Sleeping Medicine Addiction?

Sleeping aids

Ambien has found its self in the limelight due to some strange circumstances recently. Famous actress and comedian Rosanne Barr posted a racist comment on Twitter and then claimed it was due to her use of the sleeping drug Ambien.

According to USA Today, the maker of Ambien, Sanofi, responded with the following on Twitter. “While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”

While this whole thing is pretty ridiculous and outlandish, Ambien has caused some very bizarre behavior. These examples are in no way, shape or form to defend the comments of Rossane Barr but more to highlight the strange side effects many sleeping medications can cause. There have been many stories of patients sleep-eating and even sleep-cooking. Even some rare cases of people driving while on Ambien to awake in the middle of an arrest.

These events caused by sleeping medication made headlines in May 2006 when Patrick Kennedy, crashed his car into a barrier outside the US Capital. He was on Ambien as well as Phenergan an anti-nausea medicine that also acts as a sedative. Since then the FDA put out a requirement that all drugs of this kind must have a warning on the label and come with a medication brochure guide. While Kennedy says he had no memory of the events, he pled guilty and received court-ordered treatment and a 1-year probation.

While this is a rare occurrence according to the Daily News the CDC reported that 9 million Americans use prescription sleeping pills. This would increase the occurrence of events like this.

It’s one of those things that is hard to imagine if you have never experienced it, but one-in-three American adults don’t get enough sleep according to the CDC. Lack of sleep can lead to some unfavorable side effects of its own, including mental dulling, loss of sex drive, accident proneness, and some serious long-term medical problems. Medical problems include Heart Disease, Heart Attack, Heart Failure, Irregular Heartbeat, High Blood Pressure, Stroke, and Diabetes. (These facts provided by WEB MD.)

With all this, it is understandable why some people would be willing to take medication to solve it. Ultimately you should consult with your primary physician before making your choice.

There are people who do become addicted and abuse sleeping medication. Working in a rehab that focuses on getting people drug free, it is one of the few cases I have seen where we had to send someone home to get back on their prescription medication (which they abused). The person who came in had polysubstance abuse, however they claimed their main addiction was Ambien abuse. They would get their prescription and then buy more off the street. Then take up to sometimes 20 doses of it and then stay awake with Adderall and hallucinate. This is obviously a rare case that includes gross misuse of a prescription, however, abuse and addiction is possible.

Check with your doctor before making a decision and ensure those around you are making informed decisions whenever they are starting on a medication.



Aaron has been writing drug education articles and documenting the success of the Narconon program for over two years.