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Addiction & Recovery Message Board

Addiction & Recovery Board Index

I've just been through this. I got hooked on ambien after a month of using every night. For that, the detox consisted of me getting no sleep for 2 nights and having crazy dreams for the 30 mins or so I would sleep at 8 am. Also some anxiety.

The 2nd time I got hooked, I was taking a lot more than 10 mg per night toward the end and had a really bad, bad withdrawal (though nothing like opiates, but shocking because I wasn't expecting it). Also, my addiction to ambien isn't just physical, I have a phobia of having insomnia (sounds like a vicious circle doesn't it!), and crave the instant knockout it provides. My entire life, a night of *not* having insomnia means it takes me at least an hour to fall asleep no matter how tired I am.

I really disagree w/ your doc saying you have to take it for a long time. The manufacturer tells you not to take it for more than 2 weeks. I can pretty much guarantee you that you will at least have really vivid dreams, I've read that ambien and benzos suppress natural REM sleep and once you've been on them for even a few days your body is starved for REM and once you go off, you dream like crazy to catch up.

For me also, I had a side effect when I was taking it everyday that by the late afternoon I would get incredibly edgy and grouchy, I think starting to withdraw a little.

I read that at psych hospitals they will give patients some benadryl/tylenol PM type thing at night when they are detoxing them from benzos. I avoided that when I was withdrawing because I knew that my withdrawal insomnia wasn't entirely physical, that I needed to relearn to fall asleep by myself and didn't want to take anything to prolong that, but you are probably in a different situation. Also, you could probably taper.

Does that help? I don't want to scare you unnecessarily, everybody reacts differently to these things, but I would hate to see you get dependent on something else while you are fighting an addiction (I had to go off a beta blocker at the end of my ambien withdrawal because it was making me really depressed, which sent me into an anxiety spiral all over again, I'm still detoxing from that, and I have to say when I learned that there is a "withdrawal" from the drug I was taking to prevent migraines, I nearly lost it, in part because nobody warned me of that, and in part because I didn't think I could go through it again right as I was just recovering... I really really really don't want you to go through the same kind of thing).

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