Ambien Detox Symptoms, Timeline, Medications and Treatment

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  1. Why is Detox Necessary for Recovery?
  2. Is Detox from Ambien Dangerous?
  3. Why Detoxing at Home Can Be Harmful
  4. Medically Assisted Detox and Withdrawal
  5. What to Expect During Ambien Detoxification
  6. How Long Does Detox Last?
  7. Ambien Detox Treatment
  8. Choosing the Best Ambien Detox Center

How Safe is Ambien Detox?

While Ambien detox is considered safer than some other types of sedative withdrawal, there does exist a small chance of some serious side effects, including seizure. Even in the absence of seizure activity, Ambien withdrawal is never easy.
How Safe is Ambien Detox?

For people who, like 35% of the population, occasionally struggle with insomnia, Ambien, the brand-name version of the drug zolpidem, offers welcome relief. But this potent sleep aid is intended for short-term use of only a few weeks.


There's mounting evidence that long-term use of Ambien can yield serious side effects, including dementia and memory loss. Recreational use of Ambien is extraordinarily dangerous, but even short-term prescription use can lead to an addiction.

Why is Detox Necessary for Recovery?

Ambien is a depressant, which means that it slows down your brain. Over time, this slowing can affect everything from the quality of your sleep to your ability to remember things. It can also lead to a chemical dependency.

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Once you've grown dependent on Ambien, it can be quite difficult to stop using without help - and when you do, you'll likely experience unpleasant side effects. Ambien detox can be very challenging for someone who has used it for great lengths of time. Some prescribed detox procedures may involve gradual tapering of doses or increases in the lengths of time between successive doses. As such, successful completion of Ambien detox can take a long time relative to some other types of drugs. To come out on the other side will be a triumphant accomplishment - your body will no longer be under the influence of Ambien, enabling you to make decisions not compromised by the influence of drugs.

Addiction is painful, and it's easy to feel hopeless, but recovery is possible with the right help. If you or a loved one needs help to get off of Ambien, please call our treatment support advisors at 1-888-993-3112Who Answers?.

Is Detox from Ambien Dangerous?

Ambien is a depressant, but that doesn't mean that quitting using the drug results in effects opposite to depression. Instead, you can expect to feel anxious and edgy. You may also experience mood swings or depression.

Many Ambien users experience rebound insomnia--the return of insomnia that was previously controlled with Ambien, but that is now worse than before you started taking the drug. In extreme cases, this sort of insomnia can lead to intense fatigue that makes driving and similar pursuits dangerous.

If you have a history of breathing problems, mental illness, or heart issues, your withdrawal symptoms may be worse, so talk to your doctor before you quit taking Ambien.

Why Detoxing at Home Can Be Harmful

If you have an underlying medical condition, detox may cause it to get worse, so you should never detox alone if you have health problems--or reason to suspect that you might.

Even in the absence of pronounced physical withdrawal symptoms, Ambien detox can produce some formidable psychological side effects. This complicates withdrawal for many, and is

one more reason why detoxing alone is frequently ill-advised. You may behave aggressively toward loved ones, become so exhausted you can hardly function, or face anxiety and depression so severe you contemplate harming yourself.

Even if you opt not to seek professional treatment--a risky decision--you should never detox alone.

Medically Assisted Detox and Withdrawal

Medically assisted detox can make the road to recovery less painful while offering you support to flush Ambien from your system. There's no specific drug that can speed up the detox timetable or reverse symptoms.

Instead, your doctor will treat your symptoms as needed:

  • If you experience dehydration, you might receive intravenous fluids.
  • Your doctor will also monitor you for psychological distress.
    • For example, if you struggle with anxiety or sleeplessness, your doctor might prescribe a benzodiazepine to calm your nerves and help you get some rest.
  • Your doctor will also help you assess whether the risks of taking another potentially addictive drug outweigh the benefits.

What to Expect During Ambien Detoxification

You may experience anxiety, shakiness and tremors during detoxification.Ambien is a depressant drug, which means it slows down activity in your brain. When you suddenly quit taking it, your brain immediately begins working differently and you may experience some withdrawal symptoms.

Don't be surprised if you experience anxiety or rebound anxiety. Some recovering addicts also report shakiness, tremors and difficulty with motivation, and most experience some degree of "brain fog" that inhibits their ability to think clearly.

Dangerous physical withdrawal symptoms are relatively rare, but if you experience changes in heart rate, profound confusion, agitation, seizure activity or see or hear things others can't, contact your doctor right away.

How Long Does Detox Last?

Ambien has a fairly short half-life, and is cleared from the body fairly quickly - usually within 24 to 48 hours. Despite this, many attempts to detox and withdraw from Ambien are quite protracted affairs, and involve successive tapering of the drug in a prelude to outright abstinence. Long-term users may need an extra day or 2 to detox, as might those with slow metabolisms or chronic illnesses such as diabetes.

Symptoms are typically worst as Ambien exits your system, since your body no longer has access to the drug upon which it has grown dependent. As a result of Ambien withdrawal, expect to experience intense cravings, as well as difficulty sleeping.

Within a week or so, though, detox should be over. You might still have cravings, but they will diminish over time, eventually disappearing altogether. However, you may still struggle with insomnia, so be sure to talk to your doctor about alternative treatment options.

Ambien Detox Treatment

Ambien detox is available on both an inpatient and outpatient basis.

  • If you opt for outpatient care, a physician will carefully monitor your symptoms, offer you treatment if you experience dangerous symptoms, and check in with you to explore how the detox process is going.
  • With inpatient treatment, you receive 24/7 support for your symptoms, as well as assistance managing the psychological pain of detox. For this reason, inpatient detox is usually best for those who are unconvinced of their ability to quit using.

The journey doesn't end with detox, though. You'll have to learn a host of new skills to stay sober, and that may include finding new ways to get to sleep.

Rehab, outpatient therapy, ongoing medical consultation, and 12-step programs such as Pills Anonymous can all help you achieve this goal.

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Choosing the Best Ambien Detox Center

The best Ambien detox center is the one where your needs are met and you feel welcomed. Don't shy away from asking pointed questions about:

  • What you can expect.
  • The center's success rates.
  • Specific steps it takes to treat addiction and Ambien withdrawal.

You'll be more likely to make it if you feel comfortable and supported, so take your time to make the best possible decision.

You may feel hopeless and overwhelmed as you struggle to end your Ambien dependency. Help is available - call 1-888-993-3112Who Answers? and find suitable Ambien detox programs near you.

Additional Resources

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