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An estimated 50 million adults in the United States suffer from insomnia. Fortunately, there are various drugs that might help a person achieve a good night’s sleep. Ambien is one of these drugs (zolpidem). This medication is really good at assisting with sleep.

Ambien, like many other central nervous systems (CNS) depressants, has the potential for addiction. When a person is addicted to Ambien, their body needs it to function properly, especially with regard to sleep. When a person is reliant on medication, suddenly stopping Ambien after long-term use might result in a variety of withdrawal symptoms. As a result, it’s critical to go off Ambien gradually under the direction of a doctor.

Ambien is a brand name for Zolpidem, a generic prescription sedative-hypnotic drug. Ambien has a calming effect on a neurological level. As a result, it makes it easier for people to fall and stay asleep. Because Ambien decreases brain activity, it also helps to alleviate anxiety symptoms.

There are a few things that someone who has been prescribed Ambien should be aware of. To begin with, Ambien isn’t meant to be used as a long-term insomnia medication. It’s normally only given for a few weeks at a time. This is because tolerance can develop, leading to addiction and dependence. A doctor will also inquire if the patient is using any additional medications, both prescription and non-prescription. Doctors should also be aware of a patient’s or family’s history of substance misuse or addiction before administering Ambien.

Ambien is a psychotropic prescription medicine used to treat insomnia and other sleep problems. The extended-release kind gently releases the medication, making it easier for patients to fall asleep and sleep through the night. Though most people take it to help them sleep, some people use it recreationally, crushing and snorting it to get euphoric effects. This sedative is highly addictive, and it takes just a few weeks to become addicted to it.

When Ambien is misused, it can lead to:

  • Addiction
  • Dependence
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Overdose

Abusing the drug or developing a tolerance can lead to an overdose. When combined with alcohol or forgetting to take a pill and taking another, it is also more likely to cause an overdose. Symptoms of an overdose include:

  • Becomes excessively drowsy
  • Slow and deep breathing
  • Sluggish heart rate.
  • Coma

New research reveals that withdrawal effects may be widespread among those who use the medication more often or in higher dosages than prescribed, despite the fact that it was previously thought to be unusual.

What happens when you stop taking Ambien? Sadly, there is a lack of data on Ambien withdrawal, and more research is required. Medical experts know that Ambien withdrawal can vary from mild to severe, depending on a variety of circumstances such as:

  • Constant use of sedatives, or how long they have been used. Shorter periods of consumption may be linked to a lower risk of severe withdrawal symptoms.
  • The dosage. The use of a high dose for an extended length of time can raise the risk of severe withdrawal.
  • Age. Severe withdrawal effects may be more common in older persons.
  • Comorbid medical or mental problems are present. Individuals who have co-occurring medical or mental health issues are more likely to experience more severe symptoms.
  • Insomnia and restlessness are two mild withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms may be annoying and may possibly cause disruptions in your daily routines, but they are not dangerous.

Flu-like symptoms like vomiting and nausea, sweating, and muscular cramping are severe withdrawal symptoms that hinder you from engaging in routine activities. People with significant nervousness and anxiety have been reported. Tremors, lightheadedness, a panic attack, or even a seizure are all possible side effects.

Withdrawal symptoms from Ambien usually start 48 hours from your last dose and last for a week or two. Some of the common physical and psychological symptoms are given below:

Physical

  • Pains and aches
  • Hand tremors
  • Headache
  • Hyperventilation
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Restlessness
  • Racing pulse
  • Problems with speech
  • Sweating

Psychological

Keep in mind that the influence of other drugs or medications you are taking may exacerbate your Ambien withdrawal symptoms.

Ambien withdrawal duration is typically 2 weeks, however, this can differ from person to person based on a variety of factors such as:

Type of Ambien. Those who used the extended-release type of Ambien experienced more severe withdrawal symptoms.

Were there any additional medications used? Those who combine Ambien with other drugs, such as alcohol or illegal narcotics, experience more severe withdrawal symptoms. It’s possible that stopping all of them at once will result in more severe effects.

Biology and genetics. Zolpidem withdrawal symptoms are influenced by a person’s addiction history, age, gender, metabolism, and race.

