American Addiction Centers National Rehabs Directory
Call (888) 341-7785

Ambien Withdrawal Symptoms & the Ambien Withdrawal Timeline

Ambien, known under the generic name zolpidem, is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, also known as a sedative-hypnotic, that is typically prescribed to help people sleep.1 By inducing drowsiness and calmness, medicines like Ambien can help people with sleep disorders have less interrupted sleep, fall asleep faster, and stay asleep longer, resulting in better sleep quality.1

Originally designed to act similarly to benzodiazepines minus the addiction potential, Ambien targets receptor cells in the brain that respond to gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, a neurotransmitter that affects emotional responses, sleep cycles, and levels of consciousness. However, research has proved that Ambien does in fact have a moderate addiction potential and many people who use Ambien, even as prescribed, have a high risk for physical dependency resulting in withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking this medication.2

This page will explore Ambien withdrawal symptoms and the withdrawal timeline, as well as how a person can locate a detox program to get help.


Find Out If Your Insurance Plan Covers Ambien Addiction Rehab

American Addiction Centers can improve treatment outcomes for those in recovery for Ambien dependence or addiction. To find out if your insurance covers treatment at an American Addiction Centers facility, click here or fill out the form below. Your information is kept 100% confidential. You can also click here to find a rehab near me.


Why Does Ambien Withdrawal Occur?

Dependence is a physiological adaptation of the body to a substance (Ambien) wherein the body becomes so used to Ambien being present in the system that when the individual cuts back on their use or quits, withdrawal symptoms emerge. In other words, a person feels like they need Ambien to feel and function normally. With significant levels of physiological dependence, a person may continue to compulsively use Ambien to avoid unwanted withdrawal symptoms. A common sign of dependence to Ambien is the inability to fall asleep when cutting back on this medication.1


What Are Ambien Withdrawal Symptoms?

No two people will experience Ambien withdrawal in the same way. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and be both physical and psychological. Overall, the intensity of Ambien withdrawal symptoms is influenced by various factors, including the length of time it has been taken, how much a person has been taking, and the presence of any underlying medical or emotional disorders.5

Some of the more common physical and psychological Ambien withdrawal symptoms include:5-7

  • Tremors.
  • Autonomic hyperactivity (high blood pressure, increased heart rate).
  • Hyperphagia (an extreme increase in appetite).
  • Fatigue.
  • Anxiety and restlessness.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Intense crying.
  • Irritability.
  • Sleeplessness.
  • Grand mal seizures.

There are some dangers associated with Ambien withdrawal, primarily delirium or seizures.6 It is hard to know if you will experience serious consequences during Ambien withdrawal, so it is not a good idea to detox at home by yourself.6,7

There is not a great deal of information available on the timeline for Ambien withdrawal, but it is estimated that most people have symptoms of withdrawal from sedative hypnotics like Ambien around 48 hours after last taking it and withdrawal symptoms can last up to a couple of weeks. Protracted withdrawal symptoms, also known as long-term withdrawal symptoms, can be present in individuals who are dependent on Ambien and these symptoms can last from weeks to months.6,8

There are treatment options available for Ambien dependency and withdrawal and seeking treatment in a supportive and supervised environment can help you prevent or minimize uncomfortable or potentially dangerous side effects.7


Help with Ambien Withdrawal

If you are worried about your use of Ambien, your next question might be how to get help with Ambien dependence, especially if you are at risk of withdrawal or are already experiencing withdrawal side effects. You need to have a thorough medical assessment to determine your needs for Ambien withdrawal management.

It is possible in some cases that a doctor can assist you with tapering off the medication, also called deprescribing. Tapering is a process in which your doctor gradually reduces the dose and/or frequency to give your body time to adjust to a lower dose without going into withdrawal.10

Ambien addiction treatment often starts with detox, a process in which the body rids itself of a substance. Detox and treatment programs offer supervision and support while going through withdrawal. If serious side effects occur during Ambien withdrawal, a medical team is nearby to help.

Not everyone, however, can undergo an outpatient detox for Ambien withdrawal. A complete assessment of your needs and situation can help a treatment program determine whether you can go to outpatient detox or if you need inpatient detox and rehab.5


Getting Help for Ambien Withdrawal Symptoms

Overall, it is not a good idea to go “cold turkey” or try to quit using Ambien on your own. As noted earlier, withdrawal can sometimes result in serious side effects, including seizures, when you stop taking it abruptly.6 Detox programs will help you manage withdrawal symptoms safely.

It is important to note that detox alone is typically not enough to lead to long-term recovery from addiction.5 Detox is often the first stage of the recovery process, but it only involves getting a substance out of your body, managing your withdrawal, and making sure you are stable.5

Ongoing treatment is needed after detox to ensure your Ambien addiction is addressed.5 In an ongoing substance use treatment program, you can get help in learning new ways to cope with triggers for addiction and develop coping skills to use in the place of using substances when under stress. Ongoing treatment can help support your long-term recovery.

A drug detox center will have treatment programs that may include:11

  • Inpatient treatment, where you stay 24/7 in a detox program. You will receive emotional support and medical oversight to help you manage your Ambien withdrawal symptoms.
  • Outpatient treatment, which can range from a few hours per week up to 20 hours per week. You receive many of the same interventions as inpatient treatment, but you can go home at night and sometimes keep working or going to school. It is important to note that you will likely need to be seen several times per week during the detox process if you undergo detox in an outpatient setting.5

Sources

  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Prescription CNS Depressants DrugFacts.
  2. Schifano, F., Chiappini, S., Corkery, J. M., & Guirguis, A. (2019). An insight into Z-drug abuse and dependence: An examination of reports to the European Medicines Agency database of suspected adverse drug reactions. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 22(4), 270–277.
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition): Is there a difference between physical dependence and addiction?
  4. Bouchette, D., Akhondi, H., & Quick, J. (2022). Zolpidem. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing.
  5. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2006). Detoxification and substance abuse treatment. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) series, no. 45.
  6. Lerner, A., & Klein, M. (2019). Dependence, withdrawal and rebound of CNS drugs: an update and regulatory considerations for new drugs development. Brain communications, 1(1).
  7. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders(5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
  8. Food and Drug Administration. (2008). Ambien label.
  9. Davies, J., Rae, T. C., & Montagu, L. (2017). Long-term benzodiazepine and Z-drugs use in England: a survey of general practice [corrected]. The British journal of general practice: the journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners, 67(662), e609–e613.
  10. Pollmann, A. S., Murphy, A. L., Bergman, J. C., & Gardner, D. M. (2015). Deprescribing benzodiazepines and Z-drugs in community-dwelling adults: a scoping review. BMC pharmacology and toxicology, 16(1), 1–12.
  11. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Principles of drug addiction treatment: A research-based guide (third edition): types of treatment programs.

More resources about Ambien Withdrawal Symptoms & the Ambien Withdrawal Timeline: