Ambien Addiction Treatment
Ambien/Zolpidem Treatment and Rehab
In recent years, Ambien has played a role in a number of high-profile celebrity scandals, with its sedative properties being blamed for various unacceptable tweets and other public messages supposedly written whilst under its effects. However, whether or not instances like Roseanne Barr’s racist outbursts can be attributed to Ambien abuse, it is certain that Ambien has been involved in the development of thousands of cases of addiction, which continue to plague many users today.
Understanding Ambien/Zolpidem Addiction and Rehab Treatment Options
Ambien is the best-known trade name for the medication zolpidem, used primarily in the treatment of sleeping disorders including insomnia. Zolpidem reduces the time it takes for a user to fall sleep (on average, by about 15 minutes) and, larger doses, increases the length of sleep. Zolpidem is typically prescribed as a second-line treatment in cases where nonpharmacological treatment has been unsuccessful, or is ongoing.
Zolpidem is a non-benzodiazepine (a class of drugs with very similar effects and properties to the benzodiazepine class) and a hypnotic (sleep-inducing) member of the imidazopyridine class. Zolpidem works by binding to receptors of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain and central nervous system, enhancing the activity of this neurotransmitter and therefore producing calming effects in the brain and body.
Zolpidem was first used in Europe towards the end of the 1980s, brought to market by pharmaceutical company Synthelabo, which later collaborated with Pfizer subsidiary GD Searle to produce and distribute zolpidem in the United States. Rapidly, zolpidem became a sleeping pill of choice amongst individuals across all demographics, but was especially popular amongst those working in high-pressure jobs in which sleep is at a premium, thanks to its supposedly “non-groggy” properties (apparently leaving individual users feeling refreshed and revitalised after use, unlike many other sleep aids).
Zolpidem became available as a generic medication in 2007; whether supplied under the Ambien brand or not, it is now one of the most commonly prescribed sleep aids worldwide, with over 10 million zolpidem prescriptions filled out each year in the USA alone. Zolpidem is usually found in tablet form for oral consumption, but may also be provided as a sublingual (under the tongue) patch, as a mouth spray, and for rectal administration.
However, zolpidem use is not entirely unproblematic, and it is recommended that zolpidem is only used in the short-term treatment of severe insomnia because of its habit-forming properties; as with other non-benzodiazepine drugs, and indeed the benzodiazepines to which they are so similar, the regular consumption of zolpidem over time can lead to the development of addiction and dependence, with a host of negative and potentially catastrophic ramifications for the affected user. Moreover, the consumption of excessive quantities of zolpidem can cause overdose, which can lead to coma and even death.
As well as its recommended medical uses, zolpidem also has the potential to be used and abused recreationally because its sedative properties can produce an enjoyable “high” amongst users, which can include mild euphoria, visual distortions and hallucinations, and various physically pleasurable sensations. These can be enhanced, and/or brought more rapidly, by users administering zolpidem in non-traditional ways including by grinding up zolpidem tablets and snorting the resultant powder; some users even inject zolpidem intravenously. Such methods, however, also greatly increase the likelihood that a user will become addicted to zolpidem, and the rate which addiction may develop – though it should be noted that anyone taking zolpidem over time, regardless of the route of administration, exposes themselves to the risk of addiction and dependence.
Addiction is primarily a brain disorder – specifically, a disorder of the brain’s reward system. Someone engaging in certain behaviour (for instance, taking zolpidem and feeling its effects) repeatedly over time may begin to feel the compulsion to repeat that behaviour, as reward centres in the brain – including in parts of the brain known as the ventral tegmental area and the amygdala – start to produce greater quantities of chemicals such as dopamine (associated with feelings of well-being, pleasure and reward) when that behaviour is engaged in, making the individual in question come to associate the behaviour with positive sensations and emotions. As the brain is repeatedly exposed to that behaviour, dopamine production is increasingly associated with and reliant upon it, and the affected individual becomes compelled to repeat it in order to feel the pleasurable effects caused by it (and to stave off the negative consequences of the dopamine deficiency which results from not repeating the behaviour), even if they may be aware of any negative consequences of doing so. This compulsion is known as addiction.
As well as the psychological phenomenon of addiction, zolpidem consumption can also cause tolerance and dependence. Tolerance occurs when someone taking a given substance over time becomes used to certain levels of that substance in their system, and needs to take more and more of it to feel the same effects that they originally enjoyed from lower doses. Similarly, dependence develops when the person in question becomes reliant upon the presence of the substance in their system in order for it to function normally and their brain and body may go into a period of abnormal functioning if substance is suddenly withdrawn from the system (ie, if the person stops taking it); the manifestation of various potentially unpleasant and dangerous symptoms during this period of abnormal functioning is known as withdrawal syndrome.
