Ambien is a highly addictive sleep aid categorized as a “hypnotic” drug. As the national website for Drug Abuse states, Ambien is the brand name for zolpidem tartrate, “a non-benzodiazepine hypnotic of the imidazopyridine class, available in 5 and 10 mg strength tablets for oral administration.” Due to the fact that insomnia is on the rise in our nation, Ambien addiction has become a more prevalent issue. People run from place to place throughout a typical day, fulfilling work obligations, family responsibilities, and taking care of vehicular and home maintenance in today’s society. By the time the sun has set, stress levels have spiked. Individuals with a genetic predisposition for anxiety and insomnia are evermore likely of finding themselves unable to come down from the adrenaline pumping through their veins and the thoughts coursing through their mind. A combination of anxiety disorders and insomnia exacerbates the likelihood of this issue.
Victims of Ambien addiction often start out with benign intentions, filling the ‘script their psychiatrist writes for them. Over time, they realize the signs of Ambien addiction ” dependent on the hypnotic to fall asleep. Ambien addiction can creep up quickly and insidiously before the person realizes that they are completely reliant on the hypnotic drug to fall asleep.
When someone wants to kick Ambien on their own, they often find themselves unable to do so. Once addiction has set in, the situation no longer involves a simple matter of will power. People have been gripped in the arms of a real disease, in which recovery is a slow and difficult process. However, the benefits of being drug-free and addressing the underlying causes of insomnia contribute to a healthier lifestyle. Many professionals recommend that Ambien addicts pay attention to their sleep patterns throughout the withdrawal period to fine-tune their sleep hygiene. Recommendations include:
- Don’t bring food, computers, or TV into the bedroom.
- Avoid stimulants from TV, cell phone or computer lights one to two hours before bed time.
- Abstain from eating food two to four hours before bed.
- Try to fall asleep at the same time each night and wake up at the same time every morning.
- Keep a fan handy to drown out white noise .
- Wear a sleep mask to eliminate sources of light that can be extra-disruptive during the withdrawal process.
- Drink a glass of warm milk before bed.
- Take a hot bath one to two hours before bed.
- Take a book into the bedroom to read before falling asleep, rather than turning on the television.
Taking action against the addiction will help ensure success in the longevity of Ambien abstinence. Withdrawal effects are debilitating, and support is often necessary to get the addict through the recovery process. The phenomenon of “whiplash insomnia” is a very real ramification of Ambien cessation. Whiplash insomnia is the manifestation of adverse effects from suddenly stopping narcotic medication for insomnia. When the body is accustomed to rapidly inducing chemicals in the brain to promote sleep, the body goes into a “shock” period for 2-3 days following cessation. Users report high energy throughout the night, hunger pangs at three or four in the morning, obsessively checking the clock while unsuccessfully trying to fall asleep organically, and feeling restless and irritable the next day. The viscous withdrawal power of Ambien often drives people back to the drug despite their best efforts to stay clean of the drug. Hence, rehabilitation or professional intervention is extremely helpful and more successful in treating Ambien addiction than relying on a person’s willpower to fight the addiction demon.
Many rehab programs offer non-narcotic substitutes for Ambien so the client can detoxify from Ambien safely and effectively. Counter-indicative, non-narcotic drugs carefully administered by staffed clinicians help to mitigate the patient’s insomnia-whiplash symptoms and overall comfort level. Trazedone is commonly prescribed for the withdrawal period from Ambien. Ambien is very addictive psychologically as well as physically, so an emotional detox is recommended to help the client cope with emotional effects of quitting Ambien. For example, a woman who is used to reaching into her nightstand every night to take one pill before bed as part of her relaxation routine, may become depressed and saddened at the loss of Ambien in her life. Rehabilitation centers address both the physical and emotional issues associated with cessation of Ambien.
For those kicking Ambien addiction on their own volition should be patient with themselves. Withdrawal effects can be severe and very uncomfortable. Users report the inability to sleep for approximately three to four days following their last Ambien dose. They may feel more restless, anxious and discontent throughout the day as well. An addiction encompasses an obsession of the mind as well as a physical component; racing thoughts about Ambien are common. Be assured that after three or four days of discomfort, the side effects of Ambien cessation should start to subside. After about two weeks of abstaining from Ambien, users report feeling content with a regular sleeps cycle. If possible, talk to a professional substance abuse counselor to help navigate the road to recovery from Ambien addiction.