The Ultimate Guide to Ambien Addiction Treatment
At one point in your life, you looked forward to taking your Ambien because you knew it meant you’d soon get to enjoy a restful night’s sleep.
That has since changed.
Now, you recognize that you’ve become addicted to the drug and must put an end to it if your health is ever to recover.
While the road ahead may be a challenging one, understanding what to expect from Ambien addiction treatment will help make it much easier.
Ambien Addiction Treatment Requires Professional Help
Before we delve into the details about treating Ambien addiction, it’s important to first note that the process should be assisted by a professional.
Ambien is an extremely powerful drug. It’s able to literally slow brain activity, which is how it induces sleep. A drug with that kind of power is not one you can usually safely quit cold turkey.
Speak to your doctor about your addiction. They will have advice for how to taper off the drug, little by little, so that you don’t suffer any severe side effects that could put your health in far greater danger.
The Dangers of Ambien Addiction
The sooner you begin seeking Ambien addiction treatment, the better. Although the drug can certainly be used safely, it’s also extremely dangerous to those who have become addicted. In fact, ER visits related to Ambien have increased by 230% over the past 7 years. That’s about 20,000 more incidents.
Even when taken exactly as a doctor orders, it’s possible to become addicted to Ambien.
The signs that you may be addicted to Ambien that we’re about to cover should further illustrate how dangerous this Schedule IV controlled substance can truly be.
Therefore, if you think you’re at risk of being addicted, it’s imperative you seek treatment right away.
8 Signs You Need Ambien Addiction Treatment
Even if you think there’s only a slight chance that you may be addicted to Ambien, it’s best that you see your doctor and express your concerns. They’ll be able to help you better understand whether you’re addicted or not and what to do next.
However, the following are telltale signs that you most likely need treatment for Ambien addiction.
1. Any “Complex Behaviors”
By far, the most glaring sign that you need Ambien addiction treatment as soon as possible is what is known as “complex behaviors.” In short, this refers to actions an individual takes while under the influence of Ambien that they have no – or almost no – memory of doing later.
In this way, complex behaviors are a lot like sleepwalking, except they can be far more risky.
Common examples include:
- Preparing and Eating Food
- Having Sex (Even with Strangers)
- Driving a Car (“Sleep-Driving”)
That last one is obviously the most worrisome. “Sleep-driving” can easily be fatal as the driver is operating a motor vehicle without being fully awake.
2. Mixing Ambien with Other Drugs
Ambien is plenty powerful all by itself, so it’s alarming if someone begins taking it along with other substances. Many people who abuse Ambien do so while drinking alcohol.
However, it’s not uncommon for people to take Ambien to help them come down from using other drugs like cocaine or meth.
The combined effects of these drugs can result in even more dangerous versions of complex behaviors. Of course, they can also cause death.
3. Severe Side Effects
Many prescription drugs come with certain side effects, some of which may even be unpleasant.
That said, Ambien addiction can cause severe side effects that threaten the user’s health far more than the drug itself is helping it.
If you experience any of the following side effects, consider treatment right away:
- Feeling Sedated
- Pain in muscles or joints
- Problems with Balance, Walking, and Coordination
- Stomach Pain
- Strange Dreams
Ambien can also cause people to feel depressed or make preexisting feelings of depression much worse. In some cases, the drug even leads to suicidal thoughts.
4. Escalated Doses
Anytime someone begins taking more of a prescription drug than their doctor directed, they have most likely formed an addiction.
Some people begin escalating their doses of Ambien because they believe it’s the only way to get to sleep. It’s not that they want to, it’s that they feel they need to in order to get to bed. Unfortunately, Ambien only helps you fall asleep. It doesn’t ensure you’ll stay asleep.
In any case, even if you’re not addicted when you begin doing it, increasing the amount of Ambien you take will almost always end in addiction.
Among other things, it’s extremely easy to build a tolerance to Ambien. What begins as an innocent attempt to replicate an earlier effect becomes a self-perpetuating cycle as the user must keep upping their own dose until eventually they have loss control over their use.
5. Changing the Method of Dosage
One way some users try to get around the problem of forming a tolerance to Ambien is by changing the way they take it. By crushing it up and snorting it through their nostrils, for example, they can introduce it to their system much quicker.
Again, this would be a major warning sign that treatment is necessary right away.
6. Signs of Intoxication
Whether someone is mixing Ambien use with alcohol or not, if they’re addicted to the drug, they may show symptoms that are similar to those of intoxication. These would include:
- Impaired Attention
- Poor Coordination
- Problems Walking
- Shifting Eye Movements
- Short-Term Memory Loss
- Slurred Speech
7. Isolation from Friends and Family
Anyone with an addiction will have a harder time focusing on anything else than their drug of choice. Those who are addicted to Ambien, though, may become especially isolated because the drug puts them to sleep or otherwise impairs them to the point that they can’t be social.
If you’re choosing to take Ambien instead of hanging out with friends, spending time with your family, or going to work, you’ve most likely formed an addiction.
8. Accidents and Injuries
Aside from the dangers posed by complex behaviors, Ambien addiction can result in accidents and injuries. Someone who is abusing the drug and, therefore, can’t concentrate may cause a car accident, for example. Poor coordination could result in a fall.
What Does Ambien Addiction Treatment Entail?
Now that you better understand the warning signs that you are addicted to the drug, let’s discuss what Ambien addiction treatment involves.
Will Quitting Ambien Cause Withdrawal?
Withdrawal is always a common concern among people who are quitting a drug. Unfortunately, it’s almost always unavoidable, too.
The actual symptoms related to withdrawal that an individual experiences will depend on their own level of use – how long they took the drug and how much of it, among other things. It usually lasts between a few days and a few weeks, though.
Common symptoms of Ambien withdrawal include:
- Increased Pulse Rate
- Muscle Cramps
- Uncontrolled Shaking
Severe symptoms may be a risk, too. Some people have experienced seizures or even gone into comas after quitting Ambien, which is one more reason it’s important to seek professional help with this process.
Tapering Off Ambien
As we mentioned earlier, most people who go through Ambien addiction treatment will actually begin by tapering off the drug, not simply quitting it outright.
Your doctor may also prescribe other drugs to help with this transition or recommend over-the-counter sleep aids that will help you get some much-needed rest.
For many people, completely cutting off their Ambien use instead of tapering can be incredibly dangerous.
Steps to Ambien Addiction Treatment
Every professional treatment center will operate a bit differently. However, most users will experience some combination of the following steps during treatment:
- A mental and physical health assessment
- An inventory of other drugs you’ve been taking
- Questions about any previous rehab/detox experiences you’ve had
- An inventory of any major sources of stress in your life
After that, the medical professional may recommend:
- Inpatient/Residential Treatment
- Outpatient Treatment
- Support Groups (e.g. Pills Anonymous)
Take the First Step Toward Ambien Addiction Treatment
If you recognize that you have become addicted to Ambien, don’t worry. There are countless treatment professionals out there who have already helped people in your exact same situation. You don’t have to live with this problem any longer. Contact Aid in Recovery today to get help finding an Ambien addiction treatment program near you.