Eszopiclone, sold under the brand name Lunesta, is a non-benzodiazepine hypnotic that belongs to a class of drugs known as cyclopyrrolones. Lunesta is used to treat sleep disorders such as insomnia. Its sedative properties are effective in individuals who have trouble falling and staying asleep. However, it is a Schedule IV drug in the United States, meaning that it has a low potential for abuse and dependence. Lunesta addiction is less common but it is possible that the dependence of this drug can lead to addiction.
Although Lunesta acts like similar drugs used to treat the same disorders, it has major differences. It is not a benzodiazepine but it produces almost identical symptoms as one. If you are someone who uses Lunesta and is prone to addiction or prefers the use of benzodiazepines, there is a risk of developing Lunesta addiction.
What Is Lunesta?
Lunesta is an agonist for the brain’s gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors. An increase in GABA triggers symptoms of anti-anxiety medications as well as sleepiness. Since Lunesta is designed to aid in sleep disorders and mimic the effects of benzodiazepines, there is a moderate risk in association with the use of this drug.
Lunesta is fast-acting, meaning that the effects will be felt almost immediately. It is also habit forming if it is used for an extensive period of time. Lunesta slows down the heart rate and lowers blood pressure due to its effects on the central nervous system. Lunesta addiction can result in the inability to control the use of the drug and how much of the drug is taken at a time. When taken in excess, Lunesta can cause euphoria, increasing the risk of developing a habit, dependence, and addiction.
Lunesta completely alters the brain chemistry in order for the brain to function normally when it comes to sleep. Prolonged use of Lunesta can prevent you from learning how to live life without needing medications. However, there are effective alternatives to sedative-hypnotic drugs like Lunesta.
What are the Signs of Lunesta Addiction?
There are very few signs of Lunesta addiction. However, you might notice some alarming side effects. Also, if you are taking other prescriptions along with Lunesta, the effects can be severe and you are likely to notice the effects of other addictive substances in conjunction with Lunesta use.
Short-Term Side Effects of Taking Lunesta Include:
- Dry mouth
- Difficulty waking up the morning after taking Lunesta
- Ongoing grogginess
- Unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Cold-like symptoms
- Euphoria (if taken in abundance)
Long-Term Effects of Lunesta Are:
- Memory loss
- Abnormal thought process (mood swings)
- Rebound insomnia
- Somnambulism (sleepwalking)
Deciding if you are suffering from Lunesta addiction can simply be based on asking yourself a few questions such as:
- Am I taking more than prescribed?
- Can I control the amount of Lunesta I take?
- Do I find myself obsessing about the drug or feeling like I need it to function properly?
- Am I drug seeking, either on the street or doctor shopping?
- Am I building a tolerance and dependence on the drug?
If the answer is yes to any of these questions and if you are pre-exposed to addiction, there might be a chance you are addicted to Lunesta. Also, if you are abusing other drugs in conjunction with Lunesta or using more drugs to enhance the effects of Lunesta, treatment might be necessary.
What is Involved in Lunesta Addiction Treatment?
Receiving professional help for Lunesta addiction first requires admission into a medical detox. If you are taking a large quantity of Lunesta or have been taking it for an extended period of time, dependence to the drug is sure to have set in.
It is imperative if your body and brain are dependent on the drug that you seek detoxification in a medical facility to safely wean yourself off of the drug. The dose must be gradually lowered to avoid complications during the withdrawal process.
Withdrawal from Lunesta addiction should be fairly painless and quick. Since Lunesta is a non-benzodiazepine, the symptoms of withdrawal will be less severe.
Detox should be followed by an inpatient or residential treatment program, especially if you are using more than one drug. The success rate of attending a long-term program is much higher and more effective in addiction treatment. Here, you can learn how to combat Lunesta addiction using other proven non-addictive sleep aids. Also, residential treatment programs help isolate you from high-risk environments and surround you with constant support.
The treatment process can be overwhelming but it is certainly worth saving your life. Inpatient programs typically last anywhere from 30-90 days.
Your stay at a residential treatment center should be followed by extended care programs such as outpatient or 12-step based programs. In outpatient treatment, you will be able to return home after sessions, but you will still be heavily involved in group and individual therapy to help you identify and combat relapse triggers. The key to lasting sobriety is spending as much time in treatment as possible and staying plugged into the recovery community.
How Dangerous is Lunesta?
Lunesta addiction is not as dangerous as other drugs, however, there are severe side effects associated with the use of Lunesta. One of the most dangerous symptoms that occur from abusing Lunesta is somnambulism.
Lunesta use can make people fall asleep, however, there is a chance they will sleepwalk and act as if they are awake. There are reports of people getting out of bed and holding conversations, leaving the house, operating a motor vehicle, cooking and eating a large amount of food, and even engaging in promiscuous activities—all while asleep.
An article written by The New York Times states that “90 percent of these cases involve alcohol as well.”
Lunesta use in conjunction with alcohol or other drugs can enhance the side effects and lead to severe consequences, especially if addiction and overconsumption of both are involved. Even if no alcohol or other substance is involved, there is still a high risk of potentially dangerous occurrences such as these.
There have also been reports of people driving motor vehicles with no recollection of the event. This has caused a number of DUI/DWI arrests as well as other legal troubles due to intoxication while driving.
Mixing Lunesta with other substances, such as benzodiazepines or alcohol can result in overdose. Lunesta suppresses the central nervous system, which can result in respiratory failure when combined with other central nervous system depressants. Although Lunesta doesn’t actually contain benzodiazepines, it acts on the body and brain the same way. The effects of the overconsumption of this drug do have the potential to cause addiction.
Lunesta addiction and abuse is a probability, especially if you struggle with co-occurring disorders or if you are abusing other drugs on top of Lunesta.
Lunesta Abuse Statistics
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that about 4 percent of adults in the United States use prescription sleep aids.
- There were over 2.3 million prescriptions of Lunesta in 2015.
- About 16.6 percent of adults with a sleep disorder used sleeping pills from 2005-2010.
Start Your Journey to Recovery Today
Addiction is a cunning and powerful disease but there is help available. Although the risks of developing Lunesta addiction are lower than other drugs, it does happen and there is a way out. Maryland House Detox can help you find the right treatment program to accommodate your individual needs. Our trained professionals are available 24/7 to assist you in regaining control of your life. Calling (855) 969-8748 or contacting us online today can be the beginning of a new life without the use of drugs or alcohol. Don’t become another statistic; help is available now!