Addiction to Ambien
Ambien is in a class of drugs known as sedative-hypnotics. This non-benzodiazepine “z-drug” has the same medical effectiveness as benzodiazepines like Xanax without the same hazardous and habit-forming properties those drugs are known for. The makers of Ambien designed and marketed the drug as a less addictive alternative to benzos for people with acute insomnia.
An addiction to this drug can form in as little as two weeks. Many people don’t know they have a problem until they stop taking the drug and realize they cannot sleep without it.
The presence of withdrawal symptoms is one of the main signs of an addiction. Signs of an Ambien addiction include:
- Refilling prescriptions unusually often
- Repeatedly taking larger doses than prescribed
- Experiencing cravings for Ambien
- Engaging in dangerous situations without any memory of them later
- Spending large amounts of money on the drug
- Isolating oneself from family and friends
Most Ambien addictions begin with a simple case of short-term insomnia. Ambien becomes less and less effective after taking it for more than a couple weeks. Some users underestimate the addictive potential of Ambien because it’s prescribed by a doctor and they only use it to help them sleep.
“Before long I needed to take a pill every night. If I tried to fall asleep naturally, I would have what’s called “rebound insomnia,” meaning I would be up all night as a result of taking the drug the night before.” – Writer and former Ambien addict Laurie Sandell, Glamour, 2008
What Is Ambien (Zolpidem)?
Ambien is the brand name of Zolpidem. It is primarily prescribed as a temporary treatment for insomnia.
Ambien is a schedule IV controlled substance. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), this means people aren’t likely to use it recreationally. Despite this, many users have abused the drug for its euphoric and hallucinatory effects.
Ambien is taken by mouth as a small, oblong tablet or as an extended-release tablet. Some people may crush up the pills and snort them to get a stronger effect.
Ambien was primarily marketed as an alternative to benzodiazepines, like Halcion, which were coming under public scrutiny for their addictive potential and other side effects. The makers of Ambien claimed their drug was safer and less addictive.
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