Signs of Lunesta Abuse

Lunesta is a highly potent sleeping medication that is prescribed to treat acute to severe insomnia. The drug is generally not intended for long-term use.

Those who take Lunesta for 2 weeks or longer have an increased chance of developing a tolerance to or dependence on the drug.

Tolerance means the user will have to take higher, more frequent doses of Lunesta to feel the desired effects.

Many who abuse Lunesta fight the urge to sleep so they can experience the drug’s euphoric and hallucinogenic effects. Other signs of Lunesta abuse include:

  • Unusual sleeping patterns
  • Profuse sweating
  • Severe irritability
  • Mental confusion
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Hiccupping frequently
  • Drastic change in weight
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Increasing doses without consulting a doctor
  • Using Lunesta after a prescription ends
  • Combining Lunesta with alcohol and other drugs
  • Fighting the urge to sleep to feel euphoric effects

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The Dangers of Lunesta

As a potent sedative, Lunesta can cause unusual and sometimes dangerous side effects when abused.

Some Lunesta users have experienced severe amnesia and extreme cases of sleepwalking while abusing the drug.

Other users have reported engaging in risky behaviors while under the influence of Lunesta, such as driving, having sex or turning the stove on high power and forgetting to turn it off, but have no recollection of the incident. Those under the influence of Lunesta often lack the mental clarity to recognize any signs of danger. The risk of these complications is greater when patients increase their dose of Lunesta without first consulting their doctor.

Prescription sleeping pills tend to put most people in a state somewhat akin to a blackout, leaving them utterly unable to recall what’s happened while they were under the influence…Unfortunately, sleeping pills are believed to have played pivotal roles in a number of incidents of road-rage, car accidents, criminal behavior, sexual assault and even mass gun violence.

- Dr. Frank Lipman, Care2, 2014

The health risks from Lunesta abuse can vary, especially if the drug is mixed with other drugs. Lunesta is classified as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, which means it slows down the user’s brain function. Taking too much of the drug can even hinder the user’s respiratory system to the point that they’re unable to breathe. Mixing Lunesta with other depressants, such as alcohol, significantly increases the probability of these dangerous side effects occurring.

When taken long-term or abused, Lunesta can also interfere with the user’s sleep pattern, drastically hindering their body’s natural ability to induce sleep. This can lead to an array of other problems, such as hypertension and impaired physical and cognitive functioning.

Other negative side effects of Lunesta abuse include:

  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Hallucinations
  • Respiratory infection
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hypersomnia
  • Chest pain

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Recognizing a Lunesta Addiction

As with many substances, Lunesta addiction can lead to fatal complications such as overdose if not recognized and treated properly. Typically, doctors will only prescribe a 2 to 4 weeks’ supply of Lunesta and may restrict the patient from obtaining multiple refills within a specific time span.

When an addicted user surpasses their Lunesta refill limit, they may “doctor shop,” or visit multiple doctors to get more of the drug.

People addicted to Lunesta may even start stealing money, spending a lot, becoming increasingly irritable and isolating themselves from their family and friends. In some cases, those who are addicted to Lunesta can have difficulty regulating their behavior, which may lead to a dramatic shift in their personality.

Individuals who have an addiction to Lunesta also commonly begin to neglect responsibilities at home, work, or school. They may also completely stop or significantly decrease engaging in activities once enjoyed. Individuals with Lunesta addictions will often take their medication without the intention of going to sleep in order to feel its effects, as well as experience cravings for their sleeping pills.

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Intervention and Next Steps

When confronting someone about their Lunesta addiction, it’s important to reassure them that your concern is coming from a place of love.

Addiction is a dangerous disease that can leave users feeling completely helpless and alone. People struggling with addiction often feel as though there’s no hope for them in getting clean or living a happy life without drugs. It’s important to let the user know that you want what’s best for them, but will not enable their dangerous behavior.

Seeking the help of a professional interventionist can ensure an intervention with your loved one goes as smoothly and successfully as possible.

Rehab for Lunesta Addiction

Lunesta is a highly powerful, mind-altering drug that can quickly lead to addiction. Once an addiction has taken hold, suddenly quitting the drug will cause uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal, such as anxiety and insomnia.

Getting treatment at an inpatient or outpatient facility is the most effective way to overcome an addiction to Lunesta.

Many treatment centers offer medically assisted detox, which helps patients during the withdrawal process. Medications are often used during detox to prevent or reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms.

Addiction treatment centers also help former users break their psychological dependence on Lunesta. This is achieved through various methods of therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and group counseling. Support groups and relapse prevention education also play a large role in the treatment process.

If you or someone you love is struggling with Lunesta addiction there is help available. Please contact a treatment provider for help finding treatments.

Published:

Author

Jeffrey Juergens

Photo of Jeffrey Juergens
  • Jeffrey Juergens earned his Bachelor’s and Juris Doctor from the University of Florida. Jeffrey’s desire to help others led him to focus on economic and social development and policy making. After graduation, he decided to pursue his passion of writing and editing. Jeffrey’s mission is to educate and inform the public on addiction issues and help those in need of treatment find the best option for them.

  • More from Jeffrey Juergens

Reviewed by Certified Addiction Professional:

Theresa Parisi

Photo of Theresa Parisi
  • Theresa Parisi is a Certified Addiction Professional (CAP), Certified Behavioral Health Case Manager (CBHCM), and International Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ICADC) with over 12 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.

  • More from Theresa Parisi

Sources

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