How to help an Ambien addict?

Are you looking for help with Ambien addiction? Do you suspect a loved one is an addiction? Read about evidence based treatment options suggested for you or a loved one. More here in this article.

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Problems with Ambien?

If you or someone close to you is showing signs of addiction to Ambien, it helps to be prepared to help and know what to expect when quitting Ambien.

First know that Ambien dependence is formed rather quickly, which is why it’s only recommended for a short period of time – usually no longer than two consecutive weeks. So, if you have used Ambien for a longer period of time, you can expect to experience side effects from prolonged use, as well as withdrawal symptoms when you quit using the drug. But what can you do to help yourself or a loved one overcome Ambien addiction? What are the treatment options and expected outcomes?

In this article, you can learn about what happens when your body is dependent on Ambien, what’s the safest way to stop using it, and how you can get over the need for the medication to sleep. Then, we welcome your questions in the designated comments section at the end of the page. In fact, we try to answer all legitimate questions personally and promptly

How do you get addicted to Ambien?

Ambien (zolpidem) is a medication that helps people with their sleeping problems. But, there is a thin line, and if you cross it – Ambien becomes the problem. If you are addicted to Ambien you often can’t sleep without taking it, but at the same time you suffer from physical dependence and side effects due to taking it.

If you or a loved one are experiencing difficulties with Ambien addiction you should know that addiction is more than a physical dependence on drugs. Even after you pass the detox period and your body is free from Ambien, there will still be a lingering possibility for relapse. This is why every Ambien treatment plan is tailored to each individual’s own needs.

Helping an Ambien addict quit & treatment options

Ambien addiction is treated with a set of behavioral, psychological, educational, and other supportive therapies, facilitated by medical professionals. You can expect the first steps in recovery to be most difficult, considering the fear of failure and the complexity of the condition.

Although each Ambien addiction and recovery story is different, medical detox is usually the first step to helping a person quit. During detox, you should be guided through a set of protocols for addressing anxiety and sleeplessness as your dose is slowly lowered over time. This process is called “tapering”. After Ambien doses have been lowered or eliminated, you’ll need to address the root psychological reasons you’ve been using Ambien compulsively…usually with the help of a certified psychotherapist.

Outpatient vs. inpatient help for Ambien addiction

Outpatient rehab requires that you attend daily sessions which include similar treatment modalities as an inpatient rehab. However, these kinds of treatment programs allow you the possibility to spend more time with your family, continue working or attending school, and stay active outside of rehab while you work on your recovery.

On the other hand, if you choose an inpatient Ambien rehabilitation treatment you are going to live in a facility for a period of 30 to 90 days. The duration of your stay will depend greatly on the type of program, your needs and what type of therapies you require. Within this period you will participate in group therapy sessions, individual therapy sessions, educational lectures, and recreational activities.

During a typical treatment period, you will most likely pass through these several stages of treatment:

1. Intake and assessment – The intake counselor is the first person you are going to meet upon entering Ambien addiction treatment. Plan to discuss several issues regarding your Ambien addiction problem, including the reason why you want the treatment, how long you have been using Ambien, any mental and health conditions. You may be required to take a drug test and complete a standardized interview.

2. Ambien detox – This process includes getting Ambien out of your system and usually lasts about a week. During this period you’ll experience withdrawal as your body eliminates final traces of Ambien. For those who are recommended a tapering schedule, detox can take longer.

3. Addiction treatment – Psychological and behavioral treatment is the ‘meat’ of any rehab program. Successful programs include both, medical and psychological health services to increase chances of success. This means that you may be prescribed medications to treat underlying mental health issues, if and when necessary.

Behavioral treatments for Ambien consist of talk therapy, group therapy, and support groups to help develop new positive behaviors and habits that don’t feature drug use. Psychotherapy can helps addicts identify the root cause of their drug use and learn new coping mechanism. You may receive other types of treatments during your program. But, they all have the same intention – to prevent further addictive behaviors.

4. Re-evaluation – Throughout treatment, you will discuss with your therapeutic team more about your preparedness to leave the program or continue the program for a longer period (if you or your doctor/counselor feels there is a need for a longer treatment stay).

5. Aftercare planning – Once you finish a rehab program, you will probably be referred to attend outpatient therapy sessions on a weekly basis for at least one year. Aftercare programs can help you set longer term goals and greatly increase chances for staying Ambien-free.

Goals for helping an Ambien addict

In every stage of drug addiction treatment it is very important to set achievable goals and work to reach them. Every individual has a different set of personal goals in treatment, but the goals within the treatment usually revolve around similar motives. Ambien addiction treatment goals can include:

  • Connection with support networks to encourage ongoing sobriety
  • Development of healthy stress-management techniques
  • Reduction or elimination of Ambien abuse
  • Removal of illegal access to Ambien
  • Understanding of underlying co-occurring mental health issues

How do you intervene with an Ambien addict?

You can help an Ambien addict quit by voicing that there might be a problem, offering support, being there for the person; OR if they deny the problem you can take more serious measures into consideration, such as staging an intervention.

You don’t have to plan an intervention on your own. Instead, you can contact a professional and experienced interventionist to help you with the planning and staging. Planning an intervention is a process consisting of the following steps:

  • Forming a plan
  • Gathering information
  • Choosing the intervention team
  • Deciding on the specific consequences
  • Holding on the intervention meeting
  • Follow up

The goal is to convince and motivate an Ambien addict to accept help and enter a treatment program. You can check out the CRAFT model of interventions as a successful method for getting addicts from denial to treatment.

Where to get help for Ambien addiction

Once treatment ready….where do you go for help? If you have a problem with Ambien addiction you can seek help from:

1. Addiction treatment facilities that can provide you with medical assistance and treatment programs
2. Doctors who have experience with Ambien addiction issues
3. Psychiatrists who are responsible for the treatment of mental illnesses that are connected with addiction
4. Psychologists whose main concern is psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, and group therapy participation
5. Social Workers who are there to help with life issues as a result of Ambien addiction

You can also search for certified addiction treatment centers in your area with the help of SAMHSA’s treatment locator for behavioral health treatment.

Self help for Ambien addiction

Q: Can you treat Ambien addiction on your own?
A: Yes! But you need consistent motivation.

The most important thing when you feel that you are ready to start dealing with your Ambien addiction problem is to believe in your decision to make a change. This means that that you will need to evaluate the way you deal with stress, your circle of friend and connections, your hobbies and activities in your free time.

Here are some suggestions to help yourself at get started:

  • Continuously remind yourself of the reasons why you want to change your condition
  • Reconsider your past attempts at quitting Ambien, what worked and what didn’t
  • Set measurable goals, such as a quitting date or limits in your Ambien use
  • Remove reminders of your Ambien addiction from home and your workplace
  • Ask for support from your friends and family

Helping an Ambien addict questions

Keep in mind that all the struggles and difficulties during Ambien recovery will be very rewarding eventually. So, don’t hesitate to ask for help.

If you still have questions regarding Ambien addiction treatment, we welcome you to post them in the comments section below. We try to provide a personal and prompt response to all legitimate inquiries, or refer you to someone who can help.

Reference Sources: NIH: Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction: What Science Says
SAMHSA: Treatments for Substance Use Disorders
SAMHSA: Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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