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Friday, April 12, 2024

What is Ambien?

Ambien is a brand name for Zolpidem and it’s a powerful sedative to help people with sleep problems. One characteristic of this pharmaceutical is its efficiency as the patient is likely to fall asleep around 30 minutes or less after ingesting it orally. The half-life of this drug is at least two hours. Ambien is also highly addictive so it’s not to be prescribed lightly, and only if all other avenues have been exploited.

Since 2013, doctors have recommended cutting the dosage because patterns of driving accidents were traced to the drug. Apparently, those who took Ambien the night before are seriously at risk when they get behind the wheel the morning after.

Even before it came to America’s shores in 1993 after getting approval for restricted medical use the year before, Ambien was already widely popular in Europe for about five years. In 2007, a generic equivalent became commercially available, which resulted in savings for patients.


What is Ambien


A research conducted by a team led by University of Washington’s School of Pharmacy, and published in the American Journal of Public Health, concluded that sleeping pills such as Ambien will double the risk of accident for motorists. They collated data from 400,000 cases from the state’s health plan for a period of five years.

Those who took Ambien and Tradzodone (Eleptro) doubled the risk of figuring into an accident compared to non-users. Those who took Restoril had a 27% likelihood of crashing.

The study confirmed the Federal Drugs Administration’s warning on cutting the dose for sleeping pills for people who drive the next day.

Basically, taking Ambien the night before is like driving with blood alcohol levels of between 0.6 and 0.11 percent.

What is the recommended dosage of the FDA?

  • For men, Ambien dose should not be more than 5 milligrams for immediate-release and 6.25 milligrams for longer-acting brands.
  • For women, the recommended dose should not be more than 5 milligrams for immediate-release brands and 6.25 for longer-acting brands.
  • Prior to the recommendation, the dose was 10 milligrams for women and 12.5 milligrams for men

Not all who take Ambien is aware that they already developed dependence on the drug. They really think that they are just trying to manage their insomnia. However, one good way to know is if their lives are already revolving around the sleeping pills then it’s highly likely that they are already addicted.

Are there Any Other Uses for Ambien?

Ambien is not recommended for long-term use. It’s to be prescribed for extreme cases, when the lack of sleep is already threatening the patient’s health.

While it’s principally designed as a sedative-hypnotic, clinical trials have been conducted as a possible treatment for Parkinson’s disease. A 2012 Taiwanese research found that taking controlled dosage made a patient better as she could talk intelligibly with her caregiver and was able to walk around without any kind of assistance.

However, there’s really not test to prove its long-term efficacy to treat Parkinson’s. Psychologists also warned that taking more than 10 milligrams of Ambien per day will only increase the risk without necessarily amplifying its effectiveness.

Ambien is also used for catatonic patients. A Clinical Review of the Treatment of Catatonia published in the National Institutes of Health in 2014 found patterns of success in giving Ambien to catatonic individuals. They seemed to have roused from their stupor on doses between 7.5 mg and as much as 40 milligrams per day. It was recommended that clinicians instead use this drug as an alternative to benzodiazepines.

Another way for Ambien to be used is its administration to individuals with restless leg syndrome. The urge to move their legs because of the discomfort, and sometimes pain, makes it impossible for the patients to sleep. This is where Zolpidem will come in. Treatment may also include regular massage, hot packs, exercise, and steering clear of coffee and alcohol.

What are the Drugs that Will Interact with Ambien?

Ambien by itself is quite safe on the condition that you follow the doctor’s prescription to the letter. It’s also important that you should be honest with your doctor when you want to be prescribed sleeping pills.

There are other drugs that will counteract and interact with Zolpidem. They could either enhance the effects or adulterate the efficacy.

You should tell your doctor if you are already taking the following medications:

  • Phenothiazine antipsychotics, which includes Chlorpromazine. This medicine is being used for patients suffering from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other psychotic episodes.
  • Tuberculosis medicines such as Rifampim. This drug is also used to treat the fatal disease called meningitis.
  • Itraconazole is an anti-fungal antibiotic that is used to treat a variety of diseases. Among the side effects are drowsiness, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and rashes.
  • Anti-depressants, which may counteract the effects of Ambien.

As long as you are honest with your doctor, there’s no danger of taking Ambien to treat your sleeping disorder.


Drug addiction is a growing threat to the economic security of the US, along with the peace and order of the communities. According to the 2014 Behavioral Health Trends in the United States commissioned by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or SAMHSA, more than 21.5 million of Americans who are 12 years old and older are struggling with addiction.

Of the total, around 8 million are struggling with a co-occurring mental issue apart from their substance addiction. This makes the treatment process quite complicated because the rehab center will also try to address the mental illness.

You might think that drug addiction is a personal choice, and has nothing to do with you. But drugs affect the economy in a variety of ways. The Office of the National Drug Control Policy under the White House, however, reported that drugs cost the US economy about $200 billion in 2007.  This was in 2007 so the figures should have gone up by now.



Can I Spot Someone Addicted to Ambien?

If you know that your loved one is struggling with addiction, you would be doing everything to get them help.

One of the major hurdles, however, is that we tend to look at our loved ones through rose-colored lenses. This gives us with a major blind spot that they can exploit to lie about their problems. However, there are ways for you to spot if someone is hooked to sleeping pills or any drug in general:

  • They are acting very strange
  • There’s a drastic change in their behavior
  • They are always sleeping or on the flip side, they are not sleeping at all (a symptom of severe addiction)
  • They appear very calm and relaxed then suddenly become irritable or angry
  • They are prone to engage in unnecessary risky behaviors
  • They always run out of money and ask you for more (theft is the natural progression if you stop giving them money)
  • They skip work, school, or any other activities or hobbies that they used to take pleasure in doing
  • They lock themselves in their room for days

Depression and guilt are common offshoots of Ambien addiction. Unfortunately, these don’t translate to actions. Even if they wanted to change for the better, they just have no faculty to do it unless they seek professional help.

Is Ambien Addictive?

Short answer, yes, Ambien is addictive. It’s the reason why it’s not recommended for long-term use because the individual will develop a dependence on the drug. Although it’s classified as non-benzodiazepine, which hints that tolerance is not as bad as benzodiazepines like Xanax, it can still habit-forming.


How to know if you are already dependent?

Spot these symptoms and seek help immediately:

  • Being secretive about your intake
  • Upping the dosage over and above the doctor’s recommendation
  • Trying to find creative ways to refill the prescription
  • Craving for the drug
  • Spending too much money on the drug
  • Taking unnecessary risks to acquire Ambien


In fact, dependence on Ambien can take as little as two weeks. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that they already developed an affinity until their doctor takes them out of the medicine. That’s when they get the cravings. They also develop withdrawal symptoms for the drug, which will be discussed later in this article.

Although taken orally, some individuals will pound it to powder until they can snort it. This is supposed to give them a high and the effects are instantaneous, instead of waiting about 30 minutes for Ambien to hit them.

We should make a distinction here between dependence and addiction, however.

Dependence, also called tolerance, is when your body has already adapted to the effects of the drug. You will develop some withdrawal symptoms once you stop taking Ambien. In order to achieve the same effect, the patient needs to increase the dose.

You can be dependent without being addicted, although there’s a very thin line that separates the two.

Addiction sets in when there are already some changes in the brain’s chemical characteristics, which result in changes in behavior. In this case, they are already acting irrationally and thinking illogically because the main goal is to get their fix.

Is Ambien Classified as a Narcotic?

Zolpidem is classified under Schedule IV Substance by the US Drug Enforcement Agency. As you know, this is part of the Controlled Substances Act, which sorts drugs according to their uses and risks.

Under Schedule IV, Ambien is not supposed to be used for recreational purposes. Its distribution is highly regulated, which means you can’t buy it over the counter without a prescription from the doctor. Schedule IV drugs are classified due to their “low potential for abuse,” as well as a little risk of developing dependence.

Going back to the question, it’s not classified as a narcotic in the medical sense. However, buying one outside of its purpose—and without a doctor’s prescription—is considered an illicit act. You may be charged criminally for that action.

Also, the law makes a distinction on when it can become a narcotic. Even if you do have a doctor’s prescription for a medical issue, if you ingest it other than how it’s prescribed, then you can also face legal consequences.

And what are these illicit acts?

  • You peddle Ambien to your family and friends for profit
  • You crush it to powder before snorting or injecting it
  • You go beyond the doctor’s recommendation to achieve a high

Does Ambien Trigger Blackouts?

Ambien does trigger blackouts and it’s an effect that it shares with alcohol. There are too many documented cases of people who complained that they remember nothing of the events that transpired the night before, right after they took the drug.

