What are Ambien withdrawal symptoms?

Ambien withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, stomach cramps, vomiting, and severe mood changes. Seizures are also possible as you withdraw from Ambien. More on what to expect during Ambien withdrawal here.

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Thinking about quitting Ambien?

If you are asking, “Can I just stop taking Ambien?” the answer depends on how long you’ve been taking it.  Ambien (zolpidem) should not be used to treat long-term insomnia. Instead, Ambien is used to treat short term insomnia. Because Ambien has a quick and high rate of dependency and Ambien withdrawal syndrome manifests when you stop taking zolpidem, Ambien is not prescribed for more than two weeks at a time. After taking Ambien for a couple of weeks, you can expect to experience Ambien dependence symptoms as you stop taking Ambien. So what can you expect as you come off Ambien?

Here, we explain what sleeping pills withdrawal and detox is like and what you can expect, why do withdrawal symptoms occur. Then, we outline potential treatments that can help. At the end of the article we invite you to ask any questions you may have about Ambien withdrawal and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Why do Ambien withdrawal symptoms occur?

If you have been taking Ambien for more than a couple of weeks, you have more than likely developed a dependency to the medication zolpidem. When you have developed a dependency on any drug, this means that the drug has assimilated into the overall normal functioning of the way the brain and body work. It is the same with Ambien. Because your central nervous system becomes used to the presence of Ambien, when you stop taking Ambien (zolpidem), you go through withdrawal.

Withdrawing from Ambien happens because when zolpidem is no longer in the system, the body reacts, and doesn’t know how to function without it. The body now, suddenly, has to figure out the way it used to function before Ambien was in the system. This is why sleeping difficulties often seem worse when you stop taking Ambien than before you were taking it. Withdrawal from Ambien can be harder stillbecause rebound insomnia can aggravate mood and discomfort. Even more, abuse of Ambien can make withdrawal much more harder as it has an effect on your memory, creating gaps and confusion that can make withdrawal dangerous. Either way you take Ambien, what can you expect when you detox from it?

What are symptoms of Ambien withdrawal?

During Ambien withdrawal physical withdrawal symptoms can accompany psychological anxiety symptoms. Less frequently, more severe symptoms, such as seizures, can appear. Other severe Ambien withdrawal symptoms include; memory loss, In these states it can be dangerous if the person is not being monitored.hallucinations, and confusion. Finally, recurrence of insomnia appears slowly and progressively within 2–3 weeks. Other symptoms of Ambien withdrawal include but are not limited to the following.

  • abdominal cramps
  • anxiety
  • apprehension
  • dysphoria
  • exacerbated insomnia
  • fear
  • mood changes
  • nausea
  • nightmares
  • panic attacks
  • shaking
  • vomiting

Ambien withdrawal symptoms: How long?

How long withdrawal lasts really does depend on the individual and the situation that they find themselves in. Those who suffer severe physical dependence on zolpidem will have a harder and longer time with withdrawal from Ambien than those just starting to take Ambien. In general, withdrawal can start about 4 hours after the last dose of Ambien has worn off. Acute symptoms of withdrawal can peak and last for a few days after this time. Ambien withdrawal symptoms start to even out in about a week. At this time, you should begin to feel normal again. However, even a few weeks after your last dose of Ambien you might experience continued mood swings, nightmares, and insomnia. Ambien withdrawal symptoms can persist even longer for those addicted to Ambien.

Ambien withdrawal symptoms treatment

Luckily, there are many options out there for Ambien detox and ways of coping with Ambienwithdrawal symptoms. Ambien withdrawal symptoms treatment ranges from inpatient to out-patient monitoring. In fact, a combination of treatments may work best for you and your symptoms. Sometimes, there are remedies lying around your house like relaxation teas, massage products or even basic exercise equipment that can help minimize the effects of Ambien withdrawal symptoms. Otherwise, you can look into medical support for zolpidem withdrawal.

1) Medical support for Ambien withdrawal treatment

It is best to talk to your doctor if you in any wayfeel you are dependent on Ambien (zolpidem). Even if you have been using Ambien outside what your doctor has prescribed, talk to your prescribing physician. There is no shame. Medical doctors can help you figure out the next steps to mitigate the symptoms of Ambien withdrawal. Also, because of the confusion and memory loss attached with Ambien (as well as the potential for severe withdrawal symptoms), it is suggested that you are monitored during Ambien withdrawal so that you don’t end up endangering yourself or those around you.

2) Pharmaceutical treatment of Ambien withdrawal symptoms

Benzodiazepines applied during detoxification can treat zolpidem withdrawal and be helpful when applied in a standard 7-day benzodiazepine/diazepam taper regimen. Additionally, you may be able to take alternative sleep medications to help treat insomnia that don’t have as high a liability for dependence as Ambien.

3) Over-the-counter medicines for treating Ambien withdrawal symptoms

There are lots of over-the-counter medications that can help treat general nausea symptoms attributed to Ambien withdrawal. NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen, Tylenol, or acetaminophen may be helpful for the general aches and pain you will experience with withdrawal. And finally, home made teas can help support the central nervous system and calm the nerves.

Ambien withdrawal symptoms questions

Are you planning to withdraw from Ambien? Want to learn more about some of the possible serious adverse side effects? Please ask your Ambien questions below. We are happy to respond to you personally, and will try to answer your questions ASAP. And if we don’t know the answer, we will refer you to someone who does.

Reference Sources: PubMed: Detoxification from high-dose zolpidem using diazepam
PubMed: Evidence of zolpidem abuse and dependence
NCBI: Zolpidem withdrawal delirium
NCBI: Zolpidem abuse, dependence and withdrawal syndrome: sex as susceptibility factor for adverse effects
Pub Med Health: Zolpidem
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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