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Ambien Addiction: Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Effects, Treatment and Prevention

Ambien, also known as zolpidem, is a sedative-hypnotic medication commonly prescribed for the short-term treatment of insomnia. Classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance by the FDA, Ambien acts on the central nervous system to induce a calming effect, aiding in sleep initiation and maintenance. While it is effective when used as directed, Ambien carries the risk of dependence and addiction if misused or taken for prolonged periods. 

Ambien addiction manifests through various signs and symptoms, encompassing physical, psychological, behavioral, and social aspects. These symptoms include increased tolerance to the drug, withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation, compulsive or uncontrollable use, financial difficulties, relationship problems, and changes in sleep patterns and mood swings.

Ambien addiction stems from various biological, behavioral, and environmental factors. Biological causes include genetic predisposition and neurochemical imbalances affecting neurotransmitter systems in the brain. Behavioral causes include self-medication to cope with stress or maladaptive coping mechanisms. At the same time, environmental factors such as easy access to Ambien, social norms, peer influence, and stressful life events also contribute to addiction development.

Ambien addiction can have profound effects on an individual’s physical, mental, behavioral, and social well-being. These effects include disrupted sleep patterns, physical health problems, cognitive impairment, increased risk of mental health disorders, social isolation, and legal consequences resulting from risky behaviors under the influence of Ambien.

Treatment options for Ambien addiction typically involve a combination of medical, psychological, and behavioral interventions. These include detoxification under medical supervision, medication-assisted treatment, behavioral therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, participation in support groups, individual counseling, lifestyle changes, and relapse prevention strategies.

Preventing Ambien addiction involves responsible medication use and promoting healthy sleep habits. Strategies include following prescribed dosage strictly, limiting the duration of use, avoiding alcohol or other drugs, considering alternative treatments, monitoring sleep patterns and medication usage, educating oneself about Ambien risks, addressing underlying mental health issues, and seeking professional help if needed.

WHAT IS AMBIEN?

Ambien, also known by its generic name zolpidem, is a sedative-hypnotic medication primarily prescribed for short-term insomnia as described by Bouchette, D., Akhondi, H., & Quick, J. et al. 2022, “Zolpidem.” The FDA classified it as a Schedule IV controlled substance. Ambien acts on the central nervous system to induce a calming effect, facilitating sleep initiation and maintenance. It belongs to a class of drugs called Z-drugs, along with zaleplon (Sonata) and eszopiclone (Lunesta).

What Is Ambien Used For? 

Ambien is primarily used to treat insomnia, a condition characterized by difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early and being unable to fall back asleep, as discussed in Monti, J. M., & Spence, D. W. et al. 2016, “Zolpidem’s use for insomnia.” It is intended for short-term use, typically ranging from a few days to a few weeks, to help individuals adjust to normal sleep patterns. Ambien is available in various formulations, including immediate-release tablets, controlled-release tablets, and sublingual formulations, to address different sleep disturbances.

What are Some Effective Alternatives to Ambien?

While Ambien is effective for many individuals, there are alternative treatments for insomnia that are considered, especially for those who experience adverse effects or concerns about dependency. Some effective alternatives to Ambien include:

  1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I): CBT-I is a structured, evidence-based therapy that helps individuals address underlying sleep problems and develop healthy sleep habits without the use of medication. It focuses on changing behaviors and thoughts related to sleep to improve sleep quality and duration.
  2. Melatonin Supplements: Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by the body to regulate the sleep-wake cycle. Supplemental melatonin is effective for some individuals in promoting sleep onset and adjusting circadian rhythms.
  3. Sleep Hygiene Practices: Practicing good sleep hygiene involves adopting habits and behaviors that promote better sleep, such as maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, creating a comfortable sleep environment, limiting exposure to screens before bedtime, and avoiding caffeine and stimulating activities close to bedtime.
  4. Herbal Remedies: Certain herbs and botanicals, such as valerian root, chamomile, and passionflower, have been used traditionally to promote relaxation and improve sleep. Herbal supplements or teas containing these ingredients offer a natural alternative to prescription sleep medications like Ambien.
  5. Prescription Sleep Aids: In some cases, alternative prescription medications are considered for individuals who do not respond well to or experience intolerable side effects with Ambien. These include other non-benzodiazepine hypnotics like zaleplon (Sonata) or eszopiclone (Lunesta) or low-dose sedating antidepressants like trazodone or amitriptyline.

