Is Addiction to Ambien Possible?

Is Addiction to Ambien Possible?

Ambien is like many drugs on the market in that any person can experience dependence and addiction. Long-term use of the drug can lead to physical and psychological dependence on Ambien. Some people are at greater risk than others. Find out how addiction to Ambien starts and its impact on the brain and body.

What is Ambien?

Ambien is a prescription medication which contains zolpidem, a nonbenzodiazepine hypnotic. Used to treat insomnia, or difficulty falling asleep, the peak time is 1.5-2 hours with profound effects on the individual using the drug. Zolpidem is only prescribed for short-term use, between 2 to 6 weeks. Longer treatments can increase the risk of addiction.

Ambien is available in extended-release versions which must be taken immediately before bed. The medication is most effective when people have 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep due to the risk of side effects including drowsiness and memory issues.

Effects on Body

Brain activity slows down when the body is ready for sleep. Ambien makes people who use the medication feel drowsy and able to sleep easier due to the muscle relaxant. While it is an excellent sleep aid, there may be negative side effects. Some people have reported the following during sleep:



Daily activities such as driving or making food

Emotional, behavioral or psychological changes

How Addiction Happens

Long-term use of Ambien may result in physical dependence. While this is not the same as Ambien addiction, physical dependence means individuals may develop a tolerance to the medication which requires larger doses for the same effect. Over time this can create withdrawal symptoms when the drug is removed. Some signs of addiction may occur over time and difficult to notice. These include:

Compulsively seeking larger doses of Ambien

Long-term use of the drug

Using Ambien to get high

The best way to avoid addiction to Ambien is following doctor’s advice on dosage, use and duration of treatment. The drug should not be prescribed for use longer than six weeks. Typically, within ten days, the medication will begin to resolve insomnia. Ambien should not be prescribed to people with a history of drug or alcohol abuse due to possible dependency.

Blueprints supports individuals who are experiencing dependency on or addiction to drugs. Call us for help if you or a loved one are struggling to quit using Ambien or any other substance.


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