Ambien is a popular sleep medication, prescribed to millions every year. Unfortunately, Ambien is also a highly addictive medication that people commonly abuse. For a small percentage of the population, Ambien works to help them fall asleep and stay asleep. For the rest of the population, Ambien can be a nightmare of addiction and devastating side effects.

What Exactly is Ambien?

Ambien or Zolpidem is a prescription sleep aid. It is useful in treating chronic insomnia. The makers of Ambien state that it can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. It is considered by the FDA to be in the sedative or hypnotic class of drugs. The makers of Ambien, doctors, and the FDA all warn that Ambien should only be a very short term solution to insomnia. It is not meant for either frequent use or extended use. Usually you are only supposed to take Ambien for a week or two at a time.

Ambien Side Effects

The side effects associated with Ambien range from very mild to severe, all the way up to deadly. Some of the more common side effects are:

  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Sleeplessness
  • Runny nose
  • Stuffy nose
  • Horseness or raspy voice
  • Back pain
  • Longer or heavier menstruation
  • Nausea
  • Stiffness
  • Indigestion

Unfortunately, these are not the only Ambien side effects. Other side effects are considerably more uncomfortable. Some of these side effects are:

  • Spinning sensation
  • Feelings of movement
  • Swollen glands in the neck
  • Forgetfulness
  • Changes in speech
  • Vomiting
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Loss of strength
  • Loss of balance
  • Anxiety
  • Bloody urine
  • Hyperventilation

  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Shakiness of limbs such as hands, legs, feet, and arms
  • Euphoria
  • Fainting

Although these side effects are not deadly, they can be dangerous and can cause you to find yourself in a dangerous situation. The more severe side effects of Ambien are not only specifically outlined in the pamphlets you receive when you get Ambien; they are on every ad or commercial for the drug. These side effects are:

  • Decreased awareness
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Depersonalization or feeling as if you are not you
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Attacking others physically, mentally, or emotionally
  • Using excessive force while on the drug
  • Lack of feeling or emotion often causing irrational and dangerous thought patterns
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicidal behavior
  • Thoughts of homicide or homicidal behavior
  • Deep depression
  • Addiction
  • Psychosis and psychotic behavior
  • Dementia or delusions
  • Sleep driving, working, or eating

  • Neurosis
  • Disturbance of perception
  • Hallucinations
  • Mania
  • Performing actions without memory of doing so including driving or operating firearms, heavy equipment, or other dangerous objects

This last set of side effects are the most dangerous. In some cases Ambien causes a psychotic break. The incidents of these side effects increase the longer you are on Ambien and the more you take. It is also very highly addictive drug. If you use Ambien recreationally or are using more than prescribed, it is important that you seek help now before these side effects become reality.