Many people enter treatment programs for addiction because their friends and family members ask them to do so. In formal interventions for addiction, they’re asked to face their use of drugs head on, and think about what they might need to do to keep that use under control in the future. The underlying message of these interventions is clear, and it might function as a drumbeat playing beneath every sentence the person hears: You must quit, you must quit, you must quit. For people who are addicted to Ambien, it’s a message they should listen to, and take care to implement properly.
A Structured Recovery
Ambien causes major changes in the brains of the people who take it, amending how the brain processes and produces a chemical known as GABA. This chemical is involved in a variety of different body processes, including memory and wakefulness. Over time, as people abuse large amounts of Ambien, the body’s ability to produce GABA, or to utilize the natural amount of GABA that the body does produce, is hampered. Without Ambien, people might feel depressed or confused. Some people even develop seizures when they attempt to stop abusing Ambien.
For this reason, medical experts suggest that anyone who has been abusing Ambien should ask for help before curbing the use of Ambien. Instead of attempting to get sober and then entering a treatment program for addiction, they should use their recovery program to help them get sober safely. According to an article in the journal Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, medications such as diazepam and propranolol in tapering doses of 5 mg per day can help to control symptoms and allow people to return to sobriety without experiencing terrible side effects. This process can take months to complete.
Dealing With Cravings
People who are in recovery from an Ambien addiction may have severe cravings to take the drug again, even as they receive medications to help them taper away from Ambien use. The addiction causes such chemical damage that the brain simply believes it needs access to this specific drug, and the cravings call out for relief. These cravings can be particularly difficult if the person is continuing to live in an environment that tempts the person to return to drug use. For example, a case study of a man addicted to Ambien reported that the man had terrible cravings for the drug, and three to five times each week, he received email messages asking him to buy the drug online. Some people can overcome these cravings with the help of their family members and friends, but others might fall prey to temptation because they don’t have strong support groups they can rely upon.
Those who are at risk for a relapse might do well to enroll in an inpatient program for addiction. Here, they’ll receive around-the-clock care and supervision for their addictions, allowing them to access the help they’ll need while taking a break from their neighborhoods and the temptations to use that they face while at home. In an inpatient program, they might also have access to other amenities that can help them deal with Ambien cravings, such as:
- Gourmet food
- Recreational activities
- Peer support
- Counselor support
While Ambien addiction recovery is certainly possible on an outpatient basis, some people may benefit from enrolling in an inpatient program and accessing this higher level of care.
Since Ambien symptoms can vary significantly from person to person, based on the amount of the drug the person has been taking, programs might ask their new enrollees to describe their Ambien usage as well as their usage of other drugs. Urine tests might also be provided, just to ensure that all of the statements were truthful. Then, as the detox process begins, therapists might watch clients closely to ensure that they’re not developing any signs of a complicated withdrawal process. Once the danger has passed and the person feels comfortable, the therapy portion of treatment can begin.
Cognitive behavioral techniques can help people addicted to Ambien understand the situations in which they’re tempted to abuse drugs, and then come up with new ways to handle those situations that don’t involve drugs. For example, some people may use Ambien in social situations in which they feel as though a touch of amnesia might be helpful. Therapists might help people to unpack that thought, digging deeper into why they might want to do things they would rather forget. It’s hard work, but people really can learn a significant amount in therapy for addictions.
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People addicted to Ambien might also need to learn more about how to fall asleep and stay asleep without using drugs. Ambien is often prescribed to people who have sleep difficulty, and as a result, people who develop addictions may not know how to sleep without the drug. It’s a sad fact, as therapy has proven to be more effective in helping people to sleep. For example, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 55 percent of people slept better when they got therapy, but only 46.5 percent slept better with medication alone. In addition, those who received therapy slept better at a follow-up research point, but those who only received medication alone did not. As this study makes clear, therapy really can help people to sleep better, and medications are of limited value.
To help Ambien-addicted people learn to sleep, therapists might suggest changes in sleep hygiene, asking people to:
Suggested Changes in Sleep Hygiene
- Develop the same nighttime rituals
- Darken their bedrooms
- Keep the temperature of the bedroom cool
- Keep distractions to a minimum in the hours before bedtime
The idea here is to prove to people that solutions can come from the mind, not from a pill bottle. For people recovering from an Ambien addiction, this can be an important lesson.
In a recovery program for addiction, people also have a chance to meet other people struggling with addictions, and they can form tight networks and support groups. They can learn from one another, sharing stories and swapping tips and tricks. Addictions can be incredibly isolating, cutting the person off from anyone who wants to help. In a program for addiction, people can make new connections and once more see the value inherent in human relationships. This can be an incredibly healing lesson.
At The Orchid, we believe that the power of community is vital in the fight against addiction. Our program encourages women to share their stories and lean upon each other, encouraging one another in the healing process. We also utilize an extensive number of therapists who can augment communal learning with one-on-one support. It’s an environment made just for women, and the results can be amazing. Please contact us to find out more, and to start the enrollment process.