How long does it take to exit from Ambien?

Ambien (Zolpidem) is a prescription drug used for short-term treatment of insomnia. It belongs to a group of drugs called sedatives and hypnotics, which work by suppressing the central nervous system and slowing down brain activity.Although Ambien is generally considered safer than certain other sedatives, it can still be abused. Long-term use may lead to tolerance, dependence and withdrawal.

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If you take a large dose of Ambien for more than a few weeks, you may experience withdrawal symptoms after stopping the drug. These symptoms can range from general malaise to tremors, panic attacks, and vomiting.Case reports indicate that withdrawal symptoms are most common in people who suddenly quit smoking after long-term or heavy use.

Ambien is also sometimes used for recreational purposes (including taking a dose larger than the prescribed dose or deliberately staying awake after taking it) to take advantage of the intoxicating effects of the drug.

People with a history of drug or alcohol abuse are more likely to develop environmental dependence.Dependence and withdrawal rarely occur in people who take Ambien exactly as directed, but it can still happen.

According to the drug manufacturer’s label, approximately 1% of people taking a therapeutic dose will experience withdrawal symptoms.However, this figure does not take into account the abuse of Ambien by people.

The effects of regular use of Ambien are similar to those of alcoholism, leading to impaired judgment, slurred speech, and behavior changes.

Ambien abuse is most common among teenagers and young adults. The occasional entertainment use in social situations sometimes develops into a habit. The drug is sometimes used as a substitute for other substances or to counteract the effects of stimulants, and is sometimes inhaled or injected for this purpose.

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People on a drug treatment plan may start using it to treat withdrawal symptoms, or something that is rapidly metabolized within 24 to 72 hours becomes excited, so it will not appear in most drug tests.

Signs and symptoms

Although this condition was previously thought to be rare, new research suggests that withdrawal symptoms may be common in people who are more frequent or at higher doses than prescription drugs.

Unfortunately, the available data on Ambien withdrawal is insufficient and further research is needed. From reports of specific cases, clinicians know that Ambien withdrawal can range from mild to severe, depending on the following factors:

  • How long have you used Ambien
  • The dose you take
  • The form you take (ie, swallowed as a pill and smoked or injected)

Minor symptoms of withdrawal include insomnia and irritability.These symptoms can be annoying and may slightly interfere with your daily activities, but they are not serious.

Severe withdrawal symptoms can prevent you from performing normal activities, including flu-like symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, sweating, and muscle cramps.

There are reports that people are experiencing severe anxiety and tension. Tremors, dizziness, panic attacks, and even seizures may also occur.

Ambien withdrawal symptoms usually start within 48 hours of your last dose and should subside within a week or two.

Possible environmental withdrawal symptoms


  • Aches and pains

  • Hand tremor

  • Headache

  • Hyperventilation

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Racing pulse

  • Restlessness

  • Speech difficulties

  • Sweating


  • anxiety

  • Confusion or delirium

  • Insomnia

  • Panic attack

Remember that Ambien withdrawal symptoms may be exacerbated by the effects of other substances or drugs you are taking.

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Response and relief

If you take the usual therapeutic dose of Ambien, you are unlikely to experience withdrawal symptoms. However, without it, you may not be able to sleep.

In order to train your body to fall asleep without sleeping pills, you can choose to gradually reduce the dose within one to two weeks. Under the guidance of a doctor, you can use a pill cutter (you can buy it at any pharmacy) to cut the pill in half and quarter.

Before changing your medicine, be sure to consult your doctor.

If you still cannot fall asleep after stopping Ambien, please consider discussing melatonin as an alternative with your doctor. Melatonin is a natural chemical produced in the brain that helps regulate your sleep cycle. As you age, your brain will not produce as much melatonin as before. Supplementing melatonin before bed can help.

There are other herbs that can help you fall asleep, such as valerian root and chamomile tea.

If you experience severe Ambien withdrawal symptoms, your doctor or hospital plan doctor may recommend short-term sedatives. Common sedatives used to help Ambien withdraw include:


Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your medications. If you are worried about stopping the medication, your doctor can help you reduce your dose safely.

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, please consult your doctor immediately. Ambien may be harmful to the developing fetus.

If you regularly take higher than normal doses of Ambien, your risk of severe withdrawal symptoms may increase. You should talk to your doctor and avoid self-treatment with other drugs or alcohol.

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Long-term treatment

Recovering from Ambien use disorder can be difficult. If you are having trouble quitting smoking or are trying to quit more than one substance, it is important to seek help. This help may be medical, psychological or social.

There are many forms of outpatient treatment. You can choose to start with your regular doctor or psychiatrist, who can help you with medically assisted detoxification.

You can also choose to see a therapist for treatment. Psychotherapy can help you determine what motivates you to use drugs and teach you the skills to deal with these situations.

Hospitals and addiction treatment centers offer group therapy courses. There are 12-step meetings held daily in cities and towns across the country, such as the Anonymous Alcoholics (AA) and the Association of Anonymous Drug Abusers (NA).

If you need more support than an outpatient treatment or 12-step plan can provide, you may want to consider spending some time in an inpatient treatment facility.


If you are going to stop taking Ambien, the best starting point is to talk to your prescribing doctor. Your doctor can advise you on the best way to quit smoking and help you develop a plan to deal with any potential withdrawal symptoms.

To find 12-step meetings in your area, use the searchable online directory of anonymous alcoholics and anonymous drug abusers.

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Environmental use barriers are a potentially serious problem. If you have been taking Ambien over-the-counter or are worried about Ambien withdrawal symptoms, please don’t hesitate to ask for help.