Ambien Withdrawal Schedule
How long it takes for Ambien to wear off will vary from person to person. In general, the effects of Ambien will wear off within seven to eight hours after taking it. If a person has been using Ambien long-term or in high doses, Ambien withdrawal might start within the first 48 hours after stopping Ambien use and can last for three to five days.
The Ambien withdrawal schedule will vary depending on how often the person used Ambien and how much Ambien they were using. Once the initial withdrawal symptoms have worn off, the person may experience additional withdrawal symptoms for one to two weeks.
Ambien withdrawal symptoms can occur if a person has been using Ambien for a while and then stops using it. People that are using Ambien as prescribed will experience these symptoms 1% of the time or less. If higher doses of Ambien are being used or a person has used it for an extended period, withdrawal symptoms are more likely to occur. The side effects of Ambien withdrawal include:
Physical Withdrawal Symptoms
- High Blood Pressure
- Stomach cramping
- Flushing of the skin or blushing
- Feeling lightheaded
- Uncontrolled crying
- Abdominal cramps
Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms
- Cravings for Ambien
- Panic attacks
- Mood swings
Withdrawal Symptoms in the Elderly
Ambien withdrawal symptoms in the elderly can be slightly different than how younger individuals experience them. Elderly people can be more susceptible to the effects of Ambien. A lower dose is usually recommended for them. They may develop impaired motor functions or cognitive performance. Elderly people tend to have weakness and increased susceptibility to falling when on Ambien. However, withdrawing from Ambien use can have positive withdrawal effects in this population. Studies have shown that withdrawal from Ambien can improve muscle strength and balance in elderly people.
Symptoms of Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)
Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), also known as protracted withdrawal symptoms, occurs when a person experiences long-term withdrawal symptoms after stopping Ambien use. This syndrome usually only occurs in people who used Ambien chronically and in very large doses. The symptoms are typically psychological rather than physical, and can include:
- Emotional outbursts
- Aches and pains
- Insomnia relapse
Protracted Withdrawal Symptoms
Protracted withdrawal symptoms are the same as PAWS, except that they last for months or even years instead of just weeks following the person stopping the use of the drug. Patients have described these symptoms as occurring in waves, mostly associated with the recurrence of insomnia.
Ambien Withdrawal and Death
While the withdrawal from Ambien can be uncomfortable, the chance of death from withdrawal is unlikely. There have been no published case reports of death from Ambien withdrawal, nor is it warned against on the FDA label. Death related to Ambien use is more likely to be associated with an overdose. Going through the withdrawal process, though uncomfortable, will lead to a healthier lifestyle in the end.