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Addicted to Ambien for years and I need help! Please

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Old 08-06-2009, 05:13 PM   #1
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maisymouse HB User
Addicted to Ambien for years and I need help! Please

I've been taking Ambien for about 9 years now, with the exception of being in New Zealand for 2 years and had no choice to take other medication for sleep.

I didn't feel that I was addicted or could be addicted to anything but 40mg of ambien later i'm really tired of it. I don't think it's the sleep i'm craving but it's the "high" and the "happy" side effect I get. I suffer from mild depression, PTSD and I have a special needs child. I turned to ambien to help me sleep and i've managed to do fine for years with it. Lately when i've run out of the medication I get really anxious, upset, panic like and very much on edge. I start to count down how many days until insurance will pay for it. (We have plan that refils meds ever 20 days). I never felt like it was an issue because it puts me to sleep but my husband is sick of me getting goofy and not remembering half of our conversations. My defense was "I've been scorned damn it! This is my time! You try living what I have to live" all sorts of stupid excuses.

I've got to get off this stuff. Those who say it's not habbit forming is wrong. Dead wrong.

Please, anyone who has been through this, or any ideas of what to do. With my husbands job I can't go to the doctor to say I have an addiction as it messes up his job records and kills off any hope of jobs or officer schools.

I'm sure you've all seen this type of post a million times.. please any help woud be fantastic.

Bless you all

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Old 08-07-2009, 09:16 AM   #2
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Secrets1983 HB User
Re: Addicted to Ambien for years and I need help! Please


I am sorry to hear of your dilema! It sounds like you are in a tough spot! I have never taken Ambien so I may not be the best person to give you advice but I would think like anything else you could start to taper yourself down to your normal dose. My boss takes it and he takes the 10mg nightly and he said that is the highest dose they will give so maybe you could taper yourself down to that???

Maybe someone else can chime in and help out here.....

Stick around and I know someone will be able to be of more help. I am here to offer you support! Addiction feels very lonely and like a living nightmare but you don't have to go thru this alone.. We are here for you!


Old 08-07-2009, 10:47 AM   #3
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: East Coast, US
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NotPerky HB User
Re: Addicted to Ambien for years and I need help! Please

I do take Ambien at night for sleep. In the sustained-release (CR) formula, there is a 12.5-mg pill, which of course is what I take. (Aaargh, I couldn't have just stuck with the darn 5-mg pills I used to get...).

Maisy, it's not clear to me whether you're taking the Ambien just at night for sleep, or at other times as well...? As I recommended on another post, Ambien should be taken IMMEDIATELY before bed. At this point, I take the pill and get right in bed. Otherwise, there is too much risk of doing/saying/writing things I don't even remember the next day. I don't even trust myself to read a book in bed for awhile.

As Secrets said, the only way to get "un-dependent" on Ambien is to slowly taper off it, like we do with our friends the opioids. That's what I'm going to have to do after I get back to normal from the oxy taper. Tapering will involve patience and discipline though. We will be here for you if you decide to do it.

Old 08-10-2009, 04:30 PM   #4
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brianpain33 HB Userbrianpain33 HB User
Re: Addicted to Ambien for years and I need help! Please

I have been on Ambien before, but never abused it. However, I got off of it because I did not like the way I felt the next day, groggy and hangover type of feeling. Anyway, back to your question about how to get off of them. It is not going to be easy but if you have made the decision that you are ready to get off of them then this is what you need to do.

1. Give the bottle of pills to someone else to hold (preferably your husband)
2. Do not have access to the pills EVER
3. Do not pick up the refills (have your husband or a trusted friend do it)
4. Begin the taper process of cutting your dose by 10% a week
5. Have your husband give you the specific number of pills for that given day.
6. If you husband needs to buy a safe and put the pills in it then do it.

I am assuming that you are taking a total of (9) of the 10mg pills. So you could try:

Week 1: 40mg
Week 2: 30mg
Week 3: 20mg
Week 4: 10mg
Week 5: 5mg
Week 6: STOP

I know it seems like a long time but you did not get to taking 40mg/day in a short period of time so it will take a long time to get off of them. I would also suggest searching in your area for a support group such as NA(narcotics anonymous). There is a reason that you are using the Ambien to escape or to not deal with life on life's terms. You can use every excuse in the book but the fact is that you have developed an addiction. In the mean time please keep posting here for support and supplement with something for insomnia such as Melatonin. You may even need to be treated for depression/anxiety by a doctor. I would seek out a doctor and tell him/her about your depression and there are certain anti-depressants that can be used for depression and also sleep such as Trazadone. The main thing is to get off the Ambien


Last edited by brianpain33; 08-11-2009 at 02:25 PM. Reason: got the dosage wrong

Old 08-10-2009, 08:23 PM   #5
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maisymouse HB User
Unhappy Re: Addicted to Ambien for years and I need help! Please

I'm very glad for the messages. I'm so blessed to have found this place.

