The physical signs of Ambien use may be easy enough to spot, as this powerful drug causes heavy sedation, dizziness, drowsiness, impaired coordination and other side effects. However, concerned loved ones may need to look further to know for certain whether someone is abusing the drug by taking too much too often or without a prescription.
Ambien is prescribed to treat insomnia (difficulty falling or staying asleep), and it works by slowing down brain activity. This drug is habit-forming, and usually provided in time-release tablets for periods of only 7 to 10 days because of its potential to cause addiction. Someone who abuses Ambien may be discreet about her growing addiction, or she may not even take the trouble to hide the signs of her drug abuse.
How to Recognize Ambien Addiction
Evidence of Ambien abuse and addiction includes the following paraphernalia:
- Empty or multiple pill bottles – If someone has had a prescription refilled before using all of it, or possesses more than has been prescribed for the customary period of 7 to 10 days, this may be a sign of prescription drug abuse. Likewise, if the bottle is empty before the dosage is meant to run out, this may mean he has increased his dosage.
- Hidden pill bottles – While the directions on the bottle clearly advise against leaving the drug in an easily accessible place, there is a difference between storing the medication safely and hiding it. Take note of whether pills are stored in unexpected or odd locations. Someone who abuses Ambien no longer sees her drug use as treatment for a sleeping disorder; now she sees it as a shameful habit that she must hide from others so that she won’t be caught or confronted.
- Objects used to snort Ambien – While many people who abuse Ambien take it orally, others crush the pills and snort them for a more powerful high. Snorting it can be an even greater risk than abusing it orally, because this deactivates the time-release component of the pill, so it spreads more rapidly through the user’s system. While you may not catch a user in the act of snorting, you can look for signs that suggest this is happening, like credit cards, dollar bills or other surfaces may hold powdery residue. Also, look for straws or chewed-up pens used to snort the powder.
If you notice any of these problems in a loved one, Ambien abuse may be to blame.
Dangers of Ambien Abuse
Other than the short-term side effects of Ambien, the following issues are serious, long-term effects associated with Ambien abuse:
- Memory loss
- Behavioral changes
- Increased drowsiness
- Decreased effectiveness
- Decreased sex drive
Before your loved one struggles any further with any of these issues, seek help to treat Ambien abuse.
Help for Ambien Addiction
If you fear for a loved one who is addicted to Ambien, call our 24 hour, toll-free helpline right now to speak with an addiction counselor about treatment. Don’t allow Ambien abuse to cause further suffering.