Timeline

1 to 2 days

The severity of dependence determines how soon one will experience Ambien withdrawal symptoms. Those with severe addiction may start to feel symptoms 4 to 8 hours after the last dose. Most individuals, however, start to experience symptoms 24 to 28 hours from the last dose, which can include insomnia, disorientation, trouble concentrating, and mood changes.

3 to 5 days

Around days three to five, the most frightening or acute physical withdrawal symptoms will appear, including stomach cramps, vomiting, nausea, increased anxiety, shaking, mood changes, depression, difficulty urinating, and a general feeling of having the flu.

Days 6 to 2 Weeks

Symptoms should start to fade around day six. Physical withdrawal effects will most likely go within a few weeks, but psychological problems such as depression, cravings, insomnia, and anxiety may last for weeks or months. If you’re still having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about other therapy choices.

Memory Problems

Ambien is a strong drug. There will always be risks involved in taking it, and it can cause long-term or even permanent memory loss if taken in large doses. There’s also the possibility of getting up in the middle of the night and sleepwalking, which can lead to injury, sleep-talking, and sleep-driving among other things.

When Ambien is abruptly stopped, the body is unable to compensate for the loss of zolpidem in the bloodstream. The central nervous system of the body is attempting to figure out how to function without the drug. The body is inundated with information, and depending on the severity of the withdrawal, going cold turkey versus tapering is usually more difficult. When you stop using Ambien, withdrawal usually starts 4 hours after the last dose. Within the body, the following begins to happen:

Acute withdrawal symptoms can peak and last a few days after peak withdrawal. Within a week, the intensity of withdrawal may have subsided. An individual may continue to experience symptoms of withdrawal a few weeks after the last dose.

Some of the hazards of stopping Ambien cold turkey vary in severity according to the individual, however, they can include:

  • Intense Ambien withdrawal nightmares
  • Panic episodes that damage one’s health
  • Convulsions
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fatigue
  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Relapse to avoid withdrawal symptoms

Before quitting Ambien, a person ought to be in good health because it can stress the body. Withdrawal also brings up a slew of issues that a person may or may not be ready to deal with. Before discontinuing Ambien cold turkey, a person should consult with their treating physician for correct counsel. A doctor may be able to provide an appropriate tapering strategy for someone who is discontinuing Ambien with fewer risk concerns than quitting cold turkey. The goal is to permanently stop taking Ambien while also supporting a person’s health and long-term rehabilitation.

While quitting Ambien cold turkey is possible, it is not recommended owing to the significant negative effects. Stopping Ambien in this manner can have long-term negative implications. If issues emerge during the withdrawal process, it should be done under a doctor’s supervision.

It is up to the individual whether or not to stop Ambien cold turkey, however, it is helpful to assess the benefits and drawbacks before making a decision. A doctor who is informed about the patient and knows them well can devise a plan that allows the drug to be tapered off gradually over time while the patient is monitored for signs of distress. The key is to not stop taking Ambien without first consulting a doctor who can guide you through withdrawal and give necessary aftercare.

Stopping Ambien use suddenly, especially for people who have been taking it for a long time and at larger doses, can be harmful. Given the risk of suffering potential symptoms of withdrawal, like seizures, stopping without the supervision of a doctor or other medical professional may not be recommended when the physical dependency is severe.

Detox under medical supervision can make quitting Ambien easier. Though supervised medical detox can be done in an outpatient setting, when there are more severe withdrawal dangers, Zolpidem withdrawal management is best done in an inpatient addiction treatment facility or a detox center.

While detox is a crucial initial step, it is rarely sufficient to help someone recover from drug addiction in the long run. Continuous treatment can more fully address the individual’s underlying emotions, thoughts, and behaviors that lead to Ambien abuse in the first place, allowing them to maintain recovery throughout time and avoid relapse. An evidence-based rehabilitation program can assist a person in learning the skills necessary for long-term recovery. Every person’s treatment will be different, however, it may include the following:

Inpatient rehab. Inpatient treatment entails 24-hour care in a residential treatment center, where group and individual counseling, psychiatric care, various therapies, education, and other services are used to help the individual comprehend and address the problem that led to Ambien abuse, as well as develop coping mechanisms.

