What is Lunesta Addiction?
Lunesta is the brand name of eszopiclone, a sleep medication so addictive and dangerous that quitting the drug usually requires slowly tapering off in a hospital setting. While Lunesta can be used in many situations to help treat insomnia, many individuals misuse it to experience a euphoric high. This abuse can, in turn, lead to addiction. Even using the medication as directed, but for longer than a week or two can lead to tolerance and dependence, putting users at risk for addiction.
Eszopiclone is in a group of medications called sedative-hypnotics, which are prescribed to help with difficulty sleeping. While the medication is safe to take as prescribed on a short-term basis, some individuals may start to misuse Lunesta by taking it more often or at higher doses than prescribed. Another form of misuse is to take Lunesta, then resist the urge to sleep to provoke a feeling of euphoria. Any of these misuse behaviors can lead to Lunesta addiction.
Risks of Lunesta Addiction
Prescription sedatives are some of the most commonly abused substances in the United States today. Lunesta is meant to be taken as prescribed by a doctor to help individuals who have difficulty falling and staying asleep. However, the rapid onset of tolerance to the drug’s effects, and the appealing euphoric state that users may first experience accidentally make the abuse of the drug widespread, and this abuse consistently leads to addiction. The serious dangers of a Lunesta addiction include a severe withdrawal syndrome that has potentially life-threatening symptoms. Lunesta should never be stopped abruptly, but should always be slowly tapered under close medical monitoring.
Side Effects of Lunesta Addiction
Individuals who misuse and abuse Lunesta may experience the following side effects:
- A headache
- Unusual dreams
- Slurred speech
- Poor concentration
- Problems with memory
- Coordination problems
- Lowered blood pressure
- Male breast enlargement
Even when taken as prescribed, Lunesta can cause uncontrolled sleep activity, such as sleepwalking, driving, eating, or sex. The medication can also cause amnesia so that users have no memory of whatever they did while affected by the drug. When mixed with alcohol, Lunesta can cause respiratory depression. This effect can be so severe that individuals may fall into a coma, or stop breathing long enough to suffer brain damage, organ failure, or death.
Signs of Lunesta Addiction
Lunesta can cause addiction if abused, just like many other prescription drugs in the depressant class. The drug itself changes the way the brain works over time, especially when taken in large doses consistently, and eventually, the individual will begin to crave it over all else. Some individuals take larger doses as a result of the tolerance that builds from using the drug for longer than recommended, either taking more at once or taking the same dose more often. They may do this not to get high, but to get the same relief from insomnia that they experienced when they first started taking the medication.
Lunesta addiction can be both physical and psychological. As a result, individuals suffering from this addiction will continue to need professional help to deal with the psychological aspects of their disease even after they have completed detox and passed through the physical withdrawal symptoms. Rehab treatment should always address all areas of addiction for the sake of long-term recovery success.
While sedative-hypnotic drugs like Lunesta are thought to have less adverse effects and a lower risk of addiction than benzodiazepines do, they are nevertheless very dangerous. Those who abuse them and build up a high tolerance may also turn to stronger drugs like benzodiazepines, which can only lead to additional adverse effects and more severe addiction.
What to do if Someone You Love is Abusing Lunesta?
If someone you love is abusing Lunesta and tries to stop or cut back, withdrawal will occur. Withdrawal from Lunesta can be severe, potentially causing:
- Stomach and muscle cramps
The withdrawal itself isn’t a surefire sign of abuse because those who become dependent on the drug, even when taking it under a doctor’s care, will experience withdrawal. However, if you notice your loved one is consistently experiencing withdrawal, this is a definite sign of abuse. Someone undergoing Lunesta withdrawal should receive medical treatment immediately, as the syndrome could worsen quickly and without warning.
If someone you love is addicted to Lunesta, you should talk to them. Let them know you support them and are coming from a place of love, without judgment. It may also help to become more educated on the topic, through speaking to a doctor or addiction specialist. It is best to get them into a treatment option as soon as possible.
Treatment options available for Lunesta Addiction
Drugs like Lunesta can cause severe addiction syndromes, and the first step in treatment is to ensure that the patient can slowly and safely detox from the drug so as not to experience the potentially life-threatening withdrawal effects. It is best to attend an inpatient treatment facility, as this will provide 24/7 medical oversight during withdrawal and treatment.
Once detoxed off Lunesta, behavioral therapies are often used to help patients learn to cope with their substance abuse and better skills for the future. Treatment usually involves the use of both medications and therapy to reestablish beneficial lifestyles and beliefs. Any underlying co-occurring disorders, such as mental illness, will be addressed at this stage, to help promote long-term sobriety.