Ambien Withdrawal

In Australia in 2012, after reviewing 91 violent deaths that involved Ambien, a devastating 60% were suicides. This is just one of the unwanted effects of Ambien!

Due to another one of its unwanted effects – short-term memory loss, Ambien is used as a date-rape drug. People have also reported sleepwalking, sleepdriving, even having sex without ever remembering anything! (Remember Robert Stewart and how his sleepwalking turned fatal to 8 people?! He was dubbed “lethal sleepwalker” at the time and it was reported that he took Ambien in larger than prescribed doses.)

In 2010, women were involved in 2/3rds (68%) of all Ambien-related ER visits that included adverse symptoms.

This medication, effective in treating insomnia and even though considered a milder alternative to benzodiazepines, brings its own set of adverse effects to the table, addiction to it being just one of them. When a person becomes addicted to zolpidem, it can induce some serious withdrawal symptoms which is why doctors strongly advise NOT to attempt to get off Ambien abruptly or cold turkey.

Sounds like it deserves attention? We thought so too!

What is Ambien?

Ambien is a brand name for the drug called zolpidem tartrate which is used to help adults fall asleep faster.

One of the good things is that it doesn’t contain benzodiazepines, which makes it a less addictive substance. However, being a sedative-hypnotic, it can still trigger a full-blown addiction.

Insomnia; image source:

It is used in treating short-term insomnia, which can be a result of psychological traumas, time zone change, affections of the CNS, excessive physical and emotional fatigue; and as an additional drug in treating anxiety and panic attack.

It is prescribed for short-term use only, usually around 7-10 days. It works by slowing the brain’s activity, which eventually induces sleep. It is quite effective in these cases and very quickly helps to restore normal healthy sleep. However, if used longer than prescribed, people can quickly develop tolerance to the drug, which can result in taking higher than prescribed doses and addiction.

Side effects

But, even if taken exactly as prescribed, Ambien is known or rather – is infamous for its unwanted effects, which include:

  • The next-day drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Delusions and hallucinations
  • Sleepwalking
  • Amnesia, short-term memory loss
  • Impaired cognition

These are just some side effects of Ambien, but you can check a more comprehensive list of adverse effects here. Ambien is also known to trigger allergic reactions, and you should immediately contact your physician if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Skin rash
  • Hives
  • Chest pain
  • Difficult breathing

Ambien Withdrawal Symptoms

As mentioned, a longer use can grow into abuse, which you can recognize by the following telltale signs:

  • Craving
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Physical and emotional dependence
  • Addiction

Withdrawal symptoms can be dramatically unpleasant which is why detoxification in a medical setting is highly advised. Most people, once they become aware of dangerous side effects of zolpidem, attempt to stop taking Ambien cold turkey-style which can put their health and even life in danger!

Some of the early withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety

Other withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Stomach cramps
  • Depression
  • Fever
  • Hypertension
  • Shakiness
  • Panic attacks
  • Suicidal inclinations
  • Rebound insomnia, worse than the one treated in the first place
  • Convulsions
  • Chest pains
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Death

Know that even if you find yourself caught in Ambien’s trap, there is treatment available, and instead of trying to cold-turkey off of Ambien, look for help in one of the reputable rehab centers.

The trained personnel will help you or your loved one not only to detox, but also to get to the bottom of things and understand what is/was the underlying problem that caused the insomnia in the first place.


Revision: 20.12.2018, dead link removed.


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