Unfortunately, they just found out the morning after that they actually engaged in high-risk behaviors without any recollection of what happened. Sex with strangers without protection is not uncommon. They also drove home even when they were intoxicated. They also exposed themselves to danger several times. All these are very disconcerting when they thought that they were sleeping the whole time.

There’s a term for this and it’s called parasomnia—it’s a state where the patient has engaged in activities when he has already gone to bed. Of course, parasomnia is not exclusive to Ambien users. There are others who sleep-walk but if you already have the tendency, the drug will only heighten the risks.


What are the Risks Associated with Ambien

What are the Risks Associated with Ambien?

Despite being classified as Schedule IV Substance, there are still risks associated with taking Ambien. The recommended prescription would be for two weeks. You are also told to take it just before going to bed so it works as intended.

However, extended-release drugs may be ingested for four weeks, provided that the patient will be reassessed after a month’s time to determine the efficacy of the drugs and to minimize the risks.

The drug is not recommended for kids below 14 years old. Pediatricians don’t usually prescribe this to their patients.

The FDA warned that taking Ambien for a long-term and beyond the prescribed period will expose the individual to more risks. The last thing you should do, however, is to mix a potent cocktail of alcohol and Ambien because it will exponentially magnify the risks.

For one, the drug already takes down your defenses and inhibition. That’s precisely what alcohol will do to you. You will become more aggressive and more prone to make risky choices—such as taking on a dare that will seriously endanger your life.

Ambien affects your central nervous system so temporary lapses in memory are not uncommon. Alcohol will also have the same effect, characterized by blackouts. Again, you are exposing yourself to unnecessary risks such as driving while impaired or worse, being molested in the case of women.

Of course, if you are working in construction sites or any hazardous environments, refrain from taking Ambien. We already demonstrated the danger of taking the drug the night before when you are behind the wheel in the morning. Better inform your doctor right away. He may give you another prescription for your sleeping problem.



  • In order to cut down the risks, the FDA recommends that individuals should take the lowest dose for Ambien, just enough so they can get some sleep.
  • They should not take Ambien if there are only about eight hours left before they wake up to work
  • They should also follow the instructions of their doctors on how to take Ambien
  • They should not go near heavy equipment or a motor vehicle the morning after


The problem is that you will still feel lightheaded, drowsy, dizzy, and loss of balance about eight hours after taking your last pill. This is why it can contribute to impaired driving.


People with Ambien blackouts have reported having sex with a total stranger. This is very dangerous because they might contract a sexually transmitted disease. Because they are not really conscious of their actions, it’s unlikely that they will use protection during the sexual act, unless their partner insists.

This will expose them to HIV infection and that can be very devastating for the patient. Those who take Ambien will typically combine the drug with alcohol—another depressant that can trigger blackouts—which only increases their parasomnia.

Can You Overdose on Ambien?

Ambien alone will probably not result in fatal overdose. There’s simply no statistics to extrapolate the frequency because Ambien overdose deaths are extremely rare. For instance, even if you take 200 milligrams of Ambien—which is far more than the recommended dosage of 5 mg—you will likely not die.

With that said, Ambien that is taken in combination with other drugs or alcohol can be fatal. For instance, snorting the drug in conjunction with another anti-depressant, such as liquor, has been linked to coma.

Some people also use Ambien after they crash from cocaine abuse. Those who are already taking anti-depressants or psychoactive drugs should make sure to tell their doctors about the state of their mental health to avoid endangering themselves with Ambien use.


Take these Steps to Prevent Drug Overdose

  1. Avoid combining Ambien with other opioids, illicit drugs, anti-depressants and psychoactive drugs
  2. Follow the doctor’s prescription and the FDA recommendation for males and females
  3. Inform your doctor if you have a liver disease
  4. Do not crush the pill to snort it or dissolve it in water to inject it into your bloodstream
  5. Tell your doctor if you have problems with alcohol and other illicit drugs
  6. Talk to a therapist to sift through the underlying issues that may have contributed to your sleeping disorder


What happens when somebody overdoses on drugs?

Naloxone has been found to be effective in saving the patient’s life in case of an overdose. This is why the federal government is making this drug available to most pharmacies throughout the US, and you can buy this even without prescription.

This drug is only designed as a first response. You still need to call in paramedics to rush the individual to the emergency room. For the most part, the stomach will be pumped to take out the toxins. For Ambien, the doctor may administer the drug Flumazenil to prevent the patient from going into a coma.

During this critical period, the patient may go into a seizure, which is one of the symptoms of Ambien withdrawal. In this case, the patient will be monitored closely at the hospital to prevent cardiac and respiratory events that may threaten his life.

Will Ambien Show Up in Traditional Urine Tests?

Those who are addicted to Ambien may still pass the traditional urine test in their workplace if their employer will check for drug use.

With that said, there’s a specialized urine test specifically designed to test for Ambien and other non-benzos. It will show up on the test around 2-5 days after your last dose. Screening using hair samples are also more accurate as they can verify how long you have been abusing the drug and the frequency in which you take it.

This can still show up in the test even months after you last took Ambien. Of course, it will depend on how addicted the individual is.  For instance, just a single dose beyond the recommended prescription will show up in your hair sample even after six weeks.

Another method is the saliva screening, which can be administered almost immediately after use. However, the short-window makes this method unreliable. The screening should take place within eight hours after the last pill or you would already have bypassed that chance to detect abuse.

However, we should clarify that even if you are subjected to hair samples and specialized urine tests, you will still test negative as long as you follow the recommended dose of the doctor. So you don’t have to worry about that.

How Long Does it Stay in Our System?

The half-life for Ambien is around 1.5-2 hours. For senior citizens, the half-life will stay from 2-4 hours. But there are several variables that will allow the drug to stay in our system longer.

These factors are:

The age of the patient – Your metabolism will play a large part in flushing the drug from your system. Naturally, older people will take longer to get rid of Ambien from the bodies so they tend to be affected more, hence the double half-life.

Person’s weight --  Ambien is quickly dissolved in the blood because of its water-soluble properties. Those who are on the heavy side will get rid of the drug more quickly compared to those who are on the thinner side. On the flip side, people who are overweight need to ingest more dosage for the drug to be effective.

The food and fluid you take – Those who love their midnight snack before turning in for bed will have a more difficult time flushing Ambien from their system. The logic behind this is that our body will simultaneously break down the drug and the food, which means the process will take it a much longer time.  Meanwhile, drinking a lot of fluids after taking Ambien will speed up the process.

Dosage and tolerance – You always want to follow the doctor’s prescription and directions. Those who take more than the recommended dose will have Ambien in their system longer. Meanwhile, if you’ve already developed a tolerance for the drug, it’s highly unlikely that you are already abusing the sleeping pill. The chemical will build up in your system, which means it will likely turn up in various screenings.

What are the Side Effects of Ambien?

Ambien has both immediate and long-term side effects. As already mentioned, it may result in drowsiness and dizziness which will impair your ability to function the day after. We recommend that you wait at least 5 hours after you wake up in the morning before doing some tasks that take concentration and focus.

The immediate side effects include:

  • Rashes and hives
  • Swelling, particularly on the tongue, face, and lips
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Unconsciousness
  • Extreme diarrhea

If you experience these side effects, stop taking Ambien immediately to avoid endangering yourself further.

However, you can expect the following side effects when you take Ambien:

  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Headache
  • Cramps and muscle pain
  • Stuffy nose
  • Cotton mouth
  • Irritation to the throat
  • Light-headedness
  • Inability to focus
  • Confusion
  • Nightmares

A memory gap is not uncommon. However, if you have no recollection of major events after taking this drug such as having sex or driving your car on the way to work, tell your doctor immediately. You are potentially in danger if you continue to ignore this side effect.

Also, make sure to inform your doctor beforehand if you have the following conditions:

  • Kidney and liver disease
  • Asthma or bronchitis
  • Sleep apnea
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

If you have a family history of mental illness of drug and alcohol abuse, taking Ambien may be risky for you.

Long-term side-effects of Ambien:

  • Hallucination
  • Periods of memory lapses
  • Aggression
  • Delayed reflex and motor responses
  • Disorientation



What’s more disconcerting is the link between the prolonged use of Ambien and dementia later on in the patient’s life.

A 2015 case-control study found a connection between Zolpidem abuse and Alzheimer’s disease. The research made this conclusion after studying almost 17,000 subjects in Taiwanese healthcare system between 2006 and 2010. The risk is amplified for those who are dealing with diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and stroke while taking sleeping pills.