Outpatient rehab. Outpatient treatment, like inpatient treatment, typically consists of individual and group counseling, treatments, education, psychiatric care, and other services. Individuals in outpatient programs, on the other hand, come back home or go to a sober living residence after their clinic-based visits are completed each day.

Group counseling and therapy. Some of the same tactics that are used in individual sessions can be used in a group setting, where people can learn from and assist others who are going through similar problems.

Individual therapy and counseling. One-on-one sessions assist clients in getting to the base of their problems, addressing the psychological issues that underpin addiction, and learning to adjust behaviors in order to avoid relapse and sustain abstinence.

Twelve-step programs. While these programs are not professional treatment, they do establish a plan for long-term rehabilitation and serve to supplement the advantages of more rigorous professional care. Individuals receive assistance from their peers. Some people choose a sponsor or a peer who is much further along their recovery to help them along the way.

Aftercare services, which may include continued support groups, ongoing counseling, job placement assistance, sober living communities, and alumni activities, help persons sustain long-term sobriety beyond the formal treatment program.

The Benefits of Quitting Ambien

The most significant advantage of stopping Ambien is regaining control over your life and your sleep. Recovering from Ambien abuse can have a significant positive impact on your physical and mental health in the long run.

You will no longer feel stuck

Due to the severe withdrawal effects, you may experience if you try to quit on your own, you may feel stuck and trapped by your Ambien use. You may feel compelled to continue taking the medicine, despite any issues or side effects it may produce.

Ambien is abused by 446,000 persons in the United States. The compulsive loop of drug use to just delay the onset of insomnia and other symptoms of withdrawal can be broken by effectively recovering from an Ambien addiction.

Side effects are avoided

Ambien abuse isn’t just associated with withdrawal symptoms. Many people who abuse Ambien suffer from a variety of negative side effects, including unconscious behaviors and actions while sleeping. Eating, conversing on the phone, and driving is examples of these activities. One person even claimed to have sexually assaulted his roommate without being aware of it. These negative effects can be avoided if you stop taking Ambien.

Other negative effects of Ambien addiction could include:

  • Memory loss is a common problem.
  • Mental confusion.
  • Mood changes
  • Hallucinations.
  • Depression.
  • Ambien use and accompanying actions can lead to a sense of shame or guilt.
  • Uncontrollable tremors.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Heartburn.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Pain in the muscles and joints.
  • Cravings for different types of drugs.

Preventing Long-Term Issues

  • Ambien abuse can lead to a variety of long-term health issues, including:
  • Apnea (sleep deprivation).
  • Sexual dysfunction is a problem that many people face.
  • Immunosuppression.
  • Paranoia.
  • Excessive agitation

Suggestions for Quitting Ambien

Are you ready to give up Ambien? As you begin the process of weaning yourself off Ambien and staying sober, consider the following suggestions.

If you’ve tried and failed to recover from Ambien addiction if your current addiction is severe, or if you’re misusing other drugs while abusing Ambien, the intensity and immersing setting of an inpatient rehab program may help you.

Stopping Ambien use

  • Discuss your addiction with your doctor or mental health professional.
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions for tapering off Ambien and allowing your brain to return to normal.

Staying away from Ambien

  • Attend a meeting of Pills Anonymous or another type of support group.
  • Remind yourself why you’ve decided to stop taking Ambien on a regular basis.
  • Identify and resolve any underlying emotional issues with the help of a specialist.
  • Make use of your support network and talk about your Ambien addiction.
  • Recognize and avoid indicators like thoughts, feelings, or emotions that make you desire to take the substance.
  • Reduce your overall stress levels in your daily life.

Creating new routines

  • Consult your physician about a referral to a sleep therapist who can help with non-pharmacologic sleep hygiene developments.
  • Learn stress-reduction methods like guided meditation and deep breathing from a counselor.
  • Make a sleep schedule that you can stick to.
  • Find alternatives to Ambien, like warm milk or soothing sleep music, to help you go asleep.
  • Establish a nocturnal ritual to help you manage and divert yourself from Ambien cravings.
  • Engage in healthy habits like regular exercise, participation in sports, or the pursuit of a hobby.

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