Ambien is a very common drug for sleeping disorders. And because many people have issues sleeping, Ambien has become a popular drug. For some of those people, Ambien has been a solution that provides them assistance with sleeping. However, Ambien is also known to cause some dangerous results. In this article, we will look at Ambien, its history, use, and potential negative effects.
What is Ambien?
So, what is Ambien? Ambien is a drug used for the treatment of insomnia. It is not intended to be a long-term solution, as it is a sedative to be used sparingly. The generic form of Ambien is called Zolpidem.
While Ambien seems harmless on the surface, it has been known to cause negative side effects and terrible withdrawal symptoms. While it is a sleep aid on the surface, Ambien can be abused just like any other drug.
The History of Ambien
The history of Ambien begins in 1988, where it was first approved in Europe through the efforts of Synthlabo. Synthlabo, a France-based pharmaceutical company, sought to bring this drug to US markets, which it was successful in doing by 1992. Back then, Ambien was discussed in the news as less prone to become “habit-forming,” which implies it has a lower chance of addiction.
In 2007, the drug was eventually approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a generic medication. As a result, everyday Americans could purchase the drug over the counter without doctor approval. Today, the drug is widely available to anyone with sleeping problems.
In 2013, the FDA recommended that the recommended dosage should be reduced due to “impaired function” that persists a day after taking the drug. In 2015, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) shared that this drug should be avoided in 65 or older individuals because of its ineffectiveness at treating insomnia, which heavily outweighed adverse effects.
Ambien is typically only suggested for use by doctors for a one to two week period. If you decide to take it beyond the two week period, you are highly likely to get addicted to the substance. This is more likely to happen if you already have a history of this with a pre-existing substance abuse disorder.
Doctors typically recommend contacting them if your Ambien isn’t working with any effectiveness. Deciding to take more may result in you becoming tolerant of the drug, leading to long-term disorders.
This sleep medication is only recommended if you can easily get 8 (or more) hours of sleep. If you need to wake up before the eight-hour limit the next morning, you will likely suffer from drowsiness as a result. Further abuse despite your desired sleep amount may result in you not being able to sleep without the drug, signaling a clear sign of addiction.
Common Side Effects of Ambien
Below are some other side effects of taking Ambien:
- daytime drowsiness
- aggressive behavior
- regular confusion
- anxiety (up to a panic attack)
- memory loss
- stomach pain
- chest pain
You may also suffer from more dangerous side effects:
- suicidal tendencies
- sleep apnea
- an allergic reaction
- depression of the central nervous system
- pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
Ambien is also famously associated with sleep-driving, sleep eating, or sleep-walking. In one famous case, a bus driver took Ambien at the wrong time, resulting in an accident in a school bus full of kids that nearly had a tragic experience.
The Potential Toll
Going back to our bus driving example, this woman may be permanently altered because of the decision. The fact that they cut it incredibly close tells us that Ambien can lead to dangerous results. In this case, this woman wasn’t even abusing the drug, so what can happen if you go against medical advice?
Much like any other addiction, the patient may end up sleeping some of their days away. In some cases, they may take a dangerous amount of Ambien, even going as far as mixing it with alcohol to strengthen the effects. Entire days will be lost for them, causing extreme versions of depression and feelings of isolation.
What about ambien withdrawal?
Abusers of Ambien start the drug to handle sleep disorder, but it is only intended for short term use. The result can lead to a heightened original medical condition, where they won’t have any control over their sleep schedule.
If they take larger amounts of Ambien, they may try and return to the drug in desperation. Even long-term use of the drug at the recommended dosage can be dangerous, especially if they have a history of mental illness.
Is there treatment for ambien abuse?
Those who have an addiction to Ambien often end up in medical detox. This allows them to have a doctor observe any adverse reactions they may go through. How close they look at them may change depending on whether they are elderly patients with a history of alcohol abuse.
Some of those reactions will likely create a rebound to insomnia, which will require more detailed medical attention as insomnia symptoms start to take over the Ambien symptoms, creating a unique situation for medical professionals to deal with.
Many of them will have other addictions to deal with, causing a pharmacist to prescribe them other medication that won’t feed into the drug habit. While they may transfer to other kinds of herbal products, doctors typically won’t prescribe this.
Once they get through medical detox, they will need help to rejoin regular life. To address this, they may want to seek out a sober living facility where they can be surrounded by others who have been through this situation before.
Ambien is a sleep aid that is used to assist those who have insomnia. However, it can also be an abusable drug that makes it difficult for people to be regularly awake. These side effects can include extreme drowsiness, kidney disease, and suicidal thoughts.
The withdrawal symptoms may feel just as bad for a while, but continued abuse of the product will lead to permanent long-term issues they won’t be able to address. With the right tools and a community of people who support them, those suffering from Ambien addiction will be able to take their life back.