Ambien Use Signs And Symptoms

ambien signs of use

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Ambien, a brand name of the drug zolpidem tartrate, is prescribed to patients who suffer from insomnia. Many patients cannot sleep without it. The signs were visible not only for the users but their families.

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Ambien Use Signs and the Potential for Ambien Abuse

Ambien works by suppressing the central nervous system (CNS), so it acts as a tranquilizer and sedative which slows down brain activity. The drug is very potent; so it’s both very effective for treating insomnia but also poses a very real danger of the patient developing a dependency on the drug.
If one is becoming dependent on the drug or showing multiple signs of use, it is important to speak to a doctor about making real changes in life and ask him how to do this. When using Ambien for an extended period, it’s almost impossible not to develop multiple signs of use – and if a patient is not already completely dependent on the drug to fall asleep at night, it will eventually develop into a full-blown dependency.

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Ambien Use Signs and Symptoms

The prevalence of side-effects is very common amongst patients, though most signs and symptoms of Ambien use don’t show up at first. Users experience all or some of the belove symptoms. They can become progressively worse with doses exceeding 10mg.

Less Energy

The drug doesn’t clear the system immediately, and patients tend to feel ‘slow’ or groggy the next day; this is especially true if one didn’t get a full 8 hours of sleep. A morning routine takes longer, and one could find oneself having trouble completing work assignments in time or getting to all the things once usually done in the week.


Ambien makes it more difficult to wake up in the mornings. It’s quite possible to sleep right through an alarm that would usually be very annoying and previously never failed to get on the feet.

Reduced Concentration

The tranquilizing effect, coupled with the time it takes to clear the system, means one may find it harder to concentrate during hours of peak efficiency. With a feeling of mental ‘slowness’ Ambien use signs cause a definite impact on one’s ability to effectively deal with people. A brainstorming and creativity were lowered.


Probably the most concerning of Ambien use signs and symptoms – at regular doses – is that it becomes difficult to remember small details. At doses exceeding the recommended 10mg, it is developing into actual day-time memory loss.

Not Remembering

This phenomenon occurred again and again for the entire time patients are on the drug. The memories are clouded, if not completely absent. Some patients report driving their cars or making a sandwich while under the influence of the drug and then not remembering the next day, or having very faint recollections of it.

Impaired Motor Control

Many patients encounter slurred speech or dropping a cup of coffee after taking Ambien, or in rare cases the next morning. One may feel off-balance, and performance in the sport could suffer.

Feeling High

The sense of peacefulness Ambien causes is not entirely unpleasant. Muscles relax, heart rate lowers, and a patient breathes more slowly. If one has had a busy day, mind isn’t racing like it did before. These symptoms are all effects of the CNS-depressant and brain-slowing workings of the drug. All of which are necessary to get one to fall asleep. But this opens the door for a psychological addiction to the drug. Be warned.

Side Effects of Ambien

The manufacturer’s leaflet that comes with the box of Ambien lists some signs and side effects. All of these are worth considering when deciding whether a person wants to use, continue using or is thinking of speaking to a family member about the use of Ambien:

  • Skin rashes
  • Drowsiness
  • Headaches
  • Sinusitis
  • Pharyngitis (a sore throat)
  • Serious anaphylactic and anaphylactoid reactions (severe allergic reactions)
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Pain of the lower back
  • Abdominal pain
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Feeling ‘drugged’
  • Lethargy
  • Amnesia
  • Changes and abnormalities in thoughts and behavior (like sleep-driving)
  • Drug-induced depression
  • Suicidal tendencies in patients with pre-existing depression
  • Physical withdrawal
  • Unusual dreams
  • Worsening of insomnia
  • Chest pain
  • Palpitations
  • Heightened sensitivity in debilitated and elderly patients
  • Intensified CNS-depressant effect when taking alcohol
  • Overdose has been fatal in some cases

This is not an exhaustive list of side effects, read the manufacturer’s product information (listed by the FDA) for complete information.
The signs and symptoms of Ambien use can be taxing on personal relationships and work commitments. Carefully weigh up long-term options if one or more of these signs are showing in life.

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Sharon Levy

About Author

Sharon Levy, MD, MPH

After successful graduation from Boston University, MA, Sharon gained a Master’s degree in Public Health. Since then, Sharon devoted herself entirely to the medical niche. Sharon Levy is also a certified addiction recovery coach.


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