I tell you I got started on this stuff at 18 because I started to see double, which was always a trigger "Shut your eyes" and like a light switch i'm out.

I'm currently on 40 mg and I've had a doctor say "well, why not try xanax?" I don't like that stuff, I hear too many stories about it and I just want to be clean.

A slight background I used to be hooked on codine, but I managed to quit that cold turkey when the doctor and I got into an arguement about how many pills I had left and that I needed them today. (In NZ it's socialised medicine and I was on a waiting list for an MRI for a chronic pain and had another 11 moths of wait time to go) so I felt I had a right to those pain killers. When I made a total donkey's butt out of myself about that I dropped it but had no problems. Ever since then I don't take anything except maybe an asprin.

You see.. With my PTSD and Depression they have me on Citaloprahm.. which seems to be working well.. but that "HAPPY!!!" high I get from ambien just makes the world a better place, just.. don't care, problems solved, everything is beautiful! *hearts and flowers*" I can't explain it but I felt "My god, if my doctor can give me something for the day time to match this, i'll be on easy street"

But, i'm learning it's not. I've lost friendships, i've reconnected with friends and would call them at 11pm and not remember, rambling and babbling and then I wouldn't hear from them again. But everytime I just think "Oh, i'll explain it, and everyone will have a laugh..*hearts and flowers*

Lastly with a special needs child, I kind of felt like that was the icing on a mud cake of life. It's like fighting with doctors about her medical conditions teachers wanting to know why your kid has so many issues , councilers,..and your kid is made fun of 24 hours a day, you just feel like.. you can't take it anymore, and that you need your own happy place. I'm afraid of "where is my happy place" when I give it up.

Old 08-11-2009, 12:28 PM   #6
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brianpain33 HB Userbrianpain33 HB User
Re: Addicted to Ambien for years and I need help! Please

Well just think about your child if you were to take "a few too many" Ambien and not wake up EVER. Then where would your child be. That is what you need to think about. You are using a drug to help you deal with life and this is only going to get worse. Please try to do what I suggested.


Old 08-11-2009, 01:21 PM   #7
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Wild Irish Rose HB User
Re: Addicted to Ambien for years and I need help! Please

Maisymouse, your problems sound so familiar to me. I'm not addicted to Ambien, though I've used it before (just like Brianpain said, I couldn't stand the hangover in the morning, plus they didn't seem to help me sleep well anyway, even the CR). My addiction is to opiate pain killers.

Brianpain's warning about overdosing is right on the mark. For me, as I developed more tolerance to the opiates, and had to take more to get that "warm fuzzy" feeling, I ended up losing track of how many I took and ended up in the ER 3 times with ODs. I have three boys, young adults at this time, but they were younger when I started using, and they were so concerned they told me their greatest fear was that they'd come home and find me DEAD.

That was the main reason I decided to get off the painkillers; I finally woke up to the fact that I wasn't Superwoman, I could very well take a 'permanent vacation', and my husband and sons would have to live with that for the rest of their lives, plus I'd miss all the important things that were yet to come in my sons' lives. I couldn't stand that. I wasn't really worried about myself, as much as my sons.

You said you sometimes get on the phone with friends and talk "nonsense"; I've heard that with Ambien, sometimes people can actually get in their cars and drive with no knowledge of doing it. That would scare me plenty.

As has been said, should you decide to taper off Ambien, we're all here to support you, because in our own ways all of us have been where you are. You have a heavy load of responsibility, but you can't live in that "happy-happy" world, it's not real, and in the meantime, real life is passing you by. With any child, it's so important to be there for them, and you can't be there for your special daughter when you're "out in space". I don't know how old your daughter is, but I believe kids can tell when their parents aren't really "there" at a pretty young age, my boys have told me that I "stole their childhoods" and I know that's true, and the guilt is overwhelming. Don't put that on yourself, and your daughter. Try the taper, and do make sure you give the pills to someone to hold. It's the best way.

Just to be sure: Brianpain, you have Maisymouse starting at a 90mg dose for her taper schedule. It looks to me like she's taking 40mg (unless I read wrong). I'm sorry, I just wanted to bring that up in case the numbers got mixed up, so she doesn't think she has to raise the dose in order to start tapering.

~If you can't be a poet, be the poem

~If you're happy all the time, you lose sight of what really matters***my son Jim

Old 08-11-2009, 02:26 PM   #8
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brianpain33 HB Userbrianpain33 HB User
Re: Addicted to Ambien for years and I need help! Please

yeah I was wrong about that, I thought she was taking 90mg. I adjusted the taper schedule correctly now, I hope.


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