How To Safely Taper Off Ambien (Zolpidem)
Ambien, a prescription drug used to treat insomnia, should never be stopped suddenly or “cold turkey.” Doing so can cause adverse side effects and withdrawal symptoms, which may include rebound insomnia. Individuals trying to quit Ambien should slowly taper off the medication under a doctor’s supervision.
An estimated 50 million American adults struggle with insomnia. Luckily, there are several medications available to help a person get a restful night’s sleep. One of these medications is Ambien (zolpidem). This drug is highly effective at aiding in sleep. However, like many central nervous system (CNS) depressants, Ambien comes with the risk of abuse and dependence.
When a person is dependent on Ambien, his or her body requires the drug to function properly, especially when it comes to sleep. Stopping Ambien abruptly when dependent on the drug can cause a number of withdrawal symptoms. For this reason, it’s important to taper off of the medication slowly under a doctor’s supervision.
If you are unable to stop taking Ambien on your own, you may benefit from professional treatment. Addiction Campuses has several treatment options available for individuals struggling with Ambien abuse and addiction, all of which are catered to each person’s unique needs.
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Can I Quit Ambien Cold Turkey?
Individuals who have taken Ambien for an extended period of time or who are physically dependent on Ambien should never quit this drug cold turkey. The more severe the dependence on zolpidem, the more at risk a person is of experiencing withdrawal symptoms when quitting the drug. Withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe and can be incredibly uncomfortable.
Common Ambien withdrawal symptoms include:
- rebound insomnia
- upset stomach
- tremors or shaking
- intense cravings for the drug
- mood swings
Additionally, some people may be at risk of experiencing seizures if Ambien is stopped suddenly. While rare, these seizures can be severe and even fatal in some cases.
Tapering Off Of Ambien
The safest way to stop taking Ambien is to slowly taper off the drug. Tapering off zolpidem can help prevent uncomfortable and potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms. The more slowly a person tapers off this medication, the less likely he or she is to experience symptoms of withdrawal.
Individuals trying to quit Ambien should do so under medical supervision. Many people find great success in stopping zolpidem by participating in a medically supervised detox program. A detox program can provide a medically monitored tapering schedule that is specific to each person’s condition and needs. Detox programs also offer 24/7 support and medical care to ensure patients are as comfortable as possible throughout the withdrawal phase.
The tapering process for each person will be different. However, many medical professionals will have the patient slowly reduce the amount of Ambien taken, usually on a weekly basis. For example, someone may take the prescribed dose of Ambien for a week, then reduce the dose by half the next week. This process may be continued until a person has successfully stopped taking Ambien entirely.
A medical professional may prescribe or suggest alternative sleep aids to replace Ambien. Melatonin or other natural remedies often provide relief for individuals who continue to struggle from insomnia.
Additionally, if a person is addicted to or physically and mentally dependent on Ambien, formal treatment may be recommended following a detox program. Formal treatment can be inpatient or outpatient depending on the needs of the individual.
Treatment Options For Ambien Abuse Or Addiction
While typically safe for the treatment of insomnia, Ambien still comes with the risk of abuse and addiction. In fact, dependence on the drug can form in as little as two weeks. For people struggling with an addiction to zolpidem, professional treatment is the best way to overcome addiction and live a substance-free life.
Addiction Campuses has several state-of-the-art treatment facilities throughout the country. Each facility offers several treatment options, all of which are customized to suit the needs and conditions of each patient.
To learn more about how to safely taper off Ambien, contact an Addiction Campuses’ treatment specialist today.Article Sources
Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4553644/#R40