For those desperate for a good night’s sleep Ambien can seem like a lifesaver, but risks for Ambien overdose and abuse are high. The number of people who battle addictive behavior with Ambien is on the rise as more people are getting sleep medication prescriptions than ever before. Without some safeguards and intervention this will continue to be an issue.
Ambien abuse is more serious than most realize. The effects of abuse can be severe. Taking too much of the drug can cause respiratory distress, weak pulse, sluggishness, amnesia and even coma/death. As an increasing number of people sign up to use the drug and take it for longer periods of time, the risk increases. The body can develop a tolerance to the drug’s sleep inducing effects prompting people to seek larger and larger doses. This sets them up for complications or even Ambien overdose.
With the massive increase of availability over the internet it is getting harder for law enforcement to monitor and prevent the sale of illegal amounts of the drug. People who really want to get more then allowed can do so easily. The DEA and other agencies are having to ramp up to try and get caught up with the growing tide of illegal sales of prescription medications. Until then, the problem will increase.
The drug manufacturers claim that the risk of dependency and Ambien abuse is small, but they are not being completely honest in their assessment. They are looking at it in comparison to sleep medications of the past which were less sophisticated and had extremely high rates of addiction. However, Ambien and other similar drugs have not been around as long so the quantity of data is not yet there to make a true comparison.
Additionally, Ambien abuse is not quite the same as previous drugs that produced an actual chemical addiction like a narcotic. While there can be some physical dependency on the drug, people are becoming more addicted to the results (sleep) and side effects (increased sex drive, hallucinations, etc.) than anything else. Also, people can become dependent on the drug in order to prevent a relapse in insomnia when coming off the drug. This can create people who develop a need to continue using by virtue of their fear of relapse. The resulting behavior can become very similar to traditional drug addicts.
Ambien overdose becomes easier too when users are getting the meds from different sources and there is no one doctor monitoring their usage. The lack of supervision made available by the internet and other sources makes tracking a patient’s drug intake almost impossible for doctors today. The need for additional legislation and enforcement of the internet is unfortunately becoming all too clear.
Helping those suffering from Ambien abuse is similar to helping anyone else suffering from drug addiction. The user must first be brought to admit and accept they have a problem. The rest flows from there. It is important to get them off the drug and using other, safer methods to induce sleep as soon as possible. It might be better to have them switch to a natural supplement designed to help the body sleep naturally while they are weaning themselves off Ambien. There tend to be less side effects and less risk of abuse. Either way, it is important to get them help and under medical supervision as quickly as possible.