Ambien is used for the short-term treatment of insomnia as it causes users to relax and fall asleep. As a sedative, it also has hypnotic effects on the brain to help people stay asleep.
Ambien’s Effect on the Brain
The brain contains a complicated network of interconnected cells called neurons. It uses chemicals called neurotransmitters to communicate between the neurons. Special proteins called receptors sends these signals. When a chemical is introduced, it binds to a receptor and alters the communication signals. Ambien works by binding to certain receptors to alter the brain’s activity, particularly in the area of sedation.
Ambien Side Effects
Drowsiness is the most common side effect of Ambien—if you are so drowsy it interferes with your daytime activities, then you should notify your doctor so she can adjust the dosage. While it is not common to experience serious side effects, you should seek immediate attention if you have any of the following problems:
- Memory loss
- Mood changes
- Thoughts of suicide
- Aggressive behavior
You may not experience all of these symptoms, but any one of them can devastate your wellbeing.
Ambien Overdose Symptoms
People who take too much Ambien may become excessively drowsy or even slip into a light coma. The symptoms of overdose are more severe if a user is also taking other central nervous system (CNS) depressants. In rare cases Ambien overdose has caused death, but these cases have involved overdoses on several medications. Ambien overdose symptoms can vary, but some include the following problems:
- Excessive drowsiness
- Light coma
- Heart failure
- Lung failure
- Difficult or slow breathing
- Severe nausea or vomiting
- Slowed heart rate
If you recognize any or several of these symptoms, you may be dealing with an Ambien overdose which will require immediate medical attention.
How to Avoid Ambien Overdose
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), if you have any of the following issues, you are at increased risk for Ambien overdose:
- Motor impairments – trouble standing or walking the following day after taking the drug
- Central nervous system side effects – a pattern of dizziness while lying down and when getting up in the morning. Headaches, heart palpitations, impaired vision, or upper respiratory infections
- Cognitive side effects – trouble with memory, speech, or other mental functions
- Emotional or mental issues – irritation and increasingly aggressive behavior
- Other side effects – frequent dry mouth, back pain, abnormal thirst and nausea
For your own safety, check with your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. It is also recommended that you take the following actions when you are prescribed Ambien:
- Do not drink alcohol
- Allocate 7 to 9 hours of sleep after taking Ambien
- Do not engage in any other activity after taking the drug
- Avoid taking Ambien with antidepressants, anxiety medications and antibiotics
Discuss your habits openly with your prescribing physician if you want to stay healthy while taking this drug.
Ambien Addiction Help
If you or someone you know is at risk for Ambien addiction, call our toll-free helpline today. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about Ambien use. We are here to help.