Ambien is a sedative used to treat sleeping problems in adults by working on the body to slow down brain activity. When used properly, it can be very helpful in those suffering from insomnia—however some people end up abusing the drug because of its euphoric effects. Ambien can cause negative side effects, but also has the potential to cause a lethal overdose if used incorrectly.
Because of its potential to be addictive, Ambien is prescribed only for short periods of time and generally in small doses. As a sedative-hypnotic medication, it works by slowing brain activity, and users should plan for at least 7-8 hours of sleep. If the user does not sleep, the medication can produce a euphoric high and sometimes even hallucinations. Zolpidem, the active ingredient in Ambien can cause dangerous sedative effects if people with breathing problems or lung disease take it, and can also be habit-forming. It should never be taken with alcohol or other drugs that cause drowsiness, and people with the following health conditions should not take it:
- kidney or liver disease
- lung disease or breathing problems
- a history of alcohol or drug abuse
- a history of depression or mental illness
- suicidal thoughts
- pregnancy or breastfeeding
Sometimes, even when taking the medication without abusing it, short term and long term effects can occur. These can include activities in which the user sleep walks, or participates in activities they do not remember in the morning. Some people using Ambien have reported driving a car, making and eating food, having sex, sleep-walking, and talking on the phone all while remaining asleep. Other serious side effects of Ambien can include:
- difficulty concentrating
- memory problems
- stomach pain
- burning, pain, and numbness in limbs
- strange or unusual behavior
- uncontrollable shaking
- suicidal thoughts
Overdosing on Ambien can cause difficulty breathing, or slow breathing and heart rate, along with loss of consciousness and possible coma. If you believe you or someone you know has taken too much of the medication, contact a local poison control center. If you think someone is in the middle of an Ambien overdose, call 911—it could save their life.
If you or someone you know is addicted to Ambien, talk to a medical professional about dealing with the problem. Don’t wait, contact LEAD Recovery for further help. Call today at 800-380-0012.