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Getting High on Ambien: Snoozing Might Be Very Costly

Ambien is a sedative hypnotic, not a narcotic, that’s prescribed for the short-term treatment of insomnia. Zolpidem slows down activity in the brain and makes it easier for users to fall asleep and stay asleep for seven to eight hours.

  • The recommended medical dosages of Ambien are generally 5 milligrams or 10 milligrams.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 50 to 70 million adults in the U.S. suffer from sleep disorders and believe that sleep deprivation is a public health crisis. Ambien can be effective in the short-term.

Getting An Ambien High

People using this drug recreationally, to get an Ambien high, are often using far higher than the recommended dose. In some cases, people mix this sedative drug with other drugs, such as alcohol, marijuana or prescription opioid painkillers.

  • The drug effects people in different ways, but recreational users claim the sense of Ambien-related euphoria kicks in only if a person is able to resist falling asleep, which can be difficult to do especially at higher doses.
  • Recreational users describe an Ambien high as trippy or psychedelic.
  • Others report a lift in mood, but no psychedelic hallucinations.
  • Getting an Ambien high, especially on a consistent basis, alters the complex physical chemistry in the brain and body, which inevitably decreases overall health and well-being.

Using Alternative Methods Of Taking It

While most people use the medication orally, as is suggested, some recreational users will crush the tablet and snort it to try to speed up the onset of its effects.

  • According to the Mayo Clinic, snorting Ambien can cause a life-threatening allergic reaction called Anaphylaxis in some people.

In other cases, users have taken Ambien intravenously, crushing the tablet and then cooking it down to liquid form, for injection.

Ambien’s Side Effects

There are a number of serious side effects associated with using Ambien, both with and without a prescription. The Mayo Clinic lists some of the following possible side effects:

  • Prolonged drowsiness a day after using the medication
  • Memory and performance problems
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness that can lead to falls
  • Gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhea
  • Sleep-walking and other sleep behaviors, such as driving, eating, or having sex without being fully awake
  • Overdose
  • Addiction and withdrawal

Consistently using to get an Ambien high is problematic because people develop a tolerance to the medication and will have to use greater amounts in order to feel its effects. Taking more and more Ambien increases the risk of overdose, which can cause depressed respiratory function, coma and possibly death, especially when mixed with alcohol or opioids.

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By the Numbers

Far too many people are using it in order to get an Ambien High. Ask any sleep deprived parent, student, coworker or friend and they’ll tell you how miserable it is to cope with even the most menial day-to-day responsibilities while exhausted. It’s a “waking” nightmare. So it’s no surprise to learn that Zolpidem, which goes by the brand name Ambien, is one of the most requested prescription sleeping aids on the market, despite it’s habit forming properties and people using to get a high. Since it’s debut in the early ’90s, Ambien has gotten a lot of attention, not all of it positive.

  • According to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Ambien-related emergency room visits increased by 220 percent in a five-year period, between 2005 and 2010.

Ambien Withdrawal

Ambien withdrawal is serious and, in some cases, dangerous. People who want to stop taking Ambien should consult their physician and slowly decrease the dosage over a period of time. Going “cold turkey” is known to cause a myriad of physical and emotional symptoms, such as tremors, vomiting, anxiety, depression, confusion and cravings for the drug.

The symptoms of withdrawal spike in the first seven days and most people find they feel better after a month, though “rebound insomnia” might remain an issue from time to time.