Getting Help: The Dangers of Mixing Alcohol and Ambien

Along with serious liver and cognitive damage, mixing these substances can greatly increase your chances of overdose. Unfortunately, mixing Ambien and alcohol is a lot more common than you may think. This is partially because the drug’s ability to make you feel drowsy or confused makes it easy to consume copious amounts of alcohol without knowing.

Because both substances work on the same receptors in the brain, taking them together can cause compounding effects where the receptors are sent into overdrive. Studies show that people who misuse Ambien with alcohol are more likely to require emergency services and intensive care. It is generally accepted that mixing alcohol and nearly any prescription medication is a bad practice. In some cases, the combination of alcohol and the medication reduces the effect of the medication, whereas in others, the effects of the medications are enhanced.

  • Another common reason why people mix Ambien and alcohol is to enhance those feelings of drowsiness or to try and experience deeper sleep.
  • When using the two in conjunction with one another, they can enhance the intoxicating effects of each other.
  • Doctors suggest that people wait at least six hours after their last drink before taking Ambien.
  • One of the particularly problematic side effects on this list is confusion and loss of judgment.

Unfortunately, polydrug use can also be highly dangerous and even deadly. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to Ambien and alcohol, seeking help is the best decision you can make. Ambien and alcohol can also cause parasomnia, or participating in tasks while asleep. This can include eating, shopping, talking, and even driving while asleep. The risk of parasomnia increases when Ambien is combined with even a small amount of alcohol. In fact, individuals who mix alcohol and Ambien are more than twice as likely to require medical attention than those who only take Ambien.

Quitting both of those substances suddenly can lead to severe withdrawal effects, which may need medically supervised care. Short-term use of Ambien can be safe, but increasing your dose, taking it more often, or using it for longer than prescribed are potentially eco sober house review harmful. Long-term use is not recommended, and stopping Ambien abruptly can lead to withdrawal symptoms. In addition, someone who regularly consumes several drinks in the evening before taking this sedative can face additional risks to their health.

Another common reason why people mix Ambien and alcohol is to enhance those feelings of drowsiness or to try and experience deeper sleep. This type of use is especially dangerous for those with an already existing alcohol use disorder. Ambien, a brand name of the sedative zolpidem, is a hypnotic drug generally prescribed for insomnia. The drug works to calm your central nervous system by altering your brain chemicals, creating a conducive state for sleep. Ambien tablets, or “zombie pills,” can become habit-forming after only two weeks of usage, and as you form a tolerance, it may require more pills to achieve the same dreamy euphoria.

Since the withdrawal symptoms can be severe, it might be in the individual’s best interest to check into a medically monitored detox. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that after marijuana and alcohol, prescription drugs are the most common substances to be abused by teens. Newport Academy, a site devoted to educating teens about drug abuse, describes teens taking more than the recommended dosage of Ambien, crushing it and even snorting the drug. Ambien is the brand name for the sedative-hypnotic (i.e. sleep aid) drug, zolpidem. It is a central nervous system depressant, meaning that it slows down brain activity. Ambien is available in both immediate and extended release formulations.

Why Mixing Ambien and Alcohol Is Dangerous

Often, a person who has mixed alcohol and Ambien will forget that they took their Ambien for the evening. Ambien helps people sleep by putting their brain into the state in between sleeping and waking. Though Ambien does not directly knock you out, it makes it much easier to fall asleep. Just like alcohol, Ambien is a CNS depressant that increases GABA to inhibit brain response. To understand why it is a bad idea to combine alcohol with Ambien, it is helpful to learn how both substances impact the brain.

They’re less likely to cause overdose, chemical dependence, and addiction. But misusing them can be dangerous, and they’re especially dangerous when mixed with other depressants or opioids. Alcohol can react poorly with a plethora of pharmaceutical drugs but mixing it with sleep aids can be deadly. Learn more about the risks that come with mixing Ambien with alcohol. If you or a loved one has noticed an addiction to Ambien, or if you’re mixing Ambien and alcohol, it may be time to get help. Getting treatment for prescription drug addiction can be difficult, but you don’t have to do it alone.

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This mixture can greatly increase your chances of an overdose, as both substances affect your respiratory system. When you’re ready to be free from drug dependency, The Recovery Village can help. Our addiction specialists will work one-on-one with you to understand your current situation and get you the treatment you deserve. All of our programs —drug detox,inpatientandoutpatient— are designed to help you leave Ambien and alcohol behind for good. If you’re ready to change, we’re ready to help you take the first step.

