Ambien is the brand name of the generic drug zolpidem and often sold as Edluar as well.
A prescription drug, Ambien is generally provided by a doctor to help you when you have trouble falling asleep at night. According to PubMed Health, the medication is classified as a sedative-hypnotic because it not only aids in helping patients fall asleep but in staying asleep as well and works by slowing the activity in the brain in order to allow sleep. Unfortunately, as with many drugs prescribed to treat insomnia, it is highly addictive and, when combined with other drugs, especially alcohol, it can be deadly.
Medline Plus reports that there are a number of side effects that come with this medication, including:
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Muscle aches or cramps
- Back, neck, and joint pain
- Pain or numbness in the limbs
More serious side effects include hives, rash, nausea and vomiting, chest pain, difficulty breathing, and the development of Ambien addiction. Over time, physical dependence combined with psychological cravings can mean a debilitating addiction to the medication.
If you or someone you love is addicted, a rehab can help. Contact us today to learn more about your options in treatment and to be matched with a rehab that can help you to break your addiction to sleep-inducing medication.
What Is Ambien?
Ambien is a sedative drug prescribed to fight off insomnia in the short term. Not meant to be a permanent solution to the problem, many people find that if Ambien initially works to increase the amount of chemicals in the brain that help us sleep, they have an even harder time getting to sleep without help after the prescription runs out. If the prescription continues, higher and higher doses of Ambien are needed in order to fall asleep each night, according to the National Institutes of Health. When this tolerance develops, addiction follows and, for many, the psychological dependence upon sleep medication is just as debilitating as the physical addiction. Rehab can treat both issues.
Does Dependence Equal Addiction?
No. It is almost impossible to take a depressant medication like Ambien for a long period of time and not become physically dependent upon the drug, but this physical dependence does not equate to addiction. Physical dependence is defined by a tolerance to the medication, meaning the body adjusts to certain levels of the medication and soon requires more of the drug in order to experience the same effects. Patients may find that they need more of the medication in order to fall asleep or that they don’t stay asleep as long on their original dose of the medication and need a higher dose in order to fight their sleep disorder effectively. This is a natural process and patients who increase their medication can usually safely stop taking their medication when they’re ready by slowly lowering their dose over time under a doctor’s supervision. However, when this physical dependence occurs along with psychological dependence, Ambien addiction is an issue. If you or someone you care about is both psychologically and physically dependent, then treatment is necessary.
Psychological dependence is defined by the cravings and obsessive thoughts about Ambien that control a patient’s day-to-day experience. Many report that they are constantly worried about their supply of Ambien and fear running out or going without the medication for any length of time. They feel that they simply cannot get to sleep without the drug and are convinced that there is no other way to achieve an ongoing sleep state. In the fifth version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), the definition of addiction was updated to highlight the distinction between physical dependence and a full-blown addiction that requires treatment at a rehabilitation facility.
Is Ambien Addiction Dangerous?
Yes. In addition to the fact that prescription drug addiction of any kind can be devastating to your health, relationships, work, finances and your goals for yourself, Ambien has a unique issue as well. Many people report engaging in activities that include driving, having full conversations with people, going shopping, and even cooking and eating meals while under the influence of Ambien and having no recollection of the event the next day.
The number of accidents that could occur as a result are countless, which adds a whole new dimension to the deadly nature of dependence.
Overdose is another consequence at stake when addiction is an issue, according to the New York State Department of Health. When this drug is combined with other drugs — especially benzodiazepines, opiate painkillers or alcohol — the risk of Ambien overdose is significantly increased. Those who overdose on Ambien often experience heart failure, coma and even death.
Another side effect of Ambien addiction, as with all drug addictions, is the desire to augment the effects of Ambien with extra prescriptions for the drug. Internet sales of Ambien continue to skyrocket as a result, despite the fact that samples of the medication purchased online have tested positive for a drug called Haldol, which is an antipsychotic drug with even more dangerous side effects.
Does Rehab Cure Addiction?
No. There is no cure for drug addiction of any kind and that includes Ambien. Treatment, however, is recommended for dependence, and rehab provides the most comprehensive treatment available. In most cases, rehab will start with a medical detox to treat physical addiction and follow up with psychotherapeutic care to address the psychological addiction; the best rehabs provide an all-inclusive addiction treatment that addresses the psychological and mental dependence upon Ambien as well as the physical. Together with aftercare services, a comprehensive Ambien rehab will treat your Ambien addiction as effectively as possible and provide you with a solid foundation in recovery.
Most insurance companies will have some sort of Ambien rehab insurance, but you need to call your agent to find out what kind of coverage you have for the treatment protocols provided by the treatment program you choose.
What Can I Expect From Ambien Rehabilitation?
What you can expect from your rehab experience will depend upon the kind of program you choose. There are a number of different types including Ambien rehab for women, rehabilitation designed for teens, holistic drug rehab, traditional drug addiction treatment, and more.
Some programs offer treatment that focuses only on one effect of drug addiction. For example, one may only provide detox services to treat physical dependence while another offers addiction-only treatment for those who are completely off the drug and others only provide aftercare services like sober living to graduates of programs. Unless there are unusual circumstances, it is recommended that you choose an Ambien rehab that offers everything – detox, residential, addiction treatment and aftercare services, including sober living facilities.
Getting into an program starts with researching the different types of addiction treatments available and finding out what the different programs cost. If you have certain criteria that you are looking for (e.g., a nearby location, inpatient treatment only, detox services, etc.) then it will be easier for you to narrow down your options to a handful that will be best for you.
Next, you just have to pick up the phone. Start by calling each one on your list and asking questions. Do they offer the services and treatments that you think they do? Do they have any openings and if not, when will a spot be available? Do they take your insurance? If you feel like the rehab is a good match with you, then schedule a tour while you’ve got them on the phone so that you can get a better feel for the staff and the facilities before you begin.
After you know everything you need to know about the options you are interested in, ask for an application. If there is space and you have arrangements for payment, you won’t be turned down. They will process the paperwork and give you a date for admission. All you have to do after that is show up.
In many cases, you may feel too overwhelmed by the experience of addiction to go through the process of researching and finding the right addiction treatment program for your needs. We can help. Contact us at the phone number listed above and allow one of our counselors to talk you through your options, discuss your specific needs for care and treatment, and help you to find the program best suited to your life.
Many believe, without first looking into the details, that recovery is out of their price range. It is true that some programs are expensive, costing tens of thousands for a month’s worth of treatment – but it is also true that many patients have access to financial assistance options that they didn’t even know about.
Here are just a few:
- Health insurance. Patients who have a current health insurance policy – and many living with dependence do and use it to help cover the cost of their medication – will have provisions for coverage of treatment services. According to an article published in the Western Journal of Medicine, the medical portion of the policy should cover part of any detox services provided, and the mental health and wellness portion may offer assistance paying for the therapeutic services offered at rehab.
- Friends and Family. It’s unlikely that those who are close to the patient have not noticed the problems with Ambien – and been worried as a result. Many family members would be more than happy to offer any financial help they can to assist in the healing process.
- Savings. Few patients will have enough money in the bank or a high enough income to pay for the cost of recovery out of pocket with little warning, but in some cases, savings including retirement and college funds and even credit can help cover what health insurance and other sources can’t.
- Financing. Most drug rehab programs offer patients the opportunity to finance their stay, securing a loan prior to treatment that they can pay back on their own time after they return home. In many cases, the full amount needed to pay for treatment can be made available in just a few days.
How Do I Prepare Before Rehab?
Once you choose your plan and enroll, you may have a couple of days before you begin treatment. Take advantage of this time to prepare yourself and your family for the time you will be away. Talk to your close friends, your boss and your family and/or roommates about where you will be. Make arrangements for your bills, for your mail and other things that will continue while you are gone. If you have children, take a little extra time with them, if possible, to reassure them that you will be okay and that you will come back, but you need to go get help to feel better. If you are a teen entering teen treatment for your first time, have your parents walk you through getting prepared and what you will need to go away for a bit.
For yourself, don’t binge on Ambien in anticipation of stopping your prescription if you haven’t already stopped taking the drug. If possible, try to just stick to your prescription and not augment with other drugs or alcohol.
Also, find out from your program what you should bring with you and what you should leave at home, and pack accordingly.
Don’t Wait to Enroll
If you or someone you love is addicted to Ambien, check out our rehab guide for more treatment options to start getting back on track. If you are ready to enroll today, contact us at the number listed above.
We can help you to determine which program is the best choice for you and get you started on the steps you will need to take to begin the healing process.
Your new life starts with a single phone call. Call now.