be longer to get pass this fase? Looking for any help I can get

  110. I have been off (cold turkey) zolpidem for 16 days.I had been taking the drug for 10 years straight.I am a senior citizen I guess the doctors thought at my age it was better than no sleep.the regular dose stopped working so I doubled up and ran out 2 weeks early. Thank God for that! It forced me to stop taking the drug.I had been experiencing some deep depression. My mind is back to normal and I feel better psychologically. I am still not able to fall asleep before 3 am, sometimes it is as late as 5 am.I am very tired and in need of skeep, How much longer before I will be able to fall asleep shortly after going to bed?
    the doctor was ready to send me to a psychiatrist for depression. I will never take that drug again.

  111. i have been taking ambien for 15 years. I have tried to quit several times. I went to a sleep lab during one of times i had been off ambien for a week. the lab results showed that i was waking up literally hundreds of times at night. I am once again trying to quit and i am again experiencing this constant waking. I havent seen this withdrawal symptom discussed. Surely i am not the only one that has had this issue. I have been trying to taper down from 10mg. since i am already sleeping badly maybe i should just take a week off and cold turkey it and hope that the constant waking thing will stop eventually.

  112. I was recently prescribed 10mg of the generic form of Ambien. It worked immediatley as far as helping me sleep. After taking for 3 days, the following mornings when I would wake up I would feel “high/stoned” all day…I felt like that for 3 days…I only took the pill for 5-6 nights…I stopped last night and still have that same feeling of being “stoned/high” today…I do not plan on taking the pill anymore….Is this a normal side effect? How long should it last? I am 39 yr old female/weigh 150…..Years ago I took Ambien, I believe 5 miligrams and never had this…..

  113. I took 10 mg. of Ambien every night for 3 years to cope w/ lifelong insomnia exacerbated by very stressful events during those years: death of best friend, death of mother, loss of job, divorce, relocating…I tapered off from Jan. thru June of this year–2014–and since my last 1 mg. dose, I have not been able to sleep for more than 5 or 6 hours a night. Though I do all the sleep inducing behaviors recommended (sleeptime tea, no electronics 2 hours before bed–8-9 p.m.–, a.m.aerobic exercise, before bed yoga stretches, meditation, new age music, darkness and so forth) by 1 or 2 a.m, though my body is exhausted and I can barely move, my mind is awake. No worries or ruminations as I am retired now, I am just awake. It has been one month and my quality of life is suffering. How long will this insomnia last? In the past, before Ambien, these sleep strategies were much more effective. But I am currently turning 65. Is age the issue? What can I do beyond taking a wait and see attitude? Thanks.

  114. I’d taken Ambien for a few months and it worked really well for me; I was sleeping regularly and just had so much more energy in the daytime. After a few months, it stopped working. How long does the body need in order for it to start working again?

  115. Have been on ambiencr 12 mg for almost five years due to severe insomnia. I started to experience severe anxiety and depression which I feel is related to the ambien. Two nights ago I stopped taking it. I have not slept, at all, yet am having this weird feelings. I am having the sweats, nausea, headaches, anxiety and I just feel awful. There is no way this medication is not dangerous. Just want to feel better

  116. First let me say that I am a 42 year old female 5’1″ 98lbs (was 101) I was on ambien 5mg for about 3 months (I get up at 3am to go to work and I cannot fall asleep with daylight outside) and after a couple of weeks I started falling apart. Extreme indigestion, inflammation in my hands and elbows, plus weight loss and fatigue. Went to the Dr. and she put me on Prilosec and Mobic. Did not work. Indigestion got worse so she put me on naproxen then on Celebrex. I was also drinking a half a bottle of pepto a day and some gaviscon at night. The Dr. also sent me for blood work but it showed no inflammation. Then one day a light went off in my head. I did not start having ANY problems till I started taking Ambien! Stopped taking it on May 8th and almost immediately the indigestion went away, I only have a little but not enough to take any meds. I am not tired after sleeping only 5-6 hours a night and the inflammation is slowly going away. So my question is, how long do you think this reaction/withdrawal will take to get over?