Clinical trials also found out that senior citizens exposed to Ambien for prolonged periods are 2% more prone to dementia.


What are the Withdrawal Symptoms for Ambien?

You know that you are abusing Ambien when you are already taking it even if you have no objective of getting some shuteye. Those who developed a tolerance are also likely to combine the drug with alcohol or other opioids to magnify the effects.

Dependence can develop as early as two weeks of taking Ambien. Those who developed an addiction will find it very difficult to quit without outside help as they are already physically and mentally dependent on the drug.



Physical dependence occurs when the patient already manifests some physiological reaction to the drug. When your body resists the prolonged divorce from Ambience, then you have probably developed a dependence on the sleeping pill. The gravity of the reaction will depend on the level of addiction.

Literally, you will feel sick just being away from the source of dependence.

Mental or psychological dependence is the condition when your body craves the drugs even if there’s no physiological manifestation that occurs from not taking it. However, it will drastically impair the way the patient lives his life because the main focus is obtaining the drug at the expense of the family, work, and society at large.

In most cases, the two are not mutually exclusive.


It’s not recommended that you stop cold-turkey once you already developed an addiction to Ambien because this could be dangerous.

The symptoms you can expect from Ambien withdrawal are:

  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Panic attacks
  • Seizure
  • Mood swings
  • Anger or irritability
  • Tremors
  • Sweating
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Stomach cramps
  • Erratic heart rate
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Flushing

These symptoms will typically manifest themselves about two days after your last dose. Oftentimes, they can be very uncomfortable that the patient has no choice but to get his fix.

The patient will not experience all the symptoms simultaneously. In fact, they might just experience four or five of those symptoms. For instance, seizures and suicidal thoughts only occur in very rare cases. The symptoms will wane or totally disappear around a week.

There are also several factors that will affect the treatment for withdrawal

  • How long you have been using the drugs
  • The amount of dose you take over and above the doctor’s recommendation
  • What other drugs you are taking part from Ambien
  • If you are overweight or not
  • How old you are

In essence, if you are a heavy user and has been abusing Ambien for a long time, in more probability and symptoms are going to be more intense—which borders on pain—for you.

Do I Need to Undergo Detox?

Yes, you do have to undergo medical detox to get rid of Ambien from your system. There’s such a thing called “rebound insomnia.” And this is what happens when you’ve developed an addiction to Ambien and suddenly stops using it. What happens is that your insomnia is amplified. It’s even worse off than before.

Detox is simply the process of managing your withdrawal symptoms. The goal is two-fold:

  1. To make sure to lessen the discomfort caused by the withdrawal
  2. To monitor the patient in a controlled environment to guarantee that he is safe all the time

With some drugs, you can get away without any substitute medication while undergoing detox. However, the physician does have to manage the rebound insomnia that will ensue as a result of quitting Ambien.

You may talk to some of the residents in inpatient care about their experiences with the detox and you will get a different answer every time. That’s because there are too many variables that are involved in the process so no two encounters are the same.


It’s never a good idea to self-detox. Some people may have the constitution to stop cold turkey but this could also be dangerous without a medical supervision. As you can see from the symptoms, erratic breathing and heartbeat are among the physical manifestations. The patient with an unknown cardiovascular disease can be at risk.

In contrast, you will be given a battery of laboratory tests to determine prior illness, which will put you at risk during the withdrawal process. Safety is the primary goal of the detox.

Also, you will find yourself among your peers who have similar experience than you. This means they can empathize with what you are feeling and provide emotional support. The doctor will craft a treatment plan according to your own unique needs.

For some patients who have not developed a severe addiction to the drug, the doctor may recommend stopping cold turkey. For others, substitute medications may be involved.

Because Ambien is water-soluble, it goes straight out of your system quickly, with a week the maximum ceiling of detox. With that said, don’t be surprised if some patients will stay under detox for two weeks or more.

Again, each individual is different.



Within 8 hours: The half-life of Ambien is short when you compare it to the other opioids and sedatives. Those who are severely addicted to the drug will notice the symptoms within four hours after their last dose. For others, the symptoms will manifest themselves from 4-8 hours.

Within 48 yours: You will feel most of the withdrawal symptoms within a couple of days after your last dose. Rebound insomnia probably has set in so it’s likely that you haven’t had a wink for the past two days.

Within 120 hours: The fifth day is the turning point for most users. This is when the withdrawal symptoms have peaked. Panic attacks, anxieties, rapid heart rate, and mood swings are just among the symptoms you will feel. With no medication, you will likely not be sleeping at this point.

Within 2 weeks: After the peak, the after-effects will taper off. By the second week, your body has already adjusted to the fact that there are already no foreign chemicals in your system.


Is Detoxing Really Necessary?

Unless you get rid of all the chemicals in your system, your body is always going to seek it. People sometimes equate the lack of capacity by the addicted individual to get rid of his addiction with a weakness in character.

It’s not about willpower.

In fact, we can argue that this thinking is more dangerous compared to somebody who knows his limitations and asks for help from experts.

Those who think they can do it through the sheer will are likely to detox at home. It’s going to be such a burden for your loved ones to have to always understand your situation. Chances are that you are going to lash out at them because of the mood swings and irritability symptoms.

They may take it personally, especially if they don’t understand what you are going through. Also, this would be extremely unfair on their part when they are subjected to mental and sometimes physical abuse over something that’s not their fault in the first place.

The feeling of guilt—along with the suicidal thoughts—can have grave consequences for the individual.

Flushing all that toxins from your body will greatly help you in your path toward staying sober.

Detoxing allows the doctor to monitor all the other associated medical issues while you try to manage the withdrawal symptoms.

For instance, if you have difficulty sleeping while the effects taper off, the doctor can prescribe a substitute drug. A common medication is Valium, which mimics the effects of Ambien. If the doctor feels that you are already dehydrated, he may inject you with some fluids to minimize the health risks.

If the anxiety or panic attacks prove too much, the doctor will also prescribe other medicine to calm your nerves.

What Can You Expect in Drug Detox?

There’s a lot of misconception about drug detox in the way it is depicted in movies. For the most part, you will not be chained to the bed (although this happens in extreme cases and only for your own protection) with padded walls. You will not scream in the middle of the night while doctors will look at you through a small glass hole in the door.

The drug rehab center will make sure you are comfortable throughout the whole process. Most residential facilities are designed like a spa rather than imbibe the clinical atmosphere of hospitals.

First, you will go through what is known as an intake process. Simply put, this is when the therapist or counselor will interview you to get a feel of your own situation.

It’s important that you should be honest with your answers here. The results of the interview will form the basis for the detox treatment plan that will be administered for you.

You will also be subjected to a series of laboratory tests to get a baseline of your health status. You will be placed in a room where the detox process will take place. You may be alone in the room or you will be with several others.

At this point, expect little or no contact with your family. This is to ensure that you will focus on your treatment than being distracted by the emotional connection.

Again, you will not be chained to the bed. After your program for the day, you will be allowed to get out of the room and mingle with the other patients. The detox will only be successful if all the other supporting treatments are present.

In the inpatient rehab, you will also attend one-on-one counseling sessions and group therapy sessions apart from detox. Your food and fluid intake will be closely monitored. Nutrition will be tailor-fitted to give you the nourishment necessary to go on with the detox process.

How Do You Treat Ambien?

Ambien treatment help is available in drug rehab centers through detox and counseling. There are two types of rehab: inpatient and outpatient.

We’ve already discussed the detox process but finishing the procedure is just the first step in recovery. There’s still a long road ahead in your path toward sobriety. It’s not recommended for the patient to go cold turkey, especially if the body has already developed dependence on the drug.

What are Inpatient and Outpatient Drug Rehab?

Residential and outpatient rehab differ in the way they treat the patient, although they have the same purpose, which is to help the individual lick his addiction and lead a life of sobriety.

Residential Rehab – As the term suggests, you will stay in the treatment facility during the duration of the treatment. Your outside contact is limited so you can focus on the issue at hand. While inside the facility, you are expected to follow all the rules and the strict schedule. Any violation will merit a corresponding sanction.

Outpatient rehab – For outpatient rehab, you don’t have to stay inside the facility. You can go home to your family and continue to go to work as long as you follow the regimen and also meet with your counselor at the appointment times.

The rehab center will recommend the type of treatment for the patient following the intake process. For those with severe addiction, it’s strongly encouraged that they stay in the facility because they are most vulnerable to temptations outside.

For patients whose dependence is not as severe, the outpatient rehab is recommended for them.

In terms of success rates, patients who go to inpatient rehab have a greater success in avoiding a relapse. Of course, this is a case-to-case basis.



