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Mixing Ambien And Alcohol – The Effects And Dangers

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Gerardo Sison, Pharm.D

Mixing Ambien and alcohol can cause a number of side effects and can even lead to overdose or death. People who take Ambien should avoid drinking alcohol entirely to prevent the potentially dangerous interactions between these two drugs. If you cannot stop using Ambien and alcohol, seeking help at a treatment facility like The Treehouse is the best way to reclaim your life and prevent the consequences of addiction.

Mixing Ambien And Alcohol

Combining Ambien and alcohol can be incredibly dangerous. Both of these drugs are central nervous system depressants, meaning they slow down the body and brain. When a person mixes these substances, he or she is at risk for a number of harmful and even fatal side effects.

If you are unable to stop using Ambien and/or alcohol, it’s important to seek help as soon as possible. Several treatment facilities, including Addiction CampusesThe Treehouse, offer specialized programs for co-occurring addictions like Ambien and alcohol use disorders.

What Is Ambien?

Ambien, the brand name for zolpidem, is a prescription drug used in the treatment of insomnia. This medication is a hypnotic substance that works by changing chemicals in the brain to relax the central nervous system (CNS). By relaxing the brain and CNS, a person is more likely to be able to fall asleep.

Ambien is a strong medication that has a high potential for abuse and addiction. In fact, this drug can be habit-forming after only two weeks of use. For these reasons, individuals are rarely if ever prescribed Ambien for long-term use and are monitored closely by a doctor while taking the drug.

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Potential Side Effects Of Mixing Ambien And Alcohol

Ambien can negatively interact with a number of other substances. One of these substances is alcohol. When taken together, Ambien and alcohol can have a number of side effects and potentially dangerous interactions. Alcohol can exacerbate the negative side effects of Ambien, and once both substances have been ingested, it’s impossible to control the effects these drugs will have.

Potential physical side effects of mixing alcohol and Ambien include:

  • dizziness
  • trouble concentrating
  • coordination problems
  • impaired thinking and judgment
  • sleep apnea
  • decreased breathing
  • confusion
  • slowed heart rate
  • memory loss
  • drowsiness
  • sleepwalking

Taking Ambien alone can result in a number of side effects, especially if a person is taking a higher dose than necessary. In fact, doctors do not recommend taking this drug unless a person is able to get at least seven hours of sleep, as Ambien can cause strong effects the following day after taking it. People who take Ambien and do not get adequate sleep should not operate machinery or motor vehicles.

Alcohol can enhance all of these side effects and more. In fact, individuals who mix alcohol and Ambien are more than twice as likely to require medical attention than those who only take Ambien.

Dangers Of Mixing Ambien And Alcohol

In addition to the above-mentioned side effects, mixing Ambien and alcohol can pose a number of dangers to an individual. The most severe risk of mixing these two drugs is the increased chance of Ambien overdose.

Symptoms of an Ambien overdose include:

  • slurred speech
  • pinpoint pupils
  • slowed or stopping breathing
  • trouble waking up or staying conscious
  • coma
  • death

If you believe someone is experiencing an Ambien overdose, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately. Overdosing on Ambien can be incredibly dangerous and even deadly if not properly treated.

In addition to overdose, mixing alcohol and Ambien can also significantly increase the risk of a person experiencing somnambulance, or sleepwalking. People who sleepwalk are vulnerable to a number of dangers and can experience injury or even death as a result.

Ambien and alcohol can also cause parasomnia, or participating in tasks while asleep. This can include eating, shopping, talking, and even driving while asleep. The risk of parasomnia increases when Ambien is combined with even a small amount of alcohol.

Combining alcohol and Ambien can also cause a person to unintentionally drink more alcohol. This is likely due to the increased confusion and disorientation caused by these two substances. Over time, abusing Ambien and alcohol can result in permanent liver and respiratory system damage.

Seeking Treatment For Ambien And Alcohol Abuse And Addiction

Polydrug addiction – or when a person is addicted to more than one substance – is incredibly common. Unfortunately, polydrug abuse can also be highly dangerous and even deadly. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to Ambien and alcohol, seeking help is the best decision you can make.

Addiction Campuses has several treatment facilities such as The Treehouse that specialize in polydrug abuse and addiction. To learn more about our programs or the effects and dangers of mixing Ambien and alcohol, contact a treatment specialist today.

WebMD - https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-9690/ambien-oral/details

Psychology Today - https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-power-rest/201111/alcohol-and-sleeping-pills-strange-combination

National Institute on Drug Abuse - https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/misuse-prescription-drugs/what-classes-prescription-drugs-are-commonly-misused

American Journal of Therapeutics - https://journals.lww.com/americantherapeutics/Abstract/2011/07000/Zolpidem_Misuse_With_Other_Medications_or_Alcohol.7.aspx

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Gerardo Sison, Pharm.D
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