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Understanding the Relationship Between Ambien and Memory Loss

Smita Pandit Apr 23, 2019
Is there a link between the usage of Ambien and memory loss? Read more to find out what is Ambien used for along with the side effects of this drug.
A good night's sleep is very important. Your ability to carry out the routine activities during the day is certainly linked with the number of hours of restorative sleep you get at night. Sleep rejuvenates the mind and body, and not only gives one the strength to carry out physical activities, but also enhances one's ability to think clearly.
A sleep deprived individual, would naturally not be able to perform the tasks to the best of his/her capacity. This is the reason why people who are diagnosed with insomnia, need to undergo drug therapy or other forms of treatment to regularize their sleep cycle.
Prescription drugs or over-the-counter sleep aids might help in treating insomnia to some extent, but there is a need to be clear whether the benefits of such drugs outweigh the risks or not. In this story, we will look into the side effects of a sleep aid called Ambien. Here's some information on the connection between the use of Ambien and memory loss.

How Does Ambien Work?

Zolpidem refers to the generic name of the sleep aid that is sold under the brand name 'Ambien'. It belongs to a class of drugs called central nervous system depressants. Ambien is a nonbenzodiazepine agent that is used for the short term treatment of insomnia.
Commonly referred to as a sedative or hypnotic drug, Ambien is recommended for those who have trouble falling asleep. It acts fast on certain receptors in the brain, and affects the working of the central nervous system, thereby inducing sleep within a short time. The drug is quickly absorbed into the blood and its effect can be felt very soon.
As mentioned earlier, this drug is prescribed for a short span of time, that ranges anywhere between 2-6 weeks. It's extremely important that this drug is not used for a longer duration than prescribed. Abuse of this drug can cause certain serious side effects. 
Generally the usage of sleeping pills and memory loss that may affect the drug users, has always been a matter of grave concern. Short term memory loss also figures in the list of the serious side effects caused by this drug. However, a possible link between an abuse of Ambien and long term memory loss cannot be ruled out. 
Overdose or any kind of abuse of this habit-forming drug, can pose health risks. One may experience rebound insomnia on quitting the drug in an abrupt manner.

Ambien and Loss of Memory

Side effects that may be experienced in event of abuse of this sleep aid include short term memory loss. Several side effects that are commonly associated with the use of sleeping pills may also be experienced by the drug users. The common side effects of this drug include daytime drowsiness, loss of concentration, nausea, upset stomach or dizziness.
In severe cases, memory lapses or signs that hint towards the impairment of cognitive abilities may be attributed to use of this drug. Retrograde amnesia is a type of amnesia which is associated with abuse of Ambien. This is a form of amnesia where the drug user, is unable to recall events that took place before and after the drug was taken.
The person may suffer from short term amnesia, hallucinations, sleepwalking or even depression. Sleepwalking and sleep acting are the side effects that may occur as a result of drug abuse. The drug user does not have any memory of what he/she did during such sleep acting episodes. The incidence of such episodes may be higher if Ambien is taken with alcohol.
This is the reason why this drug must only be taken under medical supervision. Since there could be adverse drug interactions, that may affect one's cognitive abilities, one must inform the doctors regarding any other prescription drugs one may be taking. 
One must take this sleep aid as directed by the medical experts, and make sure that it is taken at bedtime. One must take it only when one wishes to sleep for at least seven to eight hours.
Memory loss caused by the use of this drug is usually short term in nature, but memory lapses could sometimes be extended to long stretches of time. Though Ambien is a fast acting sleep aid, which may help in inducing sleep, misuse of this drug could give rise to serious side effects.
Those who are already taking antidepressants and other drugs, must make sure that they inform their health care provider. One must adhere to the prescribed dosage and take Ambien as per the dosage recommended by the doctor.
If one experiences any untoward side effects, especially those associated with memory loss and cognitive impairment, one must report them to the health care provider immediately.