  • You get 24/7 supervision and monitoring which gives peace of mind, especially in the early days of recovery while you are still adjusting
  • Trained support staff will be there to always help you
  • You will be with your peers who are undergoing the same struggles as you. They can also provide emotional and physical support
  • Medical detox to get rid of the toxins
  • You can focus on your treatment because outside distractions are minimal
  • Everything is structured in such a way to help the patient lick the addiction and prevent a relapse
  • Proven therapeutic techniques


  • You have to sacrifice some of your liberties
  • Your activities and movements are regimented
  • You will leave behind your family during the treatment process, which can be hard for some
  • The cost may be steep
  • Insurance will not cover all the expenses
  • You will take an extended absence from work



  • You can still live your life with minimal disruption
  • You don’t have to take a leave of absence from work
  • The cost is more affordable compared to inpatient rehab
  • The cost can be covered by insurance with little out-of-pocket costs


  • You are exposed to the same temptations when you are outside
  • There’s no medical detox for this option
  • Less success rate compared to inpatient treatment
  • The treatment program is not as immersive

What Can You Expect in the Drug Rehab Process for Ambien?

Ambien treatment typically ranges from a low of 30 days, to a high of a 90 day inpatient drug rehab program on average. One characteristic of this drug is that even though it’s as not as addictive compared to opioids or benzos, it takes longer for the physician to cut the dose for the patients before totally taking them off the drug.

Historically, those who are addicted to Ambien typically have a polydrug problem. This means that they are also taking other drugs in combination with the sleeping pills. This makes the treatment process much more complicated.

As already mentioned, outpatient rehab is best for patients who only have a mild dependence on the drug. With advice and the patient’s cooperation, the doctor can taper off the dose until such time the body is clean. Ambien abusers may have to attend group counseling sessions or therapy groups outside of the facility several nights a week, as long as they don’t clash with your work schedule. The rehab center should have a list near your community.

For inpatient rehab, you will be told to leave behind your worldly possessions as you enter a place of refuge. You will be provided with a checklist of what and what not to bring. Besides, before you are escorted to your room, your belongings will be checked by the personnel. Prohibited items will be turned over to your family.



When you enter the rehab center, you are only advised to bring on what you need.

  • You can’t bring in your mobile phone but only a list of addresses and numbers to contact while you are inside
  • If you have maintenance medicine, you can bring that with you as long as it’s still in the bottle. You are also required to bring the prescription that authorizes you to carry that medicine around
  • Cash but only in small amounts. There should be vending machines inside the facility which you can use your loose change for.
  • Your checkbook, ATM, or debit and credit card
  • Identification cards (driver’s license, employee’s card, etc.)
  • Healthcare insurance policy
  • A journal
  • Your wedding ring or a watch but you can’t bring too many pieces of jewelry with you
  • Reading materials (rehab centers differ in their policy on what the patient can bring)
  • Personal hygiene kit

Clothes to bring:

  • Sexy clothes are prohibited so you have to be modest in the way you dress
  • Plunging necklines and short mini-skirts are not allowed
  • Don’t bring in your whole closet because you will have limited space inside the room
  • Tennis shoes or comfortable footwear
  • Sandals or flip-flops
  • Socks and undergarments
  • Jacket or sweater
  • Bathing suits (no bikini)
  • Pajamas


Despite the misconceptions, inpatient rehab is not a prison house. With voluntary treatment, you can leave anytime you like. Of course, that’s seriously discouraged because it can set back your recovery. However, with committed rehab, you will be required to follow through with your treatment if you don’t want to face the full wrath of the US justice system.

In fact, rehab centers actually don’t have locks on the rooms of the patients so that personnel can check in on them from time to time. You are not detained inside.


What is Dual Diagnosis Ambien

What is Dual Diagnosis?

A co-occurring mental health can also be a problem with Ambien and polydrug abuse. The National Alliance on Mental Health defines dual diagnosis as a condition where the patient is simultaneously dealing with both the substance abuse and mental illness.

This condition is much more common than you think. In fact, the 2014 survey by SAMHSA revealed that that nearly 8 million people are struggling with co-occurring diseases. There’s a wide range of effects resulting from the drug abuse. Sometimes they overlap with the mental illness, which makes it very hard to spot for an untrained professional.

In most cases, it’s almost impossible to determine where one begins and the other ends, or which is causing the other.

There are several red flags that you can watch if the patient is already suffering from mental illness:

  • When the patient no longer cares about his appearance or hygiene
  • The patient is irrationally anxious or scared
  • The patient is depressed or lethargic
  • When the behavior change is so extreme
  • The patient isolates himself from his family and friends
  • The patient skips work and school, and even family reunions and gatherings
  • Difficulty comprehending even the most simple of instructions
  • Can’t hold a conversation down for prolonged periods
  • The patient no longer sleeps or he’s always sleeping
  • The patient is losing or gaining massive weight
  • The patient is experiencing delusions and hallucinations
  • The patient is extremely aggressive
  • Suicidal thoughts

It’s not uncommon for people with mental illness to turn to drugs or alcohol. There are an estimated 17.5 million people who are 18 years old and older who suffer from a serious mental illness. Nearly a quarter of that total is struggling with dual diagnosis.

People struggling with a co-occurring disease hardly get treatment, with 4 in 10 of them getting intervention but only for one condition. Only about 5 percent of them are actually receiving treatment for dual diagnosis.

Also in most cases, dual diagnosis patients seem to be functioning well. They have good careers, good families, and a healthy social life. This is why everybody will act surprised when the patients start to unravel.

How Do You Treat Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis caused by Ambien polydrug abuse can be treated in several ways. The crucial thing is early intervention to ensure help is made available at the onset. The mental illness and substance abuse are treated simultaneously. However, in most instances, the patient has to be cleansed from drugs first before addressing the mental disease.

The treatment plan will depend upon several factors—the severity of the addiction and the co-occurring disease, response to treatment, and the unique circumstances of the individual concerned. However, the programs in mainstream drug rehab centers do follow a certain trajectory. Below are some of them:

Detox – As already mentioned, you need to get rid of the toxins inside your body first. Detox is the primary procedure to achieve this goal. You will be administered substitute drugs to taper off the effects of Ambien or other opioids. During this process, you will be monitored 24/7 to ensure your safety while you go through the withdrawal symptoms.

Counseling and therapy – After detox, you will have to undergo therapy to get through the underlying cause of addiction. It’s only rare that persons will develop a substance abuse without some motivating reason. The same goes for mental illness. Although genetics may play a part, there’s usually a triggering factor that precipitates the symptoms to manifest themselves. He will also be taught coping mechanisms to ensure he doesn’t relapse when he goes out of the facility.

Medication – Extreme anxiety may need some medication to be managed. But this will be done under the close supervision of the doctor. In some cases, however, the patient will have to take maintenance medicine for the rest of his life.

Support groups – Support and community self-help groups often operate outside of the purview of the treatment centers. However, you will be referred to a group near you. They serve as emotional supports as you try to navigate your way through life without the crutch of drugs or alcohol. The members often have the same experiences as you so they can relate and empathize with your experiences.



Not much has changed since the 1970s in terms of treatment programs for drug addiction. But there’s a reason for that, and the simple fact is that they work. What are these principles adopted by rehab centers for an effective treatment?

  1. Addiction is a treatable condition, even if it’s a very complex disease
  2. Addiction affects both the biochemicals in the brain and the person’s behavior
  3. Treatment methods are not generic but are tailor-fitted for the individual’s needs
  4. Access to treatment should be made available to everyone
  5. Early intervention is a good determinant of success
  6. Treatment program should address not just the drug dependence but also the underlying causes
  7. Behavioral therapies and counseling are essential to treatment
  8. Length of treatment will boost the chance of success
  9. Medications may sometimes be necessary
  10. Treatment plans should be assessed and reassessed in relation to the patient’s progress or lack thereof
  11. Detox may be necessary
  12. Treatment should also include co-occurring disorders
  13. The patient doesn’t need to volunteer for the treatment to be effective. However, the full cooperation of the patient will greatly increase the success


What are the Therapy Methods Used in Inpatient Treatment?

Rehab centers employ different psychotherapy models to fit the needs of the patient. Unfortunately, there’s no magic potion that will dramatically treat the patient. The doctors have to find out which therapy that the patient best respond to.

