Zolpidem is a non benzodiazepine prescription medication used in the treatment of insomnia . It is known to induce and enhance the quality of sleep.

Long term use can result in drug tolerance which can lead to increased use, abuse and addictive use.

Common brand names of the same are Ambien, Zolfresh etc

Addiction to Zolpidem is a growing problem in India and the rest of the world. It is not supposed to be  available over the counter without prescription.

The effect of sedation sets in within 15 minutes of consumption of the drug making it fast acting in the initial periods.

Side effects of use-

Intoxication, Changes in sexual desire – usually reduction in the same, amnesia, hallucinations, imbalance in gait,  nausea, vomiting, impaired judgement and reasoning abilities, rebound insomnia, increased appetite, delusions and hallucinations

It can also result in blackout behaviors , that is the person is asleep but is walking, eating, talking, driving etc under the influence of the medication  but has no memory of the same making it very dangerous if this happens. It impairs memory, the person can forget that he has taken the medication and can then take more .

Zolpidem abuse and addiction

It can lead to respiratory shut down due to excessive sedation slipping the person into a coma.  Many times it is combined with other drugs like cocaine or MDMA to bring down the high. In combination with alcohol it can increase sedation and cause comatose conditions.

Addiction –

makes the person unable to fall asleep without increased quantum of consumption and beyond medical doses.

Dizziness, motor in coordination leading to imbalance. There is suppression of he central nerveous system leading to tremendous fatigue. Withdrawal symptoms occur when stopped.

Suicidal ideations and tendencies, mood swings to aggression to depression. Inability to work and focus due to continuous sedation and dullness of the sensorium.


Anxiety, tremors, fatigue, mood wings, abdominal cramps , uncontrolled crying and depression, rapid heart rate and breathing, panic attacks, rebound insomnia, sweating Seizures, flushing. craving.


Detoxification is the first step. The drug needs to be taped of carefully , initially giving an alternative sleep aid The effects will take about 6-8 weeks to leave he system.

Simultaneous treatment is of the individual  to enable the person to deal with ones addictive traits and emotional issues in a loving accepting ambience with the help of Meditation, Counseling and other therapies that will aid in getting the person to focus on one self beyond the substance.

Thus this unassuming tablet that was seen as an effective sleep aid has the potential to become a problem.

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