Ambien (zolpidem) has been a very useful treatment to many who suffer from cases of insomnia. Due to the fact that it is a very powerful drug as well as providing psychological relief to those who experience insomnia, use of Ambien can result in both mental addiction as well as physical dependence. Being in the same class of drugs as benzodiazepines helps to explain why Ambien can be very addictive to many. Fortunately, there are programs and treatments available for those suffering from Ambien addiction.
Is Ambien addictive?
Anything can be psychologically addictive, so many ask is Ambien actually addictive physically? The answer is yes. Ambien's addictive properties can be explained through examining how it effects the brain. Ambien works by binding to the GABA-A receptor which increases the effectiveness of the neurotransmitter GABA within the brain. Increasing the effectiveness not only helps to induce sleep, but it can also make the user feel euphoric, relaxed, and anxiety free. These feelings produced by ingesting Ambien are generally pleasurable and can generate a chemical feedback system where the taker of Ambien feels that they need to ingest Ambien in order to feel these feelings of pleasure.
As Ambien is taken overtime it actual degrades the GABA-A receptors as well as lowering the amount of GABA within the brain. So when someone addicted to Ambien is craving it they are trying to re-balance an imbalance within their brain that Ambien is responsible for. It is easy to see how this can build into a dangerous cycle.
Is Ambien a narcotic?
When learning of Ambien's addictive potential many wonder whether or not it is a narcotic. Technically Ambien is not a narcotic. Narcotic's are drugs primarily used for the treatment of pain and are generally opiates or derivatives of opiates. Though Ambien is not a narcotic it still does exhibit mind altering effects as well as a high addictive potential. Ambien is not as physically or usually mentally addicting as a narcotic. Even though Ambien is not a narcotic it should be treated with respect and caution in order to avoid addiction.
Ambien's mental addiction
Physical addiction and dependence to Ambien usually starts through mental addiction. Mental addiction does not always equate immediately to physical dependence, but it should be treated with just as much seriousness as there is a high possibility that mental addiction will lead to eventual physical dependence. Mental addiction is common with Ambien because of how effective it is. For those with severe insomnia taking Ambien can feel like a miracle cure for their condition. This can make them feel as if they cannot sleep or function the next day without taking Ambien. With this mentality it is only a matter of time before physical addiction and dependence sets in.
Avoiding Ambien addiction
The best way to avoid Ambien addiction is to follow all the instructions given by the doctor. The instructions of amounts and frequency are designed to minimize the possibility of addiction. Addiction can also be avoided by being honest with yourself and your doctor. If you feel you are becoming addicted to Ambien your doctor should be notified immediately so that they can assist you in changing medications and minimizing withdrawals and other side effects.