Ambien Addiction


Lack of quality sleep can negatively affect your job performance, relationships, self-image, and social life. To avoid this, many Americans are now turning to their doctor for relief from sleepless nights. But for some, it turns out that they are just exchanging one problem for another. When you first took a pill to help you sleep, you probably didn’t expect to end up in Ambien rehab. However, there is no need to feel ashamed – you are neither the first nor the last person to develop an addiction to sleep aids. Harmony Ridge Recovery Center WV is here to help you. Get in touch with us, and we will guide you on your journey toward recovery!

Understanding Ambien addiction


Before you can seek drug addiction treatment in WV, you must first recognize that you have a problem. With a prescription medication like Ambien, that’s not always easy. Because there are legitimate medical reasons to use Ambien, taking it is not in and of itself a sign that you need Ambien rehab. But taking it regularly over a prolonged period of time can be. So it’s beneficial to understand what Ambien addiction really is, how it develops, how to recognize it, and what to do about it if you are worried about your own or a loved one’s Ambien use.

Woman admitting a patient into Ambien rehab.
Let us help you on your way to recovery!

What is Ambien?

Ambien is the brand name for zolpidem, a sedative-hypnotic substance. It works by slowing down the brain’s essential functions. The effects of it are, therefore, similar to those of benzodiazepines. In fact, Ambien was developed as a safer alternative to benzodiazepines like Xanax to treat insomnia. This is what the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it for in the early 1990s. It comes in two forms:

  • an immediate-release tablet that’s designed to help a person fall asleep
  • an extended-release formula, Ambien CR that helps a person fall and stay asleep

The medical use of Ambien

Ambien is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. It latches on to receptor cells in the brain that bind with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which influences neurological activity. This slows down the body’s basic functions like heart rate, breathing, and brain activity; a sense of calm and, eventually, sleep is brought on by these effects. Ambien is meant to be taken right before bedtime and typically results in seven to eight hours of sleep. It is designed to be prescribed for a short duration of time, usually one to two weeks – enough to bring about healthier sleeping patterns but not enough to produce dependency.

Woman watching TV from her bed.
People who suffer from insomnia will often be prescribed Ambien.

Ambien abuse: the impact on the body and mind

Ambien is a Schedule IV controlled substance, meaning it has a relatively low chance of causing addiction. As such, it isn’t commonly considered an addictive medication. However, the calming effect the drug has combined with its effectiveness in producing it makes Ambien a risk for people prone to addiction.

As the number of people in need of benzos rehab rose, the need for a less addictive alternative became apparent. Doctors developed Ambien as a safer option with less potential for addiction. Despite this being true for the most part, it’s still possible to develop a dependence. In high enough doses, Ambien can produce a feeling of euphoria and a rush of energy, which can be addicting. Furthermore, long-time users build up a tolerance and need increasingly higher doses to get the same effects; this can lead to abuse that requires treatment in Ambien rehab.

Recognizing the signs of Ambien addiction: when is it time for Ambien rehab?


Addiction, especially to prescription medication, typically develops gradually. You’ll usually start out using Ambien to help you sleep. The more often you use it, the more dependent on it you’ll become. As you develop a tolerance, you’ll start using higher and higher doses. You may not realize that you’re slipping into addiction until it’s too late, and you can’t quit without Ambien rehab. This is because there is no single moment when you will go from using Ambien to abusing it; instead, the change happens in increments that are easy to deny, even to yourself.

So if you’re taking Ambien, be mindful of your use and how it changes over time. You should consider seeking help if you are:

  • having cravings for Ambien
  • using Ambien differently from how it was prescribed (taking higher doses or crushing up pills to achieve the effect faster)
  • isolating yourself from loved ones
  • spending too much money on Ambien
  • practicing risky behavior under the influence with no memory of it later on
  • prioritizing Ambien over obligations and hobbies
  • experiencing negative consequences in your work and social life due to Ambien use

Ambien addiction can develop quickly. So be on the lookout for the signs, even if your prescription is for a brief period of time. Detecting early signs of an Ambien addiction can help you prevent it from getting worse.

