Ambien is a prescription medication made to treat insomnia. These people either can’t fall asleep quickly, or they can’t stay asleep and get the rest they need. As a sedative-hypnotic drug, Ambien is made to slow down the brain’s activity so it’s much easier to fall asleep.
At one point, experts felt that the drug didn’t pose a significant addiction risk, so they felt it was a good option for almost anyone with a sleep problem. Research seemed to support this view. For example, in a study in Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, researchers found that pairing Ambien with alcohol didn’t make the drug more attractive or rewarding. Early studies like this made the drug seem safe, and safe for people to use Ambien and alcohol together.
However, later research uncovered Ambien can trigger a series of chemical reactions in the brain that lead to reward and euphoria. People taking the drug can feel sensations of happiness they never knew existed, and when that happens they can develop an addiction.
Later studies, such as one published in the Journal of Addictive Diseases supports this view that the drug Ambien comes with a high risk of addiction. Here, researchers examined 30 published case reports about Ambien abuse, and they determined that the drug really is dangerous in people who use it. The research says the addiction issue is “significant,” and it could be a huge problem for teens.
Many teens may abuse Ambien because it’s so common. Teens may find it in the family medicine cabinet and exhaust that supply, but they may find it in the cabinets of friends and family members, too. That means teens who experiment with this drug may never run out of pills to take.
Stolen pills may go unnoticed for long periods of time. Typically, people take Ambien for a brief period of sleeplessness caused by stress. They may fill a prescription, take a few pills, and stash the bottle away for future use. Teens who steal from this stash may never get caught, as the family may not open up the bottle on a regular basis.
While teens may keep an Ambien abuse problem hidden for a long period of time, they may experience a host of serious medical problems when they try to stop taking the drug. According to Medscape, withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Abdominal pain and vomiting
Teens who experience these symptoms may be tempted to return back to drug use, but there are a number of treatments teens can use in order to recover.
Managed withdrawal, done under the supervision of a team of experts, can allow teens to get sober without feeling ill or out of control. Typically, teens move to a different medication that’s similar to Ambien, and they taper doses of that drug very slowly. Some teens get sober within a week, although others take a little longer to make that adjustment safely. Teams never rush their patients. They work to keep them comfortable and safe. Then, teens enter treatment programs that give them the knowledge and skills they need in order to avoid a future Ambien abuse episode. Therapy often involves one-on-one sessions in which therapists outline the nature of addiction and the chemical changes involved with drug use. Those educational sessions are augmented by group sessions in which teens build up vital skills involving abstinence, communication, and mood regulation.
In addition to therapy, teens in these programs often need educational assistance. During active addiction, teens can fall behind on required coursework and vital classroom skills, and that could have a deep impact on the teen’s entire future. Structured programs may provide direct classroom assistance, personal coaching, tutoring, and more to ensure that teens catch up with classes and graduate on time. Families have an important role to play during this process, as their gentle guidance and assistance can keep teens motivated to keep learning and growing. Parents, siblings, and other family members may also benefit from counseling, so they’ll know what to do to support a teen in active drug recovery.
Families in need can find the right kind of help at Next Generation Village. This vital recovery community, made just for teens, is designed to provide education, hope and help for teens with addictions, mental illnesses or both. Give us a call to find out how we can help your teen find recovery.
Medical Disclaimer: Next Generation Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.