Ambien is not a narcotic; it is a hypnotic drug used for sedative properties, according to Drugs.com. Ambien is a brand name for generic zolpidem, which is used to treat insomnia. This drug releases chemicals that alter alertness to help an insomniac fall asleep and stay asleep. Individuals should avoid performing any heavy-duty activity after taking Ambien.Continue Reading
The effects of Ambien may continue past the initial dosage period when consumed by women or anyone taking an extended-release pill, states Drugs.com. People using Ambien should also avoid alcohol consumption and be mindful that the drug can be habit-forming.
Hypnotic drugs create the feeling of drowsiness by stimulating a specific neurotransmitter chemical in the brain, known as gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, according to RxList. GABA makes contact with nerve receptors in the brain, sending the message that the body needs sleep. When hypnotics take a long time to pass out of the body, they can cause lasting drowsiness and impairment during non-sleep activities.
Prescription narcotics, or opioids, also affect receptors in the brain and mainly act as pain relievers. Narcotics block feelings of physical discomfort by binding to pain receptors, but they can also cause habit-forming behavior, drowsiness and disorientation similar to hypnotics, according to MedlinePlus. Morphine, codeine, oxycodone and hydrocodone are common examples of prescription narcotics, and insomnia is a possible withdrawal symptom of taking them.Learn more about Medications & Vitamins