The stress induced by modern-day life takes its toll on us in different ways. Whether experiencing economic uncertainties, increased workloads, family struggles, or simply just trying to keep up with daily priorities, stress, and other emotional triggers can manifest physically and psychologically.
Insomnia, a sleep disorder that makes it difficult to fall or stay asleep, is one such manifestation that affects millions of people worldwide. The effects of insomnia can be incredibly impactful in someone’s life and lead to a variety of symptoms, such as fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and an overall decrease in healthy living.
For years now, Ambien, also known as Zolpidem, has been in circulation for over 30 years and has been used as a short-term treatment option for individuals experiencing insomnia. But like most controlled substances, there is also the potential for incidental overuse or short- and long-term addiction that can lead to many side effects and health concerns.
Understanding the Side Effects and Symptoms of Ambien Withdrawal
To better understand the potential side effects and symptoms of prolonged Ambien use, knowing precisely how the drug is classified and the warnings associated with consumption is essential.
Ambien is a Schedule IV Controlled Substance. While it is not as potent or highly regulated as the drugs classified in lower groups, it still has the potential for accidental or intentional abuse.
The reason why Ambien could be potentially misused is that its sedative properties can place some individuals in an almost hypnotic state when taken in more significant amounts or when combined with the use of alcohol. There is also the chance for Ambien to lose its potency after two weeks of continuous use which can often lead to individuals using their dosage beyond what is prescribed, further increasing the chances of developing an addiction and an increase in adverse side effects.
Side Effects of Ambien Use
Ambien can help support a progressive treatment plan designed to treat insomnia when taken in small doses and as prescribed. However, like with any controlled substance, potential side effects can emerge from regular prescribed use, many of which can be intensified when using the drug outside its recommended dosage.
These side effects can include:
- Excessive drowsiness
- Mood Swings
- Memory Loss
- Difficulties Focusing
- Loss of Appetite
While some of these side effects are minor, combining Ambien and alcohol can lead to potentially life-threatening side effects. Including deep depression, suicidal tendencies, seizures, and heart failure.
Ambien Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms
Ambien can be a slippery slope if not taken as prescribed. It has a brief effectiveness period on the body, meaning doctors usually only define its use one to two weeks at a time. After that time, its effects are lessened and can lead to drug overuse.
When this happens, the body can become overly dependent on the soothing properties of the drug and be unable to function correctly without its presence in the bloodstream. In addition, if the body senses a lack of Ambien in the system, it can lead to withdrawal symptoms ranging from minor to potentially serious side effects.
Ambien withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Body Shakes
- Heavy Perspiration
- Stomach Cramps
- Elevated Blood Pressure
- Panic Attacks
- Rebound Insomnia
- Anxiety and Depression
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Ambien Addiction?
Like with most addiction treatments, there is a time that needs to take place for the body to detox effectively. However, both physical and psychological components of addiction recovery can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the severity of the individual’s condition.
Regarding Ambien, withdrawal symptoms usually show after eight hours of discontinuing use. After that, the symptoms typically increase in severity which peaks at around the 48-hour mark. Depending on how long the individual has been taking the drug and the dosage, the withdrawal symptoms can last between one and two weeks.
Tips for Beating Ambien Addiction
Ambien addiction can be tricky for someone to self-diagnose. However, once you’ve developed a dependency on the drug, taking action to safely and effectively wean yourself off the drug is essential. Below are some of the steps anyone experiencing Ambien addiction should take:
Look For Alternate Ways to Manage Insomnia
It’s important to remember that Ambien is just a short-term solution for the problem of insomnia. While it can help treat symptoms in the short term, there are other ways to address the underlying cause of your sleep disorder. Many times, insomnia can be addressed through lifestyle modifications such as avoiding caffeine and large meals before bed, managing stress more effectively, and creating a consistent sleep schedule. You can gradually wean yourself off your body’s dependence on the drug by looking for alternatives to taking Ambien or other sedative medication.
Find The Right Support System
The first step, often the most challenging, to take when battling addiction is opening up about your problem. This can be an incredibly intimidating and, for many, embarrassing part of the recovery process. However, for many individuals, the mere recognition of a problem and the need for change won’t be enough to drive it without the right support system. This could include friends, family, or even other recovering addicts who empathize with your situation and are actively involved in helping you recover from it.
Educate Yourself About Treatment Options
By better educating yourself about your addiction, the symptoms you experience, and the possible treatment options available, you can better process the emotional and physical changes Ambien may be causing you. When you can honestly recognize the effects of your addiction and accept the need for change, you are taking the first steps toward recovery.
Seek Professional Help
For many individuals, especially those heavily dependent on the drug, professional help is essential to properly wean off the medication and restore balance to the body’s chemical makeup. This could come in a doctor-prescribed detox protocol or an organized program that can provide additional support. There are a variety of approaches to addiction recovery, including inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, specialized counseling and therapy sessions, 12-step programs, and alternative therapies such as yoga or meditation.
Get The Support You Need to Help With Ambien Addiction
Struggling with Ambien addiction can be a trying time in someone’s life. Choosing between an addiction disorder and lack of sleep can feel like an impossible decision. But it’s important to know that there are viable solutions to combat addiction and insomnia. Understanding the root cause of your addiction, getting the right support system, and finding alternative treatments for your sleep disorder can all be essential steps toward conquering this issue and achieving a healthier life.
At Wolf Creek Recovery, we have experience helping those suffering from Ambien addiction find healthier, more productive solutions to their underlying insomnia and sleep disorders. And when it comes to managing withdrawal symptoms and the psychological effects of addiction, our team is here to provide support and guidance every step of the way through various treatment options and personalized recovery plans. Contact us today to learn more about our recovery services and get the support you need to help with Ambien addiction.
Finding purpose in pain is what Jonathon does best. He is a strong advocate for those suffering from substance use disorders. As a person in recovery, Jonathon knows how important it is to receive empathy and compassion. He recognizes that each person comes from a different set of circumstances and deserves to be valued and respected.
With a fresh perspective and compassionate attitude, Jonathon works closely with clients to help them let go of the past and know when to take necessary risks. The recovery process is ongoing, which means people need to move forward while applying the skills learned in treatment. Jonathon is a great motivator when it comes time for this!
Jonathon also places emphasis on the family unit and how it can make or break the recovery experience. Individuals with active, supportive families have far better outcomes. Jonathon realizes that it’s impossible to move mountains overnight, but with the right support team and positive attitude, anything is possible.