Alcohol-Medication Interactions: Potentially Dangerous Mixes National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism NIAAA

ambien and alcohol

Certain health conditions or other factors could raise your risk of harm if you take Ambien. Despite feeling tired, you just can’t fall asleep, so after a while, you reach for your prescription medication, Ambien. In some instances, ambien causes a special type of memory loss known as drug-induced amnesia. Stallcup explains that “the impact of ambien is like taking a Valium, Xanax or Ativan. A common side effect of ambien is that you don’t remember what you were doing while you were ‘under the influence’” which can be several hours after taking the medicine. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, seeking professional help is essential.

ambien and alcohol

Research shows that most fatal drug overdoses involve the use of more than one type of drug (known as poly-drug or poly-substance use [1]). Although we don’t typically think of alcohol as a drug, it is, in fact, a depressant. Like benzodiazepines, alcohol works by depressing the body’s central nervous system.

Checking alcohol-medication interactions

Additionally, older or debilitated individuals who take Ambien face a higher risk of serious alcohol-medication interaction. When you age, the body cannot metabolize alcohol or Ambien as effectively. This effect means both substances remain in the body longer, and alcohol and Ambien continue interacting. It’s also important to read Ambien’s label and other paperwork that comes with the drug. You may see colored stickers on the label that describe interactions.

If you’ve experienced these side effects from Ambien, your doctor will recommend a different treatment option for you. For more information on unusual sleep behaviors, see the “Boxed warning” section at the beginning of this article. Some interactions occur because one substance causes another substance to have a different effect than expected.

Combining two addictive substances like Ambien and alcohol is asking for trouble. Over time, you could end up with a chemical dependence on this deadly cocktail of depressants. If you or a loved one cannot stop using Ambien and alcohol, it’s time to seek professional help. Before quitting, contact your nearest healthcare provider to discuss drug discontinuation.

What happens when you mix Ambien and alcohol?

If you or a loved one is addicted to Ambien and alcohol, do not attempt to detox at home, as this can land you back in square one, abusing drugs again. It takes a team of compassionate, trained professionals to get on the path to true healing. Mixing the two substances increases your risk of various health problems.

Ambien is a prescription drug that’s used to help people get to sleep. Polydrug use is a major problem when it comes to public health and substance use issues. While it can be dangerous to mix these drugs, there are several reasons why someone might do so. With our fast-paced lifestyles and high rates of anxiety, millions of people struggle with sleep disorders that no memory foam sleep surfaces can solve. Getting enough sleep (around eight hours) improves both physical and psychological health and sets the tone for your entire day. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that as many as 35 percent of American adults get fewer than seven hours each night.

Avenues Recovery is a community-based drug and alcohol rehabilitation center with locations across the United States. Dependence is a condition that affects the chemical messaging system in your brain and it can usually be addressed by detox. Contributors to this article for the NIAAA Core Resource on Alcohol include the eco sober house review writer for the full article, content contributors to subsections, reviewers, and editorial staff. These contributors included both experts external to NIAAA as well as NIAAA staff. Our admissions navigators can also help verify your health insurance benefits, or you can also use our online tool to verify insurance.

If you have questions about which treatments are right for you, talk with your doctor. There are currently no reports of Ambien interacting with vitamins. But this doesn’t mean that vitamin interactions won’t be recognized faith-based addiction recovery top religious recovery groups in the future. If you have had an allergic reaction to Ambien or any of its ingredients, your doctor likely won’t prescribe Ambien. You can ask them about other treatments that may be better options for you.

  1. Mixing Ambien and alcohol causes severe physical and cognitive impairment, can harm your liver permanently and increases your risk of ambien overdose exponentially.
  2. If you have any questions about Ambien (and sleep issues), its adverse reactions, and combining Ambien and alcohol, ask your healthcare provider for professional medical advice.
  3. For some individuals, ambien addiction can trigger the desire to use other depressant drugs.
  4. Even though these medications (available under popular brand names like Unisom, Benadryl, and Tylenol-PM) are OTC, combining them with alcohol can cause the same reactions as Ambien.
  5. Ambien (zolpidem) is a prescription drug approved by the FDA, which is indicated for short-term use to treat insomnia.

For example, sometimes alcohol, another drug, or a supplement can affect how a drug acts in your body. Interactions can also occur if you have certain health conditions. When you stop taking Ambien, withdrawal symptoms can 5 types of alcoholics according to the niaaa occur within two days. These symptoms may include anxiety, tremors, mood swings, delirium, panic attacks, and seizures. Because of this, it’s important to seek help from a medical professional when attempting to stop.

What effects does mixing Ambien and alcohol have?

The loss of motor control and awareness during the psychological episodes can lead to bodily injury if the user is left unattended. Again, the risk of having a psychological episode while taking Ambien increases with the amount of the substances ingested. Zolpidem is a sedative and a hypnotic substance that is used to treat insomnia and difficulty sleeping. It goes to work immediately after ingestion, relaxing the muscles and nerves in the body to induce sleep. The small pill can be taken without water and is extremely powerful for new users. Alcohol is a depressant that also affects the muscles and nervous system.

People recovering from Ambien dependency may have a higher degree of sleeplessness and insomnia as a withdrawal side effect. However, both substances share very similar withdrawal symptoms and abuse of both can lead to more intense withdrawal. In some cases, you may take your prescription around the time someone offers you a nightcap, and the alcohol mixes with the drug in your system. Or you may go out for a night of drinking and then go about your regular bedtime routine when you get home, taking an Ambien before bed. Either way, taking an Ambien on top of alcohol can lead to some uncomfortable or dangerous symptoms. Some people drink a glass of wine with dinner every day, and others drink occasionally.

Does Ambien interact with vaccines?

You could say that alcohol also acts like a muscle relaxer, just like that zolpidem. Like Ambien, other popular prescription sleep aids for insomnia such as Lunesta (eszopiclone) and Sonata (zaleplon), are CNS depressants. They’re known as “z-drugs” and should not be combined with alcohol, for the same reasons as Ambien. Central nervous system (CNS) depressant medications increase the activity of a substance called GABA, which produces a sedating and calming effect—but also slows brain activity. Combining the two drugs can leave you disoriented and confused, and it is very easy to unintentionally take more Ambien or drink more alcohol when you’re in this state.

Through medical interventions, your safety will be ensured and clinicians will work to keep you as comfortable as possible as you go through withdrawal symptoms. Medical detox can also help by addressing issues related to other pressing medical or psychological needs, whether they are directly related to your addiction or not. Ambien is often said to be among the safer sleep aids, but when it is abused or mixed with other substances, it can be incredibly dangerous. In other cases, anxiety or insomnia may be so severe, people attempt to increase the effects of the sleep-aid with the help of alcohol. Alcohol can react poorly with a plethora of pharmaceutical drugs but mixing it with sleep aids can be deadly.

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