The symptoms and signs of Ambien abuse may indicate that an affected person needs outside help to treat their addiction or dependency. Discovering that someone is suffering from an Ambien addiction can be overwhelming and confusing. As a concerned friend or family member, understanding the signs can help empower you to take necessary action steps to protect someone you care about. Read on to learn more about the effects of Ambien abuse and what to look for in a person you believe to be abusing Ambien. Getting someone help as soon as possible may be necessary for assisting a person who has become dependent on the drug as well as preventing a dangerous overdose.

Signs of Ambien Abuse

Unfortunately, a growing number of individuals are turning to medication such as Ambien in order to achieve a body high or assistance with sleeping. Without a prescription recommended by a doctor, however, it can be extremely dangerous to take Ambien as it can be habit forming. When taken for prolonged period of time, even with a prescription, Ambien use can lead to addictive behavior as a person builds up tolerance and tries to take more. The first signs of Ambien abuse are not always easy to spot, which is why it’s important to educate yourself about how someone acts on Ambien.

The sedative drug Ambien is a brand name for Zolpidem Tartrate and is used to treat patients who struggle with staying asleep or falling asleep. There are several other brand name formulations associated with Zolpidem, including:

  • Zolpimist
  • Intermetzo
  • Edluar

Used on a short-term basis, Ambien is relatively effective for maintaining and initiating sleep. If you believe that you may be affected by Ambien addiction or that a loved one may be suffering from the same, there are several symptoms and signs to watch out for, including:

  • Weakness
  • Overwhelming drowsiness
  • Problems with coordination
  • A feeling of being drugged.
  • Uncontrollable shaking of body parts
  • Short term memory loss
  • Slowed heart beat
  • Slowed breathing
  • Hallucinations

Ambien abuse can have several different negative consequences, including withdrawal symptoms, the risk of overdose, addiction and physical dependence. Those individuals who may be suffering from an Ambien addiction may:

  • Take the drug for longer than was recommended or intended by the doctor.
  • Continue use despite numerous consequences in their life due to Ambien.
  • Have a compulsive desire to get the medication.
  • Abandon activities they once enjoyed in favor of locating and using the substance.
  • Attempting unsuccessfully to discontinue or cut down on use.

The steps you take after discovering that a loved one may be using Ambien inappropriately or may be reliant on this medication are important. It could be vital to preventing an accidental overdose on the drug. A person who has become dependent on Ambien may be under the impression that they are unable to sleep or function without it. A person who realizes their own dependence on the drug may also try to stop on their own, but a sudden discontinuation of the drug can actually lead to more problems. Once a person has developed an Ambien tolerance and dependence, suddenly stopping can lead to serious withdrawal symptoms. Any person who is thinking about stopping Ambien should first consult with a doctor.

Physical Symptoms of Ambien Abuse

Although Ambien is relatively effective at helping patients who are struggling with falling asleep or staying asleep over the course of the night, when it is taken by someone who does not have a prescription or when it is taken in larger amounts or more frequently than is recommended by a prescribing doctor, it can lead to numerous negative consequences, including abuse and addiction. Some of the most common physical symptoms of Ambien use include:

  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Problems with coordination
  • Amnesia
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness the next day
  • Sleepwalking

Ambien hallucinations may also occur for a patient who is using the drug continuously.

As a result of the next day impairment associated with numerous reports filed with the Food and Drug Administration, in 2013 the agency increased their labeling requirements to recommend lower initial doses for those patients first beginning to take Ambien.

Ambien is recommended for patients to take for two weeks or less. Beyond that point users can build up tolerance to the medication and may struggle to wean themselves off of the drug or may struggle with sleeping again. Abusing Ambien can have numerous different negative consequences in an individual’s life including developing physical dependence. Overdose is also a serious risk associated with the abuse of many drugs including Ambien. If you know someone who is experiencing Ambien hallucinations or other side effects, it’s in your best interest to get help for them as soon as possible.

Related Topic: Can you overdose on sleeping pills

Abruptly stopping this medication can lead to withdrawal symptoms, particularly if the patient has been using the medication over a long period of time at a very high dosage. The withdrawal symptoms for a patient who is discontinuing use of Ambien very suddenly may continue for weeks. These include:

  • Cravings
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Nervousness
  • Delirium

Long Term Health Effects of Ambien Abuse

As a concerned loved one, you may be asking what Ambien does to you or how to identify the signs of chronic Ambien abuse.

Since Ambien is recommended for taking short periods of time to help a patient who is struggling with sleeping, there can be serious consequences associated with someone who takes it for longer than a recommended period or who take the medication in higher dosages than has been recommended by a doctor. These can lead to significant challenges in a person’s life. Since Ambien drug effects can be serious and habit-forming, make sure you understand all your options when trying to assist a loved one who may be struggling with Ambien addiction.

Some of the complications in terms of a person’s health for a long-term Ambien abuse include:

  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Being drowsy during the day
  • Nightmares
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Family problems
  • Muscle pain
  • Problems with muscle control
  • Depression
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Problems with digestion

As a person’s tolerance to Ambien develops, their medication will become less effective. This may lead individuals to take Ambien by crushing or snorting it or taking it with other drugs which could make a person more prone to serious addictions. An individual’s addiction to Ambien can interfere with every aspect of their life including their physical health and wellbeing. Identifying help for a patient who you believe has been negatively affected by addiction to Ambien is a serious issue.

As a concerned friend or family member, you may encourage the patient to stop taking Ambien immediately to break the addiction. However, this can lead to further problems as discontinuing use without a doctor’s guidance could lead to severe withdrawal symptoms. Without guidance from professionals in the field who can help someone taper off the drug, the withdrawal symptoms may be so severe that the patient believes even more strongly about their need for the drug.

Ambien Overdose

Since Ambien is a prescription medication, it is a myth to believe that it is impossible to overdose on this drug.  Some people may be questioning whether you can overdose on Ambien, but is can occur. In fact, many people who are using this drug outside of a doctor’s recommendations may not realize the serious risks. You can overdose on Ambien. It takes relatively high amounts of this medication to be critically dangerous.

Since doctors will typically prescribe Ambien for short periods of time such as up to 10 days, it may be difficult for a person to obtain enough Ambien to die from an overdose. However, a normal dose that some people may react badly to Ambien as well. If you take Ambien any other way besides the way that has been prescribed by your doctor, you may be at higher risk of an overdose. Ambien overdose symptoms include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Confusion
  • Sleepiness

The recommended daily dose of Ambien is 10 milligrams taken once per day before bed. As little as 70 milligrams of Ambien taken at once can lead to illness including headache, muscle pain, or nausea. 2000 milligrams of Ambien can even be fatal which is 200 times higher than a normal dose. If you have taken too much Ambien and begin to experience uncomfortable symptoms and are concerned about your health, you need to consult with an experienced medical professional as soon as possible.

  • Visit the following websites to learn about The Recovery Village’s network of rehabilitation facilities. Call today for admissions. Each center is ready to help people learn how to cope with their Ambien addiction and uncover the root causes for their substance use disorder.
  • Orlando Recovery Center: A premier rehabilitation facility in Orlando, Florida that helps individuals recover from addiction and substance use disorders. The center also offers the opportunity to treat co-occurring disorders.
  • The Recovery Village Columbus: Located in Ohio, this facility provides inpatient, outpatient and aftercare treatment for people looking to begin detox. The center provides individualized plans to help patients through recovery while addressing their unique co-occurring disorders or any setbacks that may happen during recovery.
  • The Recovery Village Palmer Lake: In Colorado, this facility offers inpatient, outpatient and intensive outpatient treatment for individuals looking to kick-start their journey to recovery.
  • The Recovery Village Ridgefield: Located right in southern Washington, this facility provides patients with outpatient and aftercare programs. Just 20 minutes outside of Portland, this facility assists individuals who are ready to begin treatment.
  • The Recovery Village: In Umatilla, Florida, this is a rehabilitation facility that provides resources for individuals seeking drug and alcohol treatment. There are inpatient, outpatient, intensive outpatient and partial hospitalization treatment programs available for those suffering from Ambien addiction.
  • IAFF Center of Excellence: Specializes in assisting firefighters who struggle with behavioral health problems and addiction. Members can enter the recovery process sooner so they can return back to work as quickly as possible. Inpatient, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs are all available at this facility, where patients can address their Ambien addiction in a safe, supportive environment.
  • Denver Mental Health & Counseling: Denver Mental Health and Counseling by The Recovery Village is a physician-led outpatient center specializing in evidence-based addiction and mental health treatments, offering services such as TMS, IOP, and personalized care for both ongoing and new patients, dedicated to fostering long-term recovery and overall well-being.
  • The Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health: The Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health is a premier physician-led treatment center in South Florida, offering a comprehensive spectrum of services from medical detox to outpatient programs for alcohol, drug, and co-occurring mental health conditions, with a commitment to rejuvenating lives, families, and communities, and facilitating same-day admissions.
  • The Recovery Village Atlanta: Located in Roswell just outside downtown Atlanta, is a 62-bed physician-led treatment facility offering a comprehensive range of services, from medical detox to outpatient care, specializing in alcohol, drug, and co-occurring mental health conditions, dedicated to transforming lives, families, and communities throughout Georgia.
  • The Recovery Village Kansas City: The Recovery Village Kansas City, an 80-bed facility in Raytown just 10 miles from downtown, offers a comprehensive range of evidence-based treatments for addiction and mental health conditions, overseen by physician leaders, and is dedicated to revitalizing lives, families, and communities throughout the Midwest.
  • The Recovery Village Cherry Hill at Cooper Health: The Recovery Village Cherry Hill at Cooper, situated just 20 minutes from Philadelphia, is a leading rehab facility in South Jersey providing comprehensive, evidence-based addiction and mental health treatments, ranging from medical detox to teletherapy, with a dedicated team committed to guiding adults on their path to lifelong recovery.
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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.