Side effects of prolonged Ambien abuse

The use of Ambien comes with some potentially serious side effects. The likelihood of these side effects and their severity increase with prolonged use. Consequently, many people in Ambien addiction treatment report experiencing:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • emotional numbness
  • nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • blurred vision
  • difficulty breathing
  • decreased alertness and chronic fatigue
  • hallucinations
  • memory loss
  • sleep disturbances (in particular, night terrors and sleepwalking)
Woman having a nightmare.
Paradoxically, abusing a sleep aid like Ambien can cause nightmares and insomnia.

Sleepwalking as a side effect of Ambien

Sleepwalking is a common side effect of Ambien addiction. Some patients who take Ambien have been reported to sleep-eat and even sleep-drive under the influence, the last of which can be extremely dangerous. People who do these sleep-induced activities (also known as parasomnia) usually don’t remember them later on; this is referred to as an Ambien blackout.

Ambien as a gateway drug

One of the dangers of Ambien is that people who abuse it often use other substances as well. It is most common for people in Ambien rehab to also take benzodiazepine or need alcohol addiction treatment WV. These are all CNS depressants with similar effects. Combining them produces a more intense high. But it can also lead to heart, brain, and lung damage as well as a fatal overdose.

Ambien Addiction Statistics


About 50 to 70 million adults in the United States suffer from sleep deprivation or a sleeping disorder. What’s more alarming is that close to 38 million of these adults take a sleep aid. The use of sleep aids varies by demographic – women are more likely to use sleep medication than men, and caucasian people are more likely to rely on sleep aids than any other race.

Between 2006 and 2011, doctors wrote about 38 million prescriptions for Ambien alone. Today, more than 500,000 Americans abuse Ambien and other sedatives. Young people tend to be likely candidates for Ambien addiction. In 2005, 7% of high school students needed Ambien addiction treatment, compared to 2.8% of students in 1992 when the drug went on the market. What is worse, between 2005 and 2011, hospital emergency rooms saw almost 20,000 Ambien-related visits, an increase of 220%. This indicates that not only abuse but overdoses as well are on the rise.

Leave addiction behind with the help of Ambien rehab at Harmony Ridge Recovery Center


Ambien addiction doesn’t have to control your life. With the right treatment, you can make a full recovery. Harmony Ridge Recovery Center is here to provide you with all the support you need to leave addiction behind and rebuild your life. We provide different levels of care for different severities of Ambien addiction:

  • residential rehab program WV – the highest level of care reserved for serious cases of addiction, complicated mental health problems, and early stages of recovery, suitable for Ambien users with a severe dependency
  • partial hospitalization program WV – a transitional step between inpatient and outpatient rehab, suitable for Ambien users who have completed residential treatment but still experience relatively severe symptoms and require additional support
  • intensive outpatient program WV – for mild cases of addiction and later stages of recovery, suitable for most Ambien users

Detoxing under medical supervision

It can be quite uncomfortable to detox from Ambien. In fact, when the symptoms are particularly bad, it can also be dangerous. For this reason, we recommend that you don’t do it alone. Instead, you should start your Ambien rehab in our medical detox center in West Virginia. Our medical staff will help you gradually quit Ambien and monitor you for detox symptoms. You’ll be far safer and more comfortable at our facility than doing this at home.

Nurse doing an exam in Ambien rehab
Our staff will make sure you are safe and comfortable during the Ambien detox.

Addiction therapy in Ambien rehab

The majority of our Ambien addiction treatment is based on addiction therapy. In therapy, you will discuss the reasons why you started taking Ambien and learn other ways to cope with those issues instead. That way, you will address the mental, emotional, and psychological aspects of addiction that would otherwise have continued after the physical dependence was resolved. Your therapy sessions at Harmony Ridge will be divided into:

To maximize the effectiveness of therapy, we rely on multiple evidence-based therapeutic methods. Addressing addiction through different approaches to therapy is a way to tackle different aspects of addiction simultaneously and ensures you are able to find a form of therapy that you respond to. In addition to well-established methods, we include new approaches that have been proven effective in treating addiction and are always on the lookout for the latest research in the field so we can add them to our catalog as needed. As of today, our treatment center provides:

Treatment for Ambien addiction and co-occurring disorders

People who suffer from anxiety and depression are likely to turn to Ambien to calm down. In fact, about 63 percent of adults said that their anxiety or depression was the main reason for turning to drug abuse. So it’s far from uncommon that people in Ambien rehab also suffer from another mental health disorder. This is known as co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis.

