Signs, Symptoms and Side Effects of Intermezzo (Zolpidem) Abuse

Prescription drug abuse has become increasingly common among people of all ages and is considered to be an epidemic in the United States. Some of the most frequently abused groups of prescription drugs include opioid pain medications, sedatives, anti-anxiety medicines and stimulants.

Intermezzo, a brand-name prescription drug that is also known as zolpidem, is a central nervous system depressant. Signs of Intermezzo abuse include:

  • Taking a larger dose of Intermezzo than what’s prescribed
  • Continuing to use Intermezzo longer than as prescribed
  • Taking Intermezzo without a prescription
  • Combining Intermezzo with other substances, such as alcohol
Anytime a person is using a prescription medication like Intermezzo outside of the prescribing instructions, there can be symptoms and adverse side effects. First, there are psychological symptoms of Intermezzo abuse that may become noticeable. For example, a person may start to have new or worsening anxiety or depression. A person may become dependent upon Intermezzo and unable to fall asleep without it. Other more outwardly visible symptoms of Intermezzo abuse can include:

  • Extreme daytime drowsiness and fatigue
  • Slurred speech
  • Coordination problems
  • Memory problems
  • Problems with judgment and decision-making
  • Trouble walking
Intermezzo abuse isn’t the same as addiction, although it often leads to addiction and dependence. Intermezzo affects the chemistry and pathways of the brain, increasing the brain chemical GABA. This creates a calming, tranquilizing effect. As a result of the effects on the brain, Intermezzo can cause a dopamine response -which then may lead to addiction. The risk of addiction is greater when people show signs of Intermezzo abuse. Physical dependence can occur after only using Intermezzo for a few weeks. If someone is dependent on Intermezzo and stops using it suddenly, they will experience withdrawal. The best way to avoid addiction and dependence when using this medication is to strictly follow prescribing instructions.
Intermezzo is a brand-name, prescription drug that is classified as a sedative-hypnotic. When taken before bed or during the night, Intermezzo can calm neural activity and make a person sleep. Intermezzo is classified as a Schedule IV drug, meaning the drug also has legitimate medical uses but addiction and dependence are possible. Intermezzo has some psychoactive properties that people may find desirable, which is partly why it has the potential to be addictive.
Just because someone is showing signs of Intermezzo abuse or dependence, doesn’t mean that they are addicted. However, abuse, addiction and dependence are often seen on a continuum and occur together. Addiction is characterized by uncontrolled, compulsive use of a substance. There are varying levels of addiction, ranging from mild to severe. How someone is diagnosed depends on the number of specific criteria that they display. When someone has an Intermezzo addiction, it changes their thinking, their behavior and how their body physically functions. Signs of Intermezzo addiction include:

  • Out-of-control use
  • Using Intermezzo despite the negative health effects
  • Use of Intermezzo becomes a top priority
  • People will display drug-seeking behaviors and will try to ensure they always have a supply of the substance
  • There are failed attempts to stop using the drug
  • Risky behaviors may occur while under the influence or attempting to get more of the substance
  • Declining performance at school or work
  • Failing to meet commitments
  • Strong cravings
  • Social problems and breakdowns in relationships with loved ones and friends
Over time, the more someone abuses Intermezzo, the more likely they are to become addicted and dependent. When addiction is untreated, it can become more severe. People who use depressants like Intermezzo over the long term may start to experience certain psychological symptoms, including depression and anxiety. Long-term Intermezzo effects can also include changes in mood and cognition. Memory problems can become more pervasive as well. Intermezzo long-term effects can include chronic fatigue, the development of a tolerance -requiring larger doses, muscle weakness and sexual problems.

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Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a 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 provider.