Ambien Withdrawal Symptoms & Timeline
Ambien is a prescription medication designed to help people with insomnia sleep better. Before Ambien, doctors usually prescribed benzodiazepines to deal with insomnia, but benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Valium, Restoril, and Halcion have a strong potential for dependence and addiction. While Ambien was thought to be safer and less addictive than benzodiazepines, evidence has emerged that Ambien can be addictive.1,2 It is difficult to determine the exact numbers of people who abuse Ambien, but in one recent study of adverse events related to Ambien use in Europe, the misuse of Ambien was reportedly involved in 40% of these adverse events.3 When a person becomes physically dependent on Ambien and tries to stop using it, they will often experience withdrawal symptoms. This page will help you to understand the withdrawal symptoms associated with Ambien and how long they last. In addition, this page will help you to understand when you should ask for help with Ambien withdrawal and how to locate a treatment provider.
Common Ambien Withdrawal Symptoms
The most common symptoms reported during Ambien withdrawal include:3,4
- High blood pressure.
- Abdominal pain.
- Shakes and tremors.
- Confusion and possibly delirium.
- Heart palpitations.
These symptoms vary from one person to another and depend on many factors, but many of the more severe withdrawal symptoms occur in those taking high doses or abusing Ambien 3,4 In some people, withdrawal from Ambien and other so-called z-drugs can result in protracted withdrawal. When a person has protracted withdrawal, the symptoms do not clear up in a few days, but continue from 6 to 18 months after stopping the use of Ambien and other z-drugs. 4
How long Do Ambien Withdrawal Symptoms Last?
Limited information is available on the specifics of Ambien withdrawal timelines. The symptoms of withdrawal typically start within 48 hours of the last use of Ambien. 5 Withdrawal timelines and symptoms related to Ambien are similar to those of benzodiazepine withdrawal. When a person goes through a benzodiazepine withdrawal, the most acute withdrawal symptoms can last from 2 to 4 weeks. In some people, the protracted withdrawal symptoms can persist for months. 4,6 Higher doses, especially when Ambien has been taken for recreational purposes, are more likely to result in more severe withdrawal symptoms.3In general, the severity of withdrawal symptoms are related to numerous factors, including the length of time the substance has been taken, how much of the substance has been used, and underlying medical or emotional disorders.7
Should I Try to Quit Ambien Myself?
If you find that you have a problem with Ambien, you may wonder how to quit. The first step that you should take is to discuss your situation with your doctor or a treatment provider. It is never a good idea to try to stop using Ambien on your own. There are definite risks associated with discontinuing Ambien abruptly, with reports of withdrawal symptoms that include delirium, hallucinations, and seizures. You would certainly not want to be at home without medical assistance readily available if you experienced one or more of these serious symptoms. Plus, there is no need to undergo Ambien withdrawal on your own. There are treatment programs that can help you safely and comfortably detox from Ambien and help you cope with uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal, such as insomnia, nausea, or stomach cramps, through the use of medications.7
The first stage of treatment for Ambien withdrawal is to undergo detox. Detox is a process that involves removing a drug(s) from the body and it is important to detox under the supervision of medical personnel to help prevent serious consequences. Detox for Ambien is similar to benzodiazepine detox, and can occur in either an inpatient or outpatient setting. Before choosing which type of treatment you think you need, you should complete a thorough assessment with a substance abuse professional who can help determine what type of detox and ongoing treatment is best for your situation. 7(p. 24-27; 40; 74-76) It is important to note that detox is not treatment. Detox just gets a substance like Ambien out of your body and stabilizes you. You need ongoing treatment after detox to help figure out why you become addicted in the first place. Treatment helps you to determine what your triggers are for substance use. It addresses the social, emotional, and biological reasons behind your substance use disorder.8 In general, the types of detox and treatment for Ambien withdrawal and dependence are:8
- Inpatient treatment, which involves living in a facility and receiving 24/7 care. The length of treatment can vary, but primarily involves a period of a few days to a week. You will receive emotional support, as well as medical oversight, to help you cope with withdrawal symptoms and ensure that you get prompt treatment in case you have complications. Many programs have group-based counseling, which has been shown to be more effective than individual counseling alone.
- Outpatient treatment, where you attend sessions 2 to 3 days per week, for 2 to 3 hours at a time. You will have medical evaluations, assessments, and also attend support groups and meet with a counselor. Some people start with outpatient treatment while others go to outpatient treatment after stepping down from an inpatient program. Outpatient treatment can last for several weeks. Many of these programs are also group-based, but you may also meet with an individual counselor.
- Residential treatment, which can last 3 to 6 weeks, is sometimes recommended for people who have serious drug dependencies, particularly if they have tried inpatient and outpatient treatment in the past and have still relapsed. Some longer-term programs last for months, but these are typically only for people who have had multiple failed treatment episodes.
Addiction is a complex disease, but it is a treatable one. It is important to note that treatment is not a one-size-fits-all solution. The most effective treatment is individualized treatment. However, the length of time spent in treatment is critical to its effectiveness. Attending inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, or a combination of both, for a minimum of 90 days, is shown to be the most effective approach to treating any type of addiction.9
Finding Ambien Withdrawal Help
If you or a loved one needs Ambien withdrawal treatment, American Addiction Centers offers treatment programs in Nevada and Nationwide. American Addiction Centers is a leading provider of substance use disorder treatment, and you will find caring and compassionate staff members with knowledge and experience in treating Ambien withdrawal. Our team will work with you to determine your personalized treatment plan, based on your specific needs. Please call our 24/7 free and confidential helpline today to speak to one of our referral specialists who can help you find the best Ambien withdrawal treatment program for you or your loved one.
- Drug Enforcement Administration. (2020).
- Food and Drug Administration. (2019). Taking z drugs for insomnia? Know the risks.
- 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.
- 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).
- National Library of Medicine. (2007). Ambien CR.
- 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).
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2015). Detoxification and substance abuse treatment.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). Types of treatment programs.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Principles of effective treatment.
You are not in this alone
Our Admissions Navigators are here to help you take back control of your life.