Addiction to Lunesta
Lunesta is a sedative-hypnotic commonly used to treat sleep disorders. As a prescription drug, it is often accepted as a safe sleep aid; this downplays its addictive potential.
In reality, most doctors will only prescribe Lunesta for short-term, acute insomnia because of its high potential for addiction and abuse.
A person who is addicted to Lunesta may:
- Continue taking Lunesta after their prescription has expired
- Isolate themselves from loved ones
- Repeatedly put off quitting Lunesta
- Increase their dosage without consulting their doctor
- Feel as if their quality of life will decrease if they stop taking the drug
- Use the drug to get high
- Crave the drug
- Mix Lunesta with other drugs to increase its sedative effects
“My biggest struggle was living a double life. Recovery has been a long hard road.”
People who stop taking Lunesta after long-term use will most likely suffer withdrawal symptoms, such as insomnia and anxiety. Due to these uncomfortable symptoms, overcoming an addiction to Lunesta can be difficult, but professional treatment at an inpatient rehab center can help make the process easier.
At a treatment center, health professionals can help Lunesta users safely detox by monitoring their vital signs and administering withdrawal medications. The treatment team may also observe the user’s sleep cycles and determine which lifestyle changes could improve their sleep quality. A therapist will evaluate the user and identify any psychological issues that may have contributed to their addiction.
If you or a loved one is struggling with Lunesta addiction there is help available. Please contact a treatment provider to discuss treatment options.
Understanding Lunesta (Eszopiclone)
Lunesta is the brand name of eszopiclone, a non-benzodiazepine sedative-hypnotic prescribed to treat insomnia. It is a member of a group of popular sleep-inducing sedatives commonly known as “Z-drugs,” alongside Ambien and Sonata. Lunesta pills are circular in shape, white or blue in color, and come in 1 mg, 2 mg or 3 mg strengths. The drug is designed to be taken orally, but some people snort Lunesta to intensify its effects.
Lunesta helps users fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer by binding to receptors in the brain to slow overactive brain function. This induces powerful sedation and drowsiness.
Because of the drug’s significant potential for abuse, Lunesta is highly regulated and intended for short-term use only. The drug cannot be bought over the counter, but addicted people may find ways to purchase it illegally. Street names for Lunesta include sleepers, zombies and sleepeasies.
Lunesta Effects and Abuse
Many Lunesta users incorporate the drug into their nightly routine as a regular sleep aid, which can lead to continued abuse and subsequent addiction. Any use of Lunesta outside of a prescribed dosage is considered abuse.
Abusive behaviors include:
- Using the drug for anything other than its intended purpose
- Crushing the pills into a powder and snorting it
- Taking more than the recommended dose
- Using Lunesta without a prescription or for longer than prescribed
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Lunesta offers several benefits that motivate people to abuse the drug. Namely, it provides uninterrupted, deep sleep, which can improve energy levels and cognitive function the following day. Others abuse Lunesta because they enjoy the calm feelings and drowsiness it causes.
Abuse of Lunesta can be dangerous, as it increases the user’s risk of overdose.
The symptoms of a Lunesta overdose vary depending on several factors, including how much the person consumed and whether other drugs or alcohol were also taken. The following symptoms may indicate an overdose:
- Extreme drowsiness
- Passing out abruptly
- Difficulty breathing
Lunesta is not necessarily a “gateway drug,” but continued use motivates people to increase their doses, which can lead to a potentially fatal overdose.
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Common Drug Combinations
Lunesta is sometimes taken in combination with other drugs. Some people mix Lunesta with other drugs to enhance the effects of both substances. Many are unaware of how dangerous polydrug use can be.
Mixing Lunesta with other sleeping pills can intensify the drug’s common adverse side effects, including:
- Daytime drowsiness
- Unusual or unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Stuffy nose
- Sore throat
Combining Lunesta with alcohol is especially dangerous, as both drugs are central nervous system (CNS) depressants. When mixed with alcohol, Lunesta’s sedative effects increase, which can cause dizziness, drowsiness, concentration difficulties and impaired judgment. Those who binge drink while taking Lunesta may also have trouble breathing and their blood pressure can plummet.
Taking Lunesta with other drugs increases the risk of overdose, which can be fatal.
Lunesta Abuse Statistics
Patients taking prescription sleep aids on a regular basis were nearly five times as likely as non-users to die over a period of two and a half years, according to the BMJ.
There have been over 31 million prescriptions for Lunesta written since the drug hit market in 2004
Nearly 9 million people use prescription sleep aids, like Lunesta, according to the CDC.
If you are one of the many Americans who are struggling to overcome an addiction to Lunesta, professional help is available. Please contact a dedicated treatment provider to discuss available treatment center options.