IS AMBIEN ADDICTIVE?

Ambien, a commonly prescribed medication for insomnia, belongs to a class of drugs known as sedative-hypnotics. According to Moore, T.J., & Mattison, D.R. et al. 2018, “Assessment of Patterns of Potentially Unsafe Use of Zolpidem,” while it is effective for short-term management of sleep disturbances, Ambien has the potential for dependence and addiction if used improperly or for extended periods.

Ambien’s Potential for Addiction

  • Ambien is classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance by the FDA due to its potential for abuse and addiction, according to Bouchette, D. et al. 2022, “Zolpidem.”
  • Prolonged or excessive use of Ambien leads to tolerance, meaning higher doses are needed to achieve the same therapeutic effect.
  • Dependence develops with regular use, causing withdrawal symptoms when the medication is discontinued or doses are reduced.
  • Individuals with a history of substance abuse, addiction, or certain mental health conditions are at higher risk of developing Ambien addiction.
  • Combining Ambien with other substances like alcohol or opioids increases the risk of addiction and dangerous side effects.

How Long Does Ambien Stay in Your System?

Ambien’s duration of effect and elimination depends on various factors, including the formulation used and individual characteristics. Ambien’s half-life ranges from approximately 1.4 to 3.8 hours for different formulations, dictating the time it takes to metabolize and eliminate half of the drug. 

Generally, Ambien takes around five half-lives to completely clear from the system, amounting to approximately 7 to 19 hours for immediate-release and controlled-release formulations, as described by Gunja, N. et al. 2013, “The Clinical and Forensic Toxicology of Z-drugs.” Ambien’s detection in urine persists for up to 72 hours after the last dose, while blood and hair samples reveal traces for shorter or longer durations. Factors like age, liver function, metabolism, and concurrent medical conditions influence Ambien’s duration in the system.

AMBIEN ADDICTION AND ABUSE STATISTICS

220% INCREASE500 THOUSAND38 MILLION
The number of visits to emergency rooms related to Ambien rose by nearly 220% between 2005 and 2010, reaching 19,487 visits in the latter year, according to a report from SAMHSA.More than half a million individuals in the United States are currently abusing Ambien and other sedatives, as estimated by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.Between 2006 and 2011, approximately 38 million prescriptions for Zolpidem drugs were issued, as reported by IMS Health.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF AMBIEN ADDICTION?

signs and symptoms of ambien addiction

Ambien addiction manifests through various signs and symptoms, encompassing physical, psychological, behavioral, and social aspects. Understanding these indicators is essential for early detection and intervention.

1. Increased Tolerance of Ambien

Individuals develop a tolerance to Ambien over time, necessitating higher doses to achieve the desired effects. This tolerance buildup often reflects the body’s adaptation to the drug, leading to a diminished response at previous dosage levels.

2. Dependence on Ambien to Function or Sleep

Dependence on Ambien arises when individuals rely on the medication to initiate or maintain sleep. They find it challenging to sleep without Ambien, experiencing heightened anxiety or restlessness in its absence.

3. Withdrawal Symptoms When Attempting to Stop or Reduce Drug Use

Upon discontinuing Ambien use or attempting to decrease the dosage, individuals encounter withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms include rebound insomnia, anxiety, agitation, tremors, sweating, and, in severe cases, seizures.

4. Compulsive or Uncontrollable Use of Ambien

Ambien addiction is characterized by a compulsion to use the drug despite adverse consequences. Individuals find themselves unable to control their Ambien consumption, even when they recognize the harm it causes and despite experiencing detrimental effects on health, relationships, or daily functioning.

5. Neglecting Responsibilities and Obligations

Ambien addiction leads to neglect of work, school, family, or social responsibilities. Individuals prioritize obtaining and using Ambien over fulfilling their obligations, leading to deteriorating performance and strained relationships. Individuals remain preoccupied with obtaining, using, and planning for Ambien consumption.

6. Social Withdrawal or Isolation

Individuals with Ambien addiction withdraw from social interactions or isolate themselves from friends, family, or community activities. This withdrawal often stems from shame, guilt, or the desire to conceal their drug use.

7. Doctor Shopping or Seeking Multiple Prescriptions

To sustain their Ambien addiction, individuals engage in doctor shopping or visit multiple healthcare providers to obtain additional prescriptions. This behavior reflects a pattern of seeking drugs through deceptive or manipulative means.

8. Financial Difficulties Due to Ambien Use

The cost of obtaining Ambien, particularly when obtained through illicit means or multiple prescriptions, leads to financial strain and hardship. Individuals prioritize drug purchases over essential expenses, leading to economic instability.

9. Relationship Problems Related to Ambien Use

Ambien addiction strains relationships with family, friends, and romantic partners. Individuals experience conflict, distrust, or alienation from loved ones due to their drug use and associated behaviors.

10. Neglecting Personal Hygiene and Self-Care

As Ambien addiction progresses, individuals neglect personal hygiene and self-care routines. This neglect manifests as poor grooming habits, irregular bathing, or neglect of dental and medical needs.

11. Changes in Sleep Patterns Beyond Intended Use

While Ambien is intended to regulate sleep patterns, addiction to the drug disrupts normal sleep cycles. Individuals often experience irregularities such as fragmented sleep, excessive drowsiness, or extended periods of wakefulness beyond the intended use of Ambien.

12. Mood Swings and Emotional Instability

Ambien addiction contributes to mood swings, emotional volatility, or erratic behavior. Individuals experience heightened irritability, anxiety, or depression as a result of their drug use and its impact on brain chemistry.

13. Secretive Behavior Regarding Ambien Use

Individuals with Ambien addiction engage in secretive or deceptive behavior to conceal their drug use. This behavior includes hiding medication, lying about usage patterns, or avoiding discussions about Ambien with others.

14. Engaging in Risky Behaviors While Under the Influence of Ambien

Under the influence of Ambien, individuals often engage in risky behaviors that endanger themselves or others. These behaviors include driving, operating machinery, or making impulsive decisions with impaired judgment and coordination.

WHAT ARE THE LONG-TERM SIDE EFFECTS OF AMBIEN?

Long-term Ambien use leads to various adverse effects that persist even after discontinuation. These effects, which encompass physical, psychological, and cognitive aspects, highlight the potential risks associated with prolonged Ambien use. Common long-term side effects of Ambien include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Psychosis
  • Tolerance and dependence
  • Memory loss
  • Increased cancer risk

WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF AMBIEN ADDICTION?

effects of ambien addiction

Ambien addiction has a profound impact on various aspects of an individual’s life, encompassing physical, mental, behavioral, and social domains. Understanding these effects is crucial for recognizing the potential risks associated with Ambien abuse and addiction.

What Are The Physical Effects Of Ambien Addiction?

Prolonged Ambien addiction leads to several physical health issues, including:

  • Tolerance: Individuals may develop a tolerance to Ambien, requiring higher doses to achieve the desired effects.
  • Withdrawal symptoms: Discontinuation of Ambien results in withdrawal symptoms such as rebound insomnia, anxiety, tremors, and sweating.
  • Disrupted sleep patterns: Chronic Ambien use leads to disturbances in sleep patterns, including fragmented or restless sleep.
  • Physical health problems: Ambien addiction contributes to various physical health issues, such as headaches, dizziness, gastrointestinal problems, muscle pain, and impaired coordination.

What Are The Mental And Cognitive Effects of Ambien Abuse?

Ambien addiction also affects mental and cognitive function, leading to:

  • Cognitive impairment: Ambien abuse cause memory lapses, confusion, and impaired concentration.
  • Mood changes: Individuals experience mood swings, irritability, anxiety, or depression as a result of Ambien addiction.
  • Increased risk of mental health disorders: Ambien abuse exacerbates or contributes to the development of mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety disorders, or substance-induced mood disorders.

What Are The Behavioral And Social Consequences Of Ambien Use?

The behavioral and social consequences of Ambien use include:

  • Relationship strain: Ambien addiction strains relationships with family, friends, and romantic partners due to changes in behavior, emotional instability, and neglect of responsibilities.
  • Isolation and withdrawal: Individuals with Ambien addiction often withdraw from social activities, isolate themselves, and prioritize drug use over social interactions.
  • Financial difficulties: The cost of obtaining Ambien, especially through illicit means, leads to financial strain and difficulties.

How Does Ambien Affect The Brain?

Ambien affects the brain by enhancing the effects of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). According to Lyu, X., & Hu, Y. et al. 2022, “Euphoric effect induced by zolpidem: a case study of magnetoencephalography,” it works by binding to specific receptors in the brain; Ambien reduces brain activity, induces sedation, and promotes sleep.

Does Ambien Cause Memory Loss?

Ambien has been associated with memory loss as a potential side effect. Memory-related effects range from difficulty recalling events that occurred while under the influence of the medication to amnesia or memory gaps.

What Happens if You Take Ambien and Don’t Go to Sleep?

If taken and not followed by sleep, Ambien leads to drowsiness, confusion, impaired coordination and judgment, memory impairment, increased risk of accidents, and potentially unusual behaviors like sleepwalking or sleep eating.

What are the Legal Consequences of Ambien Abuse?

Under the influence of Ambien, individuals engage in risky activities such as driving under the influence, which leads to legal issues or accidents. While Ambien addiction itself is not a crime, actions taken under its influence could result in both personal and legal trouble.

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF AMBIEN ADDICTION?

Understanding the underlying causes of Ambien addiction is essential for developing effective prevention and treatment strategies. Ambien addiction stems from various biological, behavioral, and environmental factors, each contributing to the development and maintenance of addictive behaviors.

What are the Biological Causes of Ambien Addiction?

Biological factors play a significant role in predisposing individuals to Ambien addiction. These include:

  • Genetic predisposition: Genetic variations influence an individual’s susceptibility to addiction, including Ambien addiction. A family history of substance abuse disorders increases the likelihood of developing Ambien addiction.
  • Neurochemical imbalances: Ambien affects neurotransmitter systems in the brain, particularly gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which regulates sleep and relaxation. Imbalances in these neurotransmitter systems contribute to addictive behaviors.

What are the Behavioral Causes of Ambien Addiction?

Behavioral factors also contribute to the development of Ambien addiction, including:

  • Self-medication: Individuals use Ambien as a form of self-medication to cope with stress, anxiety, or other underlying mental health issues. Using Ambien to alleviate symptoms leads to dependence and addiction.
  • Maladaptive coping mechanisms: Some individuals turn to Ambien as a way to escape from negative emotions or stressful situations. Over time, reliance on Ambien to cope with life’s challenges develops into addiction.
  • Reinforcing behaviors: Positive experiences with Ambien, such as improved sleep or temporary relief from insomnia, reinforce drug-seeking behaviors and contribute to addiction.

What are the Environmental Causes of Ambien Addiction?

Environmental factors also significantly influence the development of Ambien addiction, including:

  • Access to Ambien: Easy access to Ambien, whether through legitimate prescriptions or illicit means, increases the likelihood of misuse and addiction. Individuals with multiple prescriptions or access to Ambien through social networks are at higher risk.
  • Social norms and peer influence: Social environments that normalize or encourage Ambien use contribute to addiction. Peer pressure or social acceptance of drug use influences an individual’s decision to misuse Ambien.
  • Stressful or traumatic life events: Environmental stressors such as trauma, loss, or chronic stress trigger or exacerbate Ambien addiction. Individuals often turn to Ambien as a way to cope with emotional distress or difficult life circumstances.

WHAT ARE THE WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS OF AMBIEN?

withdrawal symptoms of ambien addictiopn

Ambien withdrawal symptoms vary in intensity and duration depending on factors such as dosage, duration of use, and individual physiology. Withdrawal typically occurs when individuals abruptly reduce or discontinue Ambien after prolonged use. According to Haji Seyed Javadi, S. A., Hajiali, F., & Nassiri-Asl, M. et al. 2014, “Zolpidem dependency and withdrawal seizure: A case report study,” common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Rebound insomnia causes difficulty falling or staying asleep.
  • Anxiety and agitation arise, leading to restlessness.
  • Increased irritability and mood swings are common.
  • Muscle pain and tension occur throughout the body.
  • Tremors or shaking, especially in the hands.
  • Gastrointestinal disturbances like nausea or vomiting.
  • Sweating, chills, or hot flashes.
  • Headaches or migraines.
  • Cognitive difficulties such as confusion or memory impairment.
  • Mood disturbances like depression or emotional instability.

