Ambien Addiction: Signs, Effects, & Treatment

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on September 21, 2022

Ambien sleeping pills may be less addictive than their benzodiazepine equivalents, but that does not mean Ambien dependence never occurs. Addiction centers can help treat addiction to Ambien or other forms of drug abuse.

How Long Does Ambien Last?

Ambien is the brand name for zolpidem. It is a non-benzodiazepine sedative hypnotic that is often used as a short-term prescription sleep aid for people with sleeping disorders.

Ambien is not addictive in the same way as many other drugs, but it can be habit-forming.

As a result, people who use Ambien frequently should be wary of dependence and a possible sleeping pill addiction.

What Are The Signs Of Ambien Abuse?

Any purposeful deviation from the prescription written by your doctor is considered a form of drug abuse.

If you feel that your current dose is not having the same effect, you may be developing a tolerance to Ambien use.

Speaking with your healthcare provider is the best course of action to prevent substance abuse and addiction in this case.

Other signs of Ambien abuse include cravings, hypersexual behavior, loss of coordination, memory loss, increased sociability, dramatic mood swings, and other behavioral health effects.

Ways People Abuse Ambien

Ambien is designed to be taken orally in the dose prescribed by a healthcare professional.

People who abuse Ambien may use other delivery methods to increase the speed or strength of the drug’s effects.

These methods include:

All of these methods are considered dangerous and could lead to potentially deadly health outcomes, including Ambien overdose.

Side Effects That May Result From Ambien Addiction

All prescription drugs have the potential for side effects. With proper use, those risks are quite low.

However, if you abuse Ambien to the point of forming a mental reliance on the drug, you are more likely to experience the negative side effects of Ambien.

These include:

  • lightheadedness
  • dizziness
  • daytime drowsiness
  • dry mouth
  • muscle aches
  • cramps
  • loss of coordination
  • vision impairment
  • diarrhea
  • sleepwalking

In more serious cases, you may also experience memory loss and the onset of mental illness.

Can Ambien Kill You?

Ambien can cause a fatal overdose in very high doses. The typical dose of Ambien prescribed is 5 to 10 milligrams. The lethal dose is around 300 milligrams.

Learn more about a lethal dose of Ambien.

What Happens When You Mix Ambien With Other Substances?

Ambien should not be mixed with other substances unless they are prescribed by a doctor who is aware of all the medications you are taking. The risk of negative drug interaction is too high.

These are some of the most dangerous combinations.

Ambien And Alcohol

Ambien and alcohol are both central nervous system depressants that slow brain activity. As a result, this combination will enhance the effects of both substances.

Taking Ambien and alcohol together can cause difficulty breathing, loss of motor function, stroke, and liver damage.

Ambien And Cocaine

Ambien and cocaine have opposite effects on the central nervous system. When they are put together, some of the symptoms of each drug will be masked.

Unfortunately, the result is an increased risk of physical dependence and overdose death.

Does Ambien Lead To Withdrawal Symptoms?

Ambien is a z-drug, so it doesn’t usually cause physical dependence.

The dependence associated with Ambien is largely psychological, but the brain is powerful and some people do encounter physical consequences.

If you do experience sweating, fatigue, tremors, delirium, panic attacks, or suicidal thoughts, you should seek immediate medical attention.

These are signs that your addiction has proceeded to the point of causing Ambien withdrawal.

The Ambien Detox Process

Most z-drugs don’t require a taper, but Ambien is an exception.

Due to the risk of seizures and suicidal thoughts, detox programs will typically do a minimum of a two week taper to ensure a safe transition.

If you have been abusing Ambien in higher doses or for a prolonged period of time, your detox may take a week or two longer.

Treatment Options For Ambien Abuse

If you or a family member is battling Ambien abuse, you should know that there are Ambien addiction treatment programs available to help.

An addiction treatment center will guide you or your loved one through a medical detox program that is designed to reduce the discomfort and risk associated with withdrawal.

Once the drug is out of your system, your addiction program will help you find the right therapy to treat your mental health.

Treatment for Ambien addiction may occur in both inpatient and outpatient settings.

Support groups and cognitive behavioral therapy are both scientifically-backed options for drug addiction, but there are many more to explore.

Ambien Abuse FAQs

Ambien is one of the most widely prescribed drugs in the United States. Find answers below to some of the most common questions about Ambien abuse and addiction.

Ambien is classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

This designation indicates that there is a low risk of abuse when the drug is used properly.

The cost of Ambien on the street will vary depending on your location and the dosage. On average, you can expect to pay between $2 and $10 per pill.

Yes, you can develop a tolerance to Ambien. As your brain adjusts to your drug use, the sedative effects of Ambien may be less noticeable.

The difficulty of detoxing from Ambien will depend on the severity of your addiction.

If you are someone who uses extremely high doses of Ambien on a daily basis, Ambien detoxification can be challenging.

If this is the case for you, you should detox through a specialized inpatient treatment program that will provide 24 hour support.

Find Substance Use Disorder Treatment Today

Ambien addiction may be different from other forms of addiction, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real.

If Ambien is negatively affecting your life and causing increasingly disturbing side effects, it’s time to make a change.

Call us to find an addiction recovery center today and get started.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on September 21, 2022


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