What Is Lunesta Withdrawal?
Lunesta, also known as Eszopiclone, is a medication used to treat insomnia and other sleep disorders. Due to its potential for abuse and addiction, Lunesta is typically prescribed for no more that 2-4 weeks at a time. When Lunesta is abused in high doses for a long period of time, the user will likely experience withdrawal symptoms if they discontinue use—especially if they do so abruptly. Depending on the duration and frequency of their drug use, the user may experience moderate to severe physical and psychological side effects.
Withdrawal symptoms occur because the user becomes mentally and physically dependent on Lunesta. When they stop using it, their body slowly rids itself of the drug and must find ways to remain functional without it.
This process can be very painful and dangerous, sometimes leading to further medical problems if not monitored by a doctor. The withdrawal process often leaves people feeling very restless, irritable, and anxious, and also causes sweating and abnormal dreams, as a result of being without the drug. For this reason, medical detox is always recommended over quitting alone.
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Symptoms Of Withdrawal
Lunesta withdrawal symptoms vary between different users, but most endure moderate to severe sleep difficulties after they quit the drug. What withdrawal symptoms appear and how severe they are depend on a number of factors, including how long the individual has been using Lunesta, how frequently they took Lunesta, how much Lunesta they took each time, whether they mixed Lunesta with other drugs and alcohol, and their mental health and medical history. Symptoms associated with Lunesta withdrawal include:
- Abnormal dreams
- Muscle spasms
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fatigue (can be due in part to anxiety and sleep deprivation)
- Short-term memory impairment
- Mood swings
- Poor concentration
- Depression-like symptoms
- Stomach cramps
- Panic Attacks
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It is important to note that there is a significant difference in the type and severity of withdrawal symptoms that occur when an individual quits “cold-turkey’ (abruptly and entirely) on their own and when they are tapered off safely by a physician or attend a medically-supervised detox.
In some extreme cases, users have experienced anxiety attacks and seizures. This is most common in individuals who us Lunesta long-term at high doses and then quit cold-turkey. These situations require immediate medical attention and must be treated under a doctor’s care. Luckily, they do not commonly occur when a patient is in a medically-supervised detox setting.
In one sense, the withdrawal syndrome with [sleeping pills] can be worse than withdrawal from heroin, because while the heroin addict experiences withdrawal as a terrible anguish, it is rare that addicts do not survive even the most severe heroin withdrawal. Severe withdrawal of sleeping pills can produce death.”
People addicted to Lunesta who stop taking it commonly experience rebound symptoms. Typically, former users experience insomnia to an even greater degree than they did before taking the medication. This insomnia is often accompanied by anxiety, which is often quite severe and may even produce panic attacks. Although, rebound insomnia and anxiety can be very intense, they usually only last a few days.
Duration Of Withdrawal
The withdrawal timeline is different for each Lunesta user. However, most people addicted to Lunesta experience symptoms of withdrawal shortly after discontinuing use. If the user stops cold-turkey, symptoms often appear in as little as 12 hours after the user’s last dose. In a medically-supervised setting, symptoms typically present within 48 hours after the user’s last dose.
The first seven days without the drug are usually the hardest to battle and symptoms fade over the second and third week.
Those with more severe addictions to Lunesta may experience withdrawal for several months. Some users also experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) after the initial withdrawal period. Symptoms of PAWS tend to be mostly psychological, including mood swings, depression, anxiety and drug cravings. These symptoms can last for months and tend to come and go in varying levels of severity.
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Lunesta Withdrawal Timeline
|Days 1-2||Withdrawal begins within the first 48 hours after ending use of Lunesta. Intense insomnia and anxiety are often the first symptoms to show up.|
|Days 3-7||Symptoms peak during this time. The user’s rebound symptoms should begin to lessen after a few days. Sleeping troubles may still occur after rebound symptoms have gone away, but the problem will be much less intense. Users may also feel irritable, fatigued and nauseous.|
|Days 8-21||Over the next two weeks, symptoms will fade and become increasingly milder. Some users may continue having sleeping problems.|
|Days 22+||If any symptoms remain, they should be very mild. Some users experience PAWS after the acute phase of withdrawal has ended. These symptoms peak four to eight weeks after the last dose was taken.|
Because the symptoms and severity of Lunesta withdrawal vary and can be unpredictable, users are urged to consult a doctor before quitting use—especially those with moderate to severe Lunesta addictions.
A medical detox program is the best option for managing withdrawal from Lunesta.
During detox, doctors typically taper off the user’s dosage of Lunesta. This process can take several weeks to months, but is much less intense than quitting “cold turkey.” Those with a long history of Lunesta abuse and those who take high doses of the drug should never abruptly stop use. Doing so will likely result in very severe withdrawal symptoms, which can lead to other health complications.
A medical detox usually offers specific medications approved by the FDA for the treatment of withdrawal. There is not one specific Lunesta medication used during detox, however a team of medical professionals will evaluate the individual to determine which medications are the best suited to help keep them safe and comfortable. The goal of detox is to alleviate withdrawal symptoms, manage vitals, and successfully remove the drug from the individuals’ body. Treatment for co-occurring mental health conditions may also be evaluated for during detox phase.
Many factors play a role in how the user’s body handles detoxing from Lunesta, including the length and severity of their addiction. Generally, an inpatient treatment center with a medical detox program can offer the best environment and support network for users to successfully overcome their addiction.
Finding Treatment for Lunesta Addiction
Millions of Americans struggle with an addiction to sleeping pills every day. Sadly, too many of them will underestimate their dependency and never seek the help they deserve.
There are many treatment options available to those struggling with Lunesta addiction. If you or a loved one is ready to begin the journey to sobriety, please contact a treatment provider today. Treatment providers are available 24/7 and will assist you in finding the best treatment program.
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.
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Reviewed by Certified Addiction Professional:
Theresa Parisi received her bachelor’s degree in Addiction Science and Psychology from Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minnesota in 2010. She is currently working towards her master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Florida. She is a Certified Addiction Professional (CAP), Certified Behavioral Health Case Manager (CBHCM), and International Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ICADC) by the Florida Certification Board. Theresa is passionate about recovery having gone through addiction herself.
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- RxList. (2015). "Lunesta". Retrieved on October 30, 2015 from: http://www.rxlist.com/lunesta-drug/side-effects-interactions.htm#DA
- Max Health. (2015). "Why Sleeping Pills Are Considered the Number 1 Most Dangerous Drug?" Retrieved on October 30, 2015 from: http://www.emaxhealth.com/1/why-sleeping-pills-are-considered-number-1-most-dangerous-drug