Symptoms of Ambien Addiction

ambien addiction

Although Ambien® (generic, zolpidem) is not as habit forming as other medications, there is still some risk of addiction dependence. There are two general ways in which Ambien addiction arises.

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The first is when a patient is prescribed Ambien for a long time (6 months or more) and uses it on a regular basis. Normally, physicians will be aware of this and watch usage patterns in their patients. A patient who increases their dose (as evidenced by running out too soon) on their own or who takes the drug more often than prescribed may be showing signs of addiction.

The second path to Ambien addiction is among recreational users who are using the drug specifically to get high. This population will often alter the form of the drug (crushing for inhalation or dissolving to inject). They will also increase the dosage and fight off the sleepiness that Ambien causes so they can enjoy the high. Abusers may also drink alcohol with the drug (very dangerous). Dependence and addiction would still require frequent use to develop, even at these higher doses.

Symptoms of Ambien Addiction

  • The inability to sleep without Ambien, even when tired. An inability to stay asleep with a lower dose.
  • Waking up after just a short time, even when a normal dose was taken. Note: these first two symptoms, especially in new users, may be a result of some condition other than dependence.
  • Mood swings, between euphoria and aggression – depressed feelings when off the drug.
  • Next-day confusion that lasts more than a short time after waking. Serious memory loss of activities or events from the previous night (when taking the drug).
  • Activity swings (long terms of sleep followed by long terms of activity)
  • Preoccupation with having or using Ambien – cravings and anxiety about keeping a steady supply.
  • Drug-seeking behavior, such as doctor-shopping, prescription forgery or going outside of the normal supply chain to get more.
  • Anyone who takes Ambien long-term is at risk for dependence. This will not always mean they are addicted. If you are concerned about taking Ambien, do not stop taking it suddenly. Sudden cessation of the drug can lead to seizures in dependent people. A physician’s opinion should be sought before stopping the drug.
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