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Finding Help For Teen Ambien Abuse

Finding Help For Teen Ambien Abuse

Ambien is a brand name medication; the generic form is known as zolpidem. It is used to treat certain sleep issues (e.g., insomnia). Ambien belongs to a class of medications known as sedative-hypnotics which are used to induce and/ or maintain sleep. Ambien is a central nervous system depressant that works by acting on certain neurotransmitters in one’s brain, specifically the GABA-A (gamma-aminobutyric acid-A). When Ambien binds to this receptor it elicits a calming effect as it slows down excessive brain activity and inhibits the specific brain activity associated with insomnia. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies Ambien as a Schedule IV Substance, which are defined as “drugs with a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence.” Ambien is not intended for long-term use; rather short treatment periods lasting one to two weeks long, or less are most common. The average half-life, meaning the length of time the substance will remain in one’s system until the concentration in one’s blood has been reduced by half, of Ambien is about 2.5 hours. When Ambien is taken exactly as directed, under strict supervision of a qualified medical professional, it can be a highly effective medication. However, abusing Ambien can lead to adverse short and long-term effects, especially on the developing brain of an adolescent. 


The first step in the treatment process for a teen struggling with Ambien abuse will be to undergo detox, which cleanses the body of all abused substances. Depending on the needs of the teenager, continuing the recovery process by attending a substance abuse or addiction treatment program may be advantageous. Several options are available that cater to young people to assist with treating Ambien abuse. There are outpatient treatment programs and inpatient treatment program options available. Outpatient treatment programs offer the ability to participate in the program for a previously specified number of hours, daily, while continuing to reside at home.

Inpatient treatment programs are an entirely immersive experience as participants live at the treatment facility for the duration of the program. At Pacific Teen Treatment, we offer a residential treatment program that utilizes a variety of therapeutic approaches. Some of the treatment modalities we incorporate into our treatment plans include talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), expressive arts therapy, and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). We encourage our residents to explore the practices of yoga and/ or meditation to help supplement the other therapeutic modalities. It is important to us that we help our residents learn to integrate restorative and healthy eating, exercising, and sleeping habits as a part of their recovery process. We create a tailored and unique treatment plan for each of our residents that caters specifically to each teen’s personal and nuanced recovery needs. 

For Information and Support

Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times.

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.


We are available to answer any questions you may have regarding mental health treatment and our residential program, anytime. Contact us today using the form to the right.

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