  117. Started feeling ill in the morning from ambien
    Lost all appetite, nausea,dry mouth,dizziness
    I stopped taking cold turkey
    Had to focus on god to get through it
    Regained appetite finally after a month

  118. I have been off ambien for 2 days now. My doctor gave me restoril as a new sleep aid. It helps me sleep but I’m am up all through the night. In the morning I feel very depersonalized and complete dysphoria. My thoughts are very confused and I feel very forgetful. Should i continue to take restoril to get through my withdrawal from ambien. I try to wait as late as I can in the day to wear I feel very anxious and shaky almost as if I’m going to go into a seizure to faint. When I take the restoril I calm down and fall asleep and the next morning It starts all over again. Will restoril prolong my withdrawal? I have hydroxyzine that I could maybe replace with the restoril to see if I wake up feeling more normal. What do you think I should do. I took ambien for at least 8 months ranging from 10-30mg per night. Towards the end I would take 15mg and it usually didn’t do the job so I took another 10 to knock out so basically the last 2 months I was taking 25 mg per night.

  119. I would like to know how long does psychosis lasts if Ambien is the cause of it? I also have came across data concerning middle-aged women and Ambien concerning psychosis – please post more info about this. Thanks

  120. I am taking Ambien for 1 year and now am off it cold turkey. How long will this horrible feeling of lightheadedness and confusion last.

  121. Hi Christine. Good for you! I like your can-do attitude. In addiction to regular exercise, a diet high in greens, and meditation…there might be professional behavioral sleep interventions that you can learn. Have you considered possible psychological interventions for underlying anxiety that can be related to insomnia? Or what about training specific to sleep therapy? From your message, it seems like you’re into trying new lifestyle changes….way to go!

  122. Oh my! I have been taking Ambien CR (generic) for the past 6 years all a while asking my MD if this wasn’t harmful and he always shrugged it off. I weaned myself down to half of the 10 mg for years but my sleep was short lived. Now my life circumstances have changed and I find myself able to sleep well during the day. I am having some liver issues so I decided to get off totally. I weaned down to 1/3 a night and then every other night. Now I am off completely for the last two weeks and the insomina rebound is making me crazy! I can go to sleep but then awake up around two and am up the rest of the night. About 6 a.m. I can go back to sleep for about 4 hours, just not soundly. I have tried Chamomile tea and Valerian Forte. I am in New Zealand at the time and they won’t sell Melanton without a script. My mood and mind are all over the map. I need sleep. A week of full uninterrupted sleep would make me a new person! But I refuse to go back to the Ambien after I’ve come this far. Also my restless legs has gotten unbearable the last two weeks since I stopped the 1/3 of Ambien. Any suggestions on how long the rebound insomina may last? Thanks for letting me vent!

  123. I use herbal tea now at teavana to sleep they are great I use dream tranquil at night I sleep great with them I no longer use any sleepin med …

  124. My doctor prescribed me ambien years ago for my insomnia. As the years went by, I have needed higher doses. I am taking 20 mg to fall asleep and then have to take another 10 mg just to get more than 6 hrs of sleep. I developed excruciating back pain that is unbearable. I have been to Mayo clinic, numerous neurologists and chiropractors to no avail. I tried going cold turkey off the ambien since my doctor never told me how bad this drug is and that long term use should not be taken with this drug. I can not sleep, can not think, can not function and my doctor told me to take ambien again. Funny thing is, my back pain starts to diminish when I quit taking it but everything else gets worse. I had to quit my job bc I can not function at all and my insurance is horrible and I only have it a bit longer but with my deductibles and no job I can not afford to go back to the doctor. Does anyone know if long term ambien use causes severe upper back pain and will this eventually go away? I tried staying off of ambien for a few months and it helped slightly but everything else got worse. I am so upset my doctor put me on such an addictive drug with horrible side effects without letting me know any of this and now my life is a mess along with my health!!!! If anyone has any knowledge please share bc I no longer know what to do…. Thank you!