What is the Ambien Withdrawal Timeline?

TimeWithdrawal Symptoms
First 48 hrsMild symptoms begin, including rebound insomnia, anxiety, agitation, tremors, sweating, and potential seizures.
Days 3-5Symptoms peak with severe manifestations such as confusion, memory loss, mood swings, difficulty sleeping, and nausea.
Weeks 1-2Symptoms gradually subside, and individuals feel normal again, experiencing improved sleep patterns and relief.
This table represents the time in which it takes ambien to leave a humans body.

What are the Treatment Options For Ambien Addiction?

treatment options for ambien addiction

Treatment options for Ambien addiction typically involve a combination of medical, psychological, and behavioral interventions:

  1. Detoxification: Medical detoxification is necessary for individuals with severe Ambien addiction or those experiencing significant withdrawal symptoms. Under medical supervision, gradual tapering off Ambien is conducted while providing appropriate support and care to manage withdrawal symptoms.
  2. Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): Healthcare providers prescribe medications to assist recovery. These medications help manage withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings, or address underlying mental health conditions contributing to the addiction.
  3. Behavioral Therapies: Various forms of behavioral therapy are effective in treating Ambien’s addiction. These therapies aim to identify and modify thoughts, behaviors, and triggers associated with drug use. Examples include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), contingency management, and motivational interviewing.
  4. Support Groups: Participation in support groups like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) provides individuals with a supportive community of peers who understand their struggles with addiction. These groups offer a platform for sharing experiences, receiving encouragement, and learning from others who have overcome similar challenges.
  5. Individual Counseling: Individual counseling sessions with a therapist or addiction specialist help individuals explore and address underlying factors contributing to their Ambien addiction. Counseling provides valuable guidance, coping strategies, and support throughout recovery.
  6. Lifestyle Changes: Making positive lifestyle changes supports recovery from Ambien addiction. These include adopting healthy sleep habits, engaging in regular physical exercise, practicing stress reduction techniques (e.g., meditation and yoga), and establishing a stable routine.
  7. Relapse Prevention: Developing relapse prevention strategies is crucial. This involves identifying triggers, learning coping skills to manage cravings and stress, and developing a plan to prevent and respond to potential relapses.

How to Prevent Ambien Addiction

Preventing Ambien addiction involves several strategies aimed at responsible medication use and promoting healthy sleep habits:

  1. Follow the prescribed dosage of Ambien strictly as directed by a healthcare professional.
  2. Limit the duration of Ambien use to the recommended short-term period to mitigate the risk of addiction.
  3. Refrain from consuming alcohol or other drugs alongside Ambien to prevent potential interactions and adverse effects.
  4. Consider alternative treatments for insomnia, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or relaxation techniques, in conjunction with or instead of Ambien.
  5. Monitor your sleep patterns and medication usage regularly, and promptly discuss any concerns or changes with your healthcare provider.
  6. Educate yourself about Ambien’s potential risks and side effects to make informed decisions about its use.
  7. Address underlying mental health issues or stressors contributing to sleep disturbances through appropriate treatment and support.
  8. Establish healthy sleep habits, including a consistent sleep schedule and a relaxing bedtime routine, to promote restful sleep without reliance on medication.
  9. Seek professional help from a healthcare provider if you experience difficulties with sleep or suspect the development of Ambien dependency to receive guidance and support.

What is the Difference Between Ambien and Lunesta?

AspectAmbienLunesta
Active IngredientZolpidemEszopiclone
Mechanism of ActionEnhances GABA effects in the brainEnhances GABA effects in the brain
Onset of ActionQuick onset for falling asleepQuick onset for falling asleep
Slower release for staying asleep
Duration of ActionShort duration (6-8 hours)Longer duration (7-8 hours)
FDA-Approved UsesInsomnia is characterized by difficultyInsomnia is characterized by difficulty
falling asleepfalling asleep and/or staying asleep
Dosage StrengthsImmediate-release: 5 mg, 10 mg1 mg, 2 mg, 3 mg
Extended-release: 6.25 mg, 12.5 mg
Side EffectsCommon side effects: drowsiness,Common side effects: drowsiness,
dizziness, headacheheadache, changes in taste

Can I Combine Ambien With Substances Like Ritalin?

