The Dangers Of Mixing Ambien And Alcohol

Published On 27-February-2020
By Tim Wood

Most prescriptions drug labels warn against mixing your medication with alcohol. Over 88,000 deaths occur each year in the United States as a result of alcohol abuse alone. [1]

Each year more people are becoming dependent on sleep aide medication and participating in excessive alcohol consumption and this poses a threat.

The correlation between the mix of specific drugs and alcohol has proven to be fatal and the likelihood of a reaction and dependency greatly increases.

Learn about the dangers of mixing Ambien and alcohol by reading more details below.

Defining Ambien

As defined by Web MD, Ambien is a prescribed sedative aid for those struggling to sleep. [2] It contains the active ingredient Zolpidem to help fight against insomnia.

Ambien also contains antihistamines that can react negatively to other medications containing antihistamines like cough and allergy medicine. The Food And Drug Administration warns against the long-term use of Ambien.

You can find yourself taking too much of the recommended amount of Zolpidem or antihistamines with the use of Ambien and similar medication used for other illnesses. 

Common Uses Of Ambien

Ambien is commonly used to help individuals get to sleep. The extended released version of Ambien CR is what most people prefer.

The goal is to use Ambien as a sleep aid to fight insomnia by getting to sleep and staying asleep. Individuals who have trouble getting to sleep at night have discovered that Ambien can be very beneficial.

People that use Ambien often enjoy a full night's sleep (7 to 8 hours). When used as directed, Ambien can be effective and it's approved by the Food And Drug Administration (FDA). There are over 40 million prescriptions for Ambien written each year.[3]

How Does Ambien Work To Fight Insomnia

Ambien activates the GABA and binds it with your GABA receptors, which inhibits the neuron activity associated with insomnia. Individuals experience a decreased sleep latency.

Simply, put, it slows down brain activity. Many users have attested to a calm and relaxed feeling when taking Ambien. In fact, Ambien can be compared to a mild sedative.

For the best results, individuals are directed to take Ambien immediately before going to bed. With more millennials living a busy lifestyle and finding it harder to get to sleep, they're turning to prescription sleep aids.

What Are The Symptoms And Side Effects Of Ambien

Ambien can cause individuals to wake up the next morning feeling impaired, but overall users can expect to feel drowsy. The maker of Ambien, pharmaceutical giants, Sanofi, has cautioned against driving a motor vehicle the next day.

The individual can experience drowsiness, which is dangerous when operating a vehicle or heavy machinery. Some people find themselves sleepwalking or doing things they wouldn't ordinarily do including assault, increased sexual behavior, and drinking alcohol.

Even when used correctly, there is the potential for increased side effects of using Ambien. Over the past two decades, many cases have been dismissed in court as a result of the side effects of taking Ambien. Other reported side effects include:

  • CNS-depressant effects
  • Abnormal thinking
  • Behavioral changes
  • Withdrawal effects
  • Induced sleepwalking
  • Overdose
  • Depressed breathing
  • Parasomnia (driving white sleeping)
  • Coma

Ambien side effects can range from benign (i.e. rash) to harsh (i.e. sleep-driving). It's very important to take Ambien strictly as directed.

In fact, due to the strength and potential for long-term use, physicians typically only prescribe Ambien for a few weeks. After a few weeks, Ambien may not work as well.

The potential for induced sleepwalking seems to be one of the most dangerous side effects when mixed with alcohol.

Thus, taking Ambien limits your mental and physical impairment creating greater risk while driving. The standard 0.08 blood alcohol limit is also compromised.

I Take Ambien - Can I Drink Alcohol?

As a sedative-hypnotic sleep aid, mixing Ambien with other harsh intoxicating substances like alcohol can have severe adverse side effects.

When alcohol and Ambien have increased more dangerous side effects from Ambien are likely. There are over 17 million people that suffer from alcoholism[4] and many people neglect the fact that alcohol is also a drug because of its wide acceptance in society.

Alcohol can be dangerous and addictive and should never be mixed with Ambien. The withdrawal from alcohol alone can be life-threatening.

Ambien puts your brain into a semi-sleep and wake stage that is meant to promote sleep and interact harshly with alcohol. Individuals are always encouraged to avoid taking Ambien and drinking alcohol.

People generally drink alcohol to intensify the effects of Ambien. The induced sleepwalking effects, when mixed with alcohol, can increase the individual's mental and physical impairments.

