Lunesta (eszopiclone) is a prescription sleeping pill. As a non-benzodiazepine “z-drug,” it works by boosting the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a brain chemical that prevents overactivity. Lunesta relaxes a person so they are able to fall asleep and stay asleep.
For individuals with insomnia, Lunesta can improve the ability to be alert and productive during waking hours. However, it is also an addictive drug intended only for short-term use. Some individuals abuse Lunesta for its sedative-hypnotic effects, which can have dangerous consequences.
Signs Of Lunesta (Eszopiclone) Addiction
People who are addicted to Lunesta (eszopiclone) have mental cravings for the drug that make it very difficult to stop taking it. As they develop a tolerance to it, they may increase their dosage without asking their doctor or continue taking it after their doctor has requested they stop.
This means they have to get the drug from other sources, such as other doctors, friends, online, or on the street. As addiction grows more severe, a person may isolate themselves from family or friends or take Lunesta at all hours of the day.
There are some who claim that addiction to Lunesta isn’t possible due to its chemical makeup. However, other studies have shown that too much Lunesta can stimulate a sense of euphoria, which can lead to addiction.
Lunesta addiction can also occur as the results of brain changes brought on by the drug’s effects on GABA. As Lunesta regulates the functioning of GABA, the brain may begin to rely on the drug and stop working effectively on its own, causing it to need and crave Lunesta.
Lunesta Intended Use
A person may take Lunesta in higher or lower dosages depending on the severity of their symptoms. They should only take it when they have eight hours to sleep, as they may be groggy and unable to fully wake if they try to get up sooner.
Lunesta can be taken with other drugs, but this should be done under the guidance of a doctor to ensure that a person takes a safe amount of each medication. The prescribing physician will typically monitor the use of the drug and adjust the prescription if necessary.
How Is Lunesta Abused?
The most common method of abuse for Lunesta is to take more of the drug than recommended or to extend the length of use. If someone comes to rely on Lunesta as an everyday sleep aid, the potential for abuse increases.
Though most people abuse Lunesta orally, some people crush the pills and snort them. Some mix Lunesta with other substances to produce stronger sedative effects. Alcohol and marijuana produce similar relaxing effects that can enhance the calming experience.
Side Effects Of Lunesta Abuse
The most common side effect of Lunesta (eszopiclone) is short-term memory loss. This may occur if a person has woken up before the medication has worn off, or if they take it without intending to go to sleep.
Some people have reported performing activities such as driving, calling friends or family or preparing food without remembering the events.
The longer a person takes Lunesta outside of prescription guidelines, the more likely they are to develop negative long-term effects as a result of addiction.
Other adverse side effects that can be worsened with Lunesta abuse include:
- chronic fatigue (long after taking the drug)
- dry mouth
- common cold symptoms
- difficulty processing information
- suicidal ideation
- reduced sex drive
Lunesta Overdose Symptoms
A person can overdose on Lunesta by taking too much at once or taking it too frequently. Overdose is more likely when someone takes Lunesta with other central nervous system depressants, such as opioids, benzodiazepines or alcohol.
In most cases, a Lunesta overdose can be treated, and the person can recover. However, fatalities have resulted from people combining Lunesta with these types of drugs.
The most common symptoms of Lunesta overdose include:
- stomach cramping
- intense drowsiness
- irritability or anxiousness
- flushing (face turning red)
Lunesta Withdrawal And Detox
Lunesta withdrawal occurs when someone has become physically dependent on the drug. Physical dependence is a condition in which the body craves Lunesta to sleep or operate normally, and it can occur independently of a mental addiction.
When someone’s body is dependent on Lunesta, they experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking it abruptly. A common symptom is rebound insomnia.
This may lead to grogginess that interferes with work or social life. It can also cause a person to feel disconnected from others and lose interest in activities that they previously enjoyed.
Other Lunesta withdrawal symptoms may be:
- short-term memory loss
- vivid dreams
When a person cannot sleep or has unpleasant symptoms because they stopped taking Lunesta, they often turn back to the drug for relief, which can develop into an addiction.
Medically supervised detox can help a person who is physically dependent on Lunesta to safely and successfully rid their body of the drug.
These inpatient programs are staffed with medical professionals who monitor a person’s vital signs through the withdrawal process. They may involve tapering the dose of Lunesta gradually to reduce the severity of symptoms.
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Treatment For Lunesta (Eszopiclone) Addiction
Many people who suffer from insomnia have unresolved issues—such as anxiety or trauma—that lead them to become addicted to sleeping pills. The main problem may not be the addiction itself, but rather the cause of it. At Vertava Health of Ohio, we deal with these issues so they do not lead to relapse.
Dual diagnosis treatment is available to help individuals who have been diagnosed with co-occurring mental disorders. We also use cognitive behavioral therapy to help people change their thinking so they can choose healthier behaviors in times of stress.
Each person’s experience with addiction is different, so our holistic inpatient rehab program is tailored to each individual’s unique needs. We take into account how the body, mind, and spirit are impacted by Lunesta (eszopiclone) addiction and aim to heal the whole person.
The goal of treatment is to free a person from the destructive pattern of addiction by equipping them with alternative ways to relax, cope, and live a meaningful life. Through this, recovering individuals can learn to better themselves, their families and the wider community.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — Sleep Disorders
- National Center for Biotechnology Information — Zolpidem and eszopiclone prime α1β2γ2 GABAA receptors for longer duration of activity
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration — Lunesta
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: DailyMed — Lunesta