Ambien is the brand name for the prescription medication Zolpidem, which is most often prescribed for aid with insomnia but is also used to tame anxiety and other disorders. Ambien works by binding to inhibitory chemicals in the brain to slow the firing of neurons and create calming effects.
Short and Long Term Dangers of Ambien Abuse
Immediately after beginning to take Ambien, users can expect to feel uncoordinated and drowsy, which aids in nighttime sleep but can have unwanted effects. Especially when initially used, Ambien can cause people to experience parasomnia episodes, such as sleepwalking, sleep driving, and binge eating while asleep, among other basic daily tasks.
The effects of taking Ambien at night can also leak into the day after and inhibit psychomotor function, leading to motor vehicle collisions and an increased chance of falls and broken bones. In some cases, Ambien use can impair memory and lead to altered thought patterns and hallucinations.
Ambien should never be mixed with any medication or substance that causes drowsiness, such as prescription pain medication, cold remedies, or alcohol. The effect of mixing these substances can slow down heart and respiratory function to a point that causes death.
As users continue to take Ambien, a tolerance is developed that requires more and more of the drug in order to receive the same initial effects. Taking Ambien for longer than four weeks can cause physical dependence or addiction as well as damage to sleep staging. Persisting use of Ambien can lead to insomnia worse than the insomnia the drug was intended to treat.
When users stop taking Ambien after and extended period of use, certain withdrawal effects may be experienced, such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, and increased impulsivity. Because Ambien slows brain function, stopping its use can cause activity in the brain to race out of control and lead to seizures. It is important to seek medical advice when stopping to take Ambien.
If you are concerned you or a loved one is experiencing an addiction to Ambien, it is important to seek out medical help immediately.