Here are just some of the examples:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) -- This model employs behavior and cognitive paradigm. The main goal is to help the patient recognize the feelings, beliefs, and experiences that are clearly irrational for most people but are very real to them. The therapist will then try to determine how much of these feelings and belief is contributing to the dysfunction. By changing the cause of these irrational thoughts and feelings, the patient may be able to leave behind the addiction.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – DBT is still based on the principles of CBT. This is employed for patients who are dealing with several issues at once. Some of these issues are complex enough that other forms of therapy may prove to be ineffective. Apart from one-on-one sessions, group therapy is also recommended.

Gestalt Therapy – Developed by the husband and wife team of Fritz and Laura Perls, this type of therapy takes some of the principles of the humanistic model. The therapy is focused on the individual’s experiences at the time when he’s in therapy, as well as the social dynamics that impact on the behavior and actions. The individual should be made to realize that he’s ultimately responsible and accountable for his actions. Guilt should be taken out of the equation.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) – Apart from the principles of CBT, the therapist will also integrate the neurobiological model. Just as the name suggests, the patient will follow motions with their eyes. In theory, these hand and eye movements will help improve the patient in therapy. They will also be exposed to triggers in order to confront the source of their anxieties.

Didactic Therapy – Those who will undergo didactic therapy will be surprised by the classroom-feel of the sessions. You will be with your peers to enhance interpersonal skills. Psychological treatment principles will be shared in a form of a lecture. Among the things you will learn are the damaging effects of substance abuse, relapse risks and prevention, coping mechanisms, anger management, and other experimental methods such as meditation, yoga, and relaxation.

Creative Arts Therapy – You will be asked to express yourself through various medium. This is experiential as you experience various stimuli for a specific purpose. Included in this umbrella therapy include music, dance, art, or garden therapy.

Contingency Management Interventions/Motivational Incentives (CMI) – The idea is to provide the patient with tangible incentives in order to effect a positive change. For instance, for every time that you pass a drug test, you get a free voucher. In another example, inpatient residents will have a chance to win a prize when they enter a raffle with their urine serving as the ticket.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) -- This has a short window, usually around four sessions or so. Basically, the person is guided to have a self-motivation to effect change within himself. Historically, the patients who engage in self-harm benefit most from this type of therapy. Also, they will learn how to view a certain trigger more objectively rather than letting it affect him emotionally enough to cause stress.

Hynotherapy and Psychodrama – Hypnosis is utilized so the patient will enter into a heightened state of awareness. The therapist will then guide him to thresh out the issues that may have contributed to the addiction. The ultimate aim, of course, is to ultimately change their behavior and thoughts for the better.

Psychodrama, meanwhile, will give the patient an opportunity to explore their internal issues by acting out their feelings. For those with a stage fright, the scenes can be acted alone with the psychotherapist acting as the director. A variation of this is called the Narrative Therapy, which instead help come up with stories based on the personal experiences of the patient.

Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR) -- The patient is asked to relive and revisit the past traumatic event in the hope of changing the way he views these episodes that shape the individual that he has become. This is done under the supervision of an experienced therapist and always in a safe environment. Some events can leave very deep scars that it will take several sessions for the patient to even start talking about them.

Organized Recreation Therapy – Sports, games, and camping are just some of the events that will be organized by the rehab center in order to get the patients to develop a more positive outlook in life. They can develop friendships or bond with their peers. Hopefully, they will see that the world is not so bad, after all. This type of therapy is especially geared for younger patients.

Animal Therapy – You can’t deny the positive impact that pets have on the lives of their owners. This is the principle behind this therapy model.

The Matrix Model – Often used for intensive outpatient treatment, this integrative therapy program is often used for meth or cocaine abuse. It’s a mix-and-match of treatments such as the CBT, 12-step process, family therapy, and motivational therapy. However, only the most effective aspects of these therapy models are incorporated into the Matrix model.

Behavioral Couples Therapy - This is those for those who attend a couples drug rehab as a pair and want to receive treatment together. Behavioral Couples Therapy (BCT) purpose is to build support for abstinence and to improve relationship functioning among married or unmarried partners seeking help for alcoholism or drug abuse.

Sleeping Disorder Ambien
Sleeping Disorder Ambien

How Can You Manage Your Sleeping Disorder Without Ambien?

For people who are having trouble with their sleeping routine, there are some steps they can do in order to manage their snooze time. Hopefully, their situation is going to be better and they don’t have to go to the doctor to be prescribed with Ambien.

  1. Don’t stress too much – Stress is a killer, literally. It’s been linked to so many preventable diseases that finding time to de-stress will save you a lot of heartache and money later on in life. Among the stress killers are meditation and yoga, exercise, massage, or getting away from the source of the stress. This may include your co-workers, acquaintances and even family members who are aggravating.
  2. Program your internal clock – We all have our internal clock. Some people can have deep sleep in the morning and fitful slumber at night. Others work the other way around. However, we can actually condition our body to get ready for sleeping. But you have to stick with your schedule for bedtime. You can’t change it for any reason whatsoever.
  3. Take out all the distractions – Get the TV out of the room. Turn off your mobile phone and your laptop. Blacken out the room by hanging dark and thick curtains to block out any kind of light outside. Experiment with music if that will get you drowsy.
  4. Eliminate caffeine and sugar from your diet – Stop drinking coffee or soda as they will affect your sleeping pattern.
  5. Don’t drink alcohol – Unless you get stone drunk, alcohol will actually mess up your internal clock. If you don’t drink enough, you may even have trouble sleeping. The only alternative is to drink yourself to sleep but we all know that’s a very dangerous pursuit.
  6. Get therapy – If you just notice a change in your sleeping pattern, there must be something that triggered it. Anxiety and stress are contributory factors to insomnia. If you can address those issues then maybe you will also resolve your sleeping disorder.

Can You Still Stay Sober After Ambien Addiction?

Ambien is not as devastating to your body compared to the other opioids and benzos out there. In fact, the worst of the withdrawal symptoms should taper off by the second week after you stopped taking the drug. However, your mental dependence will still continue even after completing the treatment program offered by the rehab center.

The good news is that there’s a high success rate for patients who underwent inpatient rehab for their Ambien addiction. That means rehab centers are not actually reinventing the wheel in terms of treating your problem.

Each person responds differently to treatment, of course, so the timeline may vary. The important thing is that the mode of treatment recommended for Ambien addiction is typically successful.

What are the Alternative Drugs to Ambien?

America is getting more and more dependent on sleeping pills. For Ambien, for example, as many as 38 million prescriptions were written for the drug between 2006 and 2011. According to estimates, about 9 million people in the US take sleeping pills before turning in for bed. Meanwhile, 1 in 10 of Americans is estimated to be suffering from a sleeping disorder.

There are several medications that are prescribed in lieu of Ambien. This is not to say that they are less effective but these are also medications that are also being prescribed for insomnia:

  • Restoril
  • Xanax
  • Lunesta
  • Sonata
  • Rozerem
  • Silenor

Both Lunesta and Sonata are similar to Ambien in the fact that they are also sedative-hypnotics. They also have the same side-effects along with the addictive risks. They are also prescribed for short-term use.

Both Xanax and Restoril are classified as benzodiazepine. They have a higher risk for abuse, however, compared to Ambien. They also have more side-effects.

Rozerem, meanwhile, is classified as a melatonin receptor agonist. It can leave you impaired the morning after, however, so be careful about driving. Silenor can cause short-term memory loss and blackouts.

For over-the-counter medicines, you can buy antihistamines even without a prescription and they can aid in getting you drowsy but only in moderate cases. The good thing is that you can’t abuse anti-histamines.

What Holistic Approaches that Can Substitute for Ambien?

In order to wean a whole generation of sleeping pill dependents, there are other alternative methods that can help you sleep. Below are just some of the proven methods that can help an individual get drowsy.

  1. Melatonin -- Supplements containing melatonin can help individuals fall asleep. Melatonin is actually a natural hormone produced by our body that will prepare us to bed. The supplements are available in capsule or liquid form. You can buy it over the counter even without prescription.

Unfortunately, our habits are hindering our brain from producing melatonin. These bad habits include watching TV before going to sleep, playing games, or tinkering with your phone. However, this is not recommended for long-term use.