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Drugs in this class have largely supplanted other historically used pharmaceuticals prescribed for cases of insomnia. Even if these severe effects do not take place, combining depressants can cause major physical and cognitive impairment and can cause permanent liver damage. The drug is a hypnotic sedative that simulates a sleep-wake cycle in the brain; this simulation most often leads the person taking it to fall asleep. However, sometimes this simulated cycle results in the person sleepwalking, enabling the person to be active but without any conscious memory of what happens while under the medication’s influence. In fact, more than 100 medications interact with alcohol in some way – either by increasing the effects of each other or causing dangerous side effects when taken together. Mixing Ambien and alcohol can cause serious health problems such as overdose, sleepwalking and driving, memory problems, withdrawal symptoms, and addiction.

Once you’ve detoxed, the next step towards recovery is often inpatient addiction treatment. During this stage of recovery, the underlying causes of your addiction can be addressed. In these cases, a dual diagnosis treatment is often the best course of action.

When alcohol is added to the situation, even in small amounts, the effects are enhanced and can be more hazardous. Increased lethargy and sedation can be consequences of mixing Ambien and alcohol. They may come from impulsiveness or difficulty to control your emotions while using Ambien. Plus, self-medicating with alcohol may lead to dangerous adverse reactions, addiction, and the eventual worsening of symptoms.

What are the withdrawal symptoms of Ambien and alcohol?

It’s a prescription drug that’s used to treat sleep disorders that prevent the onset of sleep, like insomnia. Ambien is in a class of drugs called non-benzodiazepine sedative-hypnotics. Ambien works in a way that’s similar to benzodiazepines like Xanax and Valium, but it has a different chemical structure that puts it in a unique category. Drugs in this category are often called z-drugs because they often start with or incorporate the letter z in their names. They’re relatively new compared to other depressants, and zolpidem was first approved for use in the U.S. in 1992. Many people who are prescribed Ambien will end up misusing it, and some will go on to develop an addiction.

When taken together, Ambien and alcohol can have a number of side effects and potentially dangerous interactions. Alcohol can exacerbate the negative side effects of Ambien, and once both substances have been ingested, it’s impossible to control the effects these drugs will have. Ambien is a strong medication that has a high potential for use and addiction. In fact, this drug can be habit-forming after only two weeks of use.

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However, both substances share very similar withdrawal symptoms and abuse of both can lead to more intense withdrawal. Some people that are frustrated by physical or emotional distress may mix Ambien and alcohol to numb their feelings or symptoms. In that case, it’s better to reach out for help from your doctor or a trusted loved one. This is partly because of the prevalence of insomnia, which is the most common sleep disorder, characterized by trouble falling asleep.

What happens when you mix Ambien and alcohol?

At the same time, taking too much Ambien over an extended period can also have detrimental health effects. Again, because these timelines vary and Ambien can accumulate in your system, there’s always a risk of overdose. Combining the two drugs can leave you disoriented and confused, and it is very easy to unintentionally take more Ambien or drink more alcohol when you’re in this state. Along with irreparable damage to your liver, cognitive state and respiratory system, continued usage of Ambien and alcohol increases your chances of fatal overdose.

For example, your breathing rate, heart rate, and blood pressure can drop sharply. This sudden shift in your vitals could lead to a medical emergency requiring hospitalization. Alcohol and Ambien are both GABAergic substances, which means that they both work on the GABA receptors in the brain. However, they have some distinct side effects that make it clear that they are two different substances. People recovering from Ambien dependency may have a higher degree of sleeplessness and insomnia as a withdrawal side effect.

Sometimes, people mix drugs with alcohol on purpose to get a specific effect. For example, an article in Psychology Today demonstrates how some people combine sleep aids and alcohol to sleep more soundly. This is a misconception because sleep that results from overuse of alcohol is not typical sleep, and the person does not engage a normal, restful sleep cycle. Also, as seen above, if this is done with Ambien, it can result in dangerous behaviors or potential overdose.

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Polydrug use refers to people who abuse or use multiple types of drugs concurrently. This can sometimes lead to substance abuse disorders that involve multiple substances instead of just one. It’s common among people who struggle with substance use disorders to have had experiences with more than one substance.

Due to this, Ambien is typically only prescribed for one to two weeks at a time. Drinking alcohol after taking an Ambien is less common than having Ambien after drinking, but it does happen. If you used an Ambien to nap and are about to go out drinking, it is important to understand how long it takes Ambien to leave your system. It will take about five half-lives for your body to clear a drug from its system.

The psychological withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety and panic attacks, could last longer than the physical symptoms. Since they are both depressants, some people seek to mix them to achieve a more intense relaxing high. Other depressants in the benzodiazepine class like Xanax are often mixed with alcohol for recreation. However, Ambien is more likely to cause you to feel sedated and drowsy when it’s mixed with alcohol.