For those who suffer from sleep disorders, sleep aids such as Lunesta may be of great help. Not being able to stay asleep throughout the night, waking up too early, or not being able to sleep at all can diminish a person’s quality of life and affect their physical health. But what happens when Lunesta addiction and abuse develop?
Prescription drug abuse may seem safe because the drug is prescribed by a doctor, but not using medications as instructed can lead to severe effects on health and could even be deadly. While some abuse Lunesta for the sole purpose of getting high, others develop an addiction while taking it as prescribed.
What Is Lunesta?
Lunesta is a brand name for eszopiclone, a sedative-hypnotic prescribed to treat insomnia.
Sedative-hypnotic drugs change the way the brain functions, sedating people to make them sleepy. Lunesta is a central nervous system depressant commonly prescribed as a short-term medication for insomnia. Like another sleep aid called Ambien, it is not intended for long-term treatment, and its continued use can lead to negative side effects as well as addiction.
Lunesta pills are white or blue and taken orally. Some people snort Lunesta or take it in large doses to feel a rush of euphoria. While Lunesta addiction can easily develop on its own, it is very common for people to mix drugs like Lunesta with other substances. They may mix it with opioid painkillers, benzodiazepine drugs, or alcohol, thereby intensifying its euphoric effect, and increasing the chances of addiction and overdose.
Effects of Lunesta Abuse
In 2014, The FDA warned that 3 mg doses of Lunesta can cause impairment to memory, driving skills, and coordination that can last more than 11 hours after an evening dose, and decreased the recommended starting dose to 1 mg. Serious side effects can occur due to Lunesta abuse, both physically and psychologically.
While a person may feel drowsiness, lightheadedness, and dizziness within an hour of taking Lunesta, other short-term side effects include:
- Dry mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
Over time, those who continue to misuse Lunesta may experience a decline in cognitive ability and memory. They may find it impossible to fall asleep without it and may start to feel psychological side effects such as anxiety or depression.
Other long-term effects include:
- Muscle twitching
- Sensitivity to light
- Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
- Liver, kidney, and lung damage, which may not clear up over time
- Addiction and overdose
The symptoms of a Lunesta overdose depend on how much of the drug a person consumed, as well as whether they combined it with other drugs or alcohol. These symptoms can include extreme drowsiness, difficulty breathing, abrupt passing out, and coma.
The risk of developing dependence on prescription sleep aids like Lunesta increases as a person takes higher doses or takes it over longer periods.
The long-term use of Lunesta promotes the development of compulsive patterns of use, resulting in misuse or addiction. As with other drug abuse, someone abusing Lunesta can develop a tolerance. This means that the body becomes used to the presence of the drug, and over time needs more and more of the substance for the person to feel the same effects.
Tolerance develops rapidly when taking Lunesta. A person may need professional treatment to overcome compulsive use. Anyone with a history of alcohol or drug misuse, or mental disorders, is also at higher risk for developing an addiction to Lunesta.
Signs and Symptoms of Lunesta Addiction
Those using Lunesta for longer than they were prescribed often isolate themselves from loved ones. They may end up taking larger or more frequent doses of the drug, crush and snort the pills, or start mixing it with other drugs.
Other signs of Lunesta addiction include:
- Feeling unable to stop taking Lunesta
- Experiencing cravings for the drug
- Spending a significant amount of time obtaining Lunesta or recovering from its effects
- Developing physical dependence on the drug
- Continuing its use despite negative consequences
Lunesta addiction and misuse can affect friends and family members as well, as users may not seem like themselves. Someone who has become addicted to Lunesta may find it very hard to stop using the drug as they will go through withdrawal when they attempt to quit its use.
Withdrawal symptoms can vary from person to person and depend on several factors. These include how long a person has used Lunesta, how much of it they take each time, how frequently they used it, and whether they mixed it with other drugs. In general, most people endure sleep difficulties after they stop Lunesta use.
Other Lunesta withdrawal symptoms include:
- Mood swings
- Nausea and vomiting
Treatment is available for Lunesta addiction and a person can enroll in inpatient or outpatient programs at a treatment center.
A treatment program will assess a person for any co-occurring mental health issues, as well as their personal and medical history. In this way, medical professionals ensure the treatment is best suited to the needs of the person and give them the best chance of complete recovery.
As a Lunesta detox can be uncomfortable a medical detox can be very useful. Medical professionals can help a person to safely withdraw from the medication by monitoring their vital signs and administering withdrawal medications. In addition to dealing with substance abuse, Lunesta addiction treatment also addresses sleep health, which is picked up from the point of detox. A treatment team can observe Lunesta users’ sleep cycles during detox. In this way, they can determine which lifestyle changes may improve the person’s quality of sleep.
After detox, a treatment program includes various types of therapy to address the reasons for starting an addiction and teach the person how to respond to triggers that may cause relapse.
Where Can I Find a Treatment Center?
If you or a loved one is seeking Lunesta addiction treatment, Cirque Lodge is here to help. We understand that Lunesta withdrawal is not an easy process, which is why medical detox administrated by our licensed medical professionals follows the most effective protocols.
In its tranquil mountain setting, Cirque Lodge combines the traditional 12-step model with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), group therapy, and experiential therapies to provide the most effective treatment for you.
Our enriching rehabilitation experience includes an individualized treatment plan designed with a holistic approach. Our aim is to empower you with the knowledge and tools for personal growth and ensure long-term success in your recovery journey.