I have witnessed the effects of prescription drug abuse across all age ranges and economic brackets. Unlike most forms of recreational drug, prescription drug abusers often justify their detrimental habits because their doctors continue to prescribe them. Abuse of Ambien, or zolpidem, seems to be on the rise. I know several people who take this very powerful drug on a daily basis with doctor approval, although they in fact do not have medical conditions that necessitate the use of the drug.
Ambien abuse can have very serious side effects, including some that are life-threatening. Here are some of the most dangerous side effects associated with Ambien abuse. If you believe that you do not need Ambien or that you have become dependent on it, discuss the problem with your primary care physician.
Ambien can trigger irresponsible, uninhibited and uncharacteristic behaviors in people who are normally responsible. I know a usually respectable man who attempted to sexually assault his roommate while under the influence of Ambien, and had no recollection of the incident the next day. Ambien abuse can also lead to other risky behaviors, such as reckless driving, fighting, and child neglect. These are among the most frightening side effects of Ambien abuse, since they can harm not only the user, but also others around him.
Severe depression is a rare but very serious side effect of Ambien abuse. Many people with little or no history of depression have suddenly experienced severe episodes of the disease shortly after using Ambien. Ambien has been suspected as a causative factor in several suicide attempts and completed suicides. Contact your physician immediately if you demonstrate symptoms of depression after using Ambien.
Memory loss is a fairly common side effect of Ambien abuse, and it can be a very serious problem. Amnesia can actually be disabling, since it can significantly affect your social interactions and your ability to prepare for work. This problem has become incapacitating for many an Ambien user, and it is especially common among those who abuse the drug.
Allergic Reactions and Sensitivities
Some people are over-sensitive or allergic to Ambien. For these individuals, the physical side effects of the drug can be life-threatening. Chest pain, irregular heart beat, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties and an inability to swallow are signs of a serious reaction that must be addressed promptly. Seek emergency medical care if you display any of these symptoms at any point.
Drugs.com offers more information about the side effects of Ambien abuse.