Ambien is a sedative, also called a hypnotic, and is the trademarked name for the generic drug zolpidem. It is prescribed for the short-term treatment of insomnia (difficulty falling or staying asleep). It causes relaxation to help individuals fall asleep.
Ambien is only prescribed for a short time, partly because tolerance can develop and it can stop working after about two weeks. When taken at night, it will cause seven to eight hours of deep sleep. Some people have taken the drug and gotten up to eat, drive or even have sex, and yet the next day they did not remember any of these events. Other side effects of Ambien can be drowsiness, headaches, “drugged” feeling, unsteady walking or difficulty keeping balance, tremors, unusual dreams, tingling of extremities and joint, back or neck pain.
Ambien has caused personality changes in some people, such as aggressiveness, unusually outgoing behaviors, memory problems, difficulty in concentration, suicidal ideation, hallucinations, confusion, and other unusual thoughts or behaviors.
If you become chemically dependent on Ambien, you will develop withdrawal symptoms such as sweating, nausea, irritability, vomiting, seizures, and tremors when you stop taking the drug. For some people, the symptoms are minor, however, others need to have medical supervision to be weaned off Ambien gradually.
In addition, if you are addicted to Ambien, it can be difficult to quit on your own. Treatment for Ambien dependence and addiction sometimes requires medically supervised detox followed by residential treatment at a professional drug rehab facility. After completion of residential treatment, continued treatment on an outpatient basis is often recommended in order to provide support and prevent relapse.