Zolpidem addiction

Zolpidem, also known under the brand name Ambien, is a prescription medication used for the short-term treatment of insomnia. It is classified as a Class C drug in the UK, and is a highly addictive substance with the potential to ruin lives.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Zolpidem addiction, help is out there. Recovery Lighthouse is here to help you understand this condition and what steps to take to overcome a reliance on Zolpidem.

Zolpidem addiction - zolpidem pill

Why is Zolpidem addictive?

Zolpidem is a sedative-hypnotic medication that works by enhancing the effects of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is responsible for slowing down the activity of nerve cells in the brain, which helps to induce sleep and promote relaxation. By increasing the effects of GABA, Zolpidem can help you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

However, this increase in GABA activity can also lead to feelings of euphoria and relaxation, making the drug addictive. Over time, the brain can become accustomed to the effects of Zolpidem, leading to tolerance and the need to take higher doses of Zolpidem to achieve the same effects.

With regular use, physical dependence and addiction will soon take over, making it very difficult to quit without professional help.

How does Zolpidem addiction develop?

Zolpidem addiction usually develops via one of two paths: prescription use or recreational use.

Prescription use…

Despite common misconceptions, even legal prescription drugs can be dangerous and habit-forming. Even though Zolpidem has legitimate medical use, being prescribed this drug by your doctor can lead to addiction. If you have been taking Zolpidem for insomnia, it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. You are more at risk of developing a Zolpidem addiction if:

  • You take higher doses of Zolpidem than prescribed
  • You take Zolpidem more frequently than prescribed
  • You take Zolpidem for longer than prescribed

If you are concerned about Zolpidem addiction, speak to your doctor about alternative treatment options and reach out for support if you feel like you can’t stop taking Zolpidem.

Recreational use…

Zolpidem is commonly abused recreationally due to the pleasant, relaxing “high” that can be experienced when taking it. Recreational users are also more likely to combine Zolpidem with other substances, which is incredibly dangerous and even life-threatening. For example, taking Zolpidem alongside another depressant like alcohol could result in essential bodily functions shutting down. You are more at risk of developing a Zolpidem addiction if:

  • You suffer from mental health issues
  • You have experienced past trauma
  • You have addiction running in your family
  • You have engaged in substance use from an early age
  • You struggle to cope with stress

If you have been taking Zolpidem recreationally, it is important to reach out for help sooner rather than later. Zolpidem addiction is progressive, meaning that it will continue to get worse unless you take action to stop it.

Am I addicted to Zolpidem?

Zolpidem addiction refers to the compulsive desire to consume Zolpidem despite any negative consequences that may arise. If Zolpidem is affecting your ability to function day-to-day, it is likely that you have a problem.

Take a moment to answer the following questions to see if you are suffering from a Zolpidem addiction:

  • Do I feel like I need Zolpidem to function normally?
  • Do I hide or try to downplay the amount or frequency in which I take Zolpidem?
  • Have I tried to stop taking Zolpidem but failed?
  • Do I need to take increasingly higher doses of Zolpidem to achieve the same effects?
  • Do I visit multiple doctors in order to get a Zolpidem prescription?
  • Have I obtained Zolpidem illegally, for example, by buying them online or on the streets?
  • Do I experience withdrawal symptoms if I try to reduce or stop taking Zolpidem?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it is possible that you have an addiction to Zolpidem and may need professional help in order to quit. Taking the first step and admitting you have a problem is never easy, but it will come with a sense of relief.

Zolpidem addiction - zolpidem packets

The effects of Zolpidem

Zolpidem addiction can affect you both physically and mentally, impacting your health and your overall well-being. The drug is often abused for its dreamlike effects that can last for several hours. It is even advised to avoid driving or operating machinery the next day, as it can impact your judgement and slow your reaction times drastically.

Some of the damaging short-term effects of Zolpidem include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Headaches
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Diarrhoea
  • Increased risk of injury through accidents
  • Risk of sleepwalking
  • Night eating syndrome

Some of the long-term effects of Zolpidem addiction include:

  • Chest and abdominal pain
  • Back pain
  • Sinusitis
  • Sore throat and dry mouth
  • Nightmares
  • Heart palpitations
  • Memory loss
  • Constipation
  • Chronic flu-like symptoms
  • Depression
  • Risk of fatal overdose

The truth is, Zolpidem can be a dangerous drug when used outside of the ways prescribed. If your Zolpidem use is getting out of control, it is imperative that you seek help and avoid its life-damaging effects.

The truth about Zolpidem addiction

Zolpidem addiction can not only have a negative impact on your health but also on your career, finances and relationships.

Zolpidem and your career…

Zolpidem can affect your ability to function at work due to its sedative effects. When you take Zolpidem on a regular basis, you are more likely to arrive late or miss work altogether. It is possible that you will make frequent mistakes at work and find yourself unable to concentrate on tasks.

Zolpidem and your finances…

These fundamental mistakes can lead to unemployment, which then, of course, impacts your finances. On top of having to maintain and pay for your Zolpidem habit, this can be catastrophic for some.

Zolpidem and your relationships…

Zolpidem addiction can cause tension in your relationships. You may become more socially isolated and frequently miss events or commitments. Your addiction may also alter your personality, leading to shifts in your mood, increased irritability and inability to focus on anything other than your next dose of Zolpidem.

Zolpidem addiction - relationship tension

Can I overcome Zolpidem addiction?

Thankfully effective treatment is available for Zolpidem addiction, and this can help you to start living a more enjoyable life. Recovery Lighthouse offers an inpatient treatment programme that focuses primarily on detox and therapy.

Zolpidem detox breaks your physical dependence on the drug via abstinence. During this time, you may experience some withdrawal symptoms as your body adjusts to a life without the drug. Our team will support you every step of the way, ensuring that you remain comfortable and safe throughout.

Zolpidem rehabilitation aims to address the root causes of your drug abuse through therapy. Arguably the most important part of Zolpidem addiction treatment, therapy will help you to gain a greater understanding of your triggers, allowing you to prevent relapse and maintain sobriety.

Freedom from Zolpidem addiction

By gaining freedom from Zolpidem addiction, you will also gain a sense of purpose and a clearer vision for your future ahead. Breaking free from the dark cloud of addiction will allow you to better focus on your goals, find new hobbies to enjoy and help you to foster deeper connections with loved ones.

If you are ready to start enjoying life again and begin treatment for Zolpidem addiction, give our admissions team a call today.

Frequently asked questions

How can I help a loved one who is addicted to Zolpidem?
If you think that a loved one may be addicted to Zolpidem, it is important to approach them with care. Let them know that you are there to support them in a non-judgemental and calm way. Try to encourage them into treatment, and avoid enabling behaviours like providing them with money to buy Zolpidem or making excuses for their drug use.
Are there any alternatives to Zolpidem?
There are several lifestyle changes you can make to naturally help with insomnia, including regular bedtime, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, enjoying a relaxing bedtime routine with no TV or screen time, using eye masks or ear plugs to prevent you from waking during the night and also avoiding naps during the day.
How quickly does it take to get addicted to Zolpidem?
Zolpidem is usually only prescribed for short-term use due to the quick onset of tolerance and dependence. A doctor will usually prescribe Zolpidem for a maximum of four weeks. Taking it for any longer could lead to addiction.