  1. Lavender oil – Lavender oil and patches will improve your sleeping habits. Just smelling lavender-scented products before going to sleep will result in a deep sleep. Even the elderly population has reported the beneficial effects of lavender. This is a trick that is actually embedded in the Eastern culture. Not only will it help you sleep better, it will also improve your blood pressure.
  2. Valerian Root – Valerian is a plant that is native to Asia and Europe, although you can find it in North America, as well. Its root has been proven to have medicinal properties that can help people suffering from insomnia. However, it does have some side-effects as some people have reported of feeling slightly dizzy or sleepy in the morning.
  3. Warm Glass of Milk – You probably heard this advice from your mom or grandmother, to drink a warm glass of milk to help you sleep better. Fortunately, it’s just not some fishwives’ tale. There’s actually a science behind drinking milk because it contains the tryptophan, which is a type of amino acid that promotes sleep. The chemical will trigger the production of serotonin, which is the brain’s natural sedative. For best results, pour some honey to the milk.
  4. Exercise – Getting some sweat on may help get rid of all those stress, which can interfere with your sleeping routine. Also, an added benefit is that going to the gym may just tire you enough that you go straight to bed afterwards.
  5. Soak in a tub – Getting a warm bath will relax your muscles and trick your brain into thinking that you are sleepy. The typical temperature for a warm bath is between 98 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. However, you can crank it up to around 112 degrees for best results. You should soak for around one hour and thirty minutes to two hours before turning in for bed.
  6. Noise machine – Instead of music, static noise and sounds depicting nature can improve the quality of sleep. For example, the sound of rustling leaves, or the waves lapping at the shore, or a brook with the chirping of birds in the background will provide a soothing environment. There’s also such a thing as a “pink noise,” which differs from a white noise. The pink noise has been proven to promote sleep.
  7. Meditation – Meditation has been practiced for millennia with countless benefits to the mind and body. For this exercise, you should shut off your phone, TV, and other gadgets for around one hour before going to bed. Then you can start meditating. There are plenty of instructional videos on YouTube that you can follow early on. An alternative would be to take meditation and yoga classes and learn the moves so you can do them in the comfort of your own home.
  8. Light Therapy – Light therapy has been helping insomniacs for years. Apparently, it will help reprogram your Circadian rhythm and help you get better sleep at night.


What Holistic Approaches that Can Substitute for Ambien---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Circadian rhythm refers to our body’s internal clock. To put it simply, this is your natural cycle of sleeping and waking times. For example, have you noticed that you are sleepy at certain times of the day? That’s your brain telling you about your Circadian Rhythm.

If you are a regular adult, you would feel sleepy between 12 to 2 p.m., which is your body informing you that you need a nap. Of course, for most of us, we get drowsy at night. This is why we say it’s way past our bedtime. Some people are nocturnal and some are a morning person so their Circadian Rhythm is the opposite of each other.

When you have enough sleep, you don’t really notice all these peaks and valleys of your internal body clock. It’s when you have insomnia when you really feel the difference.


Of course, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can also help the patient cure insomnia by identifying the sources of triggers that may have hindered their ability to sleep. Sometimes, Ambien has become a crutch. Even if you are not addicted, the mental block is so great that you really believe you couldn’t sleep without the sleeping pill. In effect, your mind has become conditioned to depend on the drug.

Should You Worry About Your Ambien Dependence?

If Ambien dependence already impairs your ability to function, then that is something to worry about. What’s more concerning is if you experience blackouts after taking the sleeping pills because you are exposing yourself to unnecessary risks.

You should always talk to your doctor regarding your apprehensions and experiences. Ambien and other sleeping pills are designed as a stop-gap measure. What you should do instead is to make sure you resolve all the underlying causes of your insomnia. This is the only way to address the problem permanently.

Can You Buy Ambien on the Streets?

Unfortunately, some of these sleeping pills do end up being trafficked on the streets. The scary thing is that they are accessible to kids who don’t know any better. All they think is that it’s cool to be doing drugs without really realizing the consequences of their actions. You have drugs mixed with alcohol and other illicit substances and that can create a deadly cocktail.

Ambien actually has some street names are Tic-Tacs, Zombie Pills, No-Go Pills, and Sleep-Easy, among others.

We are not going to say how much each pill costs on the streets. Suffice to say that they are more expensive than the tabled price on the pharmacy shelves. However, as illicit drugs go, Ambien should be the least of the worries for parents. There are more hard-core opioids out there such as heroin or fentanyl that can really wreak havoc on one’s life.


How Do Prescription Drugs End Up on the Streets?

The question is that if doctors are highly regulated, how do these sleeping pills and other prescription drugs end up being peddled on the streets?

Indeed, part of the blame could be pointed at the physicians themselves. Some doctors are too lax in the way they prescribe the medicines. But the system itself is designed with a lot of loopholes that drug dealers take advantage of. For instance, doctors are swamped with patients on a  daily basis that they can sometimes make mistakes.

You can’t also deny that some doctors are blinded by the prospect of making money on the side by prescribing pills intended to be sold on the streets.

Drug dealers are also engaged in forum shopping. They fake the hospital results and get prescribed for their so-called pain. If one doctor will refuse, they just go to another doctor and so on and so forth.

Finally, the system in place is too slow to detect an anomaly. While the DEA is tasked to monitor the doctors, sometimes they come in too late.



Is Rehab for Ambien Expensive?

Going into rehab will cost you. That’s why just keep away from any type of addictive drugs. For instance, just for detox alone will set you back around $5,000 to $10,000. The expenses will accumulate the longer you stay under detox.

Outpatient rehab, meanwhile, is etimated to cost around $5,000 to $25,000 for the duration of the 90-day program. However, it can shoot up over $35,000 for luxury centers.

As you can imagine, inpatient treatment facilities will cost more. The 30-day program will cost around $20,000. Just multiply that by three if you are entered into the three-month program. Luxury centers may ask as much as $30,000 to $60,000 for a month-long program.

We are not even counting the maintenance substitute medications that may be prescribed to help taper off the effects of the chemical substance you are addicted to. For instance, if you are a heroin dependent, you will spend thousands of dollars for the first year of recovery alone.

If you have no extra money lying around, this will really hurt your household budget. That’s because you don’t just worry about paying for rehab, you also have to think about your basic necessities at home.

What is Obamacare and How Can it Help Your Drug Dependence Problem?

Fortunately, the laws have been changed to cover rehab and mental illness in health insurance. This was guaranteed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) signed by former President Barack Obama. Initially, it was designed to cover around 5 million people without insurance who need help with their addiction.

However, the government may also subsidize your treatment as long as you qualify. One of the main criteria is that your household income should fall below 400 percent of the poverty rate at the federal level.

There’s a FAQ website which explains further the benefits under the Obamacare in relation to substance abuse and mental illness. Among the treatments covered in insurance are counseling, psychotherapy, behaviorial therapy, inpatient and outpatient services, and treatment for drug and alcohol addiction.

What the Obamacare did was to lift the limits set by the insurance companies on addiction and mental health coverage. Basically, the discriminatory provision was struck out. Insurers may still set limits but the levels should be equal to the other medical and surgical services they are already offering.

Also, insurance companies are prohibited from slapping more charges on pre-existing conditions. This means occurring disorders like mental illnesses that come along with the substance abuse.

The insurance companies have already included in the insurance marketplace the five basic Obamacare-sponsored health plans.

Platinum Plan – The Platinum Plan will cover 90 percent of the expense with the rest coming from out of pocket

Gold Plan – The Gold Plan will cover 80 percent of the expense

Silver Plan – Silver Plan will pay 70 percent of the costs

Bronze Plan – The Bronze Plan will cover 60 percent of the total treatment cost

Can I Go Into Rehab Even Without Insurance?

Fewer than 10 percent of people with an addiction problem is actually seeking treatment. While denial that they have a problem in the first place is right up there in the list of reasons, we should add there the prohibitive cost of rehab.

There are around 44 million Americans without insurance coverage. That’s a very high number that should worry the healthcare system. However, it’s a discussion that should be set for another day. What’s important is that around 14% of Americans might not be able to afford rehab on their own. We are not even counting the other 38 million whose health insurance remains inadequate.

With that said, there are some creative ways you can still enroll in a treatment program even without coverage.

Here are some of them:

Financial Plans – Most rehab centers have their own built-in financial plans for patients who could not afford the steep payment. The fact is that most addicted individuals are strapped for cash because it’s highly unlikely that they lost their jobs and savings to feed their addiction.

Some partner financing institutions also offer financing programs. It’s basically a loan with a friendly repayment plan that will allow you to get treatment but still have the financial flexibility to repay the obligation later on. One example is that you don’t start the payments until after you have graduated from the drug rehab program.

Borrow Money from Relatives – If you have some rich relatives around and are willing to help, this is a good idea to avoid paying the interest rates incorporated in the loans. In some ways, the family member may even defer collection until you can hold down a job and received your salary. This is probably the best case scenario so count yourself lucky if this situation applies to you.

Government Subsidy – As already cited, you may be able to qualify for subsidized treatment from the government as long as you fall within the poverty level criteria. You can go to this federal website to determine if you are qualified.