A report by the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) in 2017 shows that 57% of ER visits involved taking too much Ambien. Despite being warned of the dangers, people still continue to take Ambien and use alcohol.

Why Do People Mix Ambien And Alcohol?

Many people use alcohol to primarily and totally ignore the warning against using other drugs. However, severe chronic pain also drives individuals to use alcohol and to get the sleep they turn to Ambien.

Ingesting alcohol and Ambien together can be dangerous, but people continue to do it and put their health at risk.

More importantly, people mix Ambien and alcohol for a specific effect. Psychology Today reported in a recent article, "people use alcohol and Ambien to sleep more soundly".[5]  This is usually engaged by people that don't get the typical normal amount of sleep.

This can also lead to a potentially dangerous overdose. While others mix Ambien and alcohol to produce a euphoric effect, Many people regularly mix Ambien and alcohol to create hallucinating effects. This is extremely dangerous and can be one of the quickest ways to overdose on a sleep aid.

Overdose: Side Effects Of Using Ambien And Alcohol

One of the biggest temptations of addiction is mixing drugs with alcohol, which can lead to overdosing. Drug use behavior is compulsive and many people ignore the warning signs of mixing alcohol.

Primarily, too much Ambien can result in an overdose, but when combined with alcohol can resort to alcohol poisoning. When alcohol and Ambien are taken together, the risk of overdose increases substantially.

As mentioned above, alcohol is a drug that can intensify the effects of other medications. Always take Ambien that way it's prescribed to avoid the threat of an overdose.

Overdose is also more likely from taking large quantities of Ambien, but increases when an individual mixes alcohol. More than 500 million people are currently abusing Ambien.

The side effects of Ambien withdrawal include:

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Cravings
  • Raised heart rate
  • Hypertension
  • Sweating
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Insomnia

Ambien can be a great treatment option for patients that need to get sleep or stay asleep. More importantly, you should strictly follow your physician's instructions to get reduce the dependency on Ambien.

Your doctor will talk to you about the dangers of using Ambien and alcohol. If you're struggling with alcohol and Ambien dependency, your doctor can also talk to you about your treatment options.

It's important to choose treatment options and stay dedicated to your recovery. It's important to remember recovery doesn't have overnight, but it's possible to get the help you need for Ambien and alcohol abuse.

Patients are encouraged to seek recovery as soon as they suspect a prescription drug or alcohol addiction.

What Are My Treatment Options?

Below is a list of treatment options for yourself or a loved one who is struggling with an alcohol & Ambien dependency:

1. Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment options allow individuals to live full-time at an Ambien treatment center for the best recovery options.

Patients have the option of living with other residents that are trying to overcome Ambien and alcohol dependency, you'll receive 24/7 treatment options with the help of professional assistance in a temptation free environment that has helped many people cope with their addiction.

In fact, residential treatment is one of the best options for recovery from Ambien abuse and alcohol dependency. You can contact the inpatient recovery center directly to find out more about their treatment options.

2. Twelve-Step Programs

The 12 Step Program offers free spiritual guidelines that help patients overcome their dependency on Ambien and alcohol.

The program is designed to make recovery a lifelong goal that meets the needs of the patients by independently crafting a 12 step regime that works on an individual basis.

Patients may have to revisit the 12 steps or master more than one step at a time to successfully make a recovery from sleep aids and alcohol. There is a traditional version of the 12 Step Program available to help patients with alternative recovery options.

3. Counselling And Therapy

Counseling and therapy focus on a holistic approach to therapy. Patients receive counseling and therapy options that focus on their health and wellness during the journey to recovery.

Professional therapy and counseling centers on improving your mental wellness to help you achieve sobriety. In fact, if Ambien and alcohol addiction is causing patients to experience emotional or behavioral problems, counseling and therapy provide psychotherapy too.

Best of all, patients that choose counseling and therapy as a treatment option have an opportunity to set treatment around their schedule. Treatment options may also be covered by your private or employee insurance

Ready to get help?

Call now on 0800 088 66 86 for confidential and immediate advice.

References

[1] https://www.cityvision.edu/drug-abuse-facts-and-statistics/

[2] https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/insomnia-medications

[3] https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-9690/ambien-oral/details

[4] https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/drug-addiction-getting-help/ 

[5] https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-power-rest/201111/alcohol-and-sleeping-pills-strange-combination

 


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