  125. I stopped ambien 3 nights ago. Still sleeping on 2 mg of klon. I was taking 10 mg. now I have high pulse and muscle pain leg twitching. Hoping it will improve. Ambien also made me nausea and constipated. Hoping this relieves. Not sure if should go back on an taper or just get through. It. I’m sleeping just in slot of muscle pain.

  126. I have been taking ambien for 15 years, up to 5 and 6 a day. I did stop cold turkey and went to a hospital and was sent home the next day. I have been off ambien 11 days, how long will I experience this feeling of doom and cloudy feeling. I have ony sslept 8 hrs over the last 11 days and meds are not an option with the drs at the hospital.

  127. Are you still receiving/answering messages to this post? I have some questions regarding discontinuation of Ambien. Thank you. Lisa

  128. After taking Ambien purchased over the internet, I now seem to be experiencing depression and anxiety. I`m also emitting a strange body oder, thus I`m wondering if the Ambien or toxins, or both, are playing into this? I used the Ambien acouple of months and went cold turkey on it now?

  129. I took 5 5mg ambien over 5 days and on day 4 started feeling like I had withdrawal. Overall, took Ambien for 8 days total. Now I have stopped. How likely is withdrawal? And for how long?

  130. Oh, one other thing. A little research reveals that high doses of (3g per day) Vitamin B3 Niacinamide can be very helpful in alleviating anxiety and getting off benzodiazepines.

  131. That I shall. I’ve eliminated all possible causes for tremors (meds, caffeine, etc) and am going to give it a couple of weeks. One doctor suggested I just take an ambien and see if the tremors disappear. In any case, I will visit a Neurologist in the near future.

  132. Hello Gary. Restless limbs may be triggered by withdrawal from hypnotics and pseudo-benzodiazepines like Ambien, but they may also be caused by something else. I’m interested to know what is causing this and hope that you get a diagnosis soon. Please update.

  133. I took 10mg nightly for about 6 months and then began tapering down until I was at 1/4 to 1/3 tablet nightly. During this period of time, I began to notice some shaking in my hands. Up until about a week ago, I was taking 1/2 a tablet on Fri, Sat. and Sun nights. I have been sleeping OK without it, but the hand tremors seems to be persisting. I intend seeing a neurologist, but wonder if these are typical Ambien withdrawal symptoms, and perhaps waiting a few weeks might be a reasonable idea. My fingers tremble during routine tasks, like typing, almost as if I were nervous. And yes, this all makes me feel VERY nervous and anxious.

  134. Hi Laura. That’s great, thanks for sharing the tip about cherries and natural melatonin. Often, trouble sleeping indicates dis-ease about the past or the future. Have you tried meditating before you sleep? Or going to sleep at the SAME TIME every night. These two practices have helped me sleep tremendously after about 2 weeks.

  135. Also, my mouth isn’t as dry feel it’s getting better, my mood is also getting better. I’m on my 8th day post. I have been excercising, drinking lots of water and doing yoga. I am reading all these scary Ambien post on the internet and it’s freaking me out.

  136. Is it normal to last this long? One week ago I stopped cold turkey. I slept Sunday & Monday night but last night I didn’t. I know it’s hard to predict but what is the average time to recover from this, took it for 6 weeks. heard that if you ate cherries you can increase your natural melatonin. Thank you for your comments they are helpful.

  137. Hello Laura. The symptoms that you describe seem to fit those of Ambien withdrawal. There are some things that you can do: exercise for 30-60 minutes daily, take caffeine out of your diet, and consider meditation. This too, shall pass, although it seems very painful and uncomfortable right now.

  138. Also, my doctor said I canquit cold turkey. The only thing she said was that I would be miserable for a few nights due to rebound insomnia. i’m sacred about my health & well being now.

  139. Hi,
    I took Ambien because i had side effects from a herbal supplement that was causing insomnia. I took it for 6 weeks but was scared taking it throughout the whole time (Ambien). Last Tuesday May 27th was my last dosage. I was getting concerned as I started feeling depression around May 18th, about a month into it. Since stopping last Tuesday May 27th my depression has increased and my insomnia has been every other day. Last Tuedsay I didn’s sleep, Wednesday I did, Thursady i didn’t, Friday evening I did and today Saturday June 1 no sleep,insomnia. I feel like i am going crazy!!!! I can’t funvtion as a mom, wife or at work. Is this normal?? I also get headaches and my mouth is dry on and off throughout the day. I feel really down the days that I don’t sleep. The days that I sleep my mood is better, Please Help!!!!!

  140. Hello Linda. I’d suggest that you speak with your prescribing doctor or a pharmacist about dose decreases. However, it’s a good idea to wait for approval before making dose changes.

  141. I have been on ambien for going on 20 yrs. It was prescribed to me after I had a ceribal aneurysm. My doctor put me on it. As sleep became harder, she increased the dosage to 10, then 20 mgs. I have reduced my intake to 10mg. Would it be advisable to decrease my dosage down to 5 and finally stop taking the medicine all together?

  142. Hello Brenda. The long term effects of taking Ambien (for more than 6 months at a time) are not well known. Check in with your prescribing doctor or a pharmacist to air out your concerns about long term use.

  143. I have been taking ambien nightly for 6 years. No daytime side effects plus am Abe to get up if necessary during the night. Should I be worried

  144. Hi Julie. Please consult with your prescribing doctor for an individualized tapering calendar and advice. Tapering should always be completed under medical supervision.

  145. I have cut my dose from 10mgs into 1/3. Whaen do I just completly stop? I have been so moody and depressed that its hard to function. Do I just keep going? once Im not taking any at all how long will I feel this way when I have been feeling it since I started decreasing the dose?

  146. Hello Tori. I’d suggest that you call your doctor immediately and ask for suggestions. Usually a tapering regime should be implemented under doctor supervision, because factors for dosing are unique to each person…and it’s possible that a 50% decrease in Ambien is too much for you to handle. Seek medical advice to either continue with the withdrawal, or to ease up and change dosing so that it takes 4-6 weeks to get off Ambien. Good luck!

  147. I’ve been taking Ambien CR 12.5 mg for 12 years. I rarely take more than one a night even though it only keeps me asleep about 4 hours now. I got a new doc when we moved to Calif. and she freaked out about it all and said I would be addicted the rest of my life, that since I am 58 I will have to take it the rest of my life. I think she was issuing me a challenge so I cut the CR in half about a month ago and have only been taking half dose and doing pretty good. I have not told my doc yet. I started having serious W/D symptoms last night and am in pretty bad shape right now which only confirms I need to completely quit right now. I’ve decided I’m not taking any more starting tonight. I’m worried about the seizure part. What should I do? Would it be better to now split the pill again to a quarter than to go cold turkey? I see my doc in a week, would it be appropriate to ask her for valium to help me off? I’m sick of this drug controlling my ability to sleep.

  148. Hello Betty. I’d suggest that you consult with a pharmacist for an expert opinion on Ambien dependence – physical dependence on zolpidem. We suspect some doctors of down-playing the risks and realities of prescription drug dependence. So, with more information, you can make an informed decision about whether to taper your doses as you stop taking Ambien, or not.

  149. I have been on ambien (generic brand) for about a year and do not want to continue. My Internist said when I stopped taking it the only thing that would happen would be that I would not sleep for a couple of nights and it was not addictive. What is your response to this? Thanks.

  150. Twelve weeks ago I was prescribed 10mg of Zolpidem for insomnia.
    For the past six weeks I’ve been very gradually tapering the dose to the point where I am now taking about one third of a 5mg tablet. I have also been taking 2mg slow release Melatonin with no adverse effects of combining these medications.
    I may have dreamt it but I recall reading somewhere that once Zolpidem is discontinued it should never be taken again – not even a very low dose for just a few days or all the side effects and withdrawal symptoms will return necessitating another prolonged tapering programme. Is this correct or am imaging it ?

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