Non-Profit and Charity Groups – Some Rotary organizations and charity groups have anti-drug programs which may cover the cost of treatment. Ask from the religious organization near you or from your city offices for some leads. Naturally, there’s going to be some competition for the privilege of being financially supported. You may also be required to pay back in terms of sweat equity or community service. For instance, the Salvation Army has a drug-rehab assistance program designed for the indigents.

Pass the hat – Colleagues and family members can pass the hat for donations in order to raise money for your treatment. Another option is to open a garage sale to raise money. You can also open a GoFundMe page, although your story needs to be gripping for people to actually part some of their cash to help your cause. Here’s an example of a GoFundMe page. Granted that it’s still far away from its goal, you get the idea.

Sweat Equity – If you have some special skills, you can offer them in exchange for cash to fund your treatment. If you know carpentry, for instance, or fix a car, these are tangible skills that you can use to raise money.

What Type of Treatment Facility Should I Choose?

There are three types of treatment facilities that you can choose from. These are the luxury, executive, and standard rehab.

Luxury rehab is an inpatient residential facility that will pamper the residents while at the same time help them manage their addiction. If you have money, this is exactly where you want to be. This is the option for celebrities and affluent individuals who can afford the lavish service. Among the amenities include swimming pools, saunas, fitness centers, room service, massage therapies, private rooms, personal butler, gourmet food, and 24/7 security. You will essentially get a personalized treatment for your money.

Executive rehab, meanwhile, is one-rung below luxury rehab. The amenities are also considered high-end. It’s especially designed for CEOs, professionals, and businessmen who are busy with their time and could not afford to leave behind their businesses or companies.

While the program is inpatient in nature, communication remains open for residents. The patient may leave the facility but with an escort. Meetings can be done in private via video-conferencing or messenger apps. Residents are also allowed to write and respond to email.

Finally, you have the standard rehab, which is a dime a dozen in the US. There are more than 14,500 rehab facilities in the country, which are not enough to accommodate the number of addicted individuals.

With standard rehab, you get what you pay for. The amenities and facilities are quite standard so don’t expect some special treatment. In some facilities, you will room with other residents instead of getting your own private quarters.

How to Choose a Rehab for Your Ambien Addiction?

Without taking into account the cost, there are some minimum yardsticks that will determine a good rehab center.

  1. Trained and certified personnel – You will be entrusting your care to virtual strangers. At least they should know what they are talking about. All the staff, from the head counselor or physician down to the nursing assistant should have the necessary authority to dispense knowledge and expertise.
  2. Dual Diagnosis treatment – You don’t want to be moving from one center to another because of inadequate proficiency to treat dual diagnosis. This should be clear even before you agree to avail of the treatment services.
  3. Success rate – The drug rehab center should have a high success rate in terms of helping its patients toward sobriety. They center should also be willing to share any government rating or awards it may have garnered over the years which speak of the quality of their service.
  4. Aftercare services – The rehab center should have available aftercare services of, if not, an extensive network of groups offering post-rehab support.

The location of the rehab can be crucial in your treatment. For some people, they are more comfortable about a new beginning so they choose a facility outside of their state, away from the sources of temptations and distractions. Others want to be closer to their family and although contact is limited, at least they know that their wife, children and parents are nearby.


What is the Relapse Rate for Ambien?

Unfortunately, there is no study that establishes the relapse rate for Ambien. However, the risk of relapse is very high in the first year after finishing the rehab program in the treatment facility. The relapse rate for drugs in the US is around 40-60 percent. The rates do go down when you survive the first year. The turning point seems to be after the fifth year. If the patient remains sober for 60 months, then it’s almost a guarantee that he’s going to be sober for the rest of his life.

However, if you engage in binge drinking apart from your Ambien addiction, the rehab center will also make sure to clear your system of alcohol. The relapse rate for alcohol is much, much higher. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 9 in 10 of individuals with alcohol abuse disorder seem to fall off the wagon within four years after treatment.

If you are also combining other drugs with your Ambien abuse, those have to be addressed as well. You can relapse in many ways, which can complicate your situation.

It should be noted, however, that Ambien users who went through intensive outpatient or inpatient treatment programs experienced a high degree of success in terms of recovery. This could be due to the fact that as far as drugs go, Ambien has a low potential for abuse. In that case, it’s not hard to presume that the relapse rate for the drug is quite low, as well.


Should You Travel Out of State for Drug Rehab?
Should You Travel Out of State for Drug Rehab?

Should You Travel Out of State for Drug Rehab?

Some people deliberately choose a rehab center out of state for their Ambien rehab treatment. Finding a rehab center that fits you is like looking for a house. While there are some boxes that need to be checked as far as standards go, you have to feel comfortable with the facilities and the staff. For residential treatment, you will be there for long periods. The success of the treatment will depend upon the cooperation of the patient and you can’t expect to entrust your recovery to people you are not comfortable with.

Traveling for rehab is actually an option that can speed up the recovery of the patient. Some rehab centers have branches from all over so they can refer the patient to any of those facilities for continuity’s sake.

Getting far away from home could be the best thing for your recovery. This is not for everybody, of course, because some people draw comfort from the fact that they are close to their family.


Advantages of traveling out of state:

  1. You can focus on your recovery – Sometimes it’s a mental thing. It’s like cutting the cord that connects you to your home—and the psychological barrier that it represents—which then allows you to just focus on your treatment. You are also far away from the sources of temptations that might have contributed to your addiction in the first place.


  1. Your privacy is ensured – Let’s face it, the stigma of drug addiction still exists. Some families might consider it an embarrassing secret, which is why they try to hide it in order to keep their reputation and good standing in the community. With that said, more and more people are becoming more accepting of the fact that addiction is a disease and sometimes it’s not the individual’s choice.


  1. You will have safety – Drug trafficking is a nasty business and lives have been lost to ensure these traffickers can continue their trade. We are not saying that all individuals who took Ambien are involved in the illicit drug trade but the threat is real. These people will do anything to protect their identities and escape the long arm of the law.


  1. You have more time for introspection – Nobody ever claims that drug treatment is easy. The recovery is a very difficult process and it takes a lot out of the patient to look within himself, under the guidance of the therapist, on why he finds himself inside the facility. Being near home may result in too many distractions.


Disadvantages of traveling out of state:

  1. It’s more expensive – The obvious disadvantage is that it’s going to cost you more when you seek treatment from out of state. Your insurance won’t cover the associated costs. For outpatient programs, you need to rent a hotel room for the duration of the treatment. You need money to cover your food and other basic necessities.
  2. You are far away from family – The biggest strength for traveling out of state is also its biggest weakness. Recovery is a lonely battle. Even if they are surrounded by the support system, the patients may still feel that they are battling the demons on their own. Drug rehab centers allow for limited contact after a few weeks so at least you can see your family when they are nearby. This may not be possible with out-of-town rehab, especially if you are already strapped for cash.

Is traveling out of state to seek treatment a worthy proposition? There’s no right answer because each person is different. This is a very personal decision, one that you should be talking with your family after weighing the pros and cons of traveling for rehab. If you recently searched "drug rehab near me" looking for an inpatient drug rehab call the addiction helpline and get help now.

How are Teaching Life Skills Crucial to Your Recovery?

While detox and counseling are an integral part of the Ambien treatment, one critical component of the drug rehab program is teaching life skills to prepare you for the life outside.

The elements may vary but the life skills you will learn inside the drug facility are broken down as follows:

  • Decision-making skills
  • Coping skills
  • Social skills
  • Mental and physical health
  • Anger management
  • Job application and retention


Decision-making skills

Going down to the foundational theory of the program, the patient will learn to be responsible for his life and accountable for his actions. He will learn the daily tasks that most people have to perform just to get through the day. It’s more of reinforcement because they might have forgotten these daily tasks when their minds were clouded by the effects of drug addiction.

They have to understand that every decision will have corresponding consequences, and sometimes the results may not be always to their liking. The important thing is to roll with the punches because even the best-laid plans may go awry.

Personal Space

Even inside the facility, they will be responsible for their own personal space. They will make their bed in the morning, clean their rooms, and organize their belongings. What they will learn is the importance of a routine. While most people might find the routine to be boring, recovering patients need structure and routine as a distraction. This will help them withstand those low days when the cravings hit.

Job Application and Retention

Part of being responsible is being able to earn for yourself. A good number of drug dependents have lost their jobs because they were more concerned about feeding their addiction. They have to relearn financial responsibility. When they leave the facility, they are going to send applications as they make their way back to the real world. Fortunately, drug rehab centers have partner organizations and business chambers that will give recovering patients a second lease at life. City offices also have programs precisely for this purpose.

