Prescription drug abuse in the United States is at an all-time high. More Americans die as a result of overdose than from motor vehicle accidents. Prescription drugs are causing a significant increase in heroin abuse, addiction and overdose. Young adults in this country through pill parties, where they steal prescription medications from their family medicine cabinets. Large punch bowls are filled with unknown pills and are taken with reckless abandon. Prescription drugs should never be taken over an extended period of time and yet they are consistently abused for extended periods. People suffering from various ailments should look for alternative methods treating those issues, rather than using prescription medications for long periods of time.

Insomnia is a major issue with Americans. Zolpidem is a medication that is normally prescribed to those who are suffering from insomnia. When people are over-worked and the feeling of stress, anxiety, or depression is unrelenting they can have difficulty sleeping. Normal ‘healthy’ can also have difficulty sleeping. When falling or staying asleep is a problem that begins to affect how people perform during the day they may turn to external help. Ambien is a short-acting, non-benzodiazepine hypnotic drug that is used to help initiate and maintain sleep. The practice of turning to prescription drugs for help is a growing issue in the United States; which is the most over-prescribed nation in the world. Ambien is the brand name for zolpidem tartrate. This is a sedative that is prescribed to treat insomnia; other brand names include Edluar, Intermezzo, ad ZolpiMist. When this drug is taken as prescribed by a doctor the drug can help those suffering from insomnia, but it can also cause undesired effects; especially in those who abuse the drug.

Turn Towards Zolpidem

The drug Zolpidem has gained popularity in recent years because it is considered safer than the previously prescribed drug Valium. Diazepam, also known as Valium, is a benzodiazepine. The drug is used for panic attacks, anxiety, insomnia, vertigo, tetanus, sedation, status epilepticus, oxygen toxicity, and stimulant overdose. Diazepam is incredibly addicting. The drug can lead to impaired reflexes, drowsiness, and confusion. Overdose on the drug can lead to a coma. Ambien does not have the same increased percentage of abuse and dependence. Although, this drug should never be used for an extended period of time. Like any other prescription drug, prolonged use of Ambien has high probability of causing dependence and abuse. This drug can become habit forming when it is taken over a long-term period of time; even if taken as prescribed by a physician.

Side Effects of Zopidem

There are various unwanted effects of Ambien use that are dependent on the individual. Effects include:

Next day drowsiness; especially for those taking the extended release form of the drug
Nausea and Vomiting
Delusions or hallucinations
Somnambulism (Sleepwalking)
Coordination problems
Amnesia or short-term memory loss

The US Food and Drug Administration had forced the label of zolpidem to recommend lower
initial doses of the drug in 2013. This was an effort to reduce the chance of next day drowsiness, especially for those taking the extended release formulations of the drug. It also warned patients to not drive or undertake dangerous jobs like operating heavy machinery.

Effects of Zolpidem Abuse

When individuals take this drug irresponsibly they run the risk of various negative effects. Ambien abuse can cause physical dependence, withdrawal symptoms, risk of overdose (especially when taken with alcohol), and addiction. Dependence on Ambien is the result of prolonged use and/or abuse of the drug. Patterns of misuse or abuse can lead to significant impairment or distress that is exhibited by tolerance to the drug that forces an increase in dosage. It is coupled with an increased, almost obsessive, need to take the drug. Efforts to reduce use or stop using the drug could prove futile. Large amounts of time are spending thinking about, getting and taking the drug. Those who are addicted to Ambien exhibit several, if not all, the criteria for substance addiction. The American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-V identifies sedative use disorder as:

Taking the drug for longer than necessary
Unsuccessfully attempting to stop using or reduction in use of the drug
A compulsive desire to get and take the drug
Loss of interest in former desired activities that is replaced with drug use
Using the drug in dangerous situations
Continuing to take the drug, even though physical and emotional damage is known

Overdose from prescription drugs is a rapidly growing concern for Americans. The rate of which prescription drugs are used and abused has led to a serious increase in prescription drug related injury, overdose, and even death. Drugs like Zolpidem are part of the growing problem with prescription drug overdose. Overdose can be accidental or this drug can be used for suicide. Overdose is possible when individuals attempt to achieve a larger, more intense, and high by increasing dosage. It is more common to overdose on Ambien when these drugs are taken in conjunction with other substances like alcohol or other intoxicants. Individuals have experienced short-term memory loss may forget about a previous dose taken and consume more of the medication, which can lead to overdose. Symptoms of Ambien overdose include: excessive drowsiness, dangerously slowed breathing, bradycardia, or coma.

Withdrawal symptoms can manifest themselves when an individual suddenly stops or radically reduces intake of the drug. This is more prevalent when the drug is used for extended periods of time. The symptoms of withdrawal can last for several weeks, but are dependent on the degree of use. Someone abusing Ambien will display these withdrawal symptoms:

Agitation or irritability
Cravings nervousness

Convulsions or seizures are possible for those who severely abuse the drug. In this case, medical assistance is needed immediately. Due to the extreme nature of some withdrawal symptoms it is recommended to seek professional help.

Zolpidem Abuse Demographic

In a national survey taken in 2013 by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 250,000 Americans admitted to abusing Ambien or other similar sedatives. The amount of emergency-room visits as a result of sedative misuse rose from 6,111 in 2005 to over 19,000 in 2010. Over 60% of all Zolpidem-related emergency room visits are women. Nearly 75% of those treated for sedative related issues are over 45. Over half of the hospital required visits related to sedatives are a result of mixing the drugs with narcotic analgesics and other sleeping or anti-anxiety medications.

Addiction Treatment

If you or someone you know could have an addiction to Ambien it is important to seek professional help. Ambien treatment includes both in and outpatient programs. Addicts are not recommended to try to quit or radically reduce taking the drug on their own without professional help because of the dangerous side effects of withdrawal. Treatment for Ambien, like other drugs, requires a multi-faceted approach that looks at both the physical and mental damages from the drug. It is imperative that a treatment program address possible underlying mental disorders that caused or were an outcome of abuse. The best way to seek treatment is to speak with an addiction professional for help.