The Horrifying History of Ambien
Ambien is a sedative type drug in the family of hypnotics. It is a prescription sleep aid that works to correct chemical imbalances in the brain in order to help combat insomnia and other sleep disorders. Unfortunately, Ambien and other drugs in the family of hypnotics have a long and disturbing history of extreme and tragic side effects.
The use of Ambien is intended to help a person fall asleep, however, they don’t always stay asleep. One of the most common side effects of Ambien was the numerous reports of sleep walking or other activities while sleeping, such as eating or even driving. People have done incredible, unbelievable things while under the influence of Ambien, and not in a good way.
There have been reports of people eating astounding amounts and types of food during Ambien blackouts, including whole eggs, shells included, buttered cigarettes, and even drinking an entire bottle of black shoe polish. Bizarre and alienating behavior has also been reported, such as sexting married friends, making outlandish, horrific, and false descriptions about scenery and art.
Most tragic, however, are the countless reports of vehicular deaths and injuries and sexual escapades that have been caused by the zombie-like effects of Ambien.
Lives Taken by Ambien
It’s estimated that roughly a full ten percent of American adults take sleeping pills at least occasionally. Let that sink in for a moment as you consider how many people live in this country. Now realize that one in ten will use sleeping pills every once in a while.
This isn’t to say these people are abusing sleep aids, just that they use them. However, certain sleep aids, particularly hypnotics, have a proven track record of being potentially dangerous, even when used properly.
Over a five-year period, Ambien-related visits to the emergency room have risen by 220 percent. In 2005 there were 6,111 Ambien-related emergency room cases, according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. This number rose to a staggering 19,487 by 2010. By 2010, half of the visits to the emergency room came from taking Ambien in addition to other medications, which caused adverse reactions in the patient.
According to SAMHSA, taking zolpidem, which is the generic name for Ambien, with other medications is especially dangerous as it makes the sedative properties of the drug even more potent.
Strange Behavior, Terrible Accidents
Sadly, the dangers don’t stop at the emergency room. Even when used as directed, Ambien can have extreme and often tragic effects on a person. Doctors urge patients who are prescribed Ambien to “get in bed and stay there” after taking the drug. This is due to the alarming behavior that can often occur after taking the drug.
Called “Ambien zombies,” people have been reported to engage in all manner of unusual behavior while under the effects of Ambien, all while seeming to be asleep and having no memory of the events the next day. One woman woke up in police custody while still in her pajamas with no idea how she got there. Understandably, she was terrified when she awoke.
Other incidents are far more tragic, as there are even reports of people “sleep driving.” As one can imagine, this has led to numerous fatalities and injuries, not just for the driver, but for the pedestrians, families and children included, that have been run over by “Ambien zombies” behind the wheel. All the while, the people on the drug have no idea what they’ve done and never intended to harm anyone. All they wanted was a good night’s sleep.
Studies are underway and new drugs are in development, trying to create an effective sleep aid without such drastic side effects, but for the meantime, drugs Ambien dominate the market for sleep aids, despite the warning labels and cautionary tales. This is definitely one medication that must be taken with utmost care.