Coping skills and anger management

A good part of counseling and therapy is to teach the patient the necessary coping skills so they can handle stress the right way. Hopefully, with anger management lessons, they will be able to refrain from lashing out at the people surrounding them when the stress proves too much. The important thing is to make sure the patient will not go back to his old ways and stay clean for the rest of his life.

Mental and physical health

The patient will learn the importance of making sure the body is always healthy. One side-effect of drug addiction is that it takes away your body’s natural production of dopamine and endorphins. It takes time for your system to get back to normal. But you can accelerate the process through exercise, proper nutrition, and natural supplements. Also, securing that gym membership will be a good investment because not only will it will keep you fit, it will also give you something to do with your spare time.

Social skills

People with a substance abuse problem tend to isolate themselves mainly out of guilt. However, they also don’t want to be subjected to a lot of judgment or pity. This is a matter of perspective, of course. While they think that they are being judged unfairly by their families, they will realize later on that it comes from a place of concern and love. Before they go out to the real world, they will relearn social skills so they can develop newfound friendships that can help them on their path toward recovery. It’s not an option for them to link with old friends who have enabled their actions that contributed to their problems.

Is the Aftercare Program Really Important for Ambien Recovery?

The aftercare program should be discussed with your counselor. This will make the transition easier for you when you complete the inpatient drug program. One drawback of staying in the facility is the expected shift in the environment from the safe confines of the center and into the messy real world where there are plenty of emotional triggers that can push you back to your old habits.

The relapse rate for drug addiction is between 40-60 percent in the first year so the odds are stacked against the recovering patient. You need all the help you can get when you go out in the real world. This is where aftercare services will come in.

What are the major types of aftercare services?

  1. 12-Step Program – Developed from the concepts started by Alcoholics Anonymous, the principles of the 12-step program has hardly changed since it was first introduced in the 1939 book, “Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism.” There are several community groups that offer this service for free. The important thing is your commitment and resolve to follow-through with the steps.
  2. Family counseling – With drug addiction, the family is often overlooked as treatment is focused on the patient. But the family members also need to also address the trauma that they might have suffered. We always expect them to be there to provide emotional support for the patient without realizing that they, too, have to come to terms with their own feelings and issues.
  3. Continuing counseling and therapy – Counseling and therapy don’t end when you leave the drug rehab facility. Relapse risk is very high in the first year, that’s why you need a lot of help to make sure it doesn’t happen to you. You can arrange with the drug rehab center for continuing counseling. However, there are also community and religious organizations that offer this service.
  4. Sober Living Sober living homes serve as a halfway house for recovering patients who might not feel ready enough to go back to the real world. In Sober living homes, they will earn life skills to ease the transition. The restrictions are not as strict compared to drug rehab facilities but they are also expected to be responsible for their personal space or the house. This means they have to do some chores. Meanwhile, residents are also encouraged to go to school or enroll in a vocational course to prepare for their lives outside.

Drawing Up Your Own Aftercare Program

With the help of your counselor, you need to draw up your personalized aftercare program based on the following principles:

  • Preventing a relapse. Each person is different and we all respond to different stimuli. The relapse prevention program should be laid out even before you leave the center’s doors
  • Linking up with support and self-help groups. Rehab centers have an extensive network of non-profit groups that can provide emotional support and advice to the recovering patient. Narcotics Anonymous is one such group but church-based organizations also adopt the same support principles to help you.
  • Following-up on appointments. You may be required to still see your counselor even after your Ambien treatment program is already finished.
  • Sober living house. But only if it’s necessary. This could be recommended by the counselor after assessing your progress or you can request to be sent to one if insecurities are present.
  • Random drug tests. Of course, you personally know that you are still using or not but this program will provide tangible goalposts because the tests could be done bi-monthly, monthly, quarterly, and bi-annually.
  • Constant monitoring. You will remain in constant communication with the staff and the counselor through Skype, email, and phone call. This is also important so you can be updated on the new technology or procedures in relation to treatment.

Where Can I Get Help for the Ambien Addiction?

The first step is recognizing that you need help in the first place. Your personal physician or the doctor who prescribed to you the Ambien may refer you to a treatment facility. Most doctors are comfortable providing advice on screening and possible treatment programs near you. The American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry website provides the information on where you can get help. The National Drug Helpline has a toll-free number that you can call. You can call the helpline 24/7 and be assured that somebody will pick up the phone.

The Recover also has a dedicated page to alcohol and drug dependent who want to get some help. You can visit their website here.

The best thing about it is that your privacy is protected. Nobody will share your information without your expressed permission.  Also, the counselor on the other line will not pressure you into going to the rehab right away. They are there to lend an ear if you want to talk about your issues or if you want to make some inquiries. You can hang up the phone anytime. It’s really up to you.

Even if it’s not you who has the problem, you can still call the helpline and ask for some guidance on what to do. Helping somebody struggling with a substance abuse is very difficult. Unfortunately, addicted individuals have learned to be very manipulative. They will find a way to make it your fault. They will lie and they will say anything to get you to back off.

We can understand why some people hesitate about seeking help. Getting sober takes an enormous amount of work and commitment. You can’t quit halfway because you are back to square one. What you need to understand is that you will always struggle with the cravings and be exposed always to temptations. The important thing is how you respond to those triggers. The drug rehab centers will not provide you with the magic bullet that will automatically eradicate the cravings. What they will do instead is to teach you how using proven methods and scientific techniques.

The good news is that help is available.

Contact your insurer to compute the co-pay, deductible, visit limits, and your out-of-pocket expenses. In this way, you can set aside a budget for the Ambien treatment. If you have no insurance, don’t give up hope just yet. There are some creative ways you can do to cover the costs. Veterans can link up with the US Department of Veterans Affairs for financial support programs to treat addiction. You can walk away from the treatment without paying a single centavo.

It’s a great misconception to think that only drug dependents who seek help out of their own accord would be the only ones who will have a successful rehab treatment. Even those who had to go through rehab due to an intervention from family members will also have a chance of recovery. The treatment programs today are miles better compared to just 10 years ago.


Helping Someone Who Is Struggling with Ambien Addiction

We may hesitate to lend our assistance or advice to somebody if we think that our help is unsolicited. However, you must remember that this is not about you. Early intervention can be the difference between life and death.  We already touched about spotting someone who may be addicted so we are not going to repeat that information.

  1. Educate yourself about the drug addiction – Fortunately, there are so many articles on the Internet that can provide you with the necessary information that you can build upon. Just make sure that you visit reputable websites so you don’t get the wrong information. By knowing the scope of the problem, you can better craft your strategy.
  2. Plan your attack – Some people may need a more soft approach while others need a full intervention. It will depend upon how the individual will respond to the intercession. Sometimes guilt-tripping will do the trick, in other times, a full threat may prompt them to action. While you have your plan of attack, you also need to have a backup plan in case the first strategy doesn’t work.
  3. Make yourself available – You don’t have to hold their hands all the way as they go through the treatment process. But they need to realize that they can turn to you anytime they need to. That’s the biggest support you can give. When you do talk to your loved ones about their addiction problem, try not to lecture them or admonish them regarding their actions. There’s plenty of opportunities to do that. You may even push them further away.
  4. Leave something for yourself – We don’t discount the need to help your loved ones but don’t forget yourself, as well. In the practical sense, how can you help somebody when you are totally burned out. The important thing is to help yourself first before you can begin to offer your help to someone else. How can you help somebody when you also become sick because you are overexerting yourself?
  5. Help manage finances – Money is one of the top reasons why people skip rehab treatment. You can help your loved ones manage their finances to make sure they have something extra to pay for treatment. If you have some extra money of your own, you can also help pay for the treatment. This will allow the patient to just focus on his recovery and not be stressed by how much he’s going to pay the rehab center.



With that said, the chance of getting sober does increase if the patient fully buys into the rehab program. It would also be easier on the counselors and the staff of the facility because the patient will not fight them all the way.

As far as addictions go, being dependent on Ambien is not the worst thing that can happen to you. Its effects are not as devastating as fentanyl, crack cocaine, and meth. There’s little chance of overdosing even if you take Ambien in large amounts. The only problem is if you mix it with the other drugs and alcohol.

Meanwhile, you will have a greater chance of moving past this ugly episode in your life as long as you seek help. You will have a hard road ahead of you but it’s certainly more well-paved compared to somebody addicted to harder opioids.  Call the nearest drug rehab facility now so you can finally overcome your Ambien addiction.