Ambien Abuse and Dependence

If you’ve ever had a bout of insomnia that warranted a trip to the doctor, then you’ve probably at least heard of Ambien among other prescription sleep aids. Ambien is prescribed to those with acute insomnia as a lesser alternative to benzodiazepines with less risk for abuse and addiction. Benzodiazepines like Xanax are known for their addictive properties and sedative effects.

Ambien is a non-benzodiazepine that helps the individual with similar effectiveness, medically. Although it is less addictive, there is still some risk for dependence, abuse, and addiction. In fact, it only takes about two weeks of continuous use to become addicted to Ambien. Soon enough, people are realizing that they can no longer sleep without their usual dose of Ambien.

Ambien addiction is serious and could require medical attention. If you or a loved on has been experiencing some of the following symptoms, it could be time to talk to your prescribing doctor about tapering off.

- Feeling cravings for Ambien

- Taking higher doses than what you were prescribed

- Refilling or using up your prescriptions before you should be

- Getting Ambien from other sources if you can’t get a refill on your prescription

- Not remembering/being told you did/said/engaged in things you can’t recall

- Becoming isolated from family/friends

After a couple of weeks, Ambien becomes less effective. That’s why it’s prescribed in the short-term for acute insomnia. It’s not meant to be a long-term crutch. For those with insomnia, you know the draw of knowing that you’ll sleep and get the rest your body needs if you just swallow the pill. Before long though instead of having frequent sleepless nights, you might have every night be without sleep if you don’t take that pill.

It’s not recommended for longer term use for that reason exactly. So, if you or someone you love is still struggling with insomnia at the end of a short-term prescription, make sure to talk with your doctor and don’t just assume that you should ask for a refill or take more. It’s always best to speak with the medical professional in charge of your care.

Reference
N.D. “Ambien Addiction and Abuse”. Addiction Center. (website). 2018
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