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The Long-Term Effects of Ambien

Aug 8, 2022 | Prescription Drugs

Ambien is frequently used to treat cases of insomnia and other disorders. Due to its nature, Ambien is meant to be used short-term. Long-term prescription drug abuse treatment will be needed especially if a person has become addicted. We’ll be taking a look at some of the many long-term effects of Ambien and how to get treatment, sooner than later.

With all types of addiction, the longer someone uses a certain drug the more they open the door for serious physical and mental health issues. If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction, it’s best to act sooner than later. Caso Bay takes pride in offering personalized and effective treatment for all our guests and clients.

What Is Ambien and How Is It Used?

Ambien falls under the class of drugs known as Sedative-Hypnotics, Ambien is the trade name of Zolpidem. Ambien in particular slows down the central nervous system (CNS) as well as the brain. As mentioned, Ambien is typically used for disorders like insomnia. Some research also shows that Ambeian has been used as a muscle relaxant.

While it is not as strong as benzos and doesn’t hold the same severity in addiction as other medications, one can still become addicted to Ambien. While it is intended to help a person sleep, some people may get to the point where they can’t sleep or find it hard to sleep without Ambien. Hence, they end up using Ambien for much longer than planned. Additionally, the long-term effects can be a problem.

As with all prescription medications, it is important to take Ambien as intended by a medical professional. In this case, Ambien is meant to be used in the short term. Ambien is taken in two ways, a quick-release form that helps a person fall asleep and an extended-release form that helps a person maintain sleep. With its risk for abuse, as with many medications, it’s best to take Ambien as intended/needed.

What Does Ambien Addiction Look Like?

Before jumping into the long-term effects of Ambien, it’s important to spot the signs and symptoms of Ambien’s addiction. Some telling signs may include the following:

  • Taking larger doses than needed (frequently)
  • Isolating from friends/family
  • Engaging in risky or dangerous behavior, without recollection after
  • Getting prescription refills frequently (more than needed)
  • Cravings to use Ambien
  • Spending money on drug use

Addiction affects everyone differently, this applies to Ambien addiction as well. Among the short-term effects of drug use, there are also the long-term effects of Ambien use, which can be potentially dangerous and risky as time goes on. Don’t wait to get help, Caso Bay is here for you.

The Short-Term Side Effects of Ambien Use

Even when used in the short term, Ambien still has several side effects. It’s always recommended to work with a doctor to ensure the best dosage going forward. With this in mind, your doctor will raise or lower the dosage depending on the case; even so, you should always take it as instructed. Common short-term side effects of Ambien use include:

  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Sluggishness
  • Weakness
  • Sedation

As with all drugs, these are heightened if someone begins to misuse Ambien. Additionally, other side effects can begin to occur over time if a person begins to abuse drugs like Ambien. It is also worth mentioning that Ambien should never be mixed with other drugs or depressants, this can be potentially fatal in some cases as well.

What Happens to the Body After Long-Term Ambien Use?

long term effects of ambien

When a person uses Ambien for long periods of time, their body can begin to feel the effects in several ways. One of the main consequences of long-term use or abuse is tolerance.

Tolerance occurs when a person’s body begins to adjust to the dosage, requiring them to use more to feel the effects. When people abuse certain drugs, they tend to build a tolerance. With the need to take Ambien, or other drugs, at higher doses comes the risk of dangerous effects.

However, a person does not have to be abusing the drug to become tolerant of it. Some people end up building a tolerance for Ambien and may not be able to sleep without it.

As time goes on, there are several more severe effects and conditions that can occur over time. While Ambien may not be as addictive or severe as other prescription drugs, there are still just as many risks when it comes to abuse/long-term use.

After some time, a person may also become dependent on it, which means they will experience specific withdrawal symptoms or other effects when not using the prescription pain medication. If a person stops taking Ambien for 10 years or more, they may revert back to insomnia and worse conditions. If taken at high doses, a person’s withdrawal symptoms will become even more severe (seizures and other effects can occur).

The Long-Term Effects of Ambien

ambien long-term effect

Since Ambien is meant to be used in the short-term, long-term effects can occur when used for extended periods of time as well as abuse. Some of the long-term effects of Ambien include:

Increases Chance of Overdose

As a person continues to use Ambien, they open the door for an overdose. An overdose occurs when a person takes too much of a drug in one sitting. This creates several dangerous and potentially life-threatening symptoms in a person’s body. Overdose symptoms may include slowed breathing, loss of consciousness, and vomiting. If you or a loved one is experiencing an overdose, call 9-11 and get medical help immediately.

Memory Issues

Zolpidem and other similar drugs have been associated with short-term memory loss after frequent use. This is especially present in older people using Ambien and other similar prescription medications. This is why it’s important to consult a doctor before using drugs like Ambien.

Mental Health Conditions

With prolonged use of Ambien becoming a risk, DBT therapy in Maine can assist with mental health issues. This transpires after a person stops using Ambien. Mental conditions like these are common in those who engage in drug use for prolonged periods of time. These mental health issues can be exacerbated if a person continues to use or becomes addicted to Ambien.

Rebound Insomnia

One of the long-term effects of Ambien includes the resurgence of insomnia. When a person continues to use a drug for a long period of time, growing dependent on it, they will feel the effects more heavily when they stop using. These withdrawals can make a person experience insomnia again, especially if they have grown tolerant of Ambien. Not only is this detrimental for the person but can end up resurfacing the condition they were taking Ambien for 10 years for.


In certain cases, a person may develop hallucinations after using Ambien for an extended period of time. The development of these psychotic behaviors may be rare but it is not off the table when a person is using Ambien for a long-time.

Other Long-Term Effects of Ambien Use

Among the list above there are many other Ambien side effects long term that can arise. Some of these include:

  • Digestive difficulties
  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Nightmares
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Addiction
  • Unemployment (other social consequences)
  • Frequent fatigue
  • Recurring headaches
  • Muscle pain and lack of muscle control

While these are the general Ambien side effects long term that come from habit, dependence and long-term use will vary from person to person. If you or a loved one is dealing with an Ambien or prescription drug addiction, we are here for you.

Treatment Options for Ambien Addiction or Abuse

At Casco Bay Recovery, we offer several treatment options for Ambien and prescription drug addiction. When a person becomes addicted or dependent on a drug, they will begin to experience physical, social, and mental issues as time goes on. Every case of addiction treatment is treated in a personal and professional setting.

Some of the most common forms of addiction treatment include:

Together, these different programs work to create an effective and progressive recovery journey. We make sure to meet all our client’s needs and preferences when it comes to addiction treatment. If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, we’re here to help. Don’t wait, call to learn more about getting started on a better life.

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