Signs and symptoms of Ambien addiction

Can you get addicted to Ambien after prolonged use? Possibly. But addiction and physical dependence are separate medical conditions. More on the most common signs of Ambien addiction and treatment options here.

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Do you suspect that you or someone that you care about is addicted to Ambien? You’re in the right place.

Physical dependence on Ambien (zolpidem) IS DIFFERENT THAN addiction. Here, we review the most common signs and symptoms of addiction to Ambien, which include taking Ambien to get high. We begin with advice on how to recognize addiction, then we cover the signs of addiction, and finally list best treatments for Ambien addiction. Please save your questions for the end. We try to respond to all legitimate questions with a personal and prompt response.

Ambien addiction signs

Addiction IS NOT the same as physical dependence. Addiction is characterized by psychological symptoms, while dependence is a physical phenomenon. Dependence on Ambien occurs after regular, daily dosing of zolpidem for a period of about a month (more or less). When you are dependent on Ambien, the brain and central nervous system have adapted to the presence of zolpidem and compensate for the hypnotic in a few ways. So, when Ambien is not available, you experience withdrawal symptoms, which can manifest as “rebound insomnia”. While dependence can be present during cases of Ambien addiction, dependence ALONE is not a sign of Ambien addiction.

Ambien users are less likely to develop addiction when compared to other drugs prescribed for sleeping problems, such as Ativan. However, that does not mean that Ambien is not habit-forming or potentially addictive in cases where doses are abused. Still, it can be difficult to tell the difference between Ambien addiction and normal Ambien side effects…or to know when to get help for Ambien addiction.

In general, Ambien addicts usually take Ambien for non-therapeutic effect. And when it comes to Ambien abuse, addicts are taking the drug more often than recommended and in excessively higher doses. So one way to identify addiction is try to follow the dosing schedule. But taking Ambien in high doses is only one possible sign of problems with Ambien.

Symptoms of Ambien addiction

Ambien is a short-acting non benzodiazepine hypnotic, that works really quickly (within 15 minutes of ingestion) and has a half-life of 2 to 3 hours. Some people (even those with no drug abuse histories) increase Ambien intake gradually over time to reach supra-therapeutic doses ranging anywhere from 60 mg to 2,000 mg per day. But dose alone cannot indicate addiction. According to the DSM IV clinical criteria for Ambien addiction, which outlines the framework for Ambien addiction symptoms, symptoms of Ambien addiction include:

  • constant, persistent, or continued use of Ambien for non-medical purposes
  • continued use over time despite negative consequences in social and private life, at school or work
  • increased Ambien doses administered more often than medically suggested
  • not being able to quit Ambien
  • buying Ambien illegally in order to maintain abuse
  • experiencing the psychological urge, craving and/or compulsion for Ambien use
  • the presence of withdrawal symptoms each time Ambien use is interrupted or doses are significantly lowered (dependence)

Ambien addiction symptoms: Can they be treated?

Yes. Ambien addiction symptoms can be treatment. In fact, drug addiction treatment can be generalized this way:

1. Detox

2. Physical stabilization

3. Pharmacological treatments

4. Psychological and behavioral treatments

During the first stage of treatment, attention is paid to the physical condition of the addict. During the period of detoxification, zolpidem leaves the body and the body manifests withdrawal symptoms. This is a period when medical supervision is crucial. Doctors will either set up a tapering plan or address symptoms of withdrawal as they occur.

During the weeks and the months after initial withdrawal, you can work with doctors, psychologists, and psychiatrists to address protracted withdrawal symptoms or underlying mental health issues. Addiction is often accompanied by mood disorders such as anxiety or depression, and can often be caused by childhood traumas. Getting help to even out your sleeping schedules, mental state, and moods is crucial during this phase.

Additionally, pharmacological approaches using prescribed stimulants, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and other sedative-hypnotics may also be used to treat addiction. Be aware, though, of the risk of substituting one addiction for another. Prescribing doctors can help assess risk of prescription drug abuse when considering pharmacological interventions.

The main crux of addiction treatment is psychological in nature. Behavioral and cognitive treatments practiced in individual, group, or family counseling sessions are the most practiced and effective therapies for treating Ambien addiction. By engaging the individual into a therapeutic community, attending organized therapy session, setting up motivational actions and support groups, former addicts can adapt positive habits and behaviors for the future.

Signs of Ambien addiction questions

We managed to cover the key facts about signs and symptoms of Ambien addiction. After reading the text, if you still have questions related to Ambien addiction, please leave them in the comments section. We try to respond to all legitimate comments with a personal and prompt answer.

Reference Sources: National Institute on Drug Abuse: Prescription Drugs: Abuse and Addiction
NCBI: Modest abuse-related subjective effects of zolpidem in drug-naive volunteers
Toxnet Hazardous Substances Bank: ZOLPIDEM TARTRATE
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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