No matter how many times you twist and turn, you can’t seem to find a comfy position in your bed. On top of that, your mind keeps playing the thoughts and events of the day on repeat. If you struggle to fall asleep each night, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that 50 million Americans struggle to get a peaceful night’s sleep just like you do.
This challenge led to the creation of Ambien, a sleeping aid that gained widespread appeal in 1997. Unfortunately, sleep aides like this one are commonly taken with alcohol, which can risk a variety of dangerous consequences.
What is Ambien?
Ambien is a prescription drug used to help people with insomnia get more consistent sleep each night. Ambien works by slowing down the activity in your brain. As a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, the drug attaches itself to specific GABA receptors in your brain. It encourages your brain to produce more of the naturally occurring chemicals designed to calm you down and induce sleep.
Unfortunately, taking Ambien over an extended period of time can put you at risk of addiction. Your brain can naturally build up a tolerance to the drug, slowing its effects and leading to substance abuse or polydrug use if you turn to alcohol to help you sleep.
Is Mixing Ambien and Alcohol Dangerous?
If you’ve mixed Ambien and alcohol to help you sleep, you’re putting yourself in danger of health complications and increasing your risk of overdose. Ambien slows down your central nervous system, leaving you in a state between being awake and asleep.
Your brain will typically take over and trigger REM sleep, but this isn’t the case if you drink alcohol while on Ambien. The end result causes you to spend more time in this coma-like or in-between state.
Sleepwalking from Mixing Ambien and Alcohol
During sleep, your brain tells your body to be still. Unfortunately, mixing alcohol and Ambien throws off your circadian rhythm and increases your risk of sleepwalking. In some cases, combining these two substances can even lead to sleep driving.
As amusing as sleep walking may seem in television shows or home videos, sleepwalking can actually lead to serious harm to yourself or others. From dangerous falls to car accidents, self-harm is possible and even likely if sleepwalking increases from mixing Ambien with alcohol.
Increased Risk of Overdose
Many of the recorded cases of Ambien overdose have involved alcohol. Combining these two substances can increase your risk of overdose because of how they both affect the central nervous system. Acting on the same receptors in the brain, taking Ambien and alcohol together suppresses the central nervous system and often leads to slowed breathing, hypoxia, coma and even death.
How Alcohol and Ambien Abuse is Treated
Proper treatment of Ambien and alcohol abuse begins with addiction treatment detox. These two substances can cause severe withdrawal symptoms, requiring clinical detox from a credible addiction treatment center like The Raleigh House. In our detox program, you’ll be cared for by trained medical staff who have the experience and knowledge to manage your Ambien and alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Once you’ve successfully completed detox, you’ll transition to residential treatment where you’ll address the underlying reasons for your abuse of alcohol and Ambien. At The Ranch, our wellness lodge just outside of Denver, you can find the peace and tranquility needed to recover from your substance abuse.
Find Hope for Lasting Recovery at The Raleigh House
At The Raleigh House, we have over 10 years of experience helping people overcome addiction. It is possible to live a healthy lifestyle and sleep well without using Ambien and alcohol. With our help, you can attain a renewed sense of health and well-being that will transform your life.
Don’t let addiction control your life any longer. Contact our admissions team to start healing today.