Dangers of Long Term Ambien Use

Ambien is the brand name for Zolpidem, which is a medication that helps people suffering from sleep disorders, anxiety or seizures. Ambien works by depressing the central nervous system.

Side Effects of Ambien

Individuals taking Ambien usually feel sleepy and uncoordinated during the first few days. With continued use, the individual’s body starts getting accustomed to these side effects and they lessen. This means that the individual has developed a tolerance to the drug, and needs to take larger doses to keep achieving the same effects.

The main side effects of Ambien use are:

  • Disorientation
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Feeling drowsy
  • Drunken behavior
  • Feeling hungover
  • Headache
  • Impaired memory
  • Feeling lethargic
  • Slurred speech
  • Feeling weak

Long Term Dangers of Ambien

Developing a tolerance to Ambien is one of the more serious dangers of taking the medication. If an individual changes their dose without taking a doctor’s advice or continues to use Ambien for longer than 30 days, then they can develop a higher tolerance to the drug.

Using sleep hypnotics such as Ambien for more than 4 weeks can lead to damaged sleep and addiction. If taken for longer than 7 to 14 days, Ambien can provoke insomnia that is actually worse than the insomnia the drug was intended to treat. Consequently, many individuals increase the size of their doses as they become tolerant to the medication, leading to overdose.

An individual who continues to use Ambien risks becoming physically dependent on the drug. And when that individual stops taking Ambien, they can suffer from withdrawal symptoms. When the individual compulsively seeks out Ambien notwithstanding all the negative consequences, then it is safe to say that the individual has developed an addiction to the drug.

Additionally, there are numerous reports of somnambulism (sleepwalking) and a bizarre phenomenon known as night eating syndrome—or sleep eating—that may occur, especially in the context of multiple doses.

It is important to remember that Ambien is a hypnotic drug that acts on the central nervous system and slows the brain’s activity. If an individual wants to stop taking Ambien then it is highly recommended that they seek professional medical guidance to do so.

A lot of people still think that Ambien is relatively harmless because it is not an illegal substance, but merely a ‘sleep aid’. They fail to understand that abusing Ambien or getting addicted to it is an extremely serious matter. Individuals who abuse Ambien are at risk for the following:

  • Getting into an accident under the influence.
  • Disease and infection caused by sexual activity while under the influence and unaware.
  • Acute medical emergency
  • Complications of underlying medical or mental health symptoms
  • Overdose
  • Coma
  • Death

If you or someone you know is at risk for Ambien abuse, please seek help immediately. At The Villa we have all the information, resources and guidance you will need to start your journey to sobriety.