Ambien is a popular sleeping pill used by millions of Americans. It has been around for quite some time ” “ FDA approved it in 2006 ” “ and until recently it was considered safe and effective. But, according to SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, USA), in the last eight years the number of people who ended up in the hospital emergency department because of bad reaction to Ambien increased by 220 percents, to almost 20,000 peouple. Most patients were women, 45 years and older. What happened?
What is Ambien?
Zolpidem is the active ingredient in Ambien and several other medications such as Zolpimist and Edluar. It is prescribed as a short-term treatment of insomnia. The operative word is SHORT TERM. Another problem with zolpidem is that should not be combined with some other drugs, such as those for anxiety and narcotic pain relievers.
Side effects of Ambien can be downright scary. Some people reported that started sleepwalking, and not remembering anything. The most common side effects are:
- Drowsiness during the day;
- Sleepiness and drowsiness when driving;
In response to the huge increase in the number of people who reacted badly to Ambien, in January 2013 FDA recommended to the manufacturers to reduce the suggested dose by half, especially for women. The agency also recommended that doctors carefully monitor their patients” ™ use of Ambien and to suggest other types of treatments for insomnia in long term. This is particularly important if the patients are suffering from anxiety, depression or are taking any drugs that affect central nervous system.
What Is insomnia?
We all go through attacks of insomnia, tossing and turning until early hours of the morning. It is a price of our modern way of life. In most cases, a glass of milk or a bit of reading in bed work just fine. Sometimes it is necessary to turn to pills like Ambien. But, if sleeplessness becomes more frequent problem, instead of popping pills on a daily basis, it is very important to look for the underlying cause.
Good, uninterrupted sleep is vital for our good health. If it takes you more than half hour to fall asleep, or you wake up three times or more per week and cannot fall asleep again, you suffer from chronic insomnia. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost ten percent Americans are victims of chronic insomnia.
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Chronic insomnia can be debilitating. It can completely disrupt our lives and affect our productivity. People who do not get enough sleep have problem focusing and staying alert and have bad mood swings. But, more importantly, insomnia is a recognized symptom of depression and anxiety.
Sleep therapists suggest that the best way to cope with sleeplessness is to let the body”s own cycle of sleep and wakefulness work their magic. This, of course, is not enough if you suffer from chronic insomnia.
Finding causes for chronic insomnia should start with the visit to the doctor and eliminate first any physical cause, such as thyroid problem or GERD. Doctor should also be able to diagnose depression or anxiety as a cause for insomnia and recommend appropriate treatment. Since stress is the most common reason for occasional bouts of insomnia, it is a good idea to explore stress-relieving techniques and avoid drugs like Ambien if possible.
If someone in your family is having frequent problem sleeping and you suspect that the reason is depression, make sure that he or she looks for help for depression first. Insomnia is just a symptom, and it will get better once the depression is under control.