Non-benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome is similar to that associated with the consumption of benzodiazepines proper. Benzodiazepines are, along with alcohol and barbiturates, one of the few classes of substances the withdrawal from which can prove directly fatal, in the form of seizures and other extreme physical effects, and anyone who has developed an addiction to benzodiazepines or non-benzodiazepines must seek medical help for their condition, as going through withdrawal independently could prove fatal.
Even in cases where withdrawal itself does not lead directly to death, there are still various dangers requiring medical support and management for the user’s safety. For example, one of the most prominent symptoms of withdrawal from zolpidem and other non-benzodiazepines is depression, which in certain cases is accompanied by suicidal ideation: some users going through withdrawal are unable to handle the most distressing symptoms, and in despair turn to suicide as a means of escaping them.
Moreover, someone who has developed tolerance to zolpidem and who stops taking the drug for a period during which withdrawal develops is at a greatly increased risk of fatal overdose: someone starting to take zolpidem again after a degree of tolerance has been lost may take the drug in doses to which they were previously accustomed, but which their body may now not be able to process safely and effectively, potentially resulting in overdose.
An overdose of zolpidem, as with other non-benzodiazepines, can be fatal; although when taken alone, and in quantities advised by a doctor, zolpidem use is unlikely to result in overdose, it is still possible, while taking the drug in combination with other substances – especially alcohol, opioids, tricyclic antidepressants and other non-benzodiazepines or benzodiazepines – or consuming zolpidem through means or in doses other than those recommended by the doctor all make overdose significantly more likely.
Symptoms of a zolpidem overdose might include slurred or incoherent speech, drowsiness, hypotension, nystagmus (involuntary eye movement), ataxia, respiratory depression, coma and cardiorespiratory arrest; if you observe any of these symptoms in someone whom you know has taken zolpidem, call an ambulance immediately. Because of the aforementioned risks, an addiction to zolpidem should be considered an extremely dangerous condition (aside from the countless negative consequences, including very significant risks to physical and mental health, of addiction generally);
it is therefore not too much to say that zolpidem addiction treatment can be literally life-saving, while even in instances where the life of the user is not immediately threatened, treatment can have a hugely positive impact on an addict’s life circumstances, relationships and self-esteem among many other factors which may have been very significantly damaged during and by the addiction.
Addiction treatment is a varied and sophisticated field, and there are many different ways to approach the treatment of zolpidem addiction – and, of course, every individual’s journey through addiction and treatment is unique. Nevertheless, most authorities agree that residential rehabilitation (rehab) provides the best chance for a full and long-lasting recovery.
Rehab facilities provide treatment in safe, secure, calm, friendly and confidential environments designed to allow the greatest possible focus upon healing and recovery. A number of high-quality facilities can be found around the UK which now have great experience in the treatment of zolpidem addiction and which offer a variety of different treatment approaches, therapy methodologies et cetera. The great expertise in treating addiction which can be found in rehab can generally make the difference between successful treatment and recovery, and relapse and continuing to labour under the burden of addiction, as well as providing the medical support and assistance needed to make zolpidem detox and withdrawal as safe and as comfortable as possible.
What to Expect from Treatment
Every addict’s experience of treatment and recovery is unique; what works well for one addict in treatment may not work for another, and addiction treatment is a highly personalised phenomenon, with treatment programmes leading to react to many unforeseen developments.
Because of this, rehabs are agile and responsive environments, and it is not possible to describe one universally applicable addiction treatment process; however, of course there are similarities between treatment programmes and between individual rehabs, and it is possible to draw up a rough guide to what might be expected by someone entering rehab for the treatment of a zolpidem addiction.
Addiction screening and assessment
Your first port of call upon entering rehab will be a complete medical assessment, designed to give doctors an understanding of the severity of your zolpidem addiction. Following this assessment, and based on its results, your doctors will compile an addiction treatment plan which will be the framework for your treatment during your stay in rehab; this framework may need to be altered and refined during the course of treatment, but generally speaking it should be considered the “masterplan” for the rest of your stay.
Therapy is fundamental to all addiction treatment, as only therapy can both uncover and address the psychological causes of addiction and the problematic behaviours and thought processes which have resulted in chronic substance abuse, as well as providing addicts with relapse prevention techniques and other psychological strategies which they will need to sustain abstinence outside the facility. If detox (and other elements of a treatment programme such as dietary and fitness management) could be said to treat the body of an addict, therapy treats their mind – and as addiction is primarily a brain disorder it is easy to see why therapy takes centre stage in its treatment.
