5 Consequences of Ambien Abuse
Ambien is the marketed brand name for the drug, Zolpidem, which is a sedative-hypnotic approved for short term treatment of insomnia. Countless Americans suffer from insomnia. They either have trouble falling asleep due to stress or other issues, wake up frequently during the night, wake up early, or feel un-refreshed when they do.
When used as prescribed, Ambien does what it is supposed to do, but, it also shares many of the same properties as benzodiazepines such as Valium, Xanax, and Klonopin which have considerably high rates of abuse.
Ambien is, currently, a Schedule IV depressant under the Controlled Substances Act with a low potential for abuse and dependency. However, along with the rise in prescriptions for Ambien, there has been a parallel rise in its abuse.
In 2011, the Drug Abuse Warning Network reported an estimated 30,149 emergency department visits for non-medical use of Ambien. Taking too much, too frequently, in combination with other drugs or alcohol, or abusing it in any other way can lead to adverse consequences.
1) Ambien is not intended for long term use because Ambien users are likely to develop a tolerance which can lead to using more than prescribed and increased risk of addiction.
Addiction can result in weakness, intense drowsiness, altered cognitive abilities, short term memory loss, and coordination problems. Poor reasoning and judgment may contribute to behaviors of fraudulence to obtain more of the drug.
2.) Abusing Ambien in high amounts or frequencies can cause physical and psychological dependence resulting in withdrawals when usage stops. The person may experience extreme reactions as they rebound from the depressing effects of the drug to a hyperactive state of mind. Withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Panic attacks
- Impulsive thoughts or behaviors
- Worsening Depression
- Suicidal or harmful thoughts or tendencies
- Stomach cramps
- Limited memory loss
3.) Recreational abuse of Ambien often involves taking the drug for its mind-altering effects, but, this can have devastating consequences as abusers report experiencing hallucinations and blackouts. Blackouts and loss of awareness can place the person at risk of being sexually assaulted or driving unaware.
4.) Over the years, increased Ambien abuse has led to illegal diversions and higher rates of abuse among teenagers and those who may be naïve to the effects. These individuals may be at a higher risk of overdose trying to get “high” by taking more than recommended dosages. Crushing, chewing, snorting, or injecting Ambien pills can increase these risks.
5.) Abusers of Ambien may use it to enhance or counter the effects of other drugs. Using Ambien in combination with other drugs or alcohol can lead to serious health impairments including respiratory failure, overdose, and death.
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