Drug addiction is very commonly misunderstood. There are many people who mistakenly think that drug addiction is about willpower and, in many cases, moral principles.

But this is not the case. Drug addiction affects people globally.

The reality of drug addiction is that it’s a chemical reliance a person’s brain has developed. This chemical reliance can be so strong that it changes the way a person acts and even thinks.

It’s estimated that 5.4 percent of the entire world struggles with the burden of drug addiction. Many people may not even be aware that they’ve developed an addiction to medication.

Sleep Aids can be very silent drugs, as an addiction can creep up without a person even noticing. Ambien is a sleep aid medication very similar to benzodiazepines, such as Xanax. Ambien was created to be a less addictive alternative to benzos, and while it is less habit-forming than benzos, it is still a very addictive substance.

Read on to learn more about Ambien addiction and abuse.

Ambien Addiction Statistics

For many people, the addiction to Ambien probably started with a prescription that was taken only as directed by a physician. Ambien is meant to be a short-term solution, so when the drug is used long term, an addiction can develop.

The addiction starts off where the person may need a little bit more of the medication each time to get the same result. This is where the dependence is being developed. Before long, a full-blown addiction can occur. Since the addiction wasn’t intentional, and since it developed slowly over a long time period, the person may not even be aware of the addiction.

General Statistics on Addiction to Ambien

Ambien is a lot more common addiction than many people think. Between 2006 and 2011, approximately 38 million prescriptions were written.

Ambien Addiction and Abuse

Since Ambien is a central nervous system depressant, overdoses are extremely serious and can result in death.


In 2013, there were an estimated 250,000 people with a known addiction to Ambien. Of those 250,000 people, 68 percent, or two-thirds, are women.

The number of emergency visits alone went from 6,111 to well over 19,000 in just 5 years from 2005 to 2010. Nearly 74 percent of those emergency room visits were patients over the age of 45.

Signs of Ambien Abuse

It’s important to be able to recognize the signs of addiction, whether you’re looking for yourself or a loved one, so that the addiction can be treated before it becomes too serious.

Unfortunately, the case of Ambien addiction can be a tricky one. Due to the fact that Ambien suppresses the central nervous system, it’s signs of overdose are very similar to the intended drug effects.

Some common signs of addiction might include:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Excess prescriptions
  • Sudden financial instability
  • Insomnia
  • Abnormal agitation

Any sort of sudden life changes a person exhibits could be a sign of addition.

Many people who are just starting to abuse Ambien will begin by taking the drug earlier in the evening, instead of right before bedtime as directed by a doctor. If the Ambien addiction has become severe the pills may not work as well as they used to when taken orally, so a person might begin to crush the pills and snort them for a faster effect. If you think this may be happening to your loved one, look for powdery white substance residue on any tables.

Am I Addicted?

If you are concerned you may be developing an addiction, there are a few warning signs that you can look for.

Ask yourself the following questions:

Does it take more medicine than it used to for you experience the same effects?

Do you find yourself wanting to take the medicine earlier in the evening?

Do you experience severe insomnia when you miss a dosage?

Do you experience nervousness, agitation, delirium, or cravings when you don’t take the medicine?

If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, you may be developing an addiction to Ambien.

You may choose to detox on your own or you may decide to seek out professional help. Whatever you decide is right for you, you don’t have to try and do it alone, as there are different treatment options available.

Dangers of Ambien Abuse

As mentioned above, Ambien can be very dangerous when abused.

In order to help a person sleep, Ambien slows down the central nervous system. It lowers your heart rate and slows your breathing to allow your body to sleep. When abused, Ambien can slow your nervous system to the point of failure, which can result in death.

An overdose may be accidental of trying to increase a high or overcome a tolerance.

A person who is overdosing may exhibit the following signs:

  • Excessive drowsiness
  • Dangerously slowed breathing
  • Bradycardia – slowed heart rate
  • Coma

An overdose of Ambien is a very serious condition and will need medical care as quickly as possible. If you experience or see a loved one experiencing these signs, immediately contact emergency services. You may just save a life.

Get Help Today

If you feel as though you or a loved one may have developed an Ambien addiction, don’t hesitate to seek help right away. Addiction is a very serious disease and must be treated as such.

Whether you’re planning an intervention for a friend, calling about yourself, or simply have questions, our specialists are trained to help. Call us today to speak with an addiction specialist — tomorrow could be too late.