Woman painting on the floor.
Addiction therapy in Ambien rehab will also help you deal with other mental health issues.

If you have both an Ambien addiction and a mental health disorder, Harmony Ridge offers dual diagnosis treatment in West Virginia. Dual diagnosis involves both conditions being treated at the same time to determine the root cause of your addiction and address the way your addiction and mental health have affected each other. In this way, you will not only be recovering from addiction but also treating any other mental health issues properly with medication and therapy.

The benefits of Ambien rehab at Harmony Ridge Recovery Center


At Harmony Ridge, we take recovery very seriously. Our Ambien addiction treatment is designed to produce long-term results by addressing every aspect of addiction in a holistic way and adequately preparing for life after rehab. When you choose our treatment center, you get:

  • evidence-based treatment methods – medical and therapeutic support that has been proven effective in the treatment of addiction
  • personalized treatment and aftercare plans – every step of rehab is tailored specifically to suit your unique needs
  • compassionate expert staff – a licensed and accredited team with experience in the field who will treat you with respect and care

Get quality Ambien addiction treatment today!


Harmony Ridge Recovery Center works tirelessly to provide the best possible Ambien rehab in West Virginia.  We will give you the tools and life skills to begin living a sober existence. So whenever you are ready to regain control of your life, contact us – our door is open 24/7!

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1. What is Ambien?

Ambien is the brand name of the sleep aid zolpidem. It is a sedative that slows down central nervous system activity, producing a sense of calmness and relaxation in order to help users fall and stay asleep. It is typically prescribed for short-term use in the treatment of insomnia after other methods (like therapy and sleep hygiene) have been unsuccessful.

2. How does Ambien addiction develop?

Most commonly, Ambien addiction develops as tolerance to the drug increases over time. Users start increasing the dosage they’re taking until they are fully dependent on the substance. However, a high dose of Ambien does produce a kind of high. So people who are looking for effects similar to alcohol intoxication or a benzodiazepine high but have easier access to Ambien may turn to using the sleep aid instead.

3. What are the effects of Ambien?

Ambien produces similar effects to alcohol, sedatives, and weak opioids: it induces a calm and relaxed feeling, slows down breathing, and causes pleasant drowsiness. For this reason, it is dangerous to combine with substances that have the same impact (like benzodiazepines) as the effectiveness of both drugs will increase, which can lead to overdose and death. Even when used alone, Ambien has side effects: anxiety, nausea, fatigue, memory loss, nightmares, and sleepwalking.

4. What are the signs of Ambien addiction?

You may have developed an addiction to Ambien if you use the drug for longer than prescribed, more often than prescribed, in higher doses than prescribed, or in combination with other substances. Some of the clearest and surest signs of addiction, however, are cravings for Ambien, prioritizing the medication over other activities, and an inability to stop taking it.

5. How long does it take to detox from Ambien?

When you detox from Ambien, you’re likely to experience uncomfortable symptoms like agitation, anxiety, fever, nausea, convulsions, insomnia, and even seizures. The worst of these will happen around 3-5 days after you stop taking the medication. After about two weeks, most former users are symptom-free. However, the duration of detox will vary. Some of the factors that affect the duration of detox are the severity of addiction, the dosage of the drug, and the type of medication (immediate-release or extended-release).

6. How long does Ambien rehab last?

Just like with detox, the duration of Ambien rehab varies from person to person. The higher the dose you are taking and the longer you’ve been abusing the drug, the more treatment you will need. Complicating factors like other addictions or mental illnesses can also prolong the need for rehab.

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