Combining Ambien with substances like Ritalin is dangerous and should be avoided without consulting a healthcare professional. Both Ambien and Ritalin affect the central nervous system, and their combined use leads to unpredictable interactions, increased sedation, respiratory depression, and other adverse effects. It is essential to discuss any potential drug interactions with a doctor or pharmacist before combining medications.

Can I drink alcohol while taking Ambien?

It is not recommended to drink alcohol while taking Ambien. Alcohol can increase the sedative effects of Ambien, leading to excessive drowsiness, impaired coordination, and potentially dangerous respiratory depression.

How does Ambien addiction affect sleep patterns compared to alcohol addiction?

Ambien addiction primarily disrupts sleep architecture by causing dependency on the medication for sleep initiation and maintenance. Users often experience rebound insomnia when attempting to discontinue Ambien, leading to fragmented sleep and decreased overall sleep quality. Alcohol addiction, on the other hand, affects sleep by disrupting the natural sleep cycle, particularly reducing REM sleep and causing frequent awakenings during the night. Both substances ultimately impair the body’s ability to achieve restorative sleep, but the mechanisms and long-term impacts on sleep patterns differ.

What are the potential dangers of combining Ambien with Xanax?

Combining Ambien with Xanax significantly increases the risk of severe central nervous system depression, leading to dangerous side effects such as extreme drowsiness, respiratory depression, and impaired motor coordination. This combination heightens the likelihood of overdose, potentially resulting in coma or death. Both drugs have sedative effects, and their combined use can exacerbate cognitive impairment, memory issues, and the risk of engaging in hazardous activities while not fully awake. It is crucial to avoid using these medications together and to consult a healthcare provider for safer alternatives.

How can lifestyle changes complement the treatment of Ambien addiction?

Lifestyle changes play a crucial role in supporting the treatment of Ambien addiction by promoting natural sleep and overall well-being. Establishing a consistent sleep routine, creating a relaxing bedtime environment, and avoiding caffeine and electronic devices before bedtime help improve sleep quality. Engaging in regular physical activity and practicing stress-reducing techniques such as mindfulness and meditation can reduce reliance on sleep medications. Additionally, seeking support from therapy and support groups provides emotional and psychological reinforcement, aiding in long-term recovery and preventing relapse.

How long does it take for Ambien to start working?

Ambien typically starts working within 15 to 30 minutes after ingestion, with peak effects reached within 1 to 2 hours. Taking Ambien immediately before bedtime is important to minimize the risk of drowsiness and impairment during waking hours.

Is Ambien safe for long-term use?

Ambien is generally recommended for short-term use (up to 4 weeks) due to the risk of tolerance, dependence, and potential side effects. Long-term use of Ambien may lead to adverse impacts on cognitive function, memory, and physical health.

Can Ambien cause hallucinations?

Yes, hallucinations are a potential side effect of Ambien, particularly in higher doses or with prolonged use. Hallucinations may involve visual, auditory, or tactile sensations that are not reality-based.

What should I do if I miss a dose of Ambien?

If you miss a dose of Ambien close to your bedtime, skip the missed dose and take the next dose as scheduled. Do not double the dose to make up for a missed one. It is important to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for Ambien use closely to avoid potential complications.

Ryan Wakim MD
Author
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Dr. Wakim is a board-certified psychiatrist with a passion for and expertise in addiction, mood disorders, trauma-related disorders and the subspecialty of interventional psychiatry. He obtained his medical degree from West Virginia University where he also completed his residency training, finishing as chief resident. Dr. Wakim co-founded and served as the CEO of Transformations leading to a successful merger with Shore Capital in May 2021. He is purpose driven towards improving the standard of and removing stigma related to behavioral healthcare. Dr. Wakim enjoys golf, traveling and time spent with his two dogs, Lulu and Rayna.

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