To achieve the best health and well-being, the average adult requires seven or more hours of sleep per night. Anything less than seven hours of sleep per 24-hour period is considered a short sleep duration. According to the Sleep Association Organization, an estimated 50 to 70 million U.S. adults struggle with sleep disorders. The public health consequences from what so many seem to deal with are staggering.
Poor sleep caused 37.9 percent of people to unintentionally fall asleep during the day at least once in the preceding month, while another 4.7 percent admitted to falling asleep while driving in the previous month. Poor sleep is responsible for 1,550 fatalities and 40,000 nonfatal injuries in the United States each year.
Those who struggle with sleep and can’t find natural alternatives might seek chemical relief. Scientists have developed Z-drugs, which serve as alternatives to more potent and addicting benzodiazepines. However, Z-drugs like Ambien can lead to chemical dependency and addiction. Although it’s less common, those who use the drug in ways that it wasn’t designed, such as snorting, are likely to engage in risky behaviors while asleep. Snorting Ambien can also result in a fatal overdose.
When used as directed, Ambien is an effective medication to help a person get to sleep faster and experience deeper sleep. In some cases, an individual could experience euphoric feelings and intoxication from the medication, leading them to crush and snort the drug to get high.
Like benzodiazepines, Ambien depresses the central nervous system (CNS) but works on specific gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors to help with sleep. Even when used as directed, the medication can have significant effects on someone’s mental and physical well-being. When a person snorts Ambien, it could lead to risky behavior like driving or cooking while they’re asleep.
Ambien use may lead to addiction, especially when it’s snorted. When a person uses the drug in this fashion, they’re more likely to struggle with dependence. Abusing Ambien through insufflation (snorting) can lead to hallucinations, nasal tissue damage, and suicidal thoughts.
Why Do People Snort Ambien?
Ambien is a sedative-hypnotic drug prescribed in tablet form. Those who abuse the sleep medication might crush and snort Ambien to amplify the drug’s sedative effects. Individuals might also snort the medicine to prolong and even intensify the feelings of euphoria.
Your doctor may also prescribe Ambien in extended-release tablets called Ambien CR. The long-acting tablets contain higher doses of the drug, and when a person snorts the extended-release pills, they could encounter life-threatening symptoms.
What Happens When You Snort Ambien?
Since Ambien slows down activity in our brain and helps us fall asleep, you shouldn’t use the drug for more than two weeks at a time, even as prescribed. Those who use the drug for more than two weeks could experience diminished sleep quality. They could experience issues falling asleep without the medication.
Sedative-hypnotics are potent drugs that change how the brain operates. This type of medication may lead to significant side effects, and symptoms could worsen when a person snorts Ambien.
The Most Common Side Effects Of Ambien Include The Following:
- Joint pain
- Dry mouth
- Extreme fatigue
- Stomach pain
- Strange dreams
- Uncontrollable shaking in the body
- Ringing in the ears
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Muscle aches
- Burning or tingling tongue
Of course, we all react differently to medication, and you might experience some or none of the effects above. However, if you are prescribed Ambien, you should always follow your doctor’s orders. When someone snorts Ambien, they’re at a significantly increased risk of experiencing dangerous side effects of the medication.
Signs Of Snorting Ambien
As was mentioned above, an estimated 50 million Americans struggle with chronic sleep disorders, and Ambien is one of the most popular means of treating this condition. Those who start snorting Ambien prescriptions could also display changes in behavior and mood. Abrupt changes in someone’s demeanor could also be a sign of Ambien abuse.
Other Signs Of Possible Ambien Abuse Include The Following:
- Low or depressed mood
- Erratic behavior
- Bizzare thoughts or actions
- Finding supplies used to snort drugs, such as rolled dollar bills or straws
Ambien Overdose Symptoms
Substantial amounts of Ambien can be toxic, and snorting it significantly increases the chances of an overdose. When Ambien is used along with another drug, overdose chances are even higher. Many of those who struggle with Ambien abuse might also have other health conditions where other prescription pills are needed, such as psychiatric disorders. Knowing the signs of an Ambien overdose can save lives, especially if a person uses more than they’re prescribed. Nearly 50 percent of emergency room visits for Ambien involved other medications. The most common of which were narcotic pain relievers (opioids).
Symptoms Of Ambien Overdose Include The Following:
- Severe drowsiness
- Slowed heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
- Coma (a loss of consciousness for an extended period of time)
Women between the ages of 45 and 64 are at the highest risk of overdosing on Ambien. Pay attention to these signs as it could save a life.
Snorting Ambien Can Damage The Nose
It’s no secret that putting substances in our noses can cause damage, and Ambien is no different. When the medication hits our nasal cavity, it causes severe irritation to the mucous membranes. With prolonged and repeated use, the likelihood of chronic inflammation and nasal damage will climb.
Snorting Ambien can lead to the development of crusted skin, sores, or frequent bloody noses. Some of the conditions that might develop can become chronic, including halitosis (bad breath), a runny nose, and sinusitis (a sinus infection).
Snorting Ambien regularly can also damage the tiny hairs inside of the nose, known as cilia. In addition to the damage caused to the mucous membranes, it may cause more challenges for the nose to clean and filter the air a person breathes. Most drugs contain binders and fillers, some of which may be harmful irritants that damage our noses even further if the drug is snorted.
Snorting Ambien can also block the nasal airways and lead to collapsed nasal passages, which makes it hard for someone to breathe. The structural changes can cause whistling noises and change the way someone’s voice sounds.
The Most Severe Damage To The Nose Includes The Following:
- Perforation or a hole in the roof of the mouth
- Bone loss
- Perforated septum (a hole that develops in the nostrils)
- Reduced or complete loss of one’s sense of smell
- Saddle nose deformity (a broad or flat nose)
Addiction can push a person to use the drug despite any consequences. A person might continue snorting Ambien even if they develop some of the problems listed above. Doing this can lead to permanent damage, and in some cases, the individual might need reconstructive surgery to overcome this damage.
Chronic snorting of cocaine has been linked to spinal fluid leaking out of the nose, but it’s not clear if this could occur as a result of Ambien use. However, it’s not a risk worth considering.
Ambien May Increase The Chances Of Death, Cancer, Heart Attack, And Dementia
Prolonged Ambien use has been shown to increase the chances of death, dementia, certain types of cancer, and heart attack. This can occur even when following the doctor’s instructions. Using substantial amounts in patterns of abuse will increase these risks.
A BMJ Open article that studied the effects of hypnotics like Ambien found that “receiving hypnotic prescriptions was associated with greater than threefold increased hazards of death even when prescribed less than 18 pills a year.”
The same study found that the risk of cancer increased 35 percent for those who were prescribed higher doses of hypnotics.
Those who take four standard dose pills of Ambien each year could have a 20 percent increased risk of a heart attack, and those taking 60 tablets a year might have a 50 percent greater risk. This shows the inherent dangers of using Ambien as prescribed, so abusing it may cause these figures to be higher.