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Treatment for Ambien Addiction

Ambien addiction refers to a chemical or psychological dependence on the drug zolpidem, a sedative that works by activating the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). The activation of this neurotransmitter slows down the rate at which nerve cells communicate with one another, leading to a reduction in central nervous system activity and the sedative effect that makes it effective in treating sleep disorders like insomnia.

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Over time, a dependence on Ambien may occur as your body develops tolerance in its natural effort to reach a state of homeostasis with the frequent presence of zolpidem. The effectiveness of this drug can decline over time as tolerance forms, resulting in the need for higher doses to achieve a clinical effect. This can lead to abuse and addiction for many individuals. 

What Treatment Options Are Available for Ambien Addiction?

An addiction to Ambien can be debilitating, often interfering with work, school, and social events. Legitimate use can quickly become abuse, and some people start by abusing Ambien for potential euphoric effects.

Fortunately, there are many evidence-based treatment options for Ambien addiction, which can generally be divided into the following categories: medical detox, inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab, individual counseling, group therapy, medication, and 12-step programs. 

The optimal treatment for you will depend on a range of factors, such as whether or not you abuse other substances in combination with Ambien as well as the severity of your addiction. In most cases, a combination of treatments will be required.  

Medical Detox

Medical detox involves a controlled and supervised discontinuation of a drug after dependence has formed. This process involves at least 24 hours of supervised inpatient care, where you will receive a combination of medical care, psychiatric care, education, and individual counseling. 

An extended period of supervision is necessary to allow for your care team to observe your symptoms and vital signs, produce and monitor any medications that are given, and guide you through a tapering schedule that aligns with your body size and the dosage of Ambien you have been taking. 

Inpatient Rehab

This is often the best choice for people with severe addictions or those with co-occurring disorders. During inpatient rehab, people have continual supervision and support. Since they reside at the facility, the potential for relapse is very low.

Outpatient Rehab

Some people enroll in outpatient care following a stay in inpatient rehab, whereas others simply begin in outpatient rehab. The intensity of outpatient rehab will vary according to the program and your individual needs. Some programs involve care every day, whereas others may involve care a few times per week.

During outpatient rehab, you’ll participate in individual and group therapy as well as skill-building workshops, alternative therapies, support group meetings, and other forms of care. 

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy for Ambien addiction consists of psychotherapy with a licensed mental health care professional or addiction specialist. Therapy sessions often involve identifying triggers that lead to Ambien abuse and then working to manage those triggers. 

In the case of addiction rehabilitation, cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most commonly used approaches for promoting long-term recovery. This form of therapy combines principles of cognitive and behavioral theories to help you understand how thoughts and core beliefs contribute to emotions and behaviors, as well as how to avoid and address environmental triggers for Ambien consumption and to cope more effectively with stress. 

Group Therapy

Group therapy plays an important role in the rehabilitation from an addiction for many people. This gives you the opportunity to share your experiences with other individuals who are going through or have gone through similar experiences as you. Group therapy also provides a chance to listen to and learn from the experiences of others. 

One of the biggest advantages of group therapy is that it capitalizes on the principles of social learning through and the concept of self-efficacy. Self-efficacy refers to the realistic beliefs that you hold about your ability to achieve a particular task or objective, such as rehabilitation from Ambien addiction and coping with symptoms of withdrawal. By observing others successfully going through those experiences, you will begin to have an increased level of self-efficacy in regard to your own ability to do so. 


In some cases, particularly when going through symptoms of withdrawal, your doctor may prescribe medications to help you cope with issues like insomnia. Some medications that are often used during medical detox and Ambien addiction rehabilitation include the following: 

  • Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications
  • Antihistamines
  • Lunesta
  • Rozerem
  • Silenor
  • Restoril

Make sure to always consult your doctor before taking any medication during your rehabilitation, as polysubstance abuse can result in potentially harmful interaction effects. 

12-Step Programs

The 12-step program is based in the tradition of Alcoholics Anonymous. It involves a complete transformation through strategies like recognizing a higher power, taking a personal moral inventory, and making amends for past wrongs. The work is quantified by specific steps — the 12 steps.

These programs can be effective for many people because they adopt the view that addiction is a disease and that one is insufficiently powerful to recover without the help of a group and recognition of a power greater than oneself. Additionally, 12-step programs require mutual accountability between the participant and a sponsor for the sobriety of each party. They also serve as an ongoing source of social support. 

Life After Rehabilitation

Life in recovery may not always be easy, but it is possible and gratifying. Since addiction is a chronic condition, there is always the potential for relapse. But with solid aftercare and ongoing support, relapse becomes less likely. 

Part of continuing in recovery is ensuring you maintain a solid sleep schedule and address any sleep issues if Ambien abuse started because of these problems. Your doctor and other members of your addiction treatment team can help you to successfully manage sleep issues. 

As with rehabilitation from any addictive substance, you can likely expect an increase in your sense of well-being and your quality of life as you rehabilitate from Ambien addiction. You may enjoy a new and fuller sense of social support and connectedness with your community as you progress with group therapy. After rehab, you will have new psychological tools and skills to help you cope with environmental triggers. Support groups can be a vital part of your aftercare plans. Whether you opt for a 12-step model like Narcotics Anonymous or choose a secular option like SMART Recovery, these meetings can provide ongoing support and accountability in recovery. Meetings are available both online and in person, and there are many options to choose from, ensuring you can find a group that is a good fit for you.

Updated June 8, 2023
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