Dealing With a Dependence on Ambien

Ambien is the brand name for a medication called zolpidem tartrate, which is a sedative drug that doctors prescribe to patients who suffer from insomnia – which can be described as a difficulty in either falling asleep or remaining asleep throughout the night. The thing is, people can get to a point where they are dependent on this drug. They can even experience Ambien withdrawal symptoms if they try to not take it.

As a non-benzodiazepine, short-acting hypnotic drug, this medication can be quite effective in terms of initiating and then maintaining sleep. When it is taken as prescribed, Ambien can and does help people who suffer from insomnia. That being said, it can also lead to side-effects that are not wanted – especially when it comes to people who abuse it.

Is it Addictive?

Some people might wonder if Ambien is addictive. In the past few years, zolpidem, along with other related sedatives, have mostly replaced benzodiazepines, such as Valium, as a treatment that is short-term for insomnia due to them being thought to be safer. There is less of a chance that people can develop a dependence on them and/or abuse them. Even so, people who continually take Ambien for periods of time that are longer than recommended, or those who abuse it due to its potential for a euphoric feeling, can quickly develop a dependency on it.

This is especially true of people dealing with traumatic events. When it is taken for long periods of time, even at the prescribed dosage, it can be quite habit forming.

Signs and Symptoms

Some of the unwanted effects of using Ambien will differ from person to person. They can include but are not limited to things like:

  •         Drowsiness the next day
  •         Dizziness
  •         Hallucinations or delusions
  •         Problems with coordination
  •         Fatigue
  •         Nausea and vomiting
  •         Somnambulism
  •         Short-term memory loss or amnesia

Effects of Abusing Ambien

Abusing Ambien can lead to quite a few negative consequences. They can include things like:

  • Physical dependence
  • Risking an overdose – which is higher if the Ambien is taken with certain other substances, such as alcohol
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Addiction


Dependence can be described as a pattern of use that is maladaptive of a substance that can lead to clinically significant distress or impairment that can be manifested as: long periods of time being spent to obtain the drug, efforts to stop using it that are unsuccessful, a desire to use it that is persistent, withdrawal, and tolerance. All of these things can result from abusing Ambien for prolonged periods of time.

Treatment for Addiction

Treatment for an Ambien addiction can be conducted in an outpatient facility or an inpatient one.

Addiction to Ambien treatment often necessitates addressing whatever the underlying issue is that caused the drug to be prescribed to begin with. Rehab centers that treat Ambien addiction might treat the patient with skills training, group therapy, and even more. The specific methods that are used by these facilities might vary from one facility to the next and might include things like contingency management, motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy, and other types of interventions. The important thing is that you find a facility that will offer the type of care most needed by yourself or your loved one.