Ambien Addiction: Breaking Free From Ambien Abuse

Ambien, also known by its generic name, Zolpidem, is a widely prescribed prescription drug used to treat sleep problems such as insomnia. The misuse of prescription medications, including Ambien, has become a growing concern.

More than 250,000 people in the United States misused Ambien and other sedatives in 2013, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. As we delve deeper into the complexities of Ambien addiction, it becomes apparent that many individuals, including older adults, find themselves trapped in its grip.

Our Ambien Addiction Treatment Centers

Break free from the cycle of addiction. Find treatment options with The Hope House.

What is Ambien?

Ambien, also known as zolpidem, is a sedative medication commonly prescribed to treat insomnia (trouble sleeping). It belongs to a class of drugs known as non-benzodiazepines and is often used to induce sleep in those who suffer from sleep problems. It is also called a sedative-hypnotic and works similarly with drugs like Xanax, Valium, or Ativan.

How Ambien Works

Ambien works by slowing down the activity in the brain to facilitate sleep. It is available in two forms: immediate-release (Ambien) and extended-release (Ambien CR). While it can be effective when used appropriately, the potential for misuse and addiction is a looming concern.

Legitimate Uses of Ambien

Under medical supervision and following the prescribed dosage and guidelines outlined in the medication guide, Ambien can be a valuable tool in managing sleep problems. However, misuse, such as taking larger doses of Zolpidem than recommended or using it without a prescription, can lead to serious health consequences.

How Long Does Ambien Stay in Your System?

The answer to the question, “how long does ambien stay in your system” is that Ambien (zolpidem) typically stays in your system for about 8 hours, with its effects diminishing after that time. However, it may be detectable in urine for up to 72 hours after use, depending on factors like dose, frequency of use, and individual metabolism.

Is Ambien a controlled substance?

Yes, Ambien is a controlled substance. It is classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This means that it has a low potential for abuse but still has the potential for addiction.

Turn back from Ambien addiction. Let The Hope House help you.

Using Ambien can be particularly beneficial for those who struggle with sleep initiation, allowing them to enjoy prolonged sleep and reduce nighttime awakenings. However, this drug also comes with potential risks and side effects.

Ambien Side Effects

icon depicting drowsiness the side effects of addiction


icon showing headache


icon showing vomiting which is a cause of drug abuse


Icon Diarrhea


icon showing the effects of Addiction on the body include dry mouth

Dry Mouth

Icon Allergic Reaction

Allergic Reaction

icon of impaired memory caused by Addiction

Memory Problems

Icon Sleepwalking


icon showing addiction can cause insomnia

Complex Sleep Behaviors

How is Ambien addictive?

Ambien is addictive because it works by increasing the activity of a neurotransmitter called GABA in the brain. GABA is a calming neurotransmitter that helps to regulate sleep. When Ambien increases GABA activity, it can make people feel very relaxed and sleepy. This can be pleasurable, and it can lead people to want to take the drug more often.

Risk Factors For Ambien Addiction

Ambien can be addictive even when taken as prescribed. Users must also be cautious about the potential risk factors that may lead to addiction. These factors include:

Predisposing Factors

Certain individuals may be more vulnerable to Ambien addiction due to underlying factors such as a history of substance abuse or a genetic predisposition.

Environmental Triggers

External factors, such as stress or a lack of healthy coping mechanisms, can contribute to the development of Ambien addiction. Identifying and addressing these triggers is crucial in the recovery process.

Co-occurring Disorders

Ambien addiction often co-occurs with other mental health conditions, such as sleep apnea. Treating both the addiction and the underlying disorder is essential for a successful recovery.

Dangers of Ambien Addiction

Many people start by using Ambien recreationally to address occasional sleep problems. However, the allure of its effects can quickly lead to addiction. Addiction can manifest in various ways, including:

Increased Tolerance

Over time, individuals may find that they need higher doses to achieve the same sleep-inducing effect, leading to a dangerous cycle of escalating use.

Health Risks

Prolonged use can lead to health issues such as breathing problems, increased heart rate, cognitive impairment, and increased vulnerability to accidents.

Relationship Strain

Addiction often strains personal relationships as the person’s focus shifts towards obtaining and using Ambien.

Work and Social Life Impact

Ambien addiction can disrupt daily routines, work, and relationships, as individuals prioritize obtaining and using the drug.

Financial Burden

Sustaining an addiction can be financially draining due to the constant need for medication. Misusing Ambien can also lead to legal consequences.

Withdrawal Symptoms

When attempting to stop or reduce Ambien use, withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, and cravings can be overwhelming.

Take the step towards a brighter future with The Hope House.

The Effects of Alcohol

Alcohol is a depressant that can slow down the central nervous system. It can lead to feelings of relaxation and drowsiness. Many people turn to alcohol as a means to unwind or alleviate stress, often consuming it in various social situations.

Both Ambien and alcohol have sedative effects. When combined, they can intensify each other’s sedative properties. This can result in excessive drowsiness, making it difficult for individuals to stay fully awake and alert. Other severe consequences of mixing both substances include:

Alcohol impairs cognitive function and motor skills. When taken alongside Ambien, the impairment can become even more pronounced. This combination can lead to poor decision-making and an increased risk of accidents, including falls and automobile accidents (sleep-driving).

The drug can sometimes cause memory lapses or blackouts on its own. When mixed with alcohol, the risk of experiencing these memory problems significantly increases. People may experience having no recollection of their actions while under the influence of both substances.

Combining these substances increases the risk of overdose. This is because the effects of each substance can mask the severity of the other. Consuming more alcohol or Ambien than they can safely handle, leads to overdose symptoms such as difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, and even death.

Ambien addiction is a serious and complex issue that affects individuals physically, mentally, and emotionally. Recognizing the signs and seeking help is the first step toward recovery. There are various treatment programs available for Ambien addiction, including inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient programs, and therapy and counseling.

Recovery from Ambien addiction is possible, and it begins with taking that first step toward healing. Here at The Hope House, a treatment facility in Scottsdale, Arizona, we understand the unique challenges of addiction. Our master-level clinicians are dedicated to treating the root cause of addiction with our evidence-based treatment programs.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Ambien addiction, don’t hesitate to call your doctor or seek professional help today. Your journey to recovery starts now.

Your second chance starts now. Let The Hope House guide you.