Ambien, a brand name for Zolpidem, is part of a medication class known as sedative-hypnotics. Normally, it is prescribed to treat difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep (insomnia). Once the drug is taken, it slows the brain activity, causing you to fall to and maintain sleep.
History of Ambien
It started with the search for an effective sleep aid a long time ago. There were many other drugs out there which could act like a sleep aid, but most of them tended to have hangover-like effects the day after. This is where Ambien came in; it was discovered to be capable of inducing sleep without these after effects.
Some street names that people use to refer to Ambien include No-Go pills, Zombie pills, and A-minus. Ambien clinical trials were accomplished in 1991, whereby it was made available to consumers.
In 2007, the FDA approved the manufacturing of a generic form of Ambien, increasing its availability to consumers. However, this wider availability increased the rates of Ambien addiction.
Ambien misuse or abuse started when people started taking it outside the parameters prescribed by the doctor, and decided to take it to feel high.
Taking it without a prescription, overdosing, injecting, inhaling or taking it for another purpose can be termed as drug misuse or abuse. If it is taken for an extended period of time, even if it is under prescription, it becomes a habit whereby one becomes dependent on the drug.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 500,000 people in the US are currently abusing Ambien.
Medical Risks of Prolonged Ambien Use
There are several medical risks associated with prolonged use of Ambien including the following.
Taking or abusing Ambien for a prolonged period may make the body and brain become tolerant to it. This would require you to take more than the required dose to feel the desired effects. This causes your body to be dependent on Ambien in a way that you have to take it for your body to function normally.
Allergic reactions such as swelling of tongue, throat, lips and face and difficulty in breathing and swallowing can occur from a prolonged use of Ambien.
Other Characteristics of Ambien Abuse
- Feeling drugged, daytime drowsiness, dizziness and weakness
- Memory loss
- Altered reasoning and judgment
- Loss of coordination
- Nausea, stomach upset, diarrhea and constipation
- Muscle pain and headache
Worse cases may lead to liver or heart failure, stroke or even death.
Social Risks of Ambien Addiction
Ambien addiction may go beyond physical complications to include emotional, psychological and social damage. Social risks can include the following:
- Failure to fulfill work, home, or school obligations
- Loss of jobs
- Dropping out of school
- Substance use while involved in hazardous situations such as operating machines and driving
- Being involved in drug-related arrests
Ambien Abuse Treatment
If you are living with the damaging consequences of Ambien abuse, you need to undergo a treatment. The process of Ambien detoxification can cause many withdrawal symptoms such as cravings, nervousness, convulsions and insomnia, requiring one to be under a supervised setting during treatment. An addict should not stop taking it immediately but taper off the drug for better results.
The types of services available for patients in medical facilities include: medication therapy, behavioral therapy and counseling. They could be outpatient or inpatient facilities.
A holistic approach to Ambien addiction treatment in a rehab center involves mustering medical personnel from various fields such as counselors, therapists, psychiatrics, physicians, social workers and nurses. Procuring the services of these personnel will give the patient a lasting recovery.