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How to Withdraw from Ambien

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According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Ambien is not classified as a narcotic under the Federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Like most prescription medications, however, it can be addictive. Although Ambien withdrawal won’t kill you, it will likely cause uncomfortable symptoms, beyond poor sleep. To minimize these symptoms, talk with your doctor about a tapering problem. Ambien has dramatic effects on the central nervous system (CNS) when taken for longer than intended. Once you’re there, you need help.


Ambien is actually the brand name for Zolpidem, a non-benzodiazepine tranquillizer. Tranquilizers are depresses the central nervous system. They are used for treating short-term insomnia—the key-word: short-term, up to 4 weeks exactly. It’s not a long-term treatment.


Ambien has some abuse potential, for certain, but for those who take the medication responsibly, it’s minimal. Some drugs aren’t like that; there’s always a sizable risk when it comes to Xanax, for example. People who take Ambien for more than 4 weeks are risking physical dependence, however, and the biggest, most obvious indicator of this behavior is cravings.


Whether Ambien should be classified as an abuse-prone narcotic is complicated. All drugs have their pros and cons, absolutely. Just because a doctor prescribes something doesn’t make it safe to use without a prescription, or to use your prescription however you’d like. These drugs are assigned by highly-trained doctors, rather than clerks over the counter, because they’re powerful. They have dramatic effects on the most significant parts of the brain.

People with severe, persistent sleep problems have a lot of options, including medications which do work long-term. One of the best ways to figure out exactly what your problem may be is by getting a sleep study. Believe it or not, doctors can determine your issue by observing your brain waves as you sleep. Most insurance plans will cover sleep studies if they are recommended by a doctor or mental health professional.

We also must point out that most sleep problems are caused by one’s behaviors – too much coffee, too much internet, too much going on in life — rather than a deep-rooted neurological problem. Lifestyle changes, and not medicine, may be the key: proper diet, proper exercise, and proper handling of any underlying emotional factors that may be driving sleep problems.

To learn more about this, speak with your psychologist. He or she may offer you a referral. To get treated for an Ambien problem, give us a call here at The PAC Program