As a woman stated on the NY Daily News,
“You wake up tired and you just count the hours until the day is over. And you hope tomorrow’s going to be better.”
Ambien is a widely used hypnotic medication that was designed for short-term use to combat insomnia. The prescription drugs work by activating the neurotransmitter GABA and binding it to the GABA receptors in the same location of benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Valium, according to the Huffington Post. Ambien works very efficiently at causing someone to feel sleepy – typically within 20 minutes of taking it. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates that approximately half a million people in the United States are currently using Ambien and other sedatives – but many are probably not aware of the dangers of this prescription medication.
For one, the effects can be very harmful when Ambien is paired with other drugs, particularly anti-anxiety medication and pain relievers. A report stated that between 2005 and 2010, emergency room visits from Ambien rose from 6,111 visits to 19,487 visits. Mixing medications is like a science experiment to the body because you don’t know how each medication is going to react to the body and to one another.
Ambien also can take longer to leave the body, causing many people to feel impaired while driving or operating machinery. Women take much longer for the medication to leave their system, and the recommended dosage for medications like Ambien has been reduced because of this. Common complaints associated with Ambien and similar hypnotics have included daytime drowsiness, dizziness, hallucinations, agitation, sleep-walking and drowsiness while driving, according to The Atlantic. Does this mean you should not accept this medication if your doctor prescribes it to you? Not exactly.
Ambien can be relatively safe if you take the doses recommended and you stay in close contact with your doctor to discuss your symptoms. If any symptoms of concern arise, always seek out medical attention immediately. Stay informed on what you are taking and how much you should be taking, and do not mix Ambien with other medications, especially other depressants.
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