Ambien – The Wonder Cure For Insomniacs?
The sleep aid Ambien (also known as Zolpidem) was introduced to the world in the 1990’s as a cure for insomnia. If you have ever struggled with insomnia, you know how torturous it can be. When you can’t sleep, your whole world gets turned upside down. You don’t function properly and you struggle to execute even the simplest of tasks due to fatigue.
When Ambien was introduced on the U.S. market, hundreds of thousands of insomniacs turned to the drug for relief, which is only available with a prescription from a doctor. Many swore by the fast-acting sleep aid, convinced they had found the cure to their condition.
The problem was, the drug had some strange side effects. Many people would report doing things in their sleep that they didn’t remember the next day – like eating, sleepwalking, and even driving. Shockingly, in 2009, a man even killed eight people under the influence of Ambien and had no recollection of it.
Zolpidem Abuse Is Prevalent Among Those Who Enjoy The High
Zolpidem quickly got a reputation for being a dangerous drug with negative consequences. People were warned about the side effects the drug might cause and many were scared to take it as a sleep aid. However, there was another side effect reported from taking Ambien that has been problematic – it can be used as a recreational drug that gets you high. When this news spread, many people began abusing Ambien.
Ambien is a sedative drug with a tranquilizing effect that induces sleep. If you take Zolpidem and stay awake, however, you will feel a chemically induced buzz that feels a lot like the popular benzodiazepine drug Xanax. For this reason, Ambien abuse has become a significant problem in the United States.
Those who take Zolpidem for kicks say the drug relaxes them and makes them feel calm and tranquil. The thing is, those who abuse Ambien often engage in bizarre and unexplained behavior. Ambien distorts reality and can cause people to stumble around in a drug-induced haze where they do strange things like set fires, make messes, engage in unprotected sex, or take a shower with their clothes on.
Read Rose’s story about Ambien addiction to learn more about the dangers of this prescription sleep aid.
Meet Rose, A Recovering Ambien Addict
Hi, my name is Rose and I am recovering addict. I have two years and eight months clean – give or take a few days. This is my story about my addiction to the popular sedative sleep aid Ambien. Although I have enjoyed many drugs in my day, Ambien was my absolute favorite. I couldn’t get enough of the stuff. In the end, it brought me to my knees and forced me to sober up.
In my addiction, I was definitely a pothead and a heavy drinker. I also experimented with other drugs like Xanax, prescription opioids (thank God I survived my Fentanyl phase), and heroin. I always enjoyed downers. I tried cocaine once, but I hated it. I still don’t understand why people would want to do that stuff. Why on earth would anyone want to have that much self-awareness? I like to be subdued and check out. Tranquility is not a luxury cocaine and other types of speed afford – and I suppose you could say I was addicted to feeling sedated. Anyway.
Before I found Ambien, I suffered with insomnia all of my life. I tried every natural remedy you can think of and even took mass quantities of over-the-counter sleep aids like Tylenol PM. Nothing worked. I just couldn’t fall asleep – or if I did, I couldn’t stay asleep.
That is why I turned to drugs in the first place. I was looking for something that would quiet my mind and knock me out. I found that with Ambien.
Rose Gets Introduced To Zolpidem
In college, things got so bad that I actually passed out from fatigue in the hallway between classes. I was running off three hours of sleep in five days. I went to the doctor for help. He prescribed me Ambien. (I know it is also known as Zolpidem, but I have never called it that.) It was love at first dose. I got the best night’s sleep I ever had. I slept for twelve hours straight and it was purse bliss.
I was so excited to discover this beautiful thing called sleep. Who knew that going to bed could be such a wonderful experience? I started to take the sleep aid earlier and earlier every night so I could get under the covers and zonk out. I had finally found the highly sought remedy to my life-long insomnia and I felt like a whole different person. It truly was like a magic pill.
But, before long, strange things started to happen. For example, I woke my roommate up one night because I was trying to get into her bed and sleep on top of her. I also woke up one morning in different clothes than I had gone to bed in. Also, I would discover food in my bed with no idea how it got there. I would stumble into other people’s room in the dorm and they would have to take me back to bed. There was all kind of weird stuff that happened.
Rose Discovers The Ambien High
After taking Ambien for a couple of months, I took my medication one night. Right around the same time, some friends came over. I didn’t go to sleep and I stayed awake. I had no idea Ambien could make me feel so good. I thought it was just supposed to be used for sleep. Little did I know the buzz was much better than smoking pot or drinking alcohol. By that time, I was already using drugs heavily and I was excited that I had found a new way to get loaded. When this happened, I really did think it was a magic pill.
So, I started taking Ambien to go to sleep and when I would wake up, I would take another pill and go to class. Then, I started taking more and more pills.
I felt so calm and relaxed, school didn’t stress me out so much. Of course, I didn’t realize that I was slurring my words or that I was obnoxious – kind of like the annoying drunk at the bar. One day, one of my professors pulled me aside and told me I could not come to class loaded. I got very defensive and explained that I was not high and blew him off. After that, I would just wait until after class to take my pills – not that it made much difference.
A Car Accident Sobers Rose Up Quick
I would say I used Ambien consistently during the day for nine months before I totaled my car. I don’t remember that six months, though. I was taking up to ten pills a day.
But, one foggy October’s eve, under the influence of Ambien, I totaled my car. I ran a red light and smashed into a garbage truck. I barely remember it. I was in the hospital for three weeks. They wouldn’t give me Ambien in the hospital, and I sobered up – but not before going through the pain of withdrawal.
I realized my life was totally out of control and my addiction to Ambien was going to kill me. Of course, it was difficult to say goodbye to my night-time friend. But, I decided to tell my parents what was going on and get help. I went to in-patient treatment for sixty days, and I have been sober ever since. Thank God!
Are You Abusing Ambien? What To Expect From Withdrawal
Rose’s story is just one of many. Her tale of woe ought to tell you how truly powerful Ambien is. If you are abusing Zolpidem, you should know that this is a dangerous drug that can not only cause you to do strange things you don’t remember, it is highly addictive. According to reports, it is now one of the most commonly abused types of prescription medications.
If you have taken Zolpidem for any length of time, and you attempt to stop taking the drug, you will go through the painful process of withdrawal. Here’s what you can expect for the first two to four weeks after quitting Ambien:
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Difficulty with memory
- Cravings for more Ambien
- Nausea or vomiting
- Abdominal cramps
- Depression and uncontrollable crying
- Mood swings
- Seizures (in extreme cases)
Getting Help For An Addiction To Ambien
If you are hooked on Ambien, you probably need to go to in-patient treatment. Most people find that they cannot stop using the drug on their own because the withdrawal symptoms are so uncomfortable. Plus, the cravings are too strong. It is a good idea to withdrawal in the safety and comfort of a treatment facility where you can undergo a professional medical detox. When you go to rehab, you will learn to the tools you need to learn how to stay sober.
Not sure if you are addicted? Here are eight signs you might be physically addicted to Zolpidem.