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Zolpidem Abuse, Signs, Symptoms, and Addiction Treatment

1-800-315-2391  |  February 6th

Zolpidem Abuse, Signs, Symptoms, and Addiction Treatment

Zolpidem is a drug often used to treat insomnia, better known by its brand name Ambien.

The medication is effective, but unfortunately, many people misuse it in order to experience a euphoric high. Call 800-807-0951 now if you or someone you love is suffering from substance abuse and addiction and needs safe, reliable treatment.

Understanding Zolpidem

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, zolpidem is only a Schedule IV medication but it does still have potential for abuse. It is normally only prescribed for a short period of time, around two weeks or so, but sometimes, people are able to get ahold of the drug for longer periods. This misuse can be very dangerous, leading to tolerance, dependence, withdrawal symptoms, and of course, addiction.

Signs and Symptoms of Zolpidem Use

The drug's main side effect is sleepiness, as it is a sleep-inducing medication. Therefore, it should only be taken right before the individual is ready to go to bed. If someone drives or participates in another activity requiring immense concentration while on zolpidem, they put themselves and others at serious risk.

According to the National Library of Medicine, other common signs and symptoms of zolpidem use include:

  1. Tiredness
  2. Headache
  3. Dizziness
  4. Lightheadedness
  5. Drugged Feeling
  6. Unsteady Walking
  7. Difficulty Keeping Balance
  8. Nausea
  9. Constipation
  10. Diarrhea
  11. Gas
  12. Heartburn
  13. Stomach Pain or Tenderness
  14. Changes in Appetite
  15. Uncontrollable Shaking of a Part of the Body
  16. Pain, Burning, Numbness or Tingling in the Hands, Arms, Feet, or Legs
  17. Unusual Dreams
  18. Redness, Burning, or Tingling of the Tongue (Caused by Sublingual Tablets)
  19. Dry Mouth or Throat
  20. Ringing, Pain, or Itching in the Ears
  21. Eye Redness
  22. Muscle Aches or Cramps
  23. Joint, Back, or Neck Pain
  24. Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

In most cases, these side effects are mild, and those who experience them should talk to their doctor if they become unbearable or do not subside while taking the drug. Still, there are certain effects that can be dangerous, and it is important to know these before starting a zolpidem regimen.

Risks of Zolpidem Use

Some individuals have participated in activities while asleep when taking zolpidem. These activities include driving a car, walking, making and eating food, having sex, etc. This is a particularly dangerous outcome of the drug's use, as patients who experience it do not remember doing these things and are not fully awake during them. If you experience any of these issues while on the medication, tell your doctor immediately.

Tolerance and dependence are common with zolpidem, which is why patients are usually only given these medications for two weeks or fewer. Though sleep drugs carry less risk of dependence than benzodiazepines, which act on the same receptors in the brain, withdrawal symptoms associated with zolpidem are similar to those caused by other CNS depressants and just as dangerous (National Institute on Drug Abuse). These can include:

  1. Seizures
  2. Confusion
  3. Hallucinations
  4. Depersonalization
  5. Anxiety
  6. Depression
  7. Fear
  8. Paranoia

In addition, those who take large doses of the drug, on purpose or by accident, put themselves at serious risk of overdose. According to the DailyMed, zolpidem overdose can cause severe respiratory depression, which can lead to an individual's stopped breathing, coma, brain damage, and finally even death. If you believe someone you love has overdosed on this drug, call 911 immediately.

Zolpidem Abuse

People who abuse zolpidem and other sleep drugs often take the medication and then fight the urge to fall asleep, which is what causes the intense high. Some individuals who become addicted may even turn to stronger drugs like benzodiazepines, especially once tolerance sets in. Like other drugs that cause euphoria when taken in large doses, zolpidem can be addictive.

Zolpidem Addiction and Treatment

Patients being treated for zolpidem abuse will often need to be treated for withdrawal first, going through medically assisted detox so they will not experience the full effect of the drug's withdrawal symptoms. After this, behavioral therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy and group therapy are very effective at treating CNS depressant addiction. Any co-occurring mental disorders should also be addressed and treated along with one's substance use disorder.

Zolpidem can be an effective medication for treating insomnia, but it is also dangerous and has a high potential for abuse. 800-807-0951 now if you have been misusing your medication and need help finding a rehab program that will cater to your needs.

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