When it comes to drug abuse, teens turn to the medicine cabinet more often than they turn to the drug dealer down the street.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, prescription drugs are second only to marijuana in rates of abuse by students in the 12th grade. Some students abuse medications they’ve been given by their friends or family members. Other students abuse medications in so-called “pharma parties,” where the teens may take incredibly high doses of medications without knowing exactly what they’re taking and what the combinations might do. And still others abuse the medications they’ve been given explicit prescriptions for.
An Ambien Primer
Ambien is often provided in time-release tablets, meaning that the tablets travel through the body to the stomach where they are broken down slowly. The medication trickles into the user’s system, without hitting the system all at once, so the user feels the effects of the medication over an extended period of time.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Ambien should only be provided for a short period of time. A prescription for one to two days of medication might be common, although some doctors might give the medication for up to two weeks.
The pills can be habit-forming, so doctors dislike the idea of providing them for a long period of time.
Teens who abuse Ambien may take the pills orally, but they might take extremely large doses of the pills. Some teens crush the pills and then snort them. This can be a dangerous practice, especially if the teen is using a time-release format of Ambien. By crushing the pills in this way, the teen removes the active ingredients of the drug from the particles that are designed to modulate its dispersal through the body. Instead of feeling a low level of symptoms for a long period of time, the teen may feel all the effects of the drug at the same time, in one rush.
Teens who take very high doses of Ambien are at risk of overdose, according to the website Drugs.com. Ambien tends to cause sedation, and the user may become so very sedated that he/she simply neglects to breathe. This is not the only negative side effect that users can experience when taking high doses of Ambien.
French researchers, writing for the journal L’Encéphale, studied published reports of two patients who were addicted to zolpidem and taking high doses. These patients experienced an extreme amount of unpleasant symptoms including:
- High amounts of energy
- Distorted speech
Teens who abuse Ambien are obviously not attempting to feel these negative consequences, and according to a first-person interview reported in Newsweek, teens might also feel a variety of pleasurable symptoms when they take Ambien, including a sense of relaxation and apathy, along with a feeling of happiness or silliness. Teens who have been struggling with stress or depression might find this altered state to be incredibly pleasurable and hard to obtain in any other way.
Dangers of Ambien Abuse
Teens who abuse Ambien, or any other prescription drug, live in an increasingly isolated atmosphere. As their addictions grow, they may devote a significant amount of time and energy to the idea of getting more drugs and using the drugs when they have them. Instead of spending time with family, friends and peers, the teen is often spending time alone, using drugs.
As mentioned, Ambien is a sedating drug and teens who abuse the drug are at risk of overdose. This risk grows even higher if the teen mixes Ambien with another sedative, such as alcohol. This augmented effect was reported in the journal Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, although the subjects didn’t report an increase in pleasurable symptoms. Instead of getting a boost that might make them feel good, they got a boost that made them even more sedated. Teens who mix alcohol and Ambien are truly playing a dangerous game.
Internet pharmacies can hold their own dangers. According to a bulletin written by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2007, consumers who bought Ambien and other drugs from online pharmacies received drugs that contained haloperidol, a powerful medication used to treat psychosis. Some went to the emergency room as a result. Teens who buy medications from the Internet are also taking risks with their health.
In addition, Ambien is an incredibly strong drug that the body becomes accustomed to having access to. If the teen decides, for whatever reason, to stop taking the drug and abruptly ceases use, a variety of side effects can occur. The article published in the journal L’Encéphale states that these withdrawal side effects can include:
- Seizure (although this is rare)
- Suicidal thoughts
Teens who abuse Ambien may rebound between trying to stop using the drug, feeling these horrible symptoms and then using the drug again. This back and forth can also increase the teen’s sense of isolation and make the addiction even stronger.
In some cases, the addicts took the drug to augment another substance they had been taking at the same time. Teens who are addicted to Ambien and another substance at the same time face higher risks of a variety of issues including premature death, overdose and law enforcement action. If a teen is addicted to Ambien and another substance, it’s all the more important for that teen to get needed help.
In a structured Ambien withdrawal program, the teen will receive medications and medical monitoring to ensure that the teen endures no painful side effects or life-threatening problems. Then, the teen enters a formal rehabilitation program, where doctors and therapists help the teen understand the issues surrounding addiction and provide the teen with the tools he or she will need to use in order to keep cravings under control and prevent a relapse from occurring. This can be an amazing transformation for a teen, and the lessons learned in therapy can stick with the teen for the rest of his/her life.
At Newport Academy, we focus exclusively on teens, and we use the most up-to-date therapy models to help teens recover from the addictions they face. By using therapy alongside animal therapy and other teen-focused programs, we can make a difference in the life of an addict.
Please call us today to find out more about how we can help.