Zolpidem is a prescription medication used as a sleep aid for the treatment of insomnia. Under the brand name Ambien, zolpidem is prescribed for a period of two to six weeks to help with sleep initiation issues. The limited use time is necessary to prevent withdrawal symptoms that can occur with stoppage of the drug after use for a longer period. In these cases, people often need time in a zolpidem detox center.
When taken as directed, zolpidem has little chance of causing dependency in a user; however, when taken recreationally or beyond the recommended six-week cut-off point, zolpidem can cause dependency to develop. Through extended use, a tolerance to the drug’s effects may occur. This tolerance can lead users to take high dosage levels of the drug to try to achieve the same effects experienced with the lower pre-tolerance doses. This behavior alters the user’s body chemistry, creating reliance upon the drug.
Once users become dependent, quitting can be an uncomfortable experience due to the symptoms associated with the withdrawal process. Withdrawal symptoms can be avoided, however, with the help of a zolpidem detox center.
According to a March 2006 New York Times article, Ambien has become the number one prescribed sleeping pill, with millions of users yearly. Along with extensive use for initiating sleep, zolpidem is also used as a “come down” drug after using stimulants. This has made zolpidem popular with younger users. It has also helped to make zolpidem a common factor for those caught driving under the influence. According to the same New York Times article, when 10 laboratories testing the blood samples of impaired drivers were asked about the results, Ambien was listed as being in the list of the top 10 drugs detected.
Dependent users can begin to receive help with their dependency on zolpidem with a single phone call. When you dial , an operator can provide the location of a zolpidem detox center and rehab facility with openings available.
“Zolpidem withdrawal symptoms can be slight to severe, depending on the length of time the drug has been used or the size of the doses taken.”When the zolpidem user becomes tolerant to the effects of the drug, not only does it fail to help initiate sleep, it actually begins to interfere with sleeping patterns. Tolerance can begin within a matter of weeks of use. Stopping the use of the drug suddenly can have some uncomfortable effects if a dependency on the drug has developed during that usage period. Once dependent, the user’s body needs the zolpidem levels to remain consistent within the bloodstream. If the amount is lowered too much, withdrawal begins.
Zolpidem withdrawal symptoms can be slight to severe, depending on the length of time the drug has been used or the size of the doses taken. For those taking large doses or taking it for extended periods, the withdrawal symptoms can be unpleasant enough that without the help of a zolpidem detox center, a user may return to the drug use rather than deal with the continuing discomfort. These symptoms of withdrawal may include:
- General feelings of unpleasantness
- Panic attacks
- Stomach cramps
The Detox Process
It is not necessary for the zolpidem user to go through withdrawal alone. Entering into a zolpidem withdrawal treatment facility ensures that there are medical personnel available 24 hours a day to help users through the withdrawal process. In the program, users are often slowly weaned off zolpidem through a tapering process. Each day, zolpidem is provided to the user in lessening amounts. This allows the user’s body to gradually adjust to the reduced levels of zolpidem in the system. When the dosage amount is near zero, the drug is no longer administered by the zolpidem detox center. The user is then observed for up to 48 hours to ensure that the removal of the drug has not caused any medical issues to arise.
When the drug is removed slowly, withdrawal symptoms are avoided or reduced enough that it is no longer a serious medical issue. The tapering-off process could take several months to complete, but during that period the user can undergo drug counseling and therapy intended to get at the underlying reasons behind the drug use in an effort to stop the causes of the user’s drug abuse problem.
Once the user is cleared to leave the zolpidem detox center, therapy is continued through a zolpidem rehabilitation program following detox. Through behavioral therapy, either alone with a counselor or in group therapy with other dependent users, the zolpidem user is taught life skills that help to avoid a return to zolpidem abuse or the abuse of any other prescription or illicit substance. For detailed information on zolpidem withdrawal, the detox process, or on specific zolpidem detox centers and their programs, call .