Can I Quit Taking Ambien Cold Turkey?

Can I Quit Taking Ambien Cold Turkey?

Ambien is also known as zolpidem which is a sedative-hypnotic drug prescribed for insomnia. Benzodiazepine is present in Ambien which can produce withdrawal symptoms and be dangerous if a person quits cold turkey. Find out why tapering off Ambien is recommended over quitting cold turkey and how to get started.


Cold Turkey

An individual who decides to quit Ambien cold turkey may struggle with the effects. After a short period of use, Ambien has a high dependency rate with high potential for abuse. While a person may want to quit, it is recommended to do so slowly. Zolpidem leaves the body quickly once Ambien is stopped which means the body is quick to react which can be potentially dangerous. The body cannot account for the missing drug which it has come accustomed to up to that point. When a person quits cold turkey, the central nervous system is working to figure out how to behave without the drug. The intense sensations following cold turkey withdrawal are greater than with tapering. The effects are seen approximately 4 hours after last dose where withdrawal kicks in and can last a few days. A few weeks may go by before a person feels less effects. Some of these might include:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Anxiety
  • Convulsions
  • Fatigue
  • Fear
  • Hallucinations
  • Mood swings
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nightmares
  • Panic attacks
  • Tremors
  • Sweating



Stopping Ambien cold turkey can cause dangerous side effects such as panic attacks, nightmares and insomnia which can threaten a person’s health and overall wellbeing. Withdrawal may be so uncomfortable a person takes Ambien to avoid going through withdrawal at all which can lead to relapses and potential for overdose. A plan to withdraw carefully should be created with a treating physician who understands the effects of Ambien, addiction (or dependence) and can develop strategies for coping.



While it is possible for a person to quit Ambien cold turkey, it is not recommended due to the severe side effects. The method of stopping Ambien can have adverse consequences for the long term. Withdrawal should be done under medical supervision in case complications arise during the process. It is up to an individual person whether or not to quit Ambien cold turkey but it is helpful to weigh the positive and negative consequences before deciding to quit. A doctor who is knowledgeable and knows the person well can create a plan which will allow for tapering down the drug slowly over time while monitoring the individual for any signs of distress. The key is to not quit Ambien without having a physician available who can support the person through withdrawal and provide appropriate aftercare.


Ambien can be highly addictive. Quitting cold turkey is not the only or best way to go. Call us for help in quitting Ambien or other drugs and learn about recovery from addiction. There is help and hope for recovery.