Hi, I'm looking for some personal advice from anyone out there that has had a similar problem as I have right now. I've done all the reading and research online about this, but I think sometimes being able to tell your own side of things and hearing a response directed at you could be a little more helpful.
I'm 33 years old and have a severe ambien addiction. I started taking the medication about 6 years ago. I used to take it about 2 or 3 times a week, just 5-10mg. But in the last couple of years it's climbed to 15-25mg a night.. and now it's really getting out of hand and I'm taking them during the day at times upwards to 40-50mg in a 24 hour period. I have no other real vices, I'm on no other medications, I don't drink alcohol. So the fact that something has grabbed a hold of me so bad is scary. In case you're wondering, my doctor prescribes 30 a month to me, but I buy the rest online for my extra supply.
As far as the side effects go, the habit didn't start getting me worried until recently because I've suddenly found myself at a loss for words, my recall ability has been slowing down. I know all about the short term memory loss issues associated with ambien.. but this is different, this isn't a form of amnesia from the night before, these are real memory problems.
I'm hoping that getting off this very addictive drug will help my memory and recall ability return. I need to completely stop ambien.
Can anyone offer any advice towards tapering off this drug? amounts to take after such extreme abuse? other herbal things to help with the withdrawls? and hope that I haven't permanently damaged my brain?
I wish I could tell ya what to do..... ..... maybe someone will post your answers here soon..... Maybe talking to your Dr? I finally had to talk to mine.....I'm 19 days clean from a hydro addiction..... Hugs and good lucky sweetie.....
JUstin. Hang in there. I have had similar problems witrh AMBIEN (EVIL). My 1st question is does it help with Insomnia and how many hours of sleep does it give you per pill. (Myself, it gave me a measley 4 or5 hours each) Secondly, why do you take it during the day, I presume you are craving that relaxed hypnotic feeling? These side effects that you describe are common for Ambien and speaking for myself, all my mental faculties appeared to have fully recovered.
You probably won't want to face this but being straight with Doc might be the thing to do. (He doesn't need to know where you got them though) Perhaps he can work with you on tapering down?
If you don't really really want to stop nothing will help. You must somehow realize that you are the one in control of your life and you are F*&*&&* sick of being a slave to pills.You are not alone
Ambien, ahh, my drug of choice (second to opiates). I was taking about the same amount of the drug as you are. I was getting the extra ambien online, just like yourself. I went to the doctor and told him the truth. He gave me 3-10mg pills to taper with and told me I would be alright. I wish he would have taken me off of the stuff a little easier. I had horrible withdrawals, and the detox was similar to the opiates, just not quite as bad. I had the shakes, hot and cold sweats, strange odor coming out of my pores, no sleep, high anxiety. I didn't have any seizures (had a few of those with the opiate-soma detox, though).
I'm surprised my doctor didn't monitor the amount of ambien I was taking. He never asked, and if he did, I would have told him the truth.
The doctor said that it would take me a month to get over the ambien. A MONTH!!! He said it wouldn't be as bad as the opiate detox, but it WILL be BAD. Well, he was right. It was BAD. After about a week, the shakes were gone and I felt 90% better. Ambien has a short half-life, so, as my doctor says, it is no big deal to get off of them. If I told him that I was taking 10 pills a day, he probably would have given me a better taper.
It seems that you need almost ten days to pull off a successful taper. Sounds weird, but I struggled though a horrible detox coming off of this evil drug in three days.
wow, thanks so much for the words of encouragement. That helps alot!
To answer your questions Flimba, Ambien seemed to be a miracle drug because it was able to put me to sleep. And it was similar for me as well, about 4-5 hours a pill. But the assurance that I would get the 4-5 hours a night was great instead of that horrible insomniac feeling when you wonder if you'll even get to sleep. When the nice pleasant effect feeling before you drift to sleep started to diminish I started upping the doses, which didn't change how long I slept at all. I could however wake up, do a few things around the house- take ambien again and go back to sleep. I started taking them during the day, because like you said I craved that ambien haze. But sometimes I was getting anxious feelings during the day, really uncomfortable and stressed, and taking 5-10mg would curb that.
