Is Ambien A Controlled Substance?

Yes Ambien is a controlled substance. Ambien is considered a sedative/ hypnotic prescription drug. It works by activating the neurotransmitter which slows your central nervous system and the brain down. It is used to treat insomnia but can only be used short term.

Is Ambien A Controlled Substance

Insomnia is a common sleeping disorder where one may have trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep and/or can’t help but keep waking up during the night. Insomnia can affect ones daily activities as they may feel sleepy during the day. If it becomes a regular occurrence and affects your nighttime schedule, your healthcare provider may recommend some sleeping aids, one of them being; Ambien.

Ambien slows down the activity of your brain or CNS, helping you fall asleep. It is prescribed by the doctors for short time or it may have negative affects if used long term- causing an addiction, which arises the question; Is Ambien A Controlled Substance?

According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), it is a controlled substance, the reason being is that it is in the class of drugs known as sedative- hypnotic. Although it is used to treat insomnia, the use of it can make you Ambien dependent.

Ambien addiction can form in as little as two to three weeks, depending on an individual’s tolerance level whether they are using it as a prescription or they are abusing it, this is the reason why is Ambien a controlled substance. Like any other controlled substance, it also has warnings for the use of it; like taking it with other depressant medicine, taking it while driving or drinking alcohol.

The reason why is Ambien a controlled substance is also because many people don’t even realize they have formed an addiction or substance dependency until they stop their usage and realize they are unable to sleep without it. People who use this drug often underestimate the potential hold it could have over the user. The addiction becomes so strong that it worse ones insomnia.

Many users have abused this drug for its euphoric and hallucinatory effects, one gains pleasure using the drug. Ambien is an addictive medication that can also be mood-altering, forming hallucinations when it isn’t used as prescribed. Its addiction can be serious condition, which could eve require rehabilitation. This is also the reason why is Ambien a controlled substance.

Ambien was introduced as a safer alternative for Benzodiazepine sedative, which are depressants that produce hypnosis and sedation, reduces seizures and help with anxiety. But it has higher chances of abuse and addiction. So, Ambien was introduced because with Ambien, there is less potential to overdose. But, if it is taken in large doses or for a longer period of time, it could affect your respiratory system which could slow down your heart rate. These are the indications that the user is suffering from the misuse or the overdose of the said drug.

There are also multiple health risk abusing Ambien.

  • short term memory loss
  • drowsiness
  • physical dependency
  • sleep walking
  • mental health issues
  • Problems with coordination and balance
  • difficulty concentrating

There are also a few signs that could indicate Ambien overdose, like:

  • Lips, fingernails, and skin turning blue
  • Respiratory issues
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Drowsiness

Why Is Ambien A Controlled Substance?

As mentioned above, Ambien is in the sedative/ hypnotic category of drugs. Some drugs of this category has been associated with the misuse of it or the abuse. The abuse of this medication may lead to addiction, but as compared to other drugs, this has low potential of abuse. Ambien was approved by the FDA (food and drug association) in December 1992, and it became a controlled substance.

It is not common for one to abuse Ambien even when they aren’t facing insomnia. By using the amount more than prescribed, one could experience sedation that is very much like the feeling of drunkenness (intoxication, relaxation, brain activity slowing down). It suppresses the body’s ability to breathe. The drug also causes memory loss, people who use this drug, find out later they have had done things they have no recollection of.

One of the reason why Ambien is a controlled substance is that, a lot of people consume Ambien with alcohol. When someone has been using Ambien for a long time, they develop a tolerance that is why they need a higher dose to help them fall asleep, so taking it with alcohol will amplify the sedative effect of the drug.

Some people even combine it with Benzos, which already has similar affects as Ambien. This makes it dangerous. They both are CNS (central nervous system) Depressant and the consumption of it can increase the chances of respiratory failure, it could also damage your heart, lungs and your brain.


When the abuse of a drug goes on for a prolonged time, the affected person may get this idea that they rely on this drug because it gives them a sense of normality or help them function in daily life, but all it does it damages your physical and mental health. Stopping the drug usage altogether can is difficult and have a lot of withdrawing symptoms upon discontinuation. These include:

  • Insomnia
  • Convulsions
  • Muscle cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Mild dysphoria
  • Nervousness
Is Ambien A Controlled Substance

To help with withdrawal, you should consult your doctor first. Your doctor may decrease your dose slowly to help prevent side effects from withdrawal.

It is important to consult a healthcare provider before taking the medicine or stopping the usage to avoid any unwanted and undesired side effects.

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