A huge range of different therapy models and approaches are given in rehab, but not every facility provides every single different therapeutic model, so which institutions offer which therapies may have a significant impact upon your eventual choice of facility. If you are considering enrolling in rehab for your zolpidem addiction, and have particular preferences regarding the kind of therapy that you feel may benefit you, speak with an addiction specialist about facilities offering your preferred therapy models.
After being assessed, you will enter detoxification (detox) aimed at cleansing your system of substances of abuse including zolpidem in order to overcome the immediate pressures of dependence and to ensure sobriety before you enter subsequent phases of treatment: no addiction treatment can be successful if you are still struggling with substance abuse, and especially dependence.
Although there is no pharmaceutical cure for zolpidem addiction, medication of various kinds may be provided throughout your stay in rehab to address certain symptoms of withdrawal, especially some more persistent and potentially problematic psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression. You may be prescribed some medication at the start of your detox phase to address any withdrawal symptoms which may already have begun to present themselves, or to head off any such symptoms which doctors expect to manifest shortly and which could interfere with the detox process (for example by making relapse more likely).
One often overlooked component of addiction treatment in rehab is addiction education. A proper understanding of the phenomena of substance abuse, addiction and dependence is often lacking amongst even the longest-term addicts, and this understanding can be very beneficial in terms of helping an addict adopt a healthier mindset and, indeed, to develop a greater self-awareness which can be invaluable in the outside world following the conclusion of treatment. Educating addicts about addiction also enables them to begin to realise the risks to their own health and to the well-being of others to which their addiction has given rise, and to understand the damage that may result if they continue down the path of addiction.
Follow up and aftercare (to avoid relapse)
Recovery is not complete simply upon leaving rehab. In fact, in many ways the hardest part of the journey begins then: an addict in recovery needs to work hard and stay focused over the long term in order to avoid temptation and to maintain their hard-won abstinence, and it is usually considered best to view recovery as a lifelong process (many addicts continue to describe themselves as such even if it is many years since their last bout of substance abuse).
In order to provide the optimal environment within which recovery can be sustained, good rehabs typically provide up to a year’s free aftercare after the end of treatment. Aftercare programmes may differ from one facility to another, but usually consist of a number of appointments attended onsite at the facility, and others carried out over the phone or by email, in order to confirm that the addict continues to proceed satisfactorily with their recovery, and if required to advise on further treatment options (as well as potentially prescribing medication). Aftercare plans frequently also contain commitments to participate in support group meetings, engage in individual counselling etc to provide further ongoing support following treatment.
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Dual Diagnosis in Ambien/Zolpidem Addiction Treatment and Rehab
Substance use disorders commonly occur alongside other mental health disorders (a phenomenon known as dual diagnosis), not least because substance abuse can both result from, and cause, mental health issues: some people suffering from poor mental health choose to engage in substance abuse as a means of escapism or self-medication, while substance abuse itself can have profound neurological consequences (and the negative impacts on life circumstances and physical and mental health of addiction can also be profound).
Dual diagnosis typically makes the treatment of addiction more complicated, as both the addiction and the co-occurring disorder need to be treated simultaneously, and the treatment of one can impact upon the treatment of the other (for example, some medication which would typically be prescribed in addiction treatment may not be appropriate in the presence of a co-occurring mental health disorder). As a result, specialist care is usually required in case of dual diagnosis.
Medications used for Ambien/Zolpidem Addiction Treatment and Rehab
Unfortunately, there is currently no recognised pharmaceutical cure for an addiction to zolpidem or any other non-benzodiazepines. Medication is used, however, to relieve the pressure of withdrawal by alleviating, at least in part, some of the more problematic withdrawal symptoms: for instance, in case of depression (a very common withdrawal symptom) antidepressants may be prescribed (though which medications exactly are provided will depend on the doctor’s assessment, as some antidepressants can interact dangerously with zolpidem), while various anxiolytic medications may be given to treat anxiety.
In the case of the manifestation of any potentially especially dangerous withdrawal symptoms, other medications may be provided on a case-by-case basis.
Pros and cons of using medication in Ambien/zolpidem addiction treatment and rehab
Doctors usually try to avoid prescribing medication wherever possible and practical, preferring nonpharmaceutical approaches to treatment. However, in some cases of zolpidem withdrawal, medication is indispensable, as treating problematic withdrawal symptoms assumes a higher priority – and even cases where withdrawal is not likely to be life-threatening, medication can still make the process significantly more comfortable and less distressing.
Medication is not free – though its cost is usually wrapped into the overall treatment fee – and can potentially cause debilitating and even dangerous side effects. Working out the correct approach to medication is one of the main responsibilities of the medical professionals involved in your treatment. It is absolutely vital that you do not attempt to self-medicate your zolpidem addiction: only ever take medication which has been prescribed to you by a qualified doctor, in accordance with their instructions.
Medication replacement programmes for Ambien/zolpidem addiction treatment
Some addiction treatment programmes involve the substitution of safer, legal medication for more problematic, dangerous and potentially illegal substances of abuse, which makes management and monitoring significantly easier and reduces the risks to which an addict is exposed prior to treatment. In the case of zolpidem addiction specifically, there are fewer benefits to medication replacement that might be the case in, say, the treatment of a heroin addict who might be prescribed methadone to keep them away from illegal opioids; however, some rehabs may provide zolpidem addicts with alternative benzodiazepine or non-benzodiazepine drugs as part of a tapering program in advance of detox, and/or may give alternative, less problematic sleep medication. If you are seeking help for a zolpidem addiction, contact an addiction specialist about any medication replacement programmes.
Ambien/Zolpidem Addiction Treatment and Rehab Success Rate
Getting reliable information regarding how successful different addiction treatment programmes and facilities have been can be very difficult, partly because many addicts once in recovery do not keep ties with their rehabs and thus do not report back on how successfully they have sustained their abstinence.
However, a report published in 2012 by the NHS’ National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse put the success rates enjoyed by the best -performing private addiction treatment facilities in the UK – based on the percentage of clients completing treatment who continued to report abstinence five years after the end of their treatment programmes – at anywhere between 60% and 80%. Less positively, though, was the picture at the other end of the performance chart: the worst-performing facilities only achieved less than a 20% success rate.
Twelve-Step Programme for Ambien/Zolpidem Addiction Treatment and Rehab
The twelve-step programme for sobriety created by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) has since been adopted by numerous other support organisations, including Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and has been the basis for countless instances of recovery from substance abuse and addiction. Some rehabs offer twelve-step programmes, or preparatory courses aimed at familiarising addicts with the twelve-step model ahead of their participating in support group meetings during recovery. However, twelve-step programmes are not ideal for every addict, as they demand that addicts admit that their recovery is in the hands of a higher power (for example, God) which conflicts with many addicts’ personal beliefs.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Ambien/Zolpidem Addiction Treatment and Rehab
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is one of the most commonly provided forms of therapy in addiction treatment – and is probably that which is most familiar to the general public because of its frequent appearance in TV and film. CBT aims to improve overall mental health, and to tackle specific challenges such as zolpidem addiction, by uncovering and addressing problematic patterns of thinking and behaviour, and by helping with emotion regulation and the development of coping strategies. Therapists work with clients to impart new skills such as information processing and to create strategies and mechanisms with which to fight triggers and the temptation to relapse, in order to provide the most solid possible footing for life after treatment.
The Role of Counselling in Ambien/Zolpidem Addiction Treatment and Rehab
Much of the psychotherapy provided during addiction treatment relies on clients finding their own ways to certain conclusions; counselling, however, involves the counsellor giving advice on how to approach particular issues, including those arising from substance abuse and addiction. Counselling can be provided in rehab itself, as part of a broader addiction treatment programme, but can also be engaged in independently at any time during recovery (and is often a core element of aftercare). Private addiction counsellors operate across the country; if you are considering counselling, contact an addiction specialist to discuss quality professionals in your area.
Ambien/Zolpidem Addiction Relapse Prevention
Relapse prevention is crucial to avoid sliding back into zolpidem addiction after treatment. Treatment will give you numerous relapse prevention strategies which you can deploy in the outside world, but fundamentally avoiding relapse is a long-term challenge and you may feel that you need supplementary support. Counselling and support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) can help with avoiding triggers and relapse; for more information, contact an addiction specialist.
Individual vs Group Therapy
Therapy in addiction treatment is provided in both one-to-one and group settings. Individual therapy allows clients to work very closely with therapists to focus on their particular issues and challenges; group therapy (usually featuring groups of between three and 12 addicts) brings together individuals with similar experiences of addiction to share those experiences and advice, and give new perspectives on situations and challenges which may be especially problematic for given individuals.
Choosing a Treatment Centre for Ambien/Zolpidem Addiction Treatment and Rehab
Many people considering addiction treatment are more or less unfamiliar with the field, and may – understandably – not have the information necessary in order to make the right choice regarding which rehab to attend. However, making the right choice is imperative, and it may benefit you to speak with an addiction specialist about the pros and cons of various facilities you may be considering. Compile a wish list of what you want to achieve from treatment, and then discuss this list with an addiction specialist in order to narrow down your search.
Inpatient Ambien/Zolpidem Addiction Treatment Programme
Rehabs may offer addiction treatment on either an inpatient or outpatient basis; typically, what we think of as “rehab” is the residential, or inpatient, element, in which addicts are taken out of their daily environments during which zolpidem addiction has developed, and given holistic treatment programmes with components including detox, therapy, bespoke fitness and dietary plans and more, during stays which usually last from between 30 to 90 days.
Advantages of inpatient Ambien/zolpidem addiction treatment and rehab centres
Inpatient treatment offers numerous advantages: 24/7 medical support; on-site therapy sessions and, where necessary, prescription; a comfortable, secure, confidential, substance-free environment in which to focus upon healing and recovery; on-site facilities such as gyms and kitchens; and the support of a peer group familiar with the challenges and vicissitudes of addiction and substance abuse.
Outpatient Ambien/Zolpidem Addiction Treatment Programme
Outpatient treatment can be ideal for individuals who do not feel they can take time out from work or family obligations in order to go through a full residential treatment programme; appointments such as therapy and health checkups can be carried out at the facility, with the addicts needing to carry out other elements of the treatment programme independently. However, outpatient treatment does not remove addicts from their daily environment which addiction is developed, thus making relapse and even the eventual failure of treatment much more probable.
Short-Term vs. Long-Term Treatment
How long zolpidem addict needs to remain in treatment depends on various factors unique to the addict; if you are contemplating treatment for your zolpidem addiction, the length of your stay will need to be determined by a doctor.
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All-Age Rehabs vs. Specific Age Group Rehabs
Some addicts may prefer – or may be required – to be treated in age-specific facilities; for example, it may be inappropriate for very young clients to be treated in the same environment as certain adults, while much older clients may need to stay facilities with special expertise in the care of the elderly. If a young person, or an elderly person, close to you is struggling with a zolpidem addiction, speak with an addiction specialist about the benefits of age-specific rehabs.
Treatment Near Home vs. Different City or County
Where is best to receive treatment may vary from one addict to another: some people prefer treatment close to home, where they may be comforted by the proximity of loved ones, while others may wish to go as far as possible from their home environment which has proved so problematic. Speak with an addiction specialist about your particular requirements.
Gender-Specific vs. Mixed Gender Programmes
Some addicts may prefer to be treated in single sex facilities – and doctors may recommend such facilities in some cases. Speak with an addiction specialist about whether a mixed gender, or gender specific, treatment facility would be better in your particular circumstances.
Ambien/Zolpidem Addiction Rehabs and Confidentiality
Confidentiality is absolutely paramount for rehabs, as clients need to be sure that their condition will not become known outside the facility. If you have concerns, ask about confidentiality policies at any rehab you are considering attending.
Questions to Ask Treatment Centres
When enquiring about treatment facilities and options, consider asking the following questions:
- How long does treatment last?
- Is the facility fully licensed and accredited?
- What success rates can be demonstrated by the facility?
- What payment terms are available?
- What medical care is available on site?
- What therapy methodologies are deployed?
- Will I be able to receive visitors?
- What aftercare is provided?
Ambien/Zolpidem Addiction Rehab and Treatment Statistics
The number of visits to emergency hospital care involving Ambien increased by 220% between 2005 and 2010.
Almost 70% of emergency cases involving zolpidem feature female patients.
The abuse of Ambien is highest amongst individuals aged 40 and over.
Paying for Ambien/Zolpidem Abuse Rehab
While public (NHS) addiction treatment programmes are available, waiting lists can be very long and treatment quality varies.
Private facilities, of course, do come at a cost; if you are contemplating private addiction treatment, speak with an addiction specialist about typical costs and payment terms.
Ambien/zolpidem addiction treatment & health insurance
if you have private health insurance it may well cover various forms of addiction treatment; however, in order to be absolutely certain of coverage, contact your insurer and request a written outline of everything covered by your policy, including payment terms and timetable.
Get Help Today
If you suffer from a zolpidem addiction, it is understandable that you may feel a sense of despair and hopelessness – but do not give in: high-quality addiction treatment facilities operate across the UK which can help you turn your life around. Speak with an addiction specialist about the various treatment options which may be open to you, and take your first steps on the path back to the sober life you want and deserve.
Call our admissions line 24 hours a day to get help.
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