This stuff really is evil for me at this point, I've obviously lost my ability to use as directed. But thanks guys for the posts and advice it's very encouraging to hear how some of you have been able to ditch this stuff.
That anxiety feeling is sedative rebound/intra-dose withdrawals. It is common and mistaken for anxiety conditions. This is the downfall of sedatives, they have severe rebounds(what goes down must come up) and they lose their effectiveness over time. In severe cases, they stop working altogether and this also can bring on tolerance withdrawals.
So, it's best to not use drugs on a regular basis for sleep. Good nutrition, stress reduction and lots of exercise does help sleep; sometimes chammomile tea is good. Also, occassional use of OTC benedryl type sleep aids does not hurt; they do not alter the brain like prescription benzos and benzo like drugs do.
Take it from someone who became a severe case aka drug stopped working, that's a real nightmare....I mean, taking a pill everynight and staying awake the entire time, yeah, it can happen. I mean, no sleep with or without pills for days, not fun. Better to not wait intil that happens. Losing some sleep here and there isn't as bad, believe me.
I still have some sleep issues but I can sleep naturally again. The road to recovery was long, but it can be done. I enjoy my natural sleep even more now, evens ome of the shorter or more difficult nights are still way better than the days of popping a sleeping pill with no results.
For the most part, I've recovered all my sleep but I can tell you that it takes alot of patience. Usually any pre-existing sleep problems will worsen with drugs, and are not given time to naturally correct themselves because of the drugs (and it does take alot of time but WELL worth it!!)
I slept near 8 hours last night, naturally. During my trial with benzo sleep drugs and withdrawal from them, that was all but impossible. The brain is wonderful in that it can recover. In my case, it was my doc wanting to have me take more of the drug, so abuse wasn't even a factor in my case.
With sedatives, it is best to slower taper off of them over a long period of time. Withdrawals/rebound is difficult but does ultimately go away. Patience and accepting that things will be difficult for awhile gets you through it.
Good luck. Licking dependancy, the physical dependancy on sedatives is one of the hardest roads to go down, takes the longest too of any other drugs. But it's well worth it. It's not really addiction IMHO if all you want is sleep. Sleep is a need, not an addiction. But the drugs make it worse, and that's when overdosing/abuse can factor in. I firmly believe that is what happened to Heath Ledger, an example of when it gets to the point where large doses barely work or at all.
The biggest temptation in the world is to up the dose to make sure it works and to attain that calm hazy state. Really bad. We've all been there. I think what you might think about is creating segments of the day when under NO circumstances will you take an Ambien, like 10am to 3pm) Then widen that gap to say 9 to 4...). I take 10mg before bed and it MUST be at least 9:30 before I take it.
BTW I have gotten off both Ambien and Percocets cold turkey and while Ambien is painful , OPiates seem to be much more difficult. Ambien being a type of Benzo, tapering is advised.
There is pleasure
There is Bliss
Forego the first for the second
I took ambien for about year, legally rx'd, to treat my chronic insomnia it was a miracle drug at first.Then tolerance builds, ended up making a cocktail of ambien +xanax = the AX.Weened myself off over 2 months with no real adverse side e-fx.
Last edited by midimonk; 03-05-2008 at 02:28 AM.
I'm on my 4th straight day with no ambien. I'm not necessarily trying to quit cold turkey, but my supply ran out and until my prescription is ready to refill I'm out of luck. The withdrawals right now are horrible.. shaky and having a hard time concentrating, especially with detail oriented things like typing on a keyboard.
Hopefully in a couple days when I get my ambien refilled I can move to lower doses, after being without. I don't know if I can kick the habit completely just yet.