Ambien Abuse and Teens

By: Tiffany Goodsite
Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment Program Intern

According to the Partnership at, many of today’s teens abuse Ambien.  Often called “A-minus” or “Zombie pills,” the teens who take them report experiencing hallcuinations or blackouts while under the influence of the drug and rather than trying to go to sleep, teens who take the drug work hard to fight off sleep in order to experience its mind-altering effects.  Yet another concern of Ambien use and abuse among teens is the effect of blackout on its users.  Reports of teens being sexually assaulted when they take the drug and lose their awareness – either when they take the drug purposefully or it is given to them without their knowledge – are increasing.

Is your teen abusing Ambien?

Knowing whether or not your teen is abusing Ambien can be difficult, but if you monitor your teen closely, you will likely be able to spot the signs of Ambien abuse.  Such noticeable issues may include:

– Regular episodes of nausea, often followed by vomiting

– Increased difficulty waking up in the morning

– Skipping school and/or declining academic performance

– Suffering from strange delusions or hallucinations

– Acting euphoric

– Memory problems

– Financial problems and/or stealing

– Withdrawal symptoms when without the drug

If you do find that your teen is abusing Ambien, it’s important to understand that Ambien abuse is not easy to stop cold turkey.  Those who regularly use Ambien will often experience withdrawal symptoms when they attepmt to stop taking the drug or when they find themselves unable to acquire it.  These withdrawal symptoms are so unpleasant that most users will do anything to get their hands on Ambien and to keep the symptoms at bay.  Some of the withdrawal symptoms associated with Ambien abuse include:

– Extreme irritablity

– Inability to fall asleep

– Nervous energy

– Seizures

– Panic attacks

– Suicidal thoughts or actions

While many parents and teens may think that Ambien is a relatively harmless drug because it is not an illegal substance, it is important to understand that Ambien abuse and/or addiction is incredibly serious – like any substance abuse or addiction problem – can lead to death without medical and psychotherapeutic intervetion.  As such, don’t just brush it off if you find that your teen is abusing Ambien; take the matter seriously and look into getting professional help for you teen.


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