Physical addiction to Ambien

Are you physically addicted to Ambien? Check the signs and symptoms to see if you may need help.

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Ambien is a sedative-hypnotic medicine intended for the treatment of a sleep problems or insomnia. If it’s taken for more than several weeks, physical addiction can be developed. Actually, physical dependence to Ambien is formed within only two weeks of regular use, so it’s almost never recommended to use it for more than a month (maximum).

But, how can you know if you have a physical addiction to Ambien? Continue reading as we review the signs of addiction and how you can get help. Your questions regarding Ambien addiction are welcomed at the end, and we’ll try to provide a personal and prompt answer to all legitimate inquiries.

Physical dependence on Ambien

You should know that physical dependence can occur without addiction. In fact, these two terms, dependence and addiction, have different meanings.

NIH defines physical drug dependence as a condition in which your body gets accustomed to the presence of Ambien, and unpleasant physical symptoms occur if the drug is suddenly stopped or taken in smaller doses. Dependence develops when neurons have adapted to repeated use and only function normally in the presence of the medication. Ambien dependence can develop even in situations when you are taking Ambien as prescribed.

Signs of physical Ambien dependence can be recognized by the occurrence of Ambien withdrawal effects after you stop taking or lower doses of Ambien. Withdrawal symptoms of Ambien, include:

  • anxiety
  • dysphoria
  • exacerbated insomnia
  • mood changes
  • nausea
  • nightmares
  • panic attacks
  • vomiting

Physical signs of Ambien addiction

You can recognize if you’ve crossed the line into Ambien addiction when you start experiencing intense psychological dependence. The following signs on our list should serve as a red flag if you recognize them in yourself or in a loved one who uses Ambien.

  • You are using the drug for longer than intended and for non-medical purposes
  • You have failed your attempts to quit your Ambien use
  • You obsess over obtaining and using Ambien
  • You have switched your favourite activities for Ambien use
  • You feel a compulsive need to take Ambien and cannot sleep without it
  • You run out of Ambien before the end of your prescription

Treating physical symptoms of Ambien addiction

Physical addiction to Ambien can happen to anyone. But in order to stop depending on Ambien, you will need to treat the physical symptom of addiction.

You can expect the treatment of Ambien’s physical symptoms to go through these four stages:

1. Detox

During detox, the main focus is pointed to the physical condition. At this stage, zolpidem leaves the body and the body manifests withdrawal symptoms. You should be medically supervised during Ambien detox and withdrawal. The treatment provider will create a tapering plan and help you overcome Ambien withdrawal symptoms as they occur.

2. Physical stabilization

As you get physically stable when the withdrawal is over, you can start to work on the long-term withdrawal symptoms and health issues. You can depend on the help and support of your doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist. These professionals can help you balance your sleeping schedules, improve mental state, and control your mood.

3. Pharmacological treatments

Pharmacological treatment should be available to you if needed. Depending on your state, you may be prescribed some stimulants or benzodiazepines for a short time. You should be careful not to replace one medication for the other and pass from one addiction to another. Consult with your doctor about the recommended dosage of the prescription drug and do not abuse it.

4. Psychological and behavioral treatments

Behavioral and cognitive therapies appear to be mostly effective in the treatment of Ambien addiction. Regardless of whether the treatment is organized in a individual, group, or family setting, you can adapt positive habits and behaviors which are essential for your drug-free future.

Physically addicted to Ambien questions

Do you still have questions about the treatment of physical addiction to Ambien? We welcome you to post them in the comments section below and we’ll try to provide a personal and prompt response to all legitimate inquiries. In case we don’t know the answer to your particualr question, we will gladly refer you to someone who can help.

Reference Sources: NIH: Is there a difference between physical dependence and addiction?
NIH: The Neurobiology of Drug Addiction
FDA: Ambien Medication Guide
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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