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Ambien Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline & Detox Treatment

If you have ever struggled with insomnia you have probably tried various remedies to get a good night’s sleep. When over-the-counter or lifestyle changes don’t seem to help, you may have been prescribed Ambien. Ambien is a highly addictive medication, requiring a professional detox and rehab program to break free. Continue reading to learn how to detox from Ambien addiction.

What is Ambien?

Ambien (zolpidem) is a fast-acting hypnotic sedative that is designed to help individuals struggling with insomnia. The drug induces sleep by enhancing the effects of the brain chemical GABA. The sedating effects occur within minutes, causing drowsiness and unsteadiness when standing or walking. For this reason, it is advised that the drug be taken right before bedtime, as injuries can occur.

In most cases, Ambien is only prescribed for one to two weeks because dependency can result in long-term use. Dependency is the result of the body becoming more tolerant of its effects. This may tempt the person to take more Ambien than was prescribed, which increases the risk of addiction.

What are the Signs of Ambien Addiction?

When you get a prescription for Ambien and start taking those little pills at bedtime, it may seem safe. Within a few minutes, you are blissfully off to dreamland. But that is what the brain will imprint in the reward system, that only with Ambien can you get a good night’s sleep. This can lead to addiction.

Some signs of Ambien addiction include:

  • Taking increasing amounts of the drug
  • The doctor shopping to obtain more Ambien once the prescribing doctor has cut off refills
  • Stealing Ambien from family or friends
  • Memory problems
  • Purchasing Ambien from unknown sources
  • Obsessing over obtaining the drug and having enough supply, looking forward to using
  • The use of these drugs leads to problems with work, family, relationships, finances, and health problems
  • Continuing to use Ambien and alcohol regardless of the negative consequences
  • Neglects responsibilities and family obligations
  • Taking Ambien with alcohol to enhance the sedating effects
  • Legal problems, such as driving under the influence of Ambien
  • Attempt to stop using Ambien but cannot
  • Experience symptoms of withdrawal when attempting to quit taking Ambien

What is the Danger of Ambien Addiction?

Ambien may look harmless enough, but the fact remains that hypnotic sedatives can be quite dangerous. Consider some of the dangers of taking Ambien:

  • Injuries. Because Ambien’s effects can come on quickly, standing or walking may result in dizziness. The slow reaction time can cause a loss of balance and falls causing injury might result.
  • Odd behaviors. Reports of people sleepwalking, sleep-eating, and sleep-driving while taking Ambien.
  • Memory problems. Memory impairment can result if taking Ambien for an extended period. Some speculate that hypnotic drugs may cause the onset of dementia.
  • Dependency and/or Addiction. When taken long-term, Ambien can cause dependency or addiction to develop.
  • Overdose. Once dependency develops, it may prompt the person to take too high a dose, leading to an overdose. Some people mix Ambien and alcohol, which increases the risk of overdose.

What to Expect in Detox for Ambien Addiction

If Ambien addiction results from long-term use, the best way to break free is to enroll in a residential treatment program. Recovery begins with the detox and the Ambien withdrawal process. So, how do you detox from an Ambien addiction?

Since the brain has become accustomed to the presence of Ambien, the best way to detox is via tapering. The doctor prescribes reduced dosages over several days, which lets the person adjust gradually.

Detoxing from Ambien addiction will produce withdrawal symptoms, which are managed by the medical detox team. A trained detox team provides interventions to reduce the symptoms and provide relief. Generally, Ambien detox takes about one to two weeks.

Detox and withdrawal from Ambien follow this timeline:

Early phase: The first day or two features fatigue, mental fog, trouble concentrating, memory problems, and headache.

Middle phase: Days 3-7 represent the peak phase of withdrawal when symptoms are the most pronounced. These include:

  • Insomnia
  • Feeling irritated
  • Anxiety
  • Cravings
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Restlessness
  • Sweating
  • Panting
  • Racing heart rate
  • Tremors

Final phase: Withdrawal symptoms begin to subside during the final week or two. Cravings and psychological effects tend to linger.

What are the Treatment Options for Ambien Addiction?

Immediately following the detox, you will enter treatment. Treatment includes several types of therapy and recovery activities that help you change your addiction thought patterns. Treatment elements are:

  • Psychotherapy. Core therapies, like CBT, DBT, and contingency management, are central to changing thought and behavior patterns. In the one-on-one therapy sessions, you’ll learn how to replace old thought patterns with new healthy ones.
  • Group therapy You’ll meet in small groups to discuss topics of recovery. A counselor will lead group sessions and encourage open and supportive discussion.
  • Psychosocial skills. While in treatment, you will learn some new coping strategies that will be helpful in recovery. These skills help you resist relapsing back to using Ambien. You will also create your own unique relapse prevention strategy, which helps manage triggers.
  • 12-step groups. Recovery theories, such as A.A., N.A., or SMART Recovery, offer skills and benchmarks to help you progress in recovery.
  • Holistic. Learning relaxation techniques is essential to long-term Ambien abstinence. While in treatment you will learn various methods that you can later incorporate into your recovery. These might include yoga, mindfulness, deep breathing, meditation, and journaling.

Now that you know how to detox from Ambien addiction, it is time to reach out for help. A comprehensive treatment program that provides both detox and treatment is ready to assist you.

LifeSync Malibu Provides Detox and Residential Treatment for Ambien Addiction

LifeSync Malibu is an upscale residential treatment center that offers the expertise to help you detox from Ambien safely. To learn more about our program, please reach out to our team today at (866) 491-4426.