Snorting Ambien: Side Effects, Overdose, & Treatment | Banyan Stuart

Snorting Ambien: Side Effects, Overdose, & Treatment

Snorting Ambien: Side Effects, Overdose, & Treatment
 

Ambien is the brand name for a sleep-aid called zolpidem, which is normally prescribed to adults with insomnia. It slows down activity in the brain to produce relaxation and promote sleep. The immediate-release form of Ambien dissolves right away, helping you fall asleep quickly, while the extended-release form has two layers — the first helps you fall asleep, and the second dissolves slowly to help you stay asleep. Ambien is thought to have a lower risk of abuse and addiction than benzodiazepines; however, these drugs are not without their risks. Today we’re looking into what snorting Ambien does and why people would do this in the first place.


How Does Ambien Work?


Zolpidem is structurally similar to other sleep aids like Sonata and Lunesta. All of these medications fall under a class of drugs called sedative-hypnotics. Substances in this drug class, such as Ambien, are central nervous system depressants that slow down normal neural communication in the brain and spinal cord.


Examples of other drugs that work similarly and produce similar side effects as Ambien include barbiturates and benzos. What’s more, due to their sedative effects, many people refer to non-benzo hypnotic medications like zolpidem as “z-drugs” because the letter “z” is mentioned in all of their names and because they help you “catch some Z’s.”


Specifically, Ambien and other sedatives produce their side effects by activating the release of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Alcohol also works on this chemical, which is why heavy alcohol consumption can produce sedation, drowsiness, and even blackouts. Ambien attaches to many of the same regions of the brain as benzos and barbiturates.


This binding action leads to high GABA activity, which slows the brain and its functions. However, very rarely do sleep aids like Ambien reach the same level of intensity as benzos like Valium produce. Instead, they have a shorter duration of action and fewer lasting effects.


Can You Snort Ambien?


To be clear, no, you cannot snort Ambien. This practice is extremely dangerous and is considered a form of drug abuse. Ambien is usually prescribed in tablet form, and crushing Ambien to snort it is another way for people who abuse it to experience a high. When taken in high doses, an Ambien high may occur, which is marked by side effects like sedation and other physical and behavioral reactions.


For those who are addicted to the drug, snorting Ambien is a quicker way to get high. When drugs are inhaled, the substance makes it into the brain and dissolves quicker than it would if it were taken orally. This means that side effects not only kick in quicker but also occur more intensely.


For patients who take extended-release zolpidem, zolpidem insufflation means that higher and longer-lasting doses are making it into the brain all at once, which can lead to life-threatening problems, such as overdose. Taking high doses of the drug orally would produce elevated side effects, so snorting the drug would only produce stronger reactions.


What Happens If You Snort Ambien?


Ambien is available in both immediate and extended-release formulations that are designed to be taken orally and be absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract. It’s meant to be taken right before bed and is most effective on an empty stomach. However, when the drug is crushed and snorted or inhaled, it’s absorbed directly into the brain and bloodstream all at once, producing stronger and more immediate side effects.


When this occurs, the user may experience adverse reactions, extreme levels of sedation, and even overdose. Snorting drugs causes severe damage to the nose, as well. Generally, common side effects of snorting Ambien include:


  • Extreme sedation and drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Shaking
  • Memory problems
  • Impaired coordination and balance
  • Changes in appetite
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Gas
  • Strange and intense dreams
  • Heartburn and chest pain
  • Pain or numbness throughout the body
  • Rashes and hives
  • Swelling of the face and throat
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Vision problems
  • Tissue death in the septum, causing holes or tearing
  • Decay of the soft palate in the nose
  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Pain in the ear and face
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Nosebleeds
  • Swelling on the face
  • Sinus congestion
  • Runny nose

Snorting zolpidem can also trigger or worsen symptoms of mental illness, such as:


  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Hallucinations
  • Restlessness
  • Increased risky behavior due to lowered fears and inhibitions

In addition to these risks, another disconcerting effect of Ambien is the emergence of complex behaviors while under its influence, such as sleepwalking. A user who abuses Ambien may perform certain behaviors or partake in activities while they’re asleep with no memory of them the next day. Some of these behaviors may include:


  • Talking
  • Walking
  • Driving
  • Cooking
  • Having sex
  • Eating
  • Shopping

Behaviors like driving, walking, and having sex, can be especially risky while under the influence of any drug, including Ambien. Furthermore, Ambien overdose can also occur when it’s snorted or otherwise taken in high doses because its CNS depressant actions are elevated, which can overwhelm the body.

Overdosing on Ambien is dangerous and can be lethal in extreme situations. Common signs someone is overdosing on zolpidem include:


Behaviors like driving, walking, and having sex, can be especially risky while under the influence of any drug, including Ambien. Furthermore, Ambien overdose can also occur when it’s snorted or otherwise taken in high doses because its CNS depressant actions are elevated, which can overwhelm the body.


Overdosing on Ambien is dangerous and can be lethal in extreme situations. Common signs someone is overdosing on zolpidem include:


  • Extreme sleepiness
  • Sedation
  • Slowed or stopped breathing
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Blackout
  • Loss of coordination

Nonfatal overdose symptoms usually resolve after 6 hours, but the intensity and duration of these symptoms are dependent on the dose taken and the form of administration. Some overdose patients may be given flumazenil to reverse the intoxication and mitigate symptoms.


Getting Help for Zolpidem Abuse


While Ambien’s potential for abuse isn’t as severe as that of benzos or barbiturates, chronic misuse can still result in physical dependence and addiction. To end their addiction, people abusing Ambien may stop taking it abruptly. Quitting in this way can be challenging because of withdrawal symptoms, which may present themselves similarly to alcohol withdrawals.


In addition to physical reactions, withdrawal symptoms can also be mentally and emotionally challenging. They may also include strong cravings for Ambien that can be difficult to deny. For these reasons, our Stuart, Florida treatment center recommends medically monitored detox to individuals with drug dependencies or addictions so they can begin their recovery on the right foot.


Our drug and alcohol detox in Stuart is offered to people with all kinds of substance use disorders and is designed to slowly wean patients off their substances. Along with this day-to-day tapering schedule, our team may also administer medication (as needed) to mitigate the severity of withdrawals and make the process as safe and comfortable as possible.


Traversing withdrawal symptoms is difficult and an important step in the recovery process, but there’s more to treating addiction than detox. Once patients complete their detox programs, they can then move on to substance-specific treatment, such as our prescription drug addiction treatment, so they can receive the in-depth care they need for their specific disorders.


If you are currently experiencing problems with Ambien abuse or any other form of drug use, now is the best time to seek help. Call Banyan Treatment Center today at 888-280-4763 to find out how our Florida drug and alcohol treatment can help.



Related Reading:
Ambien and Alcohol Side Effects
Dangers of Mixing Drugs With Antidepressants