A person with depression who regularly uses Ambien can experience a worsening of depressive feelings.

Ambien, the brand name of zolpidem, is a sedative designed to treat sleep disorders like insomnia. Many people who experience sleep disorders also deal with stress, anxiety or depression.

However, the drug can affect the central nervous system and lead to memory loss, concentration problems, dependence and Ambien addiction. The medication can also increase a person’s chances of experiencing anxiety or depression.

Can Ambien Cause Depression?

Does Ambien cause depression? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it can. The federal agency states that Ambien can cause depression in individuals who haven’t before experienced it. In people who have a history of depression, Ambien can cause it to worsen.

A person with depression who regularly uses Ambien can experience a worsening of depressive feelings, which can affect their health, job and relationships. These individuals can also develop an addiction. A substance use disorder can lead to compulsive, drug-seeking behavior despite knowing the health, social and legal consequences. Ambien does not cure anxiety. However, the FDA suggests that Ambien can produce or exacerbate anxiety. Many people with sleep problems caused by anxiety turn to sedatives like Ambien, but these drugs can prolonge this mental health problem.

Does Ambien cause suicidal thoughts? The link between Ambien and suicide is one that’s mostly anecdotal, as few studies have examined this relationship. However, the FDA states that sedatives can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts in people with a history of depression.

Ambien has also shown to cause suicidal ideations in those without a known mental illness. A 2013 study published in the DARU Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences examined a case report of a 27-year-old man with no psychological disorders who experienced suicidal thoughts after using 20 milligrams of Ambien. Researchers suggested that a link could exist between Ambien use and dangerous mental health behaviors.

When prescribed Ambien, people should present their complete medical history — including any instances of mental health problems — to their physician. Patients who use Ambien should also carefully monitor how they’re feeling. They should let their doctor know about any unusual thoughts or behaviors while using the drug.

Treatment Options for Depression and Ambien Abuse

Many people with co-occurring disorders, including those involving depression and Ambien abuse, improve their symptoms by attending rehab. Completing addiction treatment has shown to increase a person’s chances of entering recovery.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a psychotherapy approach that has helped people with mental illness who are also addicted to sedatives learn ways to better manage their symptoms. A 2014 study published in JSM Clinical Case Reports found that cognitive behavioral therapy can help people taper off Ambien.

Co-occurring disorders should be treated simultaneously. Treating Ambien addiction without addressing depression can lead to a recurrence of substance use, as the patient might be tempted to use sedatives to cope with negative feelings. Receiving treatment for both disorders can increase a person’s chances of sustaining their sobriety after rehab.

Key Points: Ambien Use and Depression

  • Ambien can produce or increase anxiety and depression
  • Research has linked Ambien use with the presence of suicidal thoughts
  • Ambien abuse can increase a person’s risk of developing an addiction
  • Treatment can help people manage symptoms of an Ambien addiction and depression

Individuals who suspect that they might be addicted to Ambien can take The Recovery Village®’s Ambien addiction self-assessment to learn more about their use of the sedative. The results of the assessment are confidential and will be emailed to the individual upon completion.

If you or someone you know experiences an Ambien use disorder and depression, contact The Recovery Village®. An admissions representative can talk to you about the importance of treatment and how it can help you cope with co-occurring disorders.

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Editor – Thomas Christiansen
With over a decade of content experience, Tom produces and edits research articles, news and blog posts produced for Advanced Recovery Systems. Read more
Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.