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Ambien Dependence

Are You Dependent On Ambien?

Many studies have confirmed the effectiveness and safety of Ambien zolpidem – in the treatment of insomnia with low abuse and dependence potency. However, this may not be the case. In fact, reports from all over the world testify that Ambien can exert abuse capability, euphoric mood, tolerance, and withdrawal syndrome.

So, if you’re reading this and feel like you need more Ambien to achieve the desired effects, or feel sick if you don’t take it…you might have developed a dependence on the medication.


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Is Ambien dependence a bad or dangerous thing? How is it different from addiction? In this article we get into more detail about the nature and causes of dependence. Then, we review the signs of Ambien dependence, as well as effective strategies to manage the condition. At the end, we invite you to send us your questions and comments via the section at the end of the page. We value your feedback and try to respond personally and promptly to all legitimate inquiries.

What Is Ambien Dependence?

Ambien dependence is a physical condition that occurs when your brain normalizes and adapts to the continued presence of zolpidem (the main active ingredient of Ambien).

When dependence develops, you experience withdrawal symptoms upon drug use reduction or abrupt cessation. Experiencing the harsh and uncomfortable Ambien withdrawal symptoms may prevent you from stopping use.

Q: Why?
A: Because Ambien withdrawal can produce the same conditions it is used to treat (e.g. rebound insomnia). AND all unwanted symptoms are resolved by simply going back to use.

However, this kind of use can turn out to be a slippery slope. Most people are not informed about the withdrawal effect of Ambien, and may believe that they need to take the medication (sometimes for months and years on end) just to be able to sleep and function. This is why you can best benefit from professional help in order to address physical dependence.

Does Dependence = Ambien Addiction?

No! Ambien dependence is different from addiction.

DEPENDENCE ON AMBIEN develops over time and with regular dosing. It occurs when your body becomes accustomed to the presence of Ambien and your brain realizes that there are enough neurotransmitters delivered through an outside source (Ambien pills), so it stops producing them naturally on its own. In fact, dependence is a natural and expected adaptation mechanism of the body.

ADDICTION TO AMBIEN, on the other hand, is characterized by continued Ambien use despite its harmful effects to your health, relationships, work, or other aspects of life. People who are addicted to Ambien feel a strong urge for the drug and can’t stop taking it even if they want to. One thing Ambien addiction IS NOT is a weakness. It is a medical disease, just like diabetes or cancer. And, just like other diseases, it responds well to appropriate medical interventions and Ambien addiction treatment.

Dependence on Ambien Signs and Symptoms

The two main physical signs that point to the development of Ambien dependence are tolerance and withdrawal.

Tolerance = May be detected after 4 weeks of therapeutic use, and may progress with continued, chronic use. When tolerance starts to grow, you will require an increase in doses to be able to get the same effects as in the beginning of your therapy from smaller amounts of Ambien.

Withdrawal = Occurs as your body tries to balance out whenever you abruptly lower of doses or suddenly discontinue use. Withdrawal may result in a predictable array of symptoms, including:

  • Mild dysphoria
  • Insomnia
  • Abdominal and muscle cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Convulsions
  • Fatigue
  • Flushing
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nervousness
  • Panic attacks

Conversely, Ambien addiction is characterized by mainly psychological symptoms, such as:

  • Continued use of Ambien despite negative life consequences.
  • Hiding Ambien use from friends, family and coworkers.
  • Inability to control or stop Ambien use despite desire to do so.
  • Reducing or giving up important responsibilities related to your work, home or social interactions.
  • Spending a lot of time and effort on obtaining and using Ambien.
  • Spending a great deal of time recovering from the effects of Ambien.
  • Using Ambien for longer or at higher doses than prescribed by the doctor.

If you are struggling to understanding Ambien dependence it is wise to seek the advise of professionals who can answer questions.


Do you notice these warning signs in yourself or a loved one?
Reputable treatment programs can address the main issues you are facing.


How to End Ambien Dependence?

Ending Ambien dependence requires professional help, and usually evolves through the following stages.

Tapering – Ambien is a hypnotic medication, which must be weaned off gradually to prevent health problems. Your doctor will help create a tapering schedule just for you based on your dose and length of use. For example, you may be instructed to reduce 10% off your current dose every two weeks. However, this rate may be more gradual or faster, depending on your individual situation.

Medical Detox – Treating Ambien dependency is done under close supervision by a doctor. As you plan to undergo detox from Ambien, you should record and communicate symptoms and thoughts with your health provider. You can expect to still experience withdrawal symptoms, so the clinical detox staff will provide prescription medications, as well as supportive care to help you through this period.

Continued Care – Once you’ve detoxed your body from all traces of Ambien, a formal and strucured treatment program can help you develop skills to build a life that is not Ambien-dependent. You may also experience cravings to relapse on Ambien use, which is why in-house admission to a drug treatment center is highly recommended.

Ambien Dependence Treatment Medications

At the beginning of your treatment, as well as throughout the recovery period, you will be assessed for co-existing conditions such as anxiety and depression that may have preceded or have been aggravated by Ambien. These psychiatric conditions will require proper management as well.

  • Flumazenil (Romazicon) is a drug that directly counteracts the sedative effects of Ambien.
  • Quetiapine – an antipsychotic medication – may be used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression in individuals dependent on Ambien.
  • Anti-seizure medications may be used if you suffer seizures during withdrawal.
  • Mood-stabilizing medications can help in cases of severe anxiety or suicidal thoughts.

In addition, there are plenty of over-the-counter medications that can help treat general nausea symptoms attributed to withdrawal from Ambien dependence. NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen, Tylenol, or acetaminophen may be helpful for the general aches and pains. Also, home made teas can help support the central nervous system (CNS) and calm the nerves.

Got Any Questions?

We hope to have helped you find answers to many of your questions regarding Ambien dependence. For any additional questions, please CALL the number listed on the top of our page or leave a comment in the designated section below. We do our best to respond personally and promptly to all legitimate inquiries. In fact, we strive to help all who need a hand to make Ambien abuse a thing of their past once and for all.

Reference Sources: NCBI: Zolpidem dependence, abuse and withdrawal: A case report
NHTSA: Zolpidem (And Zaleplon, Zopiclone)
NCBI: Investigation of the development of tolerance to the actions of zolpidem and midazolam
NCBI: Quetiapine Treatment of Zolpidem Dependence
NCBI: Evidence of zolpidem abuse and dependence: results of the French Centre for Evaluation and Information on Pharmacodependence (CEIP) network survey

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