Substance Use

What are the Short and Long-Term Side Effects of Ambien Abuse?

TABLE OF CONTENTSTable of Contents

man sleeping with headache

These Are the Long- and Short-Term Side Effects of Ambien Abuse You Need to Know

Ambien helps people sleep. It’s done that since 1992 when the drug launched on the market, giving it the nickname “zombie pill.”

This medication has long been the subject of controversy, and you might have heard the horror stories, such as the woman from New Jersey who drowned while sleepwalking (she had taken Ambien earlier that day), or the Rhode Island senator who crashed his car near the U.S. Capitol after taking the drug. 

Perhaps you or someone you know has experienced these side effects:

  • Sleepwalking
  • Night terrors
  • Disorientation

Or maybe you’ve heard about other extreme side effects, such as:

  • Memory loss
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts

But how common are these reactions? 

And what are the short-term side effects of Ambien abuse? What are the long-term side effects of Ambien abuse?

In this guide, learn about the short- and long-term side effects of Ambien and why seeking help for an Ambien addiction could be one of the best decisions you ever make.

Ambien, Explained

Ambien is the brand name for a sedative-hypnotic medication called zolpidem. It affects brain chemicals in people who have insomnia or trouble sleeping. Ambien, as a central nervous system depressant, can influence mental functions, even when it’s taken under the supervision of a doctor. 

That brings with it a whole range of side effects.

Some of these side effects are short term. Other reactions happen with continued use of the drug. If someone abuses Ambien, they might experience more severe side effects, but more on that in a moment.

First, Ambien comes in two types:

  • Ambien
  • Ambien CR, a controlled-release form of the drug

Some people can develop an Ambien addiction if they take the drug for too long.

Doctors prescribe Ambien for insomnia and other sleep-related disorders. But sometimes, patients take these drugs for longer than they should. Other people seek out Ambien on the black market and take it without a prescription, which is against the law. 

Here are some quick facts about Ambien:

  • Ambien dosage depends on the user’s age and specific medical condition. Users shouldn’t increase their dosage or take the drug for longer than prescribed.
  • Users should take Ambien orally on an empty stomach. Not snort it. Or inject it.
  • Doctors should only prescribe this sleeping pill for 1-2 weeks. However, many users continue to take the drug for much longer than that, which results in dependence and addiction.

If you think you have an addiction to Ambien or want to help someone else stop taking this drug, call Zinnia Healing at (855) 430-9439.

What Is Ambien Abuse?

Ambien abuse can happen in these circumstances:

  • Someone takes a higher dose of the drug than recommended.
  • Someone takes Ambien for longer than prescribed.
  • Someone takes Ambien without a prescription from a doctor.

Ambien abuse can lead to dependence on the drug, which can then result in an addiction. The user might be unaware they have a problem or be in denial about their Ambien addiction. 

The first step to overcoming Ambien abuse is to get professional help and enroll in a treatment program. This process can be difficult for the person abusing Ambien because it involves reducing their dosage or giving up the drug, bringing unwanted withdrawal symptoms.

If you think you have an addiction to Ambien, reach out to a professional team of drug and alcohol addiction specialists. Call Zinnia Healing at (855) 430-9439 for more information.

What Are the Short-Term Side Effects of Ambien Abuse?

There are many short-term side effects of Ambien abuse. A person might experience one or more of these side effects regardless of dosage and even when taking the drug as prescribed:

  • Fatigue 
  • Sedation
  • Nausea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Fever
  • A loss of muscle control
  • Low heart rate
  • Low pulse 
  • Irritability
  • A lack of interest in social activities

There is an increased chance of someone feeling these side effects when taking a higher dose of Ambien than recommended.

Because Ambien affects the brain and motor functions, users might sleepwalk or experience night terrors. Some users report talking on the phone or going for a walk after taking the drug and having no recollection of these activities the following day. 

What Are the Long-Term Side Effects of Ambien Abuse?

People who take Ambien for longer than prescribed or take the drug for prolonged periods without a prescription might experience these side effects:

  • Falling unconscious
  • Breathing problems
  • Constant sedation
  • Severe memory loss
  • Excessive drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Extreme changes in mood
  • Stumbling
  • Becoming unresponsive to certain stimuli
  • Increased risk of cancer

A person who takes Ambien for a long time might fall asleep or become unconscious in dangerous situations, such as driving a car or operating machinery. Or a person might overeat when under the influence of the drug and gain excessive weight. 

Unfortunately, dependence on Ambien can develop quickly, and many users increase their dosage of the drug to experience the same effects as when they first took it.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no evidence that Ambien causes suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts.

Do you have an Ambien addiction? Do you know someone who does? Call Zinnia